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PRS SE acoustics...what say you?

gtrdave

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
5,117
I have to admit that I've largely ignored raw PRS SE acoustic line of guitars for no other reason than they simply do not appear on my radar. For the past 20 years I've owned/played mostly acoustics from Godin's various lines; Seagull, Simon & Patrick, La Patrie and an occasional Norman or Art & Lutherie. For me, they offer some of the best bang for the buck...but I'm careful to note that they don't sound like a vintage Gibson or Martin.

That said, last night I played my buddy's PRS SE acoustic at a live gig and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it sounded and played. I don't know which model it was, but it was a cutaway (Angelus?) body w/ OEM electronics.
I've been doing a little research this morning and I think I'm going to go try to check them out in a local store.

EDIT: I found out that my friend's PRS is the SE Alex Lifeson model.

Anyone here own a PRS SE acoustic and care to share your opinions?
 
Last edited:

dB

Member
Messages
3,991
Haven’t played one, but everything I’ve heard online sounds great. They look nice, I’ll bet they’re really well built, and the price is right. I can’t stand the headstock...I wish they’d come up with something a little more restrained for their acoustic line.
 

gmajor7th

Member
Messages
118
Haven’t played one, but everything I’ve heard online sounds great. They look nice, I’ll bet they’re really well built, and the price is right. I can’t stand the headstock...I wish they’d come up with something a little more restrained for their acoustic line.
Yes dont like the headstocks either!
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,903
I have to admit that I've largely ignored raw PRS SE acoustic line of guitars for no other reason than they simply do not appear on my radar. For the past 20 years I've owned/played mostly acoustics from Godin's various lines; Seagull, Simon & Patrick, La Patrie and an occasional Norman or Art & Lutherie. For me, they offer some of the best bang for the buck...but I'm careful to note that they don't sound like a vintage Gibson or Martin.

That said, last night I played my buddy's PRS SE acoustic at a live gig and I was pleasantly surprised at how well it sounded and played. I don't know which model it was, but it was a cutaway (Angelus?) body w/ OEM electronics.
I've been doing a little research this morning and I think I'm going to go try to check them out in a local store.

EDIT: I found out that my friend's PRS is the SE Alex Lifeson model.

Anyone here own a PRS SE acoustic and care to share your opinions?
I gigged an SE Angelus for a couple of weeks to write this review for American Songwriter. I was impressed, but you can read the whole thing for details if you want.

Shameless plug: if you get there through the American Songwriter Gear Review page, the three reviews pictured at the top (as of today) are mine.
 

tammuz7000

Member
Messages
254
I gigged an SE Angelus for a couple of weeks to write this review for American Songwriter. I was impressed, but you can read the whole thing for details if you want.

Shameless plug: if you get there through the American Songwriter Gear Review page, the three reviews pictured at the top (as of today) are mine.
nice reviews Mike. I liked the 50se version in a store when I played it with the maple back. I’d like to play the new p20. liked the Gibson’s review too.good to know that gibson is doing better especially in that price range. I think a special with P90s would be great. I had a chanceto play a custom shop one and it was really nice.the sg with thr p90s has me curious as well.
 

MikeMcK

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
4,903
nice reviews Mike. I liked the 50se version in a store when I played it with the maple back. I’d like to play the new p20. liked the Gibson’s review too.good to know that gibson is doing better especially in that price range. I think a special with P90s would be great. I had a chanceto play a custom shop one and it was really nice.the sg with thr p90s has me curious as well.
Thanks! They do have the same tribute Special with P90s, and that's what I'd have asked for if the choice of guitar was up to me.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,409
I've only had a couple of them in my hands, and I was totally unimpressed/underwhelmed. they felt over-built and thick, non-responsive and, less than I'd expect from an overseas model of that brand within that price range. I have heard "talk" from a few folks whose opinions I trust that the high-end PRS acoustics can be VERY nice, however.

In their price range, I know you can get a much better sounding/laying instrument for the same or less money... unless, of course, you just gotta have that PRS brand on the headstock? That's okay, there are a lot of folks who are very "brand enslaved" and it works out for them.

(Now, I should establish that I AM AN ACOUSTIC GUITARIST and have been for nearly 60 years... That's my thing, playing acoustic guitar and writing songs... I play electric, too, and love it, but, man! A GREAT acoustic guitar is just the best thing in the world to me... so, I care about the sound and feel of the instrument; everything else is just... stuff. I have one great 6 string acoustic guitar, a Goodall Concert Jumbo... I have one great 12 string guitar, Mark Angus #58 (1983)... both hand builds.)

