Analog Kid

New Member
May 6, 2012
I have a 2018 SE Chris Robertson. It's a great guitar, in fact one of the best sounding electrics that I have. The color is perfect. It is sort of heavy, but that does not bother me. What does bother me is the neck. It has the chunkiest wide-fat neck I have ever is baseball bat thick. Granted, this is the first guitar I have ever purchased online (and Sweetwater took great care of me with the purchase), so I did not have the opportunity to try it out beforehand. I figured that since I have another PRS with a wide-fat carve (SE Custom Semi-Hollow) that while a little bigger than I'm used to, is still quite comfortable to play; I would be fine with this one. I was wrong. In fact, the last time I played it, I was in quite a bit of pain due to the thickness of the neck.

That is one of the main reasons I decided to sell the guitar. However, after a few months of trying and getting very few bites (other than lowball offers on Reverb and Craigslist), I have rescinded the offer to sell. That leaves me with a beautiful, excellent sounding guitar that is painful to play, due to the neck.

The other day, I picked up my CE24, and was instantly reminded of why I love that guitar - the neck plays like butter. In fact, that guitar is so comfortable, it's like it plays itself. That got me to thinking; perhaps I could have the neck on the SE Chris Robertson recarved to a wide-thin profile.

Has anyone here had experience with the PRS PTC, and having their guitar neck recarved in specific? If so, what was your experience like? Is it advisable to use a luthier other than the PTC for a modification like this?

I know that I could try and hold out for a reasonable offer on my guitar; and then with the proceeds of that sale, acquire something like a SE Tremonti Custom. However, that is a very different animal than the SE Chris Robertson. By the time I would have finished modding an SE Tremonti Custom, to get it close to the SECR, I fear I will have spent just as much money as if I just have the SECR's neck recarved.

Anyhoo, sorry for the long post. I am very curious as to everybody's thoughts on this one.

The Kid
I'd guess they can do it but it will cost as much as the original price of the guitar. They can't put it on the CNC of course, they would have to hand sand it just like any other luthier. So why not just get a local luthier to do it, or attempt it yourself. Free, and done to your liking. Best of all worlds. Resale would plummet but it sounds like it isn't a concern anyway.
Everything about the PTC, and what they do, is awesome. But, has Sergio and AP515 have said, it will likely cost you more than you paid for that guitar.
For me, the cost might be worth it. There is no way I am going to attempt a modification like that myself; I am very likely to completely ruin the guitar if I were to try recarving the neck myself. While I would prefer to have the PTC do that type of work, if there is a pretty big price difference between them and a really good luthier, I may have to consider having a luthier do the work.

Sergio, would you mind letting me know what PRS model it was that you had done, and how was the carve modified (i.e. did you go from a wide-fat to a wide thin)? Also, would you mind sharing how much it cost you to have it done?

The Kid
How about trading it for a different PRS? the Tremonti is wide thin in SE, there are some stoptails out there, and the S2 SCs are a pattern carve which is comfy, and are a steal in price imo anyway. You may get a god trade in deal with a dealer, especially this time of year

Shaun put a diagram in this thread, see below for the variances in pattern carves. Best tried in hand if you can access a shop
Hi Pac90, thank you for the reply. I don't really think a Tremonti would do it for me. While the Tremonti Custom does have the same body, the neck has a different scale length. The pickups, while they do sound very good, sound nothing like the pickups in the SECR. I could replace the pickups in a Tremonti to match what I currently have in my SECR, but by the time I do that, I have a feeling that I will have spent close to the same amount of money as if I had just had the neck reshaped (have you seen the prices of 57/08's lately?). The stop tail Tremonti's are very different, with a thinner body. Also, I think that they're all mahogany, as opposed to the mahogany/maple top of the Tremonti Custom & the SECR (not that all mahogany's a bad thing).

The Kid
Sergio, would you mind letting me know what PRS model it was that you had done, and how was the carve modified (i.e. did you go from a wide-fat to a wide thin)? Also, would you mind sharing how much it cost you to have it done?

The Kid

I had an older CE22 done, from W/F to more of an old “Regular” carve. I don’t think they like us posting prices publicly on the forum so... ya know, get a quote, they’re free.

I will say the work was done amazingly well, and I was able to get some non-standard features. It was really the best course of action for me, as I adore the guitar now because of it, and resale isn’t a factor.
I contacted the PTC, and was advised that they do not offer neck recarving on SE models.
Coming into the conversation a bit late, but:

Dunno what else to suggest, except maybe try to find another Chris Robertson to try in person? Maybe there is sample-to-sample variation in neck sanding that results in you finding one a bit less "chunky" while still being "Wide Fat".

The other thing is to maybe try playing a guitar that as an even chunkier neck (like an acoustic with 1.75" or even 2" width fretboard), then go back to the CR - see if your hand has adjusted in a way that makes playing the CR more comfortable. I don't do it consciously, but I think that is what happens with me as I swap around guitars with different neck carves: my hand adjusts, I don't play the same way on all necks.
There is a luthier In Baltimore named Phil Jacoby. He is a graduate of Roberto- Venn and used to work at the factory. He can do the neck, and have it refinished by Chris Bavaria, who finished for PRS for 17 years. Chris won’t talk to you, except through Phil. All of my SE’s have been to Phil. My 30th anniversary is going to him today for a plek job. He is the man. It’s Philtone music.
I don't mean to seem dismissive, but, ya know, it's just an SE (by which I mean they are not rare or otherwise particularly irreplaceable, not that there's anything wrong with them). If you're so unhappy with the guitar that you'd actually go so far as to recarve the neck, which is about as fundamental a change as you can make and will probably change the sound of the guitar, I think it might be wiser (and cheaper in the long run) to either grit your teeth and learn to live with it as is or else get rid of it and get something that stars off closer overall to your new ideal, and will preferably get there without you having to remove any material. Playing the kind of catch up you're contemplating usually results in something less perfect than you hoped for.
Probably, I'd just keep it and get another one. ;)
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