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Byoguitar.com Prs Guitar Kit Build

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I've had my PRS kit since about Christmas and I've been waiting to research everything I need before I mess up this nice guitar by rushing it. Here's a link to the kit:


Here's what I'm hoping for finish-wise:


A couple days ago I went to a WoodCraft store and talked to their finish expert for about an hour before deciding on this stuff:

2oz Black Transtint dye

2oz Bright Red Transtint dye

1qt Satin Urethane (he suggests this to mix with the dye which I thought was odd)

1 aerosol can of Sand and Sealer

1 bottle Titebond Hide glue

1 Strip of spalted maple

a bunch of scrap flamed maple veneers

All that was $87 and I still don't have the clear gloss! I tried some test runs on some of the veneers and I'm really happy with the results. I mixed the dye a little weak though so I'll definitely perfect the ratios before I try it (any ratio suggestions. the can suggests 32-1)

I plan on doing the standard.. dye it black then sand and redye with final color.

Recently I decided dying the entire guitar black might be the way to go. I don't think there's anyway around using grain filler on the mahogany so I started looking around. Unfortunately, there's nowhere nearby that sells it so I researched recipes to just make my own.

Will this work? sawdust+liquid hide glue+ (optional) black dye

I don't need much filler so I'm hoping this could work.

As for the clear I've been searching forever for what PRS uses and from what I understand its usually Acrylic Urethane or a Poly.

The only place nearby that sells AU is a car paint supply place and its $130 a gallon! Even though thats super expensive I may end up going with that as I plan on teaching a Kit Guitar workshop this summer so students will end up paying for it.

For the neck I may just use the wipe on Satin Urethane I got to mix with the dyes for that really fast feeling neck but I'm still not 100%.

I still need to tape off around the binding and spray it with sealer so the dye won't affect the binding.

My main fear now is that since the flamed maple is a thin veneer, I'm scared it might sand through after the black is sanded away. The guy at Wood Craft suggests a coat of sand and sealer after the black and after the red to prevent the black and red from blending.

Also, anyone know any good tricks to protect the bird inlays from the black dye (if I do dye the entire neck black. I've heard of using rubber cement, paint on sealer or even crayon on top.

Thanks in advance for any advice or suggestions. This is, after all, my first build and its quite expensive so I don't want to rush anything or make mistakes. Thanks!

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Thanks for the link to the kits man. How's the quality?

By the way have you tried ebay for cheaper clear coats?

Good luck mate :D

EDIT: Welcome to PG, there's a fair few of us Australians on here :D

Edited by ae3
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I'm pretty happy with it honestly. It was one of the most expensive kits they have so I guess it's worth it. There was definitely quite a bit of time put into making the kits and everything looks about right. I reshaped the headstock and cutaway for the right signature PRS contours but I still can't get the cutaway to have the perfect concave effect that legit PRS's have. A couple of the frets on the neck were loose so I had to hammer them back down. We'll see how it plays once I string it up but it may be a while depending on what clearcoat I go with.

Anyone had any experience with wipe on Satin Urethane mixed with dye or used as a clear coat in general? I haven't really heard anyone else doing this with flamed maple but it's what the guy at WoodCraft swore by and honestly I am pretty satisfied with the results so... It should work out.

Has anyone used the homemake grain filler I mentioned (sawdust + liquid hide glue)? That would be really convenient if I could. Since I want to get all of the mahogany completely black, wouldn't I want black grain filler and super concentrated black dye? With these Transtint dyes they really seem to look best when double or triple dyed; but that could just be the weak strength dye I mixed.

I'm anxious to dye my neck since I have everything ready to go and I work in a guitar shop so I have all day to do grain filling, sanding... whatever. I'm thinking about adding a drop or two of red to the black dye to give it that slight hint of red in the black.

