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Tips from Dupont!!!!

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This search for a new way to paint guitars had led to many roads.. some dead end, some very good one.. but I've learned alot from LGM and others about painting... Just today I went to my local automotive store that sells Dupont paint.. I was talking to the guy about 2 part poly painting.. and he said it was very good and that I could just use the clear coat over whatever base color I choose... so basically he's saying I can paint it with whatever I want.. and clear coat it with the Nason Clear Coat... but before I left they showed me a new magazine that they get from Dupont.. and said, "Man we thought of you when we saw the picture on it.. " .. I was like .. hum.. ok.. lol... As it turns out, the cover of the newest Dupont magazine had a PRS guitar on the front.. I was like, Wow!!!... So I start reading it.. and there is a pretty good article with Paul Reed Smith.. and he was talking about the problems they had with different paint types and basically had the same gripes as the rest of us... Then one day they tried some Dupont and complete started using it from then on out... They use the following products from Dupont to get that great finish: 2 coats of ChromaPremier Basecoat Color, followed by 2 to 4 coats of ChromaPremier G2-4500s clear.... So I'm really considering buying these exact paints... just wanted to pass on the information to you guys since you might want to try them out also.. Paul Reed Smith said it was the easiest, most durable, and finest looking finish he has ever gotten.. Hopefully I can afford it when I decide to buy some.. lol.. But that's another story... Thanks LGM for pointing me in the right direction... If it wasn't for you I'd still be trying aerosol cans of lacquer.. lol


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Thanks, and I hope your talking about someone like Brian, and LGM writing the tutorial.. and not me.. lol.. I'm gonna see if I can find a place on the web with that same article.. if not.. I'll scan the pages maybe.. who knows.. lol

well, a scanned article, or just a summary of what they had to say would be helpful....

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Very good idea.. I'll see if they'll let me borrow the magazine and retype it for you guys... or maybe even scan it... Also.. I'm thinking you can use Dupont ChromaFil 4140s Multi-Use Primer to start off with.. although they have many options.. I recommend you going to their main webpage.. http://www.performancecoatings.dupont.com and click on visitor then goto their ChromaPremier link and you'll see tons of paint options.. including the ones listed.. Hopefully I'll have that posted for you guys by tonight.. so be checking back...

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As far as I know that's the only kind of paint they use.. because they said something about how they had to change over to this new paint, which meant for them, new training, equip, etc. etc. But basically they use stain/dye on the figured tops and spray the Dupont ChromaPremier onto it... but not sure for the transparent finishes... maybe the whole article will hit on that subject some.. like i said.. I hope they will let me borrow it and scan it off or retype it...


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Ok.. I went and got the magazine and found out there is a way to look at it on the web, simply because it told where to go.. lol... so here is the link to the Dupont publications and they are in Adobe PDF format... http://www1.dupont.com/NASApp/dupontglobal...ions/index.html

And make sure to right click the Dupont Magazine Number Three link ... It's quite a big download; so select Save Target As.. after right clicking on the link... and save the file to your computer... Desktop preferably... The reason I say this, is because I couldn't ever get it to load the correct way for me by just left clicking the link.... Hope you enjoy the article... I'll post the full article under this post when i get time.. so you don't have to download the 3.78MB file if you don't have time... :D

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Finally... Here is the whole article:

"Sounds good." "Plays well." "Feels good in your hand."

Those are the words of electric guitar manufacturer Paul Reed Smith, but he's not talking about the instruments his company builds. He's describing the DuPontTM ChromaPremier® Basecoat colors and ChromaClear® G2-4500STM used on them. DuPont has been making automotive refinish products since 1924. In the 79 years since then, rarely – okay, probably never – have those products been praised in quite those words. And it's high praise indeed, because Smith is a demanding perfectionist. The founder, managing general partner and creative force behind PRS Guitars of Stevensville, Maryland, Smith has been called "the American Stradivari of the electric guitar," and a "deeply insightful craftsman who (has) absorbed to his very marrow the essence of the modern electric guitar." Smith began playing the guitar in eighth grade and soon became immersed in music, playing in local bands. By the time he was 17, he was sitting in with bands in Washington, DC clubs. In 1975, he built his first instrument for extra credits from his college music professor. That experience persuaded him to make guitar building his life's work. Not surprisingly, he struggled at first, producing one guitar a month at best, but he learned important lessons with every instrument.

"Once a guitar was finished," recalls Smith, "I'd play it at a gig, field testing it in the purest sense. Every design change taught me something new about building guitars." By 1985, with the support of his wife, a New York City attorney, investors and some skilled assistants, he secured enough funding to open a professional manufacturing facility. Today, PRS Guitars employs 185 people, the majority of whom are musicians. The company is now the third largest U.S. electric guitar manufacturer, turning out 10,000 to 15,000 instruments per year. PRS products are the choice of Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti of Creed and dozens of other recording artists.

Wood that Resonates

Smith oversees the manufacturing process to ensure that his precise specifications are met. Each component of a PRS guitar, whose average list price is about $2,300, is carefully chosen.

That selection process begins with the wood. Brazilian or East Indian rosewood and South American mahogany are the core materials. "Mahogany rings like a bell," Smith says. "It's strong, easy to work, easy to sand. However, we still take a plane to every plank for necks

before we buy it." Other favorites are maple, swamp ash and spruce, although PRS is perhaps most famous for its "curly maple" – a highly patterned wood with a whorled striped grain.

Opulent Inlays

Fingerboard inlays are made of shell, red and green abalone, gold, mother of pearl, coral,

turquoise, and mastodon ivory. PRS inlays achieve maximum opulence in the Dragon models, five of which have been created since 1992. The Dragon 2000, introduced for the millennium, featured an outrageously designed inlay that included various abalones, pearl, shell, coral, onyx, gold and ivory. With a list price of $20,000 each, the run of 50 sold out at a single tradeshow.

