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NGD, but how can I best balance usability with fade-protection? Any creative solutions?

ItsGiusto

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Joined
Jul 6, 2018
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I finally pulled the trigger on a PRS core custom 24. It's a 2018 model, violet blue burst. After many years of searching I finally found one locally and used, such that I both like the color and the price.
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(Obviously the pickups are not stock, btw, and I plan to replace them with 85/15 TCIs I just bought)

However, I understand that PRS guitars with blue and purple stains are prone to fading over time, even with minimal light exposure. I'd prefer to keep the purple color as close to as it is now as possible (though maybe I wouldn't mind if the blue burst faded a little). Most people say the proper remedy for fading is to keep it housed in its case at all times when not playing.

However, I find it to be somewhat problematic to keep the guitar in its case all the time for the following reasons:
1. I can't fit it in the case with its strap on. I need the strap to play the guitar comfortably and in a position I like, but it's a major hassle to take the strap off and on all the time, every time I want to play. I find the PRS strap buttons to be especially hard for this, as they seem to be both shallow and wide, which makes it really a total pain to get the strap over the button.
2. Putting the whammy bar on and tightening it, then loosening it and taking it off is an annoyance, too.
3. I don't have lots of surface area to keep a big case out at all times so it's ready to open up and take the guitar out to play.

I'm generally of the opinion that guitars are meant to be played, not babied, so how do I solve this dilemma? I keep all my other guitars out on stands in my basement. There are only a couple of garden-level windows, so it's kinda dim at all times, but it's definitely not pitch black during the day.

Are there any creative solutions people can think of for how to avoid fading, but still keep the guitar playably ready for me at most times? Should I build some sort of standing coffin that blocks out light, but doesn't get in the way of the strap and whammy bar? Any other ideas?
 
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You could try a spray on ceramic coating like Hydrosilex. I use it as a touch up on ceramic coated cars that I am detailing. It can be used as a stand alone protectant as well.
 
Its hard to visualize where the light might go from a garden level window, but I imagine a high window that would cast light to the floor - perhaps where the guitar stand is. I would put up blinds/curtains that I could close when I wasn't using the room.
The blue will probably still fade some, but over a much longer period of time.
 
I’ve wondered about modifying a case with something similar to the “lean back stands” for fender amps. The case sits out, leaned back with the cover closed, same as a guitar stand would do. Open the cover, grab the guitar. This doesn’t solve the strap issue. I haven’t found putting on a strap a big issue. There are the schaller and eb strap locks that seem pretty fast. One of my guitars came to me with the DiMarzio strap locks with the dangly short straps. It fits in the case fine, but I hate those dangly straps. I’m looking at the schallers and the EB’s. Fluff (YouTube dude) liked ether EB’s.
 
Congrats on a great new guitar! Can't help you on the fade issue unfortunately, but I can say that I have a CU24 in Violet Blue burst and it is still unfaded (little over two years, purchased new), but cased when not being used!! I had an idea similar to what @aamefford talks about above maybe 3 months ago, and started working on a 3D model of my vision, but dropped it for other endeavors. Best of luck!!!
 
1. Replace the PRS strap buttons with strap locks

Indeed, many folks do that.

Your 2018 PRS has the "old" core strap buttons.

PRS has started to use a newer version, which while bigger than most other brands, is a bit smaller and has different edges, so it is far easier to get straps on/off. Maybe just swap out the strap buttons for the new ones.

3. Gig bag
Or this - my guitars are almost always out on hangers, but I have zero direct sunlight, and very little indirect light (my upstairs hallway is fairly dim unless you put on the lights). But when they go somewhere, they often go in gig bags, and I don't have to take the straps off/on.
 
The purple stain will fade a bit if exposed to light, faster than the blue. It's sometimes absorbed by the wood a little. Just the way it is.

Any light emits photons. The photons activate the processes that cause fading. I keep mine cased.

I use the stock buttons, but I have my straps made with a 1" button slit. I've also simply used an X-acto knife to lengthen the button slit on straps I haven't custom ordered. The straps go on and off without any difficulty. But I don't like strap locks, so it's kind of a no-brainer to simply make the button slit a little longer.

I can't tell you what to do about the trem arm. For me, it's very easy to put the arm on and take it off. As with the strap, it only takes a couple of seconds!

