Yep, that about covers it.
A few weeks ago I went to a meeting of the Tidewater Camera Club to hear a speaker talk about the challenges of photographing highly reflective surfaces. I had no idea going in that those surfaces were guitar bodies.
So today I was granted a tour of the plant at PRS (Paul Reed Smith) Guitars in Stevensville, Maryland. My host was PRS Creative Director Marc Quigley who took time from his incredibly busy schedule to walk me through the entire manufacturing process at PRS. This is the week when a team of PRS folks are flying out to Anaheim, California for the annual NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants) trade show and for Marc to take the hour and more to walk me through the plant was truly a gift. It was an exquisite opportunity to watch PRS guitars come to life: from hand selected blocks of wood to jewelry that makes music. In spite of computerized and mechanized processes, the number of hands that touch these instruments left me thinking that each instrument will not go out the door until it has a soul of its own.
PRS has limited the number of physical tours of the plant in order to keep disruption of the process to a minimum, but they have placed a plant tour on their website (www.prsguitars.com) which will allow everyone the experience. That video tour gives you an opportunity to hear from the folks who work at PRS, and very quickly gives you the sense of how invested they are in the creation of these amazing instruments. The only thing it won’t give you is the smell of the resins and dust and the reverberating sound of the plant in action. But you get the idea.
I was also shown Marc’s studio where he takes the photos and faces the challenges of those reflective surfaces, and frankly, the man is a magician. Working with a few home-made diffusers and a black back drop, he obtains photos of astonishing depth and clarity. They are truly a tribute to the instruments.