PRS Private Stock Gatekeeper Tina Sears: Old-School Wonkaville Magic ON!

The Great Tina Sears! The Gatekeeper of All Things PRS Private Stock! You have been rolling with PRS for 2 decades plus. You’ve been on the inside of every client’s private stock order placed for the past 2 decades. Incredible Run! Please describe the old-school work ethic that has made PRS great?

I think work ethics can be viewed many ways; to me a good work ethic and one that myself and others here at PRS try to demonstrate is the emphasis of the quality of work we do. It starts with being dependable and having the discipline to do the right thing even when no one is watching. Each person needs to consistently hold a high level of integrity in their part of the puzzle to get the instrument to the next stage, which means doing each job correctly and following all quality control parameters, not cutting corners to get done quicker, being honest and having a sense of responsibility when an issue arises. Not everything goes perfectly so there are many times you may need to jump in and help somewhere else and do whatever it takes to do what is best for the product / end consumer as well as the company. The level of teamwork in this place is incredible and I think it shows pretty well in the products we produce.

Please name the 1, 2 or 3 Private Stock guitars or limited runs, of which you are the proudest? And Why?

# 1- Birds of a Feather Inlay GOM- When Paul Miles and I were coming up with the Guitar of the Month guitars along side Paul Smith of course! We wanted to come up with some models and inlays no one had ever seen and this was the first time I had seen an inlay like this. The way Paul Miles and the Pearlworks Team created the process of doing this inlay style was so neat to me and it has since expanded into many other inlays done in this same style, including my 20yr employee guitar.

#2- McCarty 594 GOM- this was my absolute favorite guitar we have produced since the iconic PRS Custom 24, as soon as Paul Smith showed us the first prototype, I knew it would be a huge home run for PRS and could not wait to release this to the world and how cool that we did it for one of the Guitars of the Month!

#3- My 20yr employee guitar has to fall in here of course! Until my next one! I told Paul Miles what I had been envisioning and he came up with the Bay Bridge / Heron Inlay in the Birds of a Feather inlay style, I loved it!! And although it wasn’t technically a Private Stock, it had every element of one other than the PS Eagle (we are not permitted to have those), it was built by the PS team, created by Paul Miles and I and had all PS grade woods on it so…

What is the craziest/scariest drive across the Chesapeake Bay Bridge that you have ever experienced?

OK, so since I have lived here my entire life and have actually walked the bridge many times when I was younger, I don’t have a really crazy story but I do have a pretty funny one.When I was a teenager driving my parents mini van across the bridge and my friend and I started to “race” (as much as you can race in a mini van, lol) and I heard a loud

bang (so loud!) right when we got to the highest part of it and I immediately, could not do much at all in way of speeding up because the van was slowly coming to a stop…..luckily I was able to coast all the way off and onto the side of the road and had to call my Dad to come get us. I apparently “threw a rod” in the engine. The teenager in me did not tell my father at the time how it happened and said it just did it and they blamed themselves for not having the oil changed properly……I did end up telling them what I did when I got older, we all had a laugh but I remember it like it was yesterday and it scared me so bad, I didn’t think we were gonna make it off!

For newcomers arriving on Kent Thunder Island, Wonkaville, MD, where do they find the best crab cakes?

This is a tough question actually because there are so many places to get them and they are all equally good. I would have to say anywhere on the Kent Narrows which is about 5 minutes from the factory would be a great place to get one, just pick a restaurant. One that we love to go to is Bridges, it has an amazing view of the Chesapeake Bay and you can watch local watermen come in on their boats, people fishing on the pier all while enjoying a nice cocktail and viewing the beautiful Kent Island sunset!

What is the best part of working side by side with Private Stock builder/guru Paul Miles?

Paul and I have worked along side each other long before Private Stock, back when we were both working on Topcoat Finish and then when he was my manager on Top Coat for a while before he went over to PS land. We have come up with a lot of cool things just by bouncing ideas off each other, being in the vault with the dealers and coming up with new things is always super fun. Since we have worked together for so long, we have a sibling type relationship and it is very cool.

Please describe Paul Miles’ nature?

Paul is very artistic and he is particular and likes things a certain way. He takes a lot of pride with the creative inlays & colors he comes up with, which he should. There are a lot of times we get wacky requests for things from dealers on Private Stocks (ahem, not mentioning any names here) and he will create a new idea from it and turn it into something we can do and is either the first time anyone has ever seen it or it is done with the best quality possible. He also has a silly side and we have a lot of fun laughing and joking around too!

What is the PRS Private Stock finish you consider your favorite?

I really don’t have 1 favorite, I think the color is dictated by the woods and inlays. I do really tend to lean towards the blue colors (i.e. Aquamarine, Whale Blue Glow). When thinking traditional colors, I like Electric Tiger Glow and Sandstorm Fade a lot too. I also really like our Dragons Breath style finishes too!

How many private stock orders have you created as The Gatekeeper?

Well, when I started, we were only on about PS# 950……..we are currently on PS# 8622 so approximately 7,670-ish!

What is the coolest thing about Kent Thunder Island?

PRS Guitars is located here………duh! To add, it is a place I call home. It is a local community atmosphere, beautiful neighborhoods and scenery all around. And we have some of the most beautiful sunsets!

What is the coolest thing about PRS?

What comes to mind is how much everyone praises what we all do everyday. Like any job, it can get monotonous, stressful, etc but when we hear the compliments or get told how lucky we are to work here, it makes it worth it. It is also really cool to be able to say, I work for the company that makes those guitars the artists are playing on TV, etc. It is a cool gig and since I have to work, I am glad I work at PRS Guitars!

What is the coolest thing about working with the legendary Paul Reed Smith?

Learning the “why” behind a lot of his decisions from the past as well as the future. Being able to speak and work along side an iconic Luthier like Paul Reed Smith is very cool and something that is neat to be able to say. I learn a lot about the history of guitar making, his history with how certain things came about. It is also fun to hear all the old concert stories about legendary musicians. Paul is very dedicated to making sure the end customer gets the very best instrument and doesn’t care what it costs to do it. That to me is unheard of these days, most owners are more interested in the bottom dollar and he simply isn’t, he is more interested in if the guitar sounds the best it can and the person who purchased it feels like they have an heirloom piece. The other inside cool part of Paul Smith is that he tries to spread his knowledge of guitar making to every single employee here at PRS so that all his hard work is carried on forever!