PRS SE Guitars

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by Guitar Josh, Mar 1, 2008.

  1. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    Got the 10% off coupon for GC in the mail (Green Tag sale), and had been interested in these guitars for awhile since I have so many quality humbuckers laying around. After reading some positive reviews on the net, I set out to GC to check out the SE Singlecut.

    Guy brings out two brand new ones from the back. First is a tobacco sunburst. First thing I notice is that the finish is not evenly applied and there are numerous flaws in the finish. The fretboard work is horrible, I could probably do a better job myself. The fretboard itself felt like plastic, and didn't look or feel like wood at all. The guitar had practically no weight to it either, not a good thing.

    I plug it in. No sustain, plays like crap, sounds even worse.

    I grab the other one, a black one. Same finish issues, plays a little better, but not great.

    So I have him bring me out the regular SEs. Same issues, except these guitars feel like I'm playing a plane of pinewood with strings on it.

    I tried the Soapbar II, didn't last 5 minutes in my hand before I cast it away.

    These guitars are AWFUL. Fit and finish are unacceptable. Playability is nill, tone is terrible (through a Fender Vibrolux, an Egnater and the new Marshall JVM).

    For comparison purposes, I picked up a Epi LP and a MIM strat. Fit and finish near perfect, playability in spades, excellent tone. $200 less too. If they can get it right, you'd think PRS can.

    I have owned several PRS guitars in my lifetime, and each has been a work of art. These SEs however, need to go right back to the drawing board.
     
  2. XKnight

    XKnight Member

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    I've played a few PRS SE guitars at GC and found them to be better than most MIM Standard Fenders and much better than the Epis. No surprise that opinions differ substantially.

    That being said, I do own a PRS McCarty and there is no comparison between a USA made PRS and the SE line.
     
  3. Spudman

    Spudman Member

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    I have played over 20 regular PRS guitars and found none of them could woo me. Then I played the SE in the same store and found it to be resonant, lively and a breeze to play. I liked it best of them all. Maybe I just like the Korean necks or something but that particular guitar was well done.
     
  4. bilbal

    bilbal Member

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    Funny. I have owned numerous PRSi - most of them being McCartys. Though I loved all of them, I must say that I enjoy playing my buddy's SE and find it similar to the way Spudman has. The neck is very good and the guitar is very much worth it's price tag and more IMO. They (SEs) are miles better than MIM Strats, Epi's and others at it's price point IMO - there is no comparison frankly. I would not hesitate to buy a PRS SE or the other less expensive models. I think they are great guitars for someone that wants the quality of a higher priced guitar without the cost. I also think that many more people would buy them if they didn't have the 'SE' on the headstock.
     
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  5. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    I have yet to play a bad one...Probably my next inexpensive guitar purchase will be one of the se's. I have an se eg (sss) that is a blast to play, and sounds killer!:RoCkIn
     
  6. dave s

    dave s Member

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    Wow! The quality must have really dropped off since the initial release of the guitar. I'm trying to remember ... my son's SE Single Cut (first year) must be a 2004 model? His guitar is of usual PRS quality at any price point.

    Things must be slipping on the SE line. Again, my son's SE is a real gem.

    dave
     
  7. johnnybrulez

    johnnybrulez Member

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    I agree. Maybe they're not 'absolute garbage' but they sure weren't anything like Maryland made PRS. Sure they're cheap and what not. But for a little more you can get something much better.

    If you want a good deal on a guitar. Dean Guitar imports are better IMO. And some USA Deans aren't that much more expensive and will kill those PRS SE guitars.
     
  8. Samba

    Samba Member

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    +1

    I've found the quality to be quite variable on the SEs. To be frank though, I wonder why anybody would drop 600 bucks on a new SE when you can find used CEs for under a grand. Sure, they might have the odd bruise, but the CE is a quality instrument that one could own and enjoy for a lifetime. Made of the same quality timber, on the same CNC machines, with the attention to detail of some of the most expensive production guitars in the world. A no-brainer...
     
  9. NortheastHick

    NortheastHick Supporting Member

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    got mine for $240 brand new...gigbag was worth half that much.
     
  10. jbb

    jbb Supporting Member

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    I have owned two, both single cuts. One humbucker & an early p-90 model. Both were light weight, played great, rang like a bell unpluged. They have my favorite production neck. The only thing I didn't like was the pickups but I don't like the higher end PRS pickups either.
     