So, I suppose if you compare the PRS stuff to Godin, or the other brands you mentioned, they would be a much higher level instrument... compared to a well made guitar by a small shop builder? They're dog-meat... Look around and play a bunch of other s' work if you want to discover what a REALLY fine acoustic guitar can be like... it'll take some effort and time to actually get the feel for them, but you'll get it.

Now, whenever you "plug an acoustic guitar in", all of a sudden all the parameters get reset and shifted... you are no longer hearing that guitar; you're hearing the pickup system, your technical ability to adapt to that pickup system, the strengths and weaknesses of your signal chain and amplification... all important stuff to someone who's playing a gig with an acoustic, to be sure... but don't get confused about "what" you're hearing... it ain't the guitar!
 

NateW.

Member
Messages
43
I gigged an SE Angelus for a couple of weeks to write this review for American Songwriter. I was impressed, but you can read the whole thing for details if you want.

Shameless plug: if you get there through the American Songwriter Gear Review page, the three reviews pictured at the top (as of today) are mine.

I have a T60E (no cutaway) and your review of the A60E was one of the reasons I bought it. I think your review is very accurate, and I believe the value/price of the SE line is what makes them attractive. I picked it up used for ~$600.

To JSeth’s point, it’s not at the level of a hand built, boutique instrument; but it’s not meant to be, so I don’t think that’s a relevant comparison.
 

zombywoof

Member
Messages
4,467
I have never spent any time playing PRS acoustics. It is not because I do not want to but the opportunity to spend some quality time with them has just not come up.

I also have been playing acoustic for 55+ years. Left to my own devices, what I look for in an acoustic is a raw sound which I define as a fast decay and leaner on overtones/harmonics. I like a guitar which gives you one big fat note and then quickly gets out of its own way. If not then while I might have fun playing it, that guitar would not be coming home with me. And I do not care if the guitar is a PRS or a Mark Angus. Not a good or a bad thing, just my preference. But it would sure be boring if we all liked the same thing.
 

s2y

Member
Messages
19,138
I auditioned for a band and the dude had one. Strings were old and action was way too high. Didn't sound very good. Hard to say how much was the guitar vs. poor conditions.
 

Monstercastle

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,183
I have a P20E on pre-order for over a month now. May not see it for another. Never played one, but I’ve got numerous PRS core, S2 guitars, so I get along well with the neck profiles of their. This parlor size ticks a few boxes for me and will be mainly a couch noodler.
 

JSeth

Member
Messages
2,409
Came back to this. Realized that I had posted on the same topic on another acoustic forum, in which the fellow mentioned "getting a good deal" on a PRS for $7K!!! I have played just a couple of the expensive ones and that was what my initial review addressed... I did play on the imports a buddy of mine has, and it was heavy, overbuilt and non-responsive in my opinion - which I kept to myself! My friend was happy with the guitar; it did what he wanted and looked pretty, AND he's a "PRS guy"...

If you're plugging the guitar in a bunch and that's what you want it for, primarily... then, a heavier solid box is going to assist you in the amplification process, especially if you're playing at any sort of "band" volume levels. Having a workable, well-mannered pickup system is a really good thing to have on stage!
 

Jack Dotson

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,133
I’ve got a Tonare T60E and have been very happy with it. The quality of these guitars are hard to beat at this price range IMO. The onboard electronics sound really good. They use a unique bracing which give the guitar good overtones, harmonics, and sustain, which are things I like as a rhythm player. A big selling point for me was the neck and playability.

It’s not comparable to the high end Martins, Taylor’s, etc., but matches well to their offerings in its price range. And IMO, is a clear winner, which is why I bought it. I’ll have a nice D-18 or similar again, but for now it fills the void. For live plugged in performance it’s a winner at any price range. I recommend you give it A try.
 

David MacNeill

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
889
I’ve got a Tonare T60E and have been very happy with it. The quality of these guitars are hard to beat at this price range IMO. The onboard electronics sound really good. They use a unique bracing which give the guitar good overtones, harmonics, and sustain, which are things I like as a rhythm player. A big selling point for me was the neck and playability.

It’s not comparable to the high end Martins, Taylor’s, etc., but matches well to their offerings in its price range. And IMO, is a clear winner, which is why I bought it. I’ll have a nice D-18 or similar again, but for now it fills the void. For live plugged in performance it’s a winner at any price range. I recommend you give it A try.
I played, I bought, I reviewed:

https://www.thegearpage.net/board/index.php?threads/prs-se-tonare.1934560/#post-28290782
 

Ogre

Member
Messages
4,620
I have only played the high-line PRS acoustics, but found them to be heavy, overbuilt & unremarkable tone-wise.
 

