Refinish. V12 to Nitro (CAB?)

JRod4928

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I want my PRS to wear like a vintage guitar. I've had my PRS for about 9 years. As someone who likes to change gear a lot, the PRS is the only one that has gone nowhere. I don't mind investing in to get it exactly the way I want. The only 2 things I'd change are the back of neck finish ( satin) and swap V12 to Nitro.

My questions for you all...
Does PRS do refinishes to Nitro? I assume this would be CAB, so does it wear like a Fender Nitro would?
How much would a refinish cost?
And would it require repainting, or just refinishing the V12?
 

Tone-y

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I'm not sure switching to the CAB finish would make much difference. That is a hybrid finish and harder wearing than straight nitro.
The older pf09 nitro finish would probably do the job. I have a guitar with it and it is certainly picking up dents, nicks and wear easily. I'm sure it would crack and check in the right conditions too.
The new 'cracking' nitro finish on some new private stocks would definitely do the job as it was designed specifically to age and crack
 

bodia

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I don't know if the PTC is back to doing refinishes yet. They suspended most of the non-warranty work throughout Covid due to the huge backlog in orders. If they are doing refinishes again (other than warranty related), it's going to be north of $1,200
 

ElrytNamrogo

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Couple of years ago, I had my 2012 Custom 24 refinished under warranty. The V12 finish had the notorious flaking / delaminating issue along the fretboard.

When they agreed to do the refinish, I asked if it would get the (brand new at the time) new CAB Nitro finish or the poly they were mostly using at the time. They gave me the option.

I had just bought a brand new 35th Anniversary Custom 24 (first production Core line guitar with the CAB Nitro) and really loved everything about it, so opted for the newer finish.

In terms of wear, I've seen no noticeable wear between the two guitars using the CAB Nitro. I will say the V12, of course, lifted and aged in it's own way. Also notable, after stripping the old finish off, it inevitably required sanding of the wood - which means they get into the stain. As such, they go over it again with the stain. When I got my guitar back it was considerably darker in color than when it was shipped out. In my case, it worked out great, I much prefer the more bold colors on the top than what it was before (the color of my guitar is Burnt Maple Leaf).

Here is a before and after shot:

Before:
pgKYIcj.jpg


After:
UMJkjFC.jpg
 

JRod4928

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Messages
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Couple of years ago, I had my 2012 Custom 24 refinished under warranty. The V12 finish had the notorious flaking / delaminating issue along the fretboard.

When they agreed to do the refinish, I asked if it would get the (brand new at the time) new CAB Nitro finish or the poly they were mostly using at the time. They gave me the option.

I had just bought a brand new 35th Anniversary Custom 24 (first production Core line guitar with the CAB Nitro) and really loved everything about it, so opted for the newer finish.

In terms of wear, I've seen no noticeable wear between the two guitars using the CAB Nitro. I will say the V12, of course, lifted and aged in it's own way. Also notable, after stripping the old finish off, it inevitably required sanding of the wood - which means they get into the stain. As such, they go over it again with the stain. When I got my guitar back it was considerably darker in color than when it was shipped out. In my case, it worked out great, I much prefer the more bold colors on the top than what it was before (the color of my guitar is Burnt Maple Leaf).

Here is a before and after shot:

Before:
pgKYIcj.jpg


After:
UMJkjFC.jpg

That's phenomenal information and photos, thanks. I wouldn't have expected the color to change so much. Did they intentionally choose a darker stain? My guitar is my avatar photo. Wouldn't want to go much darker than it already is (charcoal).

Sounds like the CAB is wearing more like poly (v12) than Nitro, correct?
 

JasonE

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PRS refinished my SC-58 last year under warrantee. Mine is a custom color and was a V12 finish and it was developing cloudy spots. They were getting worse over time. They put the new nitro finish on it and the color doesn't look any different than it did before they refinished it. The guitar was pretty much a case queen and other than the cloudy spots was like new. Now it looks new.
 

ElrytNamrogo

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That's phenomenal information and photos, thanks. I wouldn't have expected the color to change so much. Did they intentionally choose a darker stain? My guitar is my avatar photo. Wouldn't want to go much darker than it already is (charcoal).

Sounds like the CAB is wearing more like poly (v12) than Nitro, correct?

