What started as a love for two hobbies is evolving into a passion for one business. Today, Prisma Guitars is driven by the goal of building custom guitars with a one-of-a-kind style where instruments are 100 percent handcrafted from the wood of recycled skateboard decks.
Prisma guitars have six body shapes that can be built entirely with skateboards, a skateboard top and mahogany or alder back, or with a hollow body. In addition to using their own stock of skateboards, Prisma is able to build a guitar with a customer’s skateboards at no extra charge.
Necks are available in multiple profiles in four styles: skateboard, mahogany or maple with rosewood fingerboard, or one-piece maple. Each neck has a 12’’ inch radius and 25.5’’ scale length with a hand-shaped Graph Tech nut at 1 5/8’’ width. Prisma uses only hand-wound pickups from McNelly Pickups and David Allen Pickups, and all guitars are built exclusively with Emerson Custom electronics. Tone Pro or Mastery bridges are available, and an Allen key Hot Rod truss rod anchors the body, which has a 100 percent nitrocellulose instrument lacquer finish.
Prisma also builds custom bass guitars in two body styles with three wood options: mahogany back with skate top, alder back with skate top, or full skateboard. A maple neck with rosewood or maple fingerboard is available along with three finish types and several other customizable features.
Pricing for custom guitars begins at $2,500 and orders take approximately eight to 12 weeks to complete. Left-handed models are available at no extra cost, and all instruments come with a travel-ready MONO bag. Guitars can be shipped internationally.
Tapping into local SF culture, Prisma also offers pre-built series guitars with select customizable features. The Sunset Series pays homage to Prisma’s Sunset District neighborhood, home to Ocean Beach, where surfing and skateboarding are a way of life. Each guitar in this series is a vibrant pastel that is meant to represent a house in the neighborhood. Loaded with McNelly x Prisma pickups, the series features handmade skateboard knobs and a custom Decoboom pickguard inspired by 1970s surf culture.
“Skateboards are made with seven layers of hard rock maple—a familiar guitar wood—and some of the layers are randomly dyed colors. Through working the materials, we get the colors to come through,” says Nick Pourfard, founder of Prisma Guitars. “Every single time I build one, it’s a different result. I never make the same guitar twice.”
For a behind-the-scenes look at the Prisma design process, check out the video below. For more about custom Prisma Guitars, visit PrismaGuitars.com.