PRS Guitar Repairs, Retops, Restorations & Refinishes

Complete Retop & Purfling With Matching Headstock
Too bad it still has a rosewood board, The Ebony would have been better

This Guitar Came In With A Delaminated

& Split Top

The Original Top Was Flame Maple, The Owner Wanted

It Replaced With A Solid Spruce Top.

More To Come (10-16-09)

Check out some of the Les Paul's we have retopped

These Photos show a Hollowbody PRS


This is a new top for a PRS Hollowbody
Made in our custom shop
This one is better because you can use a tun-a-matic bridge
You are no longer stuck with the inferior PRS wraparound bridge !!!

This is a tremendously expensive process !!!!
That's why we have only converted  10 of these guitars in the past 10 years

The Original PRS guitar after we cut off the top !!!



Above you can see the new top being glued to the original body.

We used a very plain piece of wood to do this guitar
The customer wanted an opaque solid color !!

This one was done over because the customer was looking for the guitar to sound better
Usually we do retops because the customer wants the guitar to look better.
The Tun-A-Matic bridge is a far superior bridge to what PRS uses.
This customer did not care about looks, He is a real player
Notice no birds on the neck !!!!


Retopped In Our Custom Shop

Check out some of the Les Paul's we have retopped

It's a pity no one will ever know the wizards at Ed Roman Guitars are the magicians who transform these plain looking guitars into the beautiful masterpieces they are today.
The PRS company will benefit greatly from this work.

Over the years thousands of people will see these guitars and wrongfully assume that PRS did this beautiful work. Many of Ed's customers request that we do not show their guitars on these pages because they feel that it might in some way decrease the resale value of their guitars. The next time you are looking at a particularly beautiful PRS you might stop and wonder if it's real or is it one that Ed Roman retopped.

PRS traditionally won't do a 10 top on a bolt on model.  Ed Roman has done over 200 retops on PRS bolt on models.  Ed has always felt the bolt on ones sound so much better than the glued in ones. Click Here For Explanation.

Many people feel the need to belong to a group of people who own the same brand name item. Corvette Clubs, PRS Forum, Harley Owners Group  etc etc. We feel that is because today the dumbing down of Americans is rampant in our schools and on our Boob Tubes etc etc.  No one wants to be innovative. People all want what other people have. In some strange way it makes them feel safe!! Sadly these people are why our country is fast becoming a third world.  When we were innovators and free thinkers our country was strong economically and everyone was prosperous. It hurts me to see the younger generation today struggling so hard to even be able to pay their rent.

You might say to yourself, I could just buy a Quicksilver or a JET or an Abstract, The tops on those guitars are always so beautiful that no one in his right mind would want to redo the top. But then their are no worldwide user groups on these brands. People won't envy me if I own one of those. This is all part of the advertising agencies and corporate master plan to dumb us all down so we will spend our money on cookie cutter products that can be made cheaply and sold for a very high profit.

Incidentally Ed Roman has retopped 14 Dragons, Approximately 20 Signatures, and a number of first editions. Paul Reed Smith in their ultimate wisdom has made many good numbered limited edition guitars with very plain tops. The sunburst top that came on PRS Artist Ltd #001 was almost disgraceful looking. In fact Ed has not retopped it. whoever has it these days is the proud owner of a very plain looking yet expensive guitar. at this re writing the number of PRS retops surpasses the 500 mark.

For some more interesting Information look at Ed's rant entitled Ghostbuilders.



Check out some of the Les Paul's we have retopped

Retopped in Ed Roman's Custom Shop
For Ed DeGuzman 1997

Example of a retopped guitar & headstock

Complete renovation
New Quilt  Top, New All Rosewood Neck
Ed Roman's Custom Shop !!!!
The only thing original on this guitar is the back of the body !!!!!!
Too bad he kept the stock PRS tremolo,
If he had used a Tun-a-Matic bridge, this guitar would have stood up to a Quicksilver

Retopped in Ed Roman's Custom Shop

It is extremely rare that we will retop a 22 fret model
You can't polish a turd !!!!

This one is not a retop, It's a brand new body !!!!

