PRS has just released a PR video with lots of behind-the-scenes footage of its new factory in Surabaya, Indonesia. The video shows PRS workers assembling the company’s SE guitar line, including the various steps involved in making the components and assembling the final product.
PRS SE Factory Tour of Surabaya, Indonesia
Jack Higginbotham, COO of PRS, walks us through the PRS SE factory in Surabaya, Indonesia. It’s give you a nice overview of the process used in making PRS’s SE line. Jack started at PRS as an entry-level employee in 1985, the year Paul Reed Smith founded PRS Guitars. He has seen pretty much every aspect of the business during his time with PRS, so he’s a good choice to give viewers insights into the different aspects of what the company does, and how it does it.
I was impressed by the cleanliness and organised manner of the guitar workshop as a whole. Having been inside a few manufacturing plants where wood is processed, I can tell you that they are normally nowhere near as tidy as this factory is.
It is great to see how much handiwork goes into building these instruments. I was also impressed by the state-of-the-art tools they use to help keep standards high. The consistency of their output is pretty astonishing. Especially when you consider that most of the SE range is a fraction of the cost of a US Core made guitar.
One of my favourite parts of the video was watching the flame maple veneers being applied to maple tops. The whole process involves many stages and I found the whole procedure fascinating, including all the hand-finishing needed to make it look right.
If you haven’t watched the video we featured earlier this month about CNC vs handmade guitars, check it out. That video also talks about why this process is so integral to modern guitar building.
During the tour, Jack explains how PRS seasons wood in giant kilns to remove moisture and maintain consistency. He also talks about the CADS work being sent over from Maryland USA to Indonesia for the CNC machines. During design work, samples are taken of the colours for the flame maple veneers, which are then cut in half. One sample is kept in the US, while the other is used in Indonesia as a reference point to help maintain colour consistency across all PRS lines.
I didn’t spot any new PRS SE Silver Sky models in their though…