How would you feel?


New Member
Apr 30, 2022
Hey all,

New member here, and I've feel like I've had a pretty poor experience with a new PRS. I'm in Australia and recently bought a brand new Aquableax custom 24, quilted maple 10 top with stained maple neck. I have some nice guitars, but this guitar is one of the more expensive in my collection. The guitar was built August 2021, and I bought it 3 weeks ago.

From my point of view, 2 issues were apparent on delivery:
- Frets were corroded. I can't tell you how disappointing this was picking this up to play and how awful if felt
- The maple top has a blemish near the pick up selector

Pics below:


On the same day as delivery, I went back to the dealer with the issues above. He's been pleasant and responsive throughout. The Australian PRS rep took a bit over 2 weeks to come back to me and basically said that there's no issue with the top, and that if I drop the guitar off and later pick it up, they'll fix the frets (~100mile drive for me twice).

I wasn't happy with that so got in touch with PRS US directly. They were very prompt in their response, which was great. They said the frets are an issue and they'll help get fixed, the top however apparently is perfectly ok from their perspective.

So I was keen to get other customers perspective on this. I'm disappointed - this is a big purchase for me, and I know that if I was ever to resell the guitar, the brown blemish will put downward pressure on the price I could get, yet I paid full price.

How would you feel? Do you think I'm being unreasonable?
I’d not be satisfied with that response. Was the blemish visible in the dealer’s photos? If not, then it occurred between when the photos were taken and when you got the guitar. The guitar was obviously not cased and exposed to a poorly controlled environment.

I’d want to return it.
If I was feeling bad about a guitar I'd return it. I'd be pretty unhappy with a brand new guitar that looked like that...seems some acid sweaty dude touched it and didn't wipe it down afterwards.

However, I'd be VERY unhappy if that brown mark on the top was misrepresented in the sale....or hidden in the pics.

If you are not happy I'd return it if possible...I know it's terrible...I too have had to travel to guitar stores 100+ miles away and feel your pain. I've had to drive back to a far away dealer to return a Jackson PC1 I bought that had a bad bridge pickup.
Thanks for your responses,

In response to your earlier queries, yes the brown spot was in at least one photo on the dealers website but I either didn't notice or figured it was a reflection. There was no mention in the description of the advert (I personally would highlight it if I was selling on reverb), so I was surprised when I opened the case. Re the comment on some dude with acid sweat, I was thinking the same haha, parts of it almost look like corroded fingerprints.

The feedback from US PRS (when I contacted directly) was, "I have taken the pictures of the guitar to our master luthier, and he concurs that this would be an acceptable guitar to ship (minus the fret issue), as these variances in the wood and how the finish reacts, do happen, and we approve/disapprove accordingly".

Which is why I wanted to get others opinions, I get that wood is a natural product and that blemishes can happen, I just don't think this piece of maple should be on a guitar at this price point (10 top?!)... and from your responses it seems like I'm not the only one, and that perhaps what is acceptable to them would not meet most customers standards.

The annoying thing is, what to do from here? Once I sort the frets (I'll likely just pay for this myself), I'll have an excellent guitar with a blemish on the top. Not many guitars like this come to Australia, so a swap isn't really possible. In terms of a reasonable outcome, something like a store credit for like 10% of what I paid would seem fair ish to me... but I think the dealer gets unfairly squeezed unless they back to back with PRS - wither way it doesn't matter as all I'm being offered is a 'free' fret redress

Thanks again, and thanks for listening to my rant :)
Is the brown spot a place where the wood didn’t take the stain or something else?
Was the dealer near the ocean? I've seen frets like that on guitar near the ocean or other extremely humid environments. The strings also show corrosion so as other's say it could be someone with toxic sweat but those often leave more telltale signs on the frets (which is why I'm thinking it's more than sweat). Either way the frets can be easily polished.

I was recently in the market for a Core 10-Top Archtop II and saw a guitar listed with a similar brown spot which surprised me for a guitar listed for almost $7k (that dealer included clear pics of the spot). If the clear coat isn't damaged over the brown spot then this may be consistent with what PRS considers acceptable for a 10-Top. These situations make it difficult to buy a PRS for those of us who live hundreds of miles from the nearest stocking dealer and have to rely on online purchases.

You should have the guitar you love and if you don't want to deal with the frets or can't live with the spot then ask for a refund. If it is otherwise your dream guitar then enjoy it - that's an otherwise spectacular guitar.
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Couple more answers to queries:
- Clear coat? Yes the clear coat is intact, to touch it feels fine
- Was the dealer near the ocean? Not really, about 100 miles inland

Close up of the brown spot on the top:

I’d have to disagree with PRS on this one.

Yes, wood reacts differently to finishes, and sometimes stain doesn’t take - fair enough. No, PRS should have scrapped the guitar when they saw it the body was not acceptable for a stained finish, or rather refinished it as a solid color and sold it that way.

I would not accept this and return it. Once in a while a bad one makes it through and out the door.
I’d have to disagree with PRS on this one.

Yes, wood reacts differently to finishes, and sometimes stain doesn’t take - fair enough. No, PRS should have scrapped the guitar when they saw it the body was not acceptable for a stained finish, or rather refinished it as a solid color and sold it that way.

I would not accept this and return it. Once in a while a bad one makes it through and out the door.

I would return it as well, if your seller allows returns.

The frets can be polished up fairly easily, I'd reckon. The top could've been graded as regular/non-10 due to the imperfection. Maybe the dealer will give you a discount to reflect the not-actually-10 status, and your cost of getting the frets polished, if you want to keep it.
In the end you need a guitar you'll be happy with.

That said, these are heirloom quality pieces. You have a unique guitar that is easily identifiable. It's like an island in an ocean. By that I'm referring to the look of the finish area and the resulting unique-ness.

If it sounds and feels good; frets are fissile and replaceable, they may just need a good polish job as others have said.

I like it very much, personally.
Thanks again for more feedback. I feel validated that so many of you get where I'm coming from, I'll be sure to pass that sentiment back to the right people at PRS.

I am going to keep the guitar - there's nothing equivalent I can swap it for in Aus and according to dealers here I'd be waiting 12 months for another guitar... and the blue maple on the neck on this one is gorgeous.

I've got someone I trust lined up to polish and setup the guitar, I'll pay for that as I couldn't be stuffed dealing with those that are telling that I'm being overly discerning. As someone earlier in the threat said, it's unique. As much as I have feel like I've overpaid for a top with a defect, I don't buy guitars to sell them. I'll buy more guitars in the future, so maybe a bit of a lesson to inspect 1st hand... or at least study all photos carefully and don't just assume that something flashy and expensive will be perfect.

Thanks again for your thoughts - I'll share a photo of the whole guitar once the frets are fixed