Yeah, I'm not 100% on why it ended up so much darker. My only assumption was that when they removed the clear-coat and then sanded it down, some of the stain inevitably came up. So they just re-stained the guitar completely and the new stain combined with the original stain produced a much darker and bolder look. Again, this is just my assumption....not sure if every guitar would be like this.

In terms of wear, I notice no difference in that respect. However, these nitro finishes are only a couple years old, and I keep my guitars cased. Also, I've never owned a full-on nitro guitar like a Fender or Gibson long enough to see how nitro ages.

From my understanding, though, the CAB finish isn't supposed to age, check, yellow, or crack from age. It was designed to have longevity much like a poly finish. PRS did do a couple guitars that did use a nitro finish that was prone to the aging characteristics like you're referring to, but those used a specific type of nitro that is different from the CAB finish.
 
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Tone-y

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PRS did do a couple guitars that did use a nitro finish that was prone to the aging characteristics like you're referring to, but those used a specific type of nitro that is different from the CAB finish.
I think the Paul's '85 was first with the cracking nitro. They also did the Joe Walsh 594 with it as well if I remember correctly. They actually have called it cracking nitro too. Not really sure how it differs from my PF09 finish (Paul's finish '09) as I'm pretty sure if I were to subject that to a temperature shock it would crack as well.
 

ElrytNamrogo

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I think the Paul's '85 was first with the cracking nitro. They also did the Joe Walsh 594 with it as well if I remember correctly. They actually have called it cracking nitro too. Not really sure how it differs from my PF09 finish (Paul's finish '09) as I'm pretty sure if I were to subject that to a temperature shock it would crack as well.

I think DGT's would crack, too...I know I've seen a couple out there with cracks through the finish, just not sure how they happened.
 

LSchefman

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CAB Nitro is a little different from the old nitro finishes they used back in the day on Gibsons. It may also be - I think - a little different from the nitro that's on my PS models (the 'shatter hard' nitro).

The CAB finishes are actually closer in theory to what Collings has been putting on their instruments for quite a while. They used a poly base coat and a nitro top coat, unless you ordered one of their varnish finishes.

I have had two CAB finished PRSes, and they're great. I have four with PS nitro, and they're great, too.

But both of these finishes are different from the nitro finishes on an old Gibson (I have a '65 SG Special with plenty of cracks). the old finishes predate the kind of base coat that CAB or PS models use. The old guitars didn't have a poly base coat.

The huge advantage with the CAB and current PS finishes? They don't get sticky! I don't have any cracks in mine yet, though I wouldn't be upset if it happened. However, they seem to be far more resilient to temperature and humidity changes. If I looked at my old SG the wrong way, it'd crack!

If you want cracks, talk to PRS. But also realize that a more traditional nitro can acquire a sticky surface, however, I don't know whether that's the case with the "guaranteed to crack" finish on a couple of the PS runs.

For me the most important thing about nitro finishes relates to how they sound (for some unfathomable reason, the guitars seem to me to sound a little different), and the more subtle sheen they have, compared to a poly finish, even V12.

I still have a V12-finished guitar, and love it. So I'm not advocating change for the sake of change. This is all personal perspective, and it not by any means a prescription for anyone else.
 

JRod4928

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CAB Nitro is a little different from the old nitro finishes they used back in the day on Gibsons. It may also be - I think - a little different from the nitro that's on my PS models (the 'shatter hard' nitro).

The CAB finishes are actually closer in theory to what Collings has been putting on their instruments for quite a while. They used a poly base coat and a nitro top coat, unless you ordered one of their varnish finishes.

I have had two CAB finished PRSes, and they're great. I have four with PS nitro, and they're great, too.

But both of these finishes are different from the nitro finishes on an old Gibson (I have a '65 SG Special with plenty of cracks). the old finishes predate the kind of base coat that CAB or PS models use. The old guitars didn't have a poly base coat.

The huge advantage with the CAB and current PS finishes? They don't get sticky! I don't have any cracks in mine yet, though I wouldn't be upset if it happened. However, they seem to be far more resilient to temperature and humidity changes. If I looked at my old SG the wrong way, it'd crack!

If you want cracks, talk to PRS. But also realize that a more traditional nitro can acquire a sticky surface, however, I don't know whether that's the case with the "guaranteed to crack" finish on a couple of the PS runs.