This is a PRS that thinks it's a Quicksilver
(See the bridge we installed)
Retopped Body, with Bird Inlays done at Ed Roman's
PRS does not offer nice tops or bird inlays on their bolt on models !!!!!

PRS Retop In Process


PRS Retops in Hawaiian Koa

When we retop a PRS then we can use a Tone/Pros Bridge
This is highly advisable!!
Some people do the entire retop just so the can change the inferior stock PRS bridge

Here's A Pretty Stock Straightforward Retop
The customer had dropped this guitar and it put a huge ding on the face !!

A beautiful example of an emerald green quilted retop  
The top on this PRS Signature model was originally flamed    


Bonni Pink used to be a really sought after color
People would pay several thousand extra for just the color !!
We retopped at least 12 PRS guitars & refinished them in Pink
Naturally we went inside and changed the color markings so that it would look Original !!

Check out some of the Les Paul's we have retopped

This is yet another PRS that we retopped and refinished. We also inlaid purfling around the entire body. I would have liked to redo the fingerboard with ebony and do some really nice inlay work to it.
Rosewood is such a blah wood, it doesn't do much for the inlay. In fact rosewood camouflages the abalone and tends to make even the prettiest abalone look blah....

We also inlaid an eagle on the headstock of this one. This particular guitar was the 100th PRS we retopped. It was done for Winn Wilson of Connecticut in 2001.

Today Ed Roman retops about 20 PRS guitars a year.
Back in the 90's we did about 50 a year. Today people just buy a Quicksilver instead. 


Retopped, Refinished  & Floyd Rose Tremolo Added
 Not recommended but if  You want it done,  We will do it !!!!

Retopped Headstock
in the late 90's we did about 50 matching headstocks on PRS
When they came out with the newer shiny decal there was a problem with the logo falling off
We must have fixed 100 of those !!!


Dragon Inlay
PRS Serial  #78
Poor Man's Dragon

The Problem
Restore this guitar to original so not even Paul Reed Smith himself could tell it was restored.

This early PRS Guitar serial # 78 had been cut to accommodate a Floyd Rose Tremolo (Ouch).
Otherwise this guitar was in dead mint condition.
If you look closely you can see the enlarged tremolo cavity.

If You Can't Afford A PRS  Check This Out


More Problems
Where was I going to get the decal to restore to the headstock.
PRS uses a completely different decal today. 
This guitar had dot inlays and no birds.
I have now located decals for restoration purposes only

 I decided that I wanted the top to look as good as a JET or a Quicksilver
 I wanted it to sound fabulous.

The Solution

Completely remove the original PRS neck from the body.  Rebuild an exact replica body. Don't glue it back together but instead use bolts (this will give you much more tone and sustain)

Use a piece of  100 year old mahogany and a gorgeous 6A quilt maple top. 

As far as the decal is concerned, I went to a philatelic dealer friend of mine who deals in rare postage stamps, valued in the hundreds of thousands of dollars.  (These stamps have to be removed from letters).

He told me that he was working with a Swiss company in developing a chemical that would also remove original water transfer decals. As long as they were less than 50 years old. In 98% percent of the cases the decal was completely reusable. This news solves a lot of problems that restoration people have had for years.


I will be offering this service at $250.00 retail price for anyone interested.

Dealer Inquiries Invited

100% Confidentiality


Notice: The Seafoam green paint  in the truss rod cavity.  I left this on purpose. 

However if I ever decide to sell this it would be relatively simple for some unscrupulous person to remove the Seafoam green paint and of course pass it off as an original.   If I was doing the job for a customer I would normally remove it anyway


So you own a vintage guitar

A little anecdote for your reading pleasure

Once there was a man who cursed me because I did these restorations to old guitars.  He even spoke badly of me for doing it.  He Downright Flamed Me !!!

(He felt that certain things should never be changed).

Until one day his girlfriend stepped on the cable of his original 1958 Flying Vee. She stepped on the cable directly in front of the guitar. The cable snapped up causing the input jack to literally explode out of the guitar. It totally destroyed the lower bout in the weak spot where the jack had originally been drilled.  The end result was a splintered nasty mess where the chunk of wood extracted itself from the face of his very valuable guitar.

