PTC Guitar Overhaul - Vernon Reid's S2 Vela!

Posted Aug 11, 2015

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The Paul Reed Smith Tech Center (PTC) is in the business of making your guitar dreams a reality. In addition to standard PRS repairs and maintenance, the PTC specializes in overhauling your guitar to meet your unique needs as a musician. The PTC job we are exploring today features PRS artist Vernon Reid’s newest axe, an S2 Vela with some awesomely unique modifications! Check it out below!

It’s not every day we see a PTC job as extensive as Vernon Reid’s. Vernon is a guitarist, songwriter, composer, and a member of Rolling Stone’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time.”

Vernon asked for a pretty unique set of specs for his new S2 Vela guitar, and the PTC folks made it happen — let’s take a look!

This stock S2 Vela came into the PTC stripped of its hardware and without any finish on it. First, the PTC measured and re-routed the body with the new cavities needed for the unique layout. Below, you can visualize the before and after. “Before” is representative of the routing on a stock S2 Vela, and “after” the new routing required for Vernon’s guitar.

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Here’s why the PTC needed to make new cuts:

1. Routing for a Floyd Rose Tremolo. As you may know, the stock Vela comes with a plate-style bridge. The body needed to be altered on the top and back to make room for the Floyd’s floating bridge and springs underneath. Additionally, the PTC team hand-routed an area around the headstock to allow for the Floyd’s locking nut.

2. Routing for the battery pack. Per Vernon’s request, this Vela would get a set of EMG active pickups requiring a battery unit to power them. A cut was made in the back of the body to accommodate this.

3. Routing for a second input jack. An area needed to be cut for a 13-pin connector - more on this in a bit!

After the routing was finished, the neck was re-shaped to a “hard-V” per Vernon’s request. After sanding, the guitar was sprayed in one of our newly released finishes, Egyptian Gold Metallic.

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When the paint had dried it was time for hardware and final assembly. A custom pickguard was fabricated to fit the two EMG humbuckers, Roland GK3 MIDI pickup, and new electronics controls. If you were wondering what the 13-pin connector was for, it allows connectivity between the Roland MIDI pickup and MIDI control unit!

Refer to the image below for a run-down of the electronics controls:

1. Magnetic Pickup Volume Control
2. 3-Way Blade Pickup Selector
3. Roland MIDI Pickup Volume Control
4. Magnetic Pickup Tone Control
5. 3-Way Mini Toggle (Up = MIDI Pickup, Middle = Both, Down = All Magnetic Pickup)
6. Toggle Up Through MIDI Sounds
7. Toggle Down Through MIDI Sounds

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Another job well done by the PTC team and we’re happy to see that Vernon is thrilled with his new (highly versatile) axe!

A video posted by Living Colour (@livingcolourofficial) on

A video posted by Living Colour (@livingcolourofficial) on

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