PRS S2 Starla Review

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Reidster, Apr 7, 2015.

  1. Reidster

    Reidster Member

    Mar 10, 2015
    Culver City, CA
    Hello all!

    I (fairly) recently acquired a new PRS S2 Starla and thought I'd give a little rundown of my thoughts on it in case you're thinking about grabbing one for yourself.

    First let me say, everything I read about this guitar on the interwebs was incredibly positive. I really didn't need the thing - but who does, right? Let me also add that I also own a PRS SE Soapbar. (I mention that for a reason...)

    First impressions: Unimpressed. After the initial excitement of owning a new guitar wore off, I realized some "flaws" with the Starla:

    1. The pickups, after a couple of hours of use, would sink into the body. Like just slowly drop down into the body cavity. I've never owned a guitar that had this issue! New one for me. I will say that after some doing, the local PRS rep actually hand-delivered new springs and screws to me - which was cool.

    2. This is not a flaw, just my humble opinion: The Starla pickups themselves just didn't cut it at all for me. Hard to describe, but they just seemed incredibly "middy", "crass", and simply didn't cut through the mix in practice (despite their "middyness"). Just not my cup of tea at all. After a little reading up on things, the S2 Starla pickups are Korean replicas (for lack of a better term) of the original Starla pickups in the CORE line. And the CORE line pickups in the original Starla were a take on Filtertrons. So what you're getting is a replica of a take of a Filtertron. So there's that.

    I've since purchased a TV Jones Classic and Classic Plus and thrown those in. Sooo much better to my ears. I also replaced the pots and most wiring and upgraded things. The original pots were Korean. Nothing wrong with that. I just put in CTS pots and no longer have the push-pull split wiring. Didn't find it necessary for my needs. (I don't know where CTS pots are made and really don't know if they're any better than what came originally. I just feel better with something I know in my guitar).

    3. After a professional set up, I still have a lot of trouble keeping the guitar in tune. That's whether I use the Bigsby or not. I think I just need to lightly file the nut a little more. Strings seem to be getting hung up there.

    4. Overall, I feel like the quality of my Korean made PRS SE is better than my American made Starla. You might disagree. But I've had both apart and even the inside of the SE is cleaner/nicer.

    Now for the good stuff - that outweighs everything above since I don't plan on getting rid of it anytime soon:

    1. I love the weight, the styling, and the neck feel. It's all just perfect for me.

    2. I have 10s on it and it's just perfect for me. It's a 25" scale so it feels a little like a Strat - but also like an SG or similar. Exactly what I wanted.

    3. With the TV Jones Filtertrons, it just sounds "pretty" now. I play Classic Rock mostly - and it handles that with ease. But switch to the neck pickup and play through the clean channel and it's just gorgeous.

    4. The Bigsby is almost more of a novelty for my style - but I do use it from time to time and just love having the option. People do say that the arm gets in the way of the controls - and that's true - but you learn to deal with it.

    5. The thing is just pretty!

    So there you have it. It wasn't my favorite guitar at first, but tossing in the new pickups has made it my go-to for now. I'm really digging it. It just took some upgrades to get it there. And I got a pretty decent deal on the thing which doesn't hurt!

    patriot7 likes this.
  2. masonwilson13

    masonwilson13 Member

    Mar 2, 2010
    Iola, KS
    Could I see some pics of the guitar with Filtertrons in it?
  3. patriot7

    patriot7 Member

    Jul 3, 2014
    I'm having the exact same issue with the pickups sinking. I have to raise them every few days. No PRS authorized repair shop near me so I either have to pay someone to fix it or ship it back to Sweetwater. Leaning towards doing what you did and swapping out the pickups for TV Jones. I agree the pickups are mediocre at best.
  4. Chicago Slim

    Chicago Slim Member

    Oct 31, 2004
    Bowling Green, KY
    The Starla is my main guitar. I own three core line Starla's. The TV Jones Classic and Classic Plus, are about as close as you can get to the Starla pickups. The Core line Starla pickups are a little hotter and brighter. I moved a set to an older Standard 22, and love the sound. I replaced the pickups, with GFS Dream 180's, and have been happy with those. They are not as bright, but they have a similar sound. Here is a picture of my Core line Starla, with the Dream 180's.


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