S2 Metallics - Inside The Finish Hall
Posted Jul 29, 2015
Behind The Gear / #WeMakePRS
The new S2 Metallic colors were launched a little less than a month ago. What many people may not realize is that this project has been in the works for over 4 months! Check out this blog post to learn a little more about the new S2 Metallic colors and what’s involved with the process!
To shed some light on the new metallic colors, we tracked down PRS employee Matt Eriza, a “Finish Research and Development Tech.” Matt is heavily involved in testing new colors on our guitars before they are offered to customers, as well as the overall quality of our finish.
Matt explains the process like this, “Before we offer a new color to market, we really want to make sure it looks great and is durable enough to stand the test of time. We will build at least 10 guitars in a new color, then beat them up a bit. We’re making sure the color doesn’t loose its luster.”
Matt noted that working with metallic colors requires more attention during spraying than with other flat paints. When spraying, the flakes in metallic colors tend to travel throughout the room so our employees will spray the metallics in batches without different colored guitars present—things that we don’t want gold or blue flakes on!
Let’s briefly walk through the finish process for our new S2 Metallic colors: Ice Blue Firemist and Egyptian Gold!
Step One: Finish Sanding
A guitar goes through two dozen steps up to this point, but culminates in finish sanding—the final step before the guitar is ready for paint!
Step Two: Poly
The spray team gives the guitar 3 coats of clear poly - think of it like a clear primer for the guitar. The poly helps fill in any porous areas on the guitar’s body, ultimately protecting the instrument over its lifetime and ensuring durability.
Step Three: Sanding
After the poly coat dries, the guitar is sanded with a high grit sandpaper (320 grit) to give an even consistency to the poly coat and to prepare the body for its main spray - the metallic color. Before spraying the color coat on the guitar we want to make sure to cover up areas where we don’t want paint! In this case, the fingerboard and binding. We prep the guitar by taping these areas off.
Step Four: The Metallic Coat
The guitar is then sprayed with 2 coats of its main paint, in this case either Ice Blue Firmist or Egyptian Gold.
Here’s what those colors look like on sample paper:
Step Five: Peel Tape & Write Serial Number
After the guitar gets its metallic coat and has ample drying time, its time for us to peel the tape off of the fretboard and binding and write the serial number on the back of the headstock.
Step Six: Clear Coat
To seal and protect our fresh coat of metallic and give the guitar a “dipped in glass” finish, we apply 4 thin coats of acrylic top coat. We give that time to dry before sanding with polishing sandpaper (1500 grit) and buffing. Once the guitar is buffed and shining beautifully we do a thorough finish quality inspection and pass the guitar over to our final assembly folks for hardware and set up. The whole process is long but worth the wait!
When all is said and done, its time for the gig!
Check out an S2 Metallic in person at your Authorized PRS Dealer!