Then this same man (Who has paid me well for his anonymity)  was knocking on my door to repair his $75,000.00 guitar.  (Update 2005  $125,000.00 guitar)

I guess when the shoe was on the other foot,  he didn't seem to mind that I could fix his guitar so that not even he could tell it was repaired. 
When I took the job in I told him that I could definitely fix it, I also told him that I would not tell him how I fixed it. I also told him if he could see the repair I would not charge him for the job.

Believe me he tried to find the repair. When he arrived to retrieve his guitar he came with a magnifying glass and a halogen light. He spent 15 minutes looking for the spot where he assumed we had glued in the wood and made the repair. 

It took him several years to sell the guitar. In effect someone with a 1958 Flying V is floating around out there thinking that his guitar is original.

Here's how I repaired it.  (12 years has passed at the time of this writing) If he happens to read this, then he will finally know how I fixed it.

I split the guitar completely in two and used a whole new piece of wood on the bottom bout of the V. I simply replaced it with a new piece of korina and then refinished the entire guitar. That was the easy part.  We didn't know as much about distressing guitars as we do today. We were using ultraviolet lamps to age the nitro, spraying Freon, freezing & baking guitars to get them to check.

It wasn't that hard to do because the guitar was really clean to start with and it was just an aged clear that we had to make look old. It's much harder with colors like sunburst. White korina doesn't have a distinctive grain pattern that is either memorable or discernable by too many people.

Remember there is only one sure way to buy a vintage guitar and be sure that it is original.

If you buy it at a garage sale or find it in an old attic somewhere and pick it up for $100.00. You can rest assured your guitar is original.  The minute the guitar is tainted with a huge price you can be pretty close to positive that something has been changed in it.

Dealers who specialize in vintage guitars don't like me to talk about this type of thing. They might even flame me for talking about this. The bottom line is they do not want you to know how easy it is to make a fake or a forgery. Any competent repair man can do and don't think for one second that they don't all do it regularly. There is plenty of restoration work out there and the customer invariably wants to make it look original.

In my case vintage guitars are only one small part of the entire market.  So I simply don't care. I am only to glad to expose this type of activity.

Ed Roman 10/23/07


Inlay Work



First rough draft of the Dragon Inlay
I am redoing the blue wings with turquoise.

Of course, now that I have decided to do a Dragon Inlay on the guitar, it would be relatively easy for someone to tell that the guitar is not original.  I really don't care about originality.  I fully expect this guitar to play & sound better than most PRS guitars so I will probably be keeping it for myself.   (This Job was done prior to me building Quicksilver Guitars)

Finished version ready for frets above
Ready for finishing

 I used the original PRS fingerboard..
I should have replaced it with a jet black gaboon ebony fingerboard.
The dragon inlay would have looked much better on black than on brown !!!
The guitar would have played & sounded even better !!!
The extra $100 I saved would have made this guitar $2,500.00 more valuable!!!
Oh well, I won't make that mistake again!!!!!

The Poor Man's Dragon
Finished and Ready to Rock

Ok, so this guitar isn't built by a group of low paid factory workers, Ok, so the inlay isn't done on a CNC machine. Ok, this guitar isn't technically "Original".

I guarantee this guitar will play circles around a stock PRS Dragon,  I guarantee the neck to be faster, the frets smoother & tighter, I guarantee the pickups to sound better, the overall tone of the guitar to be far more versatile than a stock PRS. I guarantee the top to be as beautiful as any PRS private stock guitar and the workmanship is unparalleled in the industry.

I am not producing these guitars, I don't have the time, I built this one for myself as an experiment to see what it would cost. 

Oh Yeah,  the other reason I built it was because I wanted a 24 fret guitar, PRS doesn't do 24 fret Dragons.
I knew there was a better reason than the first one. I might even have kept this guitar, except for my dumbass blunder with the rosewood vs ebony fingerboard.

Ed Roman



New Winged Serpent Inlay

First the serpent is designed with colored pencils

After the customer approves the drawing
it becomes a reality
The serpent inlays are all done one by one by hand
no two are exactly alike.