PRS's move to the Stevensville plant in 1996 signaled a major change in the company's operations. For one thing, Smith, who knows fret files and dovetail saws as well as anyone in his shop, stopped personally building guitars. And for the first time, many steps were computerized in the production facility. One of the most critical areas is finishing, where the famous PRS "dipped in glass" look is imparted. The new factory is equipped with one of the most sophisticated spray rooms in the country, with temperature and relative humidity maintained at 72°F and 50 percent, respectively.

Despite these ideal conditions, Smith and his management team detected major problems in the finishing area in 2000.

Painting Problems

"We had tried all kinds of paint over the years," he recalls, "and we ran into every kind of trouble: adhesion, solvent popping, slow cure times, build thickness, runs and buffing ability."

They thought they had solved those issues a few years ago when they began using a leading automotive finish. Then, says Tim McClaeb, quality assurance manager, "We experienced problems that made it impossible to achieve the translucent colors we needed. The paint company's reps came in and tried really hard to fix it, but they just couldn't make

it work."

The search for a new finish soon led them to DuPontTM Performance Coatings, the world's leading supplier of automotive finishes. PRS tried ChromaPremier® color coat and clear, and followed up with "extensive testing," according to McClaeb. "We surveyed the crew, especially the buffers, because we didn't want to hinder them and hurt production. Everybody liked it a lot."

A DuPont mixing machine was installed, and the factory switched to ChromaPremier® Basecoat colors and ChromaPremier G2-4500S Clear. Says McClaeb, "The color and clear work very well together, and the system buffs well. We can machine sand the clear and get great clarity. We had to do a lot more sanding with the finish we had been previously using."

PRS painters spray four to six coats of ChromaClear® G2-4500STM to get the smooth feel of vintage lacquer. The product dries faster than any other force-dry clear in the automotive refinish industry, and offers superb buffability. It increases productivity by maximizing throughput and minimizes energy consumption because it requires less bake time and lower baking temperatures.

While the clear finish highlights the color and grain of PRS products, it's also tough. "It's a hard finish," confirms Smith. "And that's important. Remember, guitars take a fair amount of abuse. People are sweating on them, they're banging against belt buckles, and they get thrown around a little. The finish has to withstand all that." PRS is withstanding the economic challenges of the current business environment. PRS sales grew 50 percent in 2001, then jumped another 17 percent in last year's slow economy, which has Smith pumped about the future. "We're going to be substituting some different metals, different woods," he says, "and when we get the combination of all these things just right, forget about it! It'll be such a leap forward!"

Sounds good, doesn't it?

To learn more about PRS Guitars, visit www.prsguitars.com.

For more information about DuPont Performance Coatings, check the Web site:

www.performancecoatings.dupont.com, or call 1-800-GETDUPONT.

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No problem Reaper.. I was just trying to pass on information that might help someone... especially since it specifies the exact paints that was used... I just hope it might help someone else out.. since it looks like I can only afford the Dupont Nason line for now.. lol... The ChromaPremier and ChromaClear isn't cheap.. lol And I was told by the saleman that the Nason Select Clear was just the same as far as clear coats go.. and that the polishing stage is after 10hours of dry time.. I think that beats Nitro Lacquer any day of the week.. lol... I'm gonna try that out first .. if it's not as good I'll bite the bullet and buy the Chroma stuff...

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very interesting - thanks for posting it.

The bit in there that worries me is the baking. How could a hobbyist replicate this - and presumably it would mean that these finishes are not suitable for most of us?

Or does it mean we should leave the guitars thus finished all alone for a few weeks for the finish to go off?


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First off, I hope I haven't made everyone sick of hearing about PRS paint system.. because there are many many, many ways to paint a guitar just as good.. and I don't work for Dupont... lol.. I'll answer that before anyone brings it up first.. :D And I'm glad some of you really took the time to read it for your own knowledge.. because we should always be open to new ideas.. That's why I look up to Brian alot.. because he's not afraid to try anything.. at least once.. lol


If you check out the Dupont link I poste and go in as visitor.. and look at the ChormaSytem Technical Manual you'll find all the specs on it... Here is an except from that Manual so you can kinda understand the air dry times and force dry times..

Force Dry:

Total Bake Cycle Booth Temp (F) *not substrate temp

15min @ 160deg F

13min @ 180deg F

5-10min @ 199deg F

Note: If immediate delivery is not required, it is possible to reduce energy costs even further by performing a very short bake to get the clear dust free (5min-cyc time X 160deg F). Using this precess it is possible to sand the clear to remove dirt within 1 hour if needed.

Air Dry:

Air Dry @ 70deg F Air Dry

Flash between coats: 8-10 min

Dust free: 15-30 min

Time to Handle: 3-5 hours

Time to Polish: 3-5 hours

Examples for Air Dry times to buff versus temperature:

with ChromaClear G2-4507S activator

70deg F ------------- 3 hours

80deg F ------------- 2 hours

90deg F ------------- 1 hour

***As you can see from the above.. yes, you can air dry it and it's real quick... but if your trying to mass produce guitars.. you better get you some equipment... my guess is your like me and can wait 3-5 hours instead of 5-15 minutes from force dry... So as far as the specs show.. Yes you can get great results from just air drying.. but that also means you have to have a real good dust free environment... because it takes a bit longer to dry... It's nothing like lacquer.. Lacquer's waiting time between coats is very little (5-15 minutes) instead of Chroma's (15-30 minutes).. but that's the only advantage because the Chroma will cure out even air dried at no more than 5 hours and your ready to polish etc. etc. etc. Just remember to go to the bank for a loan if your planning on buying quite a bit of this paint.. lol

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