If you must use a stand, seems to me that simply covering the guitar with cloth that actually blocks light reaching the guitar should work. I guess you could hold the cloth up to light and see if any light comes through.
 
The guys at Righteous guitars told me a few years ago that the blues shouldn't fade any more because PRS made a change of some sort. This would be starting around 2017 if I remember right. Righteous is a very reputable shop of PRS fanatics, but this is of course just hearsay of course, yet maybe it will comfort you a little.

Otherwise, my advise is just enjoy it and resign yourself to fate. If it's gonna fade, so be it. Not ALL guitars with blue dyes fade. Also, the tint used for the burst and back/neck does not fade; it's just the dye used to stain the maple.

My '16 594 has been out in the open a ton and I try to convince myself that it's faded, but when I compare to pics when it was new, it looks the same. Violet can vary a lot based on the top. Some pieces of maple show a lot more blue than others. Mine was never particularly blue, which is part of why I liked this one so much. Yours looks similar, so either it was never very blue to start with or it's already faded.


However, I find it to be somewhat problematic to keep the guitar in its case all the time for the following reasons:
1. I can't fit it in the case with its strap on. I need the strap to play the guitar comfortably and in a position I like, but it's a major hassle to take the strap off and on all the time, every time I want to play. I find the PRS strap buttons to be especially hard for this, as they seem to be both shallow and wide, which makes it really a total pain to get the strap over the button.
2. Putting the whammy bar on and tightening it, then loosening it and taking it off is an annoyance, too.
3. I don't have lots of surface area to keep a big case out at all times so it's ready to open up and take the guitar out to play.

Consider using a nice gig bag for around the house. That's what I do. The hard case has spend 99% of it's life in the closet.

Sounds like you're over-tightening the set screw on the bridge? You should be able to wriggle the bar out. No need to go any tighter, or you may crack the collar (guilty).
 
1. Replace the PRS strap buttons with strap locks
2. The bar should pop in and out easily , no need to loosen and re tighten once you set it to your liking
3. Gig bag
This! PRS strap buttons are stupid. If you adjust the collar right, the trem arm just pops in and out. I would just hang it on the wall with the rest of my guitars.
 
Indeed, many folks do that.

Your 2018 PRS has the "old" core strap buttons.

PRS has started to use a newer version, which while bigger than most other brands, is a bit smaller and has different edges, so it is far easier to get straps on/off. Maybe just swap out the strap buttons for the new ones.


Or this - my guitars are almost always out on hangers, but I have zero direct sunlight, and very little indirect light (my upstairs hallway is fairly dim unless you put on the lights). But when they go somewhere, they often go in gig bags, and I don't have to take the straps off/on.
Yes Newer PRS have new strap buttons and franky don't work near as well I went back to Grolsh Bottle washers on my Fiore ;(
 
Newer blues still fade. I had a 2020 makenna blue that faded in less than a year of playing and not being cased. It wasn’t a huge drop off. But the change was obvious if I looked under the pickup rings or bridge. It was like somebody took the saturation and decreased it by 30%. I opted to sell thereafter.

I would advise to keep it cases or gig bagged when not in use. I believe one of the YouTube guys tried a UV case for his purple McCarty. It still faded. He too sold it off to avoid the issue.
 
The purple stain will fade a bit if exposed to light, faster than the blue. It's sometimes absorbed by the wood a little. Just the way it is.

Any light emits photons. The photons activate the processes that cause fading. I keep mine cased.

I use the stock buttons, but I have my straps made with a 1" button slit. I've also simply used an X-acto knife to lengthen the button slit on straps I haven't custom ordered. The straps go on and off without any difficulty. But I don't like strap locks, so it's kind of a no-brainer to simply make the button slit a little longer.

I can't tell you what to do about the trem arm. For me, it's very easy to put the arm on and take it off. As with the strap, it only takes a couple of seconds!

If you must use a stand, seems to me that simply covering the guitar with cloth that actually blocks light reaching the guitar should work. I guess you could hold the cloth up to light and see if any light comes through.
This!

I was wondering why nobody used like a blackout curtain type material to cover a fade prone guitar?

I had a couple of speaker covers made out of this material to cover the finish when I'm not at home for this reason.
It appears to have worked so far...
 
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