EMPLOYEE SPOTLIGHT – TOM COLLETT, TECH
Meet Tom Collett, a Tech here at PRS Guitars Europe. Tom is a down to earth, hard-working team member, and has worked at PRS for 6 years. We asked Tom what his typical day at PRS Europe involves, his favourite hobbies outside of work and more…
Read our interview with Tom below!
PRS: What is your typical day working in the tech room?
TOM: My typical day starts off with coffee, most importantly. Then we have a team discussion about what’s coming in that day or over the next week, and what the orders and priorities are for the guitars. Next, we select the guitars and begin working on setups: neck and truss rod adjustments, checking the nut, bridge/saddle height, we check everything …!
PRS: What is the most important tool for your line of work?
TOM: I believe one of my most important tools for the job are the nut files. Having the nut slots cut to the correct height and width to suit the relevant string is vital to helping with tuning stability. This allows the strings on the guitar to pass through the nut slot as smoothly as possible. In my opinion, flaring the back of each nut slot is equally important in lowering the amount of break angle towards the tuners to help the guitar stay in tune. Especially on guitars with a tremolo system.
PRS: What are a few of your hobbies outside of work?
TOM: Where do I start with this? I have a lot… I play a lot of guitar in my spare time, naturally. I had been in an originals band called Hollowstar that has toured all over the UK and in Europe which was an unforgettable experience. The venues, festivals, and other various gigs we played as a band were amazing and I’m very grateful for having had the opportunity to have done it. But, after around 7 years I decided to ‘call that a day’ and get back into motocross, which was one my greatest passions. Most of the time is spent cleaning, maintaining, repairing, and spending money on the bike, but I guess that’s all part of having one. It’s quite the stress reliever once I get the bike out for a days riding with my mates on as many different tracks as I can. My other hobby and passion is cars. I have a Honda Integra DC5 Type R that I imported from Japan. It’s my dream car and is another toy that I spend a small fortune on, taking it to various car shows and I spend a lot of time keeping it in pristine condition which, for a twenty one year old car, it’s immaculate.
PRS: How long have you been at PRS? Can you tell us the story of how you landed here?
TOM: This will be my 6th year working for PRS. I have always wanted to work with guitars but I wasn’t really sure on how to get started. I have had many different jobs over the years from warehousing and forklift driving, to carpentry, roof thatching and 9 years of printing. I left the world of printing to have a more flexible job of going back to the building trade to continue carpentry and labouring, to suit the band. I wasn’t sure about how long that could last as my hands were taking quite the punishment, making it rather unsuitable for a gigging guitar player. That’s when I saw the advert for a warehouse job for PRS. I never thought I’d get an interview let alone a position working for the company who made my favourite guitars. Now I work in the tech room setting up guitars every day which is my absolute dream job and I’ve never looked back!
PRS: Who is your favourite guitarist? Band?
TOM: That’s difficult. I’ve always been a big fan of Slash and Guns N’ Roses. I like guitarists that have “feel”. I like guitar players that have the “It’s not what you play, it’s how you play it” thing. Making nothing sound like something, less is more in some cases. I’ve been a big fan of Rage Against The Machine, Deftones, Periphery, Alter Bridge. Anything with a good, heavy groove really. Depends on the mood I’m in. It just has to be primarily guitar based 😉
PRS: What is your favourite PRS and why?
TOM: My favourite PRS is my 2 year employee Tremonti. The top I chose is just insane. I had it finished in Charcoal Contour Burst which I think really suits the grain and when I first opened the case it just blew me away. I’ve since changed the pickup rings to black and the control knobs to smaller black ones, and made a rosewood truss rod cover just to make it more my own. It just plays like butter and really suits my style of playing, plus it’s just beautiful to look at. I also have a 30th Anniversary Custom 24 in Charcoal Burst (a bit of a running theme here I think…) which has been completely customised to suit me. It’s been fitted with a Tremonti bridge pickup and Vintage Bass neck pickup, slower volume knob, black pickup rings and Stainless Steel frets which (for me) really made every note come alive. The playability and overall feel of the guitar is just unreal!!
PRS: What’s your top tips for setting up a PRS guitar?
TOM: I would say after the nut slots, pickup height is really important. It doesn’t sound like it would make that much difference, but having the right height and distance from the strings (about 2mm) can help with tuning stability and overall tone. Too close and they can sound distorted, and too far away they can be quite quiet. Plus – having the heights suitable for the volume differences in each pickup, making the sound from the guitar more consistent.
PRS: What do you love most about working in the guitar world?
TOM: All the models of PRS available depending on the sound the customer is after! Obviously seeing all the different Private Stock guitars, they’re just works of art. The different types of exotic woods, finishes, and colours just blows my mind. Seeing what choices and combinations people have spec’d or ordered really gives you inspiration with what is possible, when one day I can hopefully order mine ;-D
PRS: Can you share your favourite PRS memory or moment?
TOM: My favourite moment that stands out to me was when Aaron, Kieran, and myself all received our employee guitars on the same day. None of us knew they would be on the same shipment. We had all been (not so patiently) waiting to get them delivered. It was so worth the wait, and when we finally got to open the box that had our name on it containing “THE” PRS that we chose, with the wood, model, and colour of our choice, signed by the man himself along with “EMPLOYEE GUITAR CUSTOM BUILT FOR TOM COLLET” written on it, it was genuinely a very special moment. It was like receiving a Private Stock just for me. I’m very grateful and very, very lucky.