  11. utterhack

    utterhack Member

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  12. Wally1

    Wally1 Member

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    I'm really surprised to hear your experience with the SE line. I currenty own 3 USA PRS SC's and have owned over a dozen USA PRS guitars. I've also had 4 SE's since they came out. All of the SE's I've owned have been fantastic guitars for the $ with flawless finish and fretwork. I currently have a SE one that smokes.....Some of the best fretwork and attention to detail out of all the guitars I own.
     
  13. bynt

    bynt Member

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    I dare say I wonder if GC has anything to do with it. I'm going to sound like a conspiritist but dammit I swear sometimes that GC gets knockoffs or something.

    The store where I give lessons sells these and I've yet to see a bad one come in (wasn't crazy about the soapbar) and I recommend them but after what was posted about used CE's I may have to ammend that to students.

    I do agree with the OP though that the fretboards seem to be made of something other than wood. Just weird feeling. Not bad, just weird.
     
  14. KCWM

    KCWM Member

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    I've owned a Santana SE that was pretty nice. It was definitely not a heavy guitar, but I experienced none of the issues you did. I'm not saying that you didn't have a bad experience, but I find it hard to believe that EVERY SE model you tried was absolute crap. But, you seem like a pretty level headed guy Josh, so I'm not really sure what else to say.

    I often grab an SE over any Epiphone Les Paul or Gibson Faded Les Paul/SG when I want to try out a humbucker equipped guitar at Guitar Center. I've yet to find a bad one. Some of them seem to have a slight contour to the body rather than just being a flat slab. I think they look pretty good, as I like the double cutaway look of a PRS more than I do that of a Les Paul.

    Bynt, while I've seen CEs at right around a grand, used at Guitar Center, I've yet to see any that I recall coming across my local Craigslist or at the other GCs in my area. So, while you might suggest looking into it, depending on your local used market, it could be a while before they see a CE for under a grand.
     
  15. johnnybrulez

    johnnybrulez Member

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    I plus 1 your plus 1. My used 93 CE was 750 bucks. :) Deal of a life time.
     
  16. aleclee

    aleclee TGP Tech Wrangler Staff Member

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    I remember when the first Santana SEs came out, they had some stellar instruments. I owned a Tremonti SE and it was a nice instrument for the $$$. When I checked out an SE Custom a couple years ago, I was completely underwhelmed. It didn't stay in tune, the pickups weren't balanced and the bridge saddles looked like they were made from pot metal.

    If that Custom was any indication, I'd definitely take my $400 '06 MIM Tele over a current SE any day.
     
  17. Samba

    Samba Member

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    I guess that's one of the great things about Leo's original designs- they are inherently cheap and simple things to construct, and thus the Mexi fenders are much closer (in quality and appearance) to their more expensive brethren than the SE series is when compared with Maryland built axes.


    Edit:

    <rant>
    Why American buyers show interest in imports over guitars like this (recent model Hamer USA listed on TGP for $800 that got little interest) is beyond me! Real Honduras mahogany, perfect attention to detail, and only a few hundred more than a "fast food" guitar.

    [​IMG]
     
  18. Hipster Dofus

    Hipster Dofus Member

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    I paid $750 for my 92' CE back in '93..... I played the Fork out of that one for 8 years. Well worth 2x as much, IMVHO
     
  19. maccampbells

    maccampbells Member

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    I've got a 3 year old SE EG with a stop tail. It's my only guit. Got it for $300 from Elderly. Went to 10-52's, had a tech set it up (nut job), plays awesome and will stay in tune until the strings get old. IN fact the biggest tuning problem is that the tuning keys get hit taking it inand out of the gig bag. Case on the way. Bargain.
     
  20. Guitar Josh

    Guitar Josh Resident Curmudgeon Silver Supporting Member

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    I appreciate the comment. I did play SIX of them, various models from SC, Soapbar, and the regular SE style. Of all them I'd say there was one regular SE that I thought was the best of all six, but I just couldn't get into the look of it (that "transblack" doesn't do anything for me, and I LOVE Black guitars).

    There's something very strange about the neckwork on these guitars. There doesn't seem to be a proper distinction between the neck wood and the fretboard. The wood doesn't "feel" or look right, and was "slippery" for lack of a better word.

    I went in intending to buy one, but could not justify it over a comparable MIM strat or Epi LP.
     

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