Finish on older Core guitars?

aamefford

The (should be) Committed
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I have an ‘03 Santana III. I’m curious if it is nitro, poly or “other”. The mcat decoder and PRS support tell me “tri-color burst”. Neither say anything about finish type. Any “Deep history” on what the actual finish might be, or any way for a relative noob like me to tell? Thanks all!
 
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PRS' service bot intercepted my email, and gave me a couple of articles to choose from. If they answered my question, I could close my request. Here's the helpful one:

What type of finish does PRS use on CORE guitars?​

From 1985 – 2019, PRS used a polyester basecoat and an acrylic topcoat. During 2019, we started to transition to a nitrocellulose over CAB (catalyzed acrylic) finish. This was a flying change that was slowly worked into production. If your guitar was made during 2019, we cannot accurately determine the exact finish used on your instrument, so it is best to treat it as you would any other nitrocellulose finish and avoid long term contact with leather, rubber, and vinyl. Guitars produced in 2020 and beyond have the nitro over CAB finish.

So, the Santana III is acrylic over poly. My 2021 S2 Studio (a unicorn, most were 2018 only) is Nitro. Frankly, the Nitro is kind of a pain in the arse with all the concerns with leather, rubber, etc contact. I'd rather they hadn't gone to the Nitro. On the other hand, the S2 rings like a bell, even more than the Santana when strummed acoustically. Prolly not the Nitro doing that though.
 
My S2 Studio is nitro. Had nitro hang tags, smelled like “new guitar” and squeaked when I rubbed it (TWSS). The Santana didn’t seem like that at all. I guess I can leave the Santana on a stand or with a leather strap no problem.
 
My S2 Studio is nitro. Had nitro hang tags, smelled like “new guitar” and squeaked when I rubbed it (TWSS). The Santana didn’t seem like that at all. I guess I can leave the Santana on a stand or with a leather strap no problem.
You shouldn't have to worry about it. I'm pretty sure those finishes could survive a nuclear blast.
 
PRS' service bot intercepted my email, and gave me a couple of articles to choose from. If they answered my question, I could close my request. Here's the helpful one:

What type of finish does PRS use on CORE guitars?​

From 1985 – 2019, PRS used a polyester basecoat and an acrylic topcoat. During 2019, we started to transition to a nitrocellulose over CAB (catalyzed acrylic) finish. This was a flying change that was slowly worked into production. If your guitar was made during 2019, we cannot accurately determine the exact finish used on your instrument, so it is best to treat it as you would any other nitrocellulose finish and avoid long term contact with leather, rubber, and vinyl. Guitars produced in 2020 and beyond have the nitro over CAB finish.

So, the Santana III is acrylic over poly. My 2021 S2 Studio (a unicorn, most were 2018 only) is Nitro. Frankly, the Nitro is kind of a pain in the arse with all the concerns with leather, rubber, etc contact. I'd rather they hadn't gone to the Nitro. On the other hand, the S2 rings like a bell, even more than the Santana when strummed acoustically. Prolly not the Nitro doing that though.
I feel like my nitro guitars sound the best. I couldn’t cork sniff hard enough to tell you why, though. There was a time when finish for guitars was sprayed on in thicknesses that would make the auto industry blush, but I don’t think PRS has really ever gone there, no matter the finish they worked with.
 
There was a time when finish for guitars was sprayed on in thicknesses that would make the auto industry blush
Lol, you just reminded me of a guitar my first/only guitar teacher lusted after (and I think eventually bought) - according to him (as filtered through my extremely non-trustworthy memory from 40 years ago) it was a US made Fender Strat in a cherry burst (I think?) with a seven-layer acrylic top coat, which for some reason was a massive selling point.

Now I need to go check whether that seems likely, or whether my memory (or his impressions or the sales-person's babble) is false.

EDIT: Poking around I'm guessing my guitar teacher was looking at a "The Strat" model. Just watched a YouTube video about one with a Black Walnut body. Still don't know how many coats of finish, nor what type.
 
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