For me the most important thing about nitro finishes relates to how they sound (for some unfathomable reason, the guitars seem to me to sound a little different), and the more subtle sheen they have, compared to a poly finish, even V12.

I still have a V12-finished guitar, and love it. So I'm not advocating change for the sake of change. This is all personal perspective, and it not by any means a prescription for anyone else.

Does nitro vs poly affect sound that much?

Sticky finish is a good point. I think I'd request that they don't finish the neck or sand it down to natural wood (preferred) and oil it. The V12 gets sticky sometimes, but I've got used to it.
 

LSchefman

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Does nitro vs poly affect sound that much?

Sticky finish is a good point. I think I'd request that they don't finish the neck or sand it down to natural wood (preferred) and oil it. The V12 gets sticky sometimes, but I've got used to it.
I think it does affect the sound, there are many others who don't. It's not that they sound better or worse; but I think they sound a little different, and I prefer the nitro sound. I thought this was BS for years until I played an early DGT and it sounded more like my old Gibson than my other PRSes.

After getting my PS guitars, I traded a couple of poly guitars in on nitro guitars based on that perception. Of course, I could be completely out of my mind!!

Ya just never know with this stuff.
 

JRod4928

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I think it does affect the sound, there are many others who don't. It's not that they sound better or worse; but I think they sound a little different, and I prefer the nitro sound. I thought this was BS for years until I played an early DGT and it sounded more like my old Gibson than my other PRSes.

After getting my PS guitars, I traded a couple of poly guitars in on nitro guitars based on that perception. Of course, I could be completely out of my mind!!

Ya just never know with this stuff.

Are there any reputable guitar shops that you (or anyone else) would trust to strip V12 and refinish to Nitro?
 

LSchefman

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Are there any reputable guitar shops that you (or anyone else) would trust to strip V12 and refinish to Nitro?
I'd only have PRS do it, and here's why:

1. There's no such thing as one paint formulation; some nitro finishes get sticky, especially in humid weather. With my own 6 nitro-finished PRS Guitars, I've experienced zero stickiness. PRS has its own paint formulas.

2. It's inevitable that in removing a clear coat that some of the stain will also get removed, and PRS would be my preference if it needed touching-up or to be re-stained.

So for me, it'd be the PTC, and I'd wait until they could do it.
 

JRod4928

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I'd only have PRS do it, and here's why:

1. There's no such thing as one paint formulation; some nitro finishes get sticky, especially in humid weather. With my own 6 nitro-finished PRS Guitars, I've experienced zero stickiness. PRS has its own paint formulas.

2. It's inevitable that in removing a clear coat that some of the stain will also get removed, and PRS would be my preference if it needed touching-up or to be re-stained.

So for me, it'd be the PTC, and I'd wait until they could do it.
Great points. Thanks!
 

Sybo

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Couple of years ago, I had my 2012 Custom 24 refinished under warranty. The V12 finish had the notorious flaking / delaminating issue along the fretboard.

When they agreed to do the refinish, I asked if it would get the (brand new at the time) new CAB Nitro finish or the poly they were mostly using at the time. They gave me the option.

I had just bought a brand new 35th Anniversary Custom 24 (first production Core line guitar with the CAB Nitro) and really loved everything about it, so opted for the newer finish.

In terms of wear, I've seen no noticeable wear between the two guitars using the CAB Nitro. I will say the V12, of course, lifted and aged in it's own way. Also notable, after stripping the old finish off, it inevitably required sanding of the wood - which means they get into the stain. As such, they go over it again with the stain. When I got my guitar back it was considerably darker in color than when it was shipped out. In my case, it worked out great, I much prefer the more bold colors on the top than what it was before (the color of my guitar is Burnt Maple Leaf).

Here is a before and after shot:

Before:
pgKYIcj.jpg


After:
UMJkjFC.jpg
I REALLY prefer the deeper tones!!!!!
 

ElrytNamrogo

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I REALLY prefer the deeper tones!!!!!

Yeah, I totally agree!!

The re-staining REALLY brought out much more figuring than what was apparent before. Most notably, to me, is the area below the tone control and the area between the pickups.

Also, the vertical grain - which is much more apparent in the "before" photo - is definitely still there and more apparent in person than in the "after" photo.

Plus, I just like the richer, deeper color it turned out to be. I have yet to see another Burnt Maple Leaf as dark as this one.
 
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