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Finishing a Blue Guitar

Dan Erlewine shows how to achieve a PRS-style finish with stains and aerosol lacquer. Introduction

• Wood preparation
• Staining the guitar
• PRS-style binding
• Sealer & scuff sand
• Topcoats & touchup
• Final sanding & rubbing out


Once again, Dan Erlewine shares his master lutherie skills, this time with a tricky finish that gives the impression of binding, when it's really just exposed wood. This technique was made popular by builder Paul Reed Smith.

Bonus: You don't need finishing equipment!
This guitar body was finished using hand applied stain, aerosol finish, and hand-drill powered polishing pad!

Here's Dan to tell you how:
Here's how I went about applying my simplified version of the PRS-style finish—where the curly maple top is dyed, yet the edge of the maple stays clean and looks like binding. I had never seen this finish technique used before PRS came along, and it has become quite popular since.

It was my first time using aerosol lacquers, so I'll show you how easy they are, and how I corrected some minor mistakes. They are pretty convenient if you don't have spray guns or a spray booth.

1. Wood preparation

2. Staining the guitar

3. PRS-style binding

4. Sealer & scuff sand

5. Topcoats & touchup

6. Final sanding & rubbing out