What would you guys suggest if you had this kit and you wanted that PRS's finish? I'm trying to do it as close to the real thing as possible using these Transtint dyes. I know PRS finishes are not easily duplicated and I respect that as an amateur, I can't do what the guys at PRS do... but I want to get as close as I can. After this guitar I have a guy that wants me to build him a white solid body PRS with some kinda crazy graphic on it. It's not my thing but it's a way to get my foot in the door as a custom guitar builder. Thanks for any advice you guys might have. I know there's tons of ways to do this based on whatever you like so I'm open to all opinions .

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It will be difficult to remove the sanding sealer without sanding of the veneer, I tried something similar once and ended up removing the veneer.

Long time ago I saw some post about a guy that was able to remove the sealer from the body of a similar PRS kit (maybe the same) and was able to do really nice PRS type finish on it. I wish I could find that post, I don't even remember if it was on this forum.

Edited by bacanador
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Sorry I got it in to my head that you were an aussie, reread your post and AU stands for acylic urethane :D

I'm a dunce some times :D

Hahaha that's really funny! I was wondering how you got that idea... Hahaha. I'm in Virginia in the mountains. Anyways yesterday I called General Finishes and talked to their expert about this Urethane and made sure what I was planning on doing isn't too unusual. I told him how PRS uses a Poly or Urethane base, then uses Acrylic Urethane as the gloss. Turns out, their Urethane that I bought for mixing with the dye is actually Acrylic Urethane (who knew?). Since I plan on using AU as my top coat, this should mean that all I need is another can like this Satin one that I bought but in gloss. Most likely I'll still do a spray AU clear coat though so if it's wipe on I'll have to look elsewhere. As for the neck, I plan on leaving it with just the satin urethane.

As of now, here's my plan for the top:

-dye it black ( may just be a diluted black)

-LIGHTLY sand it back

-sand and sealer (as recommended by the WoodCraft guy...seems a little unneccesary to me)

-dye it red

-sand and sealer

-spray Acrylic Urethane gloss

For the Mahogany body:

-Grain fill (maybe dyed black or red depending on sample results)

-dye black (probably 2 or 3 times til its jet black)

-sand and seal

-spray AU gloss

For the neck:

-Grain fill the same

-dye black the same (hopefully fretboard too if I can get good inlay protection)

-sand and seal

-Satin wipe on AU

Any opinions? I know nitro is the usual thing to do here but I'm going for accuracy of a PRS copy so I want it as close to how they do it as possible. I know that this way is pretty usual but I think it should suite me for what I'm looking for the best. Thanks guys!

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Ok well I dyed the mahogany black and it turned out really good. While I was at it I did the flamed maple top and let it dry 24 hours. The next day I sanded the top back to stripes and applied the red. It turned out really good but there's still a couple spots that are lighter so I plan on touching them up after another 24 hours. I did find out a little more about "acrylic urethane" that you guys might find helpful. Apparently all these names: urethane, polyurethane and acrylic urethane are all the same thing. Polyurethane. I still find that odd that there's so many names but it does simplify it a lot.

I'll try to post pictures soon of my progress and hopefully I can fix the uneven spots. For those considering staining flamed maple I definitely learned my lesson:

Take your time when sanding the black down to stripes. After doing this I definitely learned that this step is probably the most important step in doing this. I rushed it slightly and didn't take enough time to get a good even color before applying the dye and it shows. As for the dye it was really simple and somewhat trial and error. If it wasn't red enough I just added more red and if it was too bright I just added a couple drops of black.

As for the binding it was a waste of time to spray sealer on it because the second dye touches it, its dyed. Tape did a great job of masking the binding but once I realized that just lightly sanding the binding cleaned it right up. PRS uses a razor to get it off. Its pretty painless.

The inlays on the fretboard also didn't take the dye like some people said it might. You can just wipe it off.

Once the top is about how i want it I'm going to do a quick diluted black over the mahogany again just to get it really saturated then wipe on just plain satin urethane on the neck. For the body I plan on using a poly aerosol can. I expect about 4 coats but we'll see whats needed. I'll update this soon with some pictures of my progress.

Thanks for any advice and interest!

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