PTC Guitar Overhaul - SE Mods and Low-Tuning!

Posted Oct 13, 2015

Behind The Gear / Tech Tips

The Paul Reed Smith Tech Center (PTC) is in the business of making your guitar dreams a reality. In addition to standard PRS repairs and maintenance, the PTC specializes in making unique modifications to your guitar to meet your needs as a musician. The PTC job we are exploring today features an overhauled SE Mike Mushok Baritone, a guitar we offered in 2014 and for a few years prior. Check out the work done to this guitar below!

The artist who ordered this PTC work for his guitar had a vision for how it would one day look and sound. The PTC helped him make it a reality! At its core, the instrument is an SE Mike Mushok Baritone in Silver Burst and began its life that way. After stripping the guitar of all of its hardware, it was sprayed flat black for a stealthy look. When the finish process was complete, the PTC sanded the neck for a smooth satin feel.


New hardware and pickups went in the guitar including a Tremonti bridge pickup, sustainer system, locking tuners, US nut, and some heavy, heavy gauge strings. The guitar was set up with 17-90 gauge strings in drop E and tuned to E A E A d g. For reference, the low E and A strings were tuned to the same octave as a low E & A on a bass. The remaining E A d g strings were tuned like the low 4 strings on a standard tuned 6-string guitar.


The Fernandes Sustainer system installed in the neck pickup cavity allowed controlled sustain of any single or group of notes within the guitar’s sound range. The sustainer operates in the following way:

The system generates a magnetic field causing the strings of the guitar to vibrate. Powered by a 9-Volt battery, the interaction of the bridge humbucking pickup (B), the Sustainer Circuit Board (C) and the neck Sustainer Driver pickup (A), projects magnetic pulses that continuously vibrate the strings of the guitar, the same way an amplifier would at extreme volumes. The result is infinite sustain and/or feedback using sparkly clean or loud distorted settings without the need for excessive volume.


The system was installed by our PTC and accompanied by two mini toggles, one acting as the sustainer’s on/off, the other toggle controlling the setting mode of the system: Harmonic Mode, Natural Mode, or Mix Mode.

In Harmonic Mode, the pitch of the ringing note(s) will rise to the 5th natural harmonic within seconds. In Natural Mode, the note(s) will continue to ring its natural fundamental tone as long as the string(s) are free to vibrate and the Sustainer System is on. In Mix Mode, the Natural and Harmonic Mode are blended and harmonize indefinitely every ringing note in order to create a harmonized feedback effect.

The artist now had the power of his imagination at his finger tips with the help of the PTC! If you are interested in getting some mods of your own, contact our PTC to get started!