Shades of Blue

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,114
I personally don't like PRS's SE acoustics. I've bought a couple based on looks, but they are just extremely "cheap" feeling and sounding to me. I don't like the finish, and I don't like the electric guitar glossed neck. Having said that, they are great bang for the buck, but just not my cup of tea.
 

hunter

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
6,560
Been a while but when I played em, I came away with sounds different. Not necessarily good or bad, just different.

As for heavy? The PRS design philosophy is make the body inactive by having stiff and somewhat heavy back and sides. All the sound is supposed to come from the top with the back and sides functioning purely as reflective. This approach is not a PRS exclusive idea but it is not that common. And why they can feel heavy. The weight isn't in the top. When well done, this design can create a pretty even volume and frequency response. Which I think most of us are not used to hearing from an acoustic.

I am an old school Martin person but I get the PRS thing and would at least consider one if in that market. To my ear, PRSi are no more different than say the earlier Taylor sound. Remembering I come from Martins.
 

michaelc24

Member
Messages
23
Ok so I have 3 PRS SE acoustics. Ive owned a ton of other brands throughout the years, including Higher end Taylor and Martins. Now I haven’t had the luxury to own $5,000 + guitars, but that’s not what we are talking about. For a mid priced production acoustic, I think the PRS (For me) is the best bang for the buck. I’m very particular with neck shape, and again for me the PRS has just been the easiest to play. You need to try them though, and compare to other acoustics to find your fit. I can only say from my experience, is that I can’t put them down. I used to own the SE Alex Lifeson, and I sold it because at the time I just felt it didn’t have enough bottom, with that thin line body style. But other than that. Excellent guitar. I own an older PRS SE custom with the rosewood back and sides, made from the Wildwood factory. And I own 2 newer ones from the Cor-Tek factory. I actually prefer the newer models, the finish feels thinner and the electronics are much improved.
I don’t think you can go wrong with them, but again it’s all about your personal preferences with aesthetics, and most important is the feel and quality. Good luck!
77216292-95F8-4FCA-A191-908BBA899D3C.jpeg 49F99E84-4C32-46DE-8026-7ED493D30F75.jpeg 119C3C6A-1C81-4806-85AA-3D8FC6BA4531.jpeg 0CEBAA0E-CEB6-4684-8CC2-7328A2AD1526.jpeg 9278F8BE-C2F5-42FB-B506-FF4231E76DF8.jpeg 0A09B877-671F-4C50-86EB-3B488EA968C1.jpeg
 

Jim85IROC

Member
Messages
2,039
I've only had a couple of them in my hands, and I was totally unimpressed/underwhelmed. they felt over-built and thick, non-responsive and, less than I'd expect from an overseas model of that brand within that price range. I have heard "talk" from a few folks whose opinions I trust that the high-end PRS acoustics can be VERY nice, however.

In their price range, I know you can get a much better sounding/laying instrument for the same or less money... unless, of course, you just gotta have that PRS brand on the headstock? That's okay, there are a lot of folks who are very "brand enslaved" and it works out for them.

(Now, I should establish that I AM AN ACOUSTIC GUITARIST and have been for nearly 60 years... That's my thing, playing acoustic guitar and writing songs... I play electric, too, and love it, but, man! A GREAT acoustic guitar is just the best thing in the world to me... so, I care about the sound and feel of the instrument; everything else is just... stuff. I have one great 6 string acoustic guitar, a Goodall Concert Jumbo... I have one great 12 string guitar, Mark Angus #58 (1983)... both hand builds.)

So, I suppose if you compare the PRS stuff to Godin, or the other brands you mentioned, they would be a much higher level instrument... compared to a well made guitar by a small shop builder? They're dog-meat... Look around and play a bunch of other s' work if you want to discover what a REALLY fine acoustic guitar can be like... it'll take some effort and time to actually get the feel for them, but you'll get it.

Now, whenever you "plug an acoustic guitar in", all of a sudden all the parameters get reset and shifted... you are no longer hearing that guitar; you're hearing the pickup system, your technical ability to adapt to that pickup system, the strengths and weaknesses of your signal chain and amplification... all important stuff to someone who's playing a gig with an acoustic, to be sure... but don't get confused about "what" you're hearing... it ain't the guitar!
so a $600 import doesn't stack up to a boutique build for 5-10x the cost? Imagine that.
 




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