PRS SE Soapbar II - Impressions

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by lanesmat, Jul 8, 2005.

  1. lanesmat

    lanesmat Member

    Apr 16, 2005
    Maryville, TN
    My 16 year old son saved some dough and wanted to upgrade his Squire Strat. The typical teenager rocker wannabe, he was wanting to go the humbucker/LP/SG route. He had two bills, and I thought I would throw in some help for an axe that wouldn't limit him as he got better.

    He played a bunch of Epi LPs and SGs in the $400 range, which both of us found to be average at best. Nothing spoke to him, if you know what I mean. Went to Fat Sounds and played the new PRS SE Soapbar II.

    I was very impressed. Wrap around bridge, twin soapbars, high quality fretwork, a soft v set neck (!), flawless finish, good intonation, all pickup combinations sound good, and the best part - you can hear the mahogany! All this plus a decent PRS gig bag for $419.

    Even to my son's youthful ears, he could hear the wood. It reminds me of a cross between a melody maker and a SG with P90s. Although I'm a Strat guy, I would gig with this guitar with no mods, no hesitation. Heck I'm envious!

    One caveat: They had two identical SE Soapbar gits to pick from, and one of them had a little excess glue in the neck joint and was noticably heavier. They both had great necks and sounded similar, but as with most low end gits, its best to check them out personally.

    Do you remember a time when a guitar "spoke" to you and you had to have it. What a blessing to have it happen to someone you love and see it happen before your eyes. It was a big step for him to becoming a "musician" - hearing tone and making a decision with his ears and hands as opposed to what rock stars are playing. Is there a message in there somewhere?

    Scott L.
  2. dave s

    dave s Member

    Apr 24, 2003
    NE Ohio

    My son's Squier strat was upgraded last Xmas to one of the 'lawsuit' original single-cut Soapbar SE models. Huge difference!

    My son's PRS has the wide-fat neck which fits his pie pan sized hands much better than his Squier strat. Huge difference in build quality, sound, playability, fit, finish. No contest.

    Great score for both our sons! Plus, mine came 2nd hand from a guy who played the guitar two or three times. $375 shipped with gig bag!

  3. cvansickle

    cvansickle Supporting Member

    Oct 7, 2004
    Atlanta, GA USA
    I played a singlecut model a few weeks back, and thought it was crap. Last weekend, I played the newer version at Guitarget - VAST improvement! Yeah, it's a guitar that I could use. Lots of volume and tone from the P90s. My only complaint is that it's a little light in weight for my tastes. But otherwise, probably one of the best Asian imports I've seen and heard in a long time.
  4. Garrett Bagby

    Garrett Bagby Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    SE Soapbar II's rawk! Top of my GAS list!:dude
  5. Mike Dresch

    Mike Dresch Member

    Nov 2, 2003
    Sioux Falls, SD
    The Soapbar II's are great guitars. I thought about it long and hard before I picked up the Soapbar SE instead (singlecut). I just really dug the singlecut version and got a better price on it. Otherwise I probably would have gotten a II instead (maybe still will someday).
  6. straightblues

    straightblues Member

    Jul 8, 2005
    The LBC
    They are good guitars. You could also look at the P90 offerings from

    I would also look into a Hamer USA Special. You can sometimes buy them used in that price range. They are much much better guitar than the PRS Soapbar.
  7. TattooedCarrot

    TattooedCarrot Supporting Member

    Nov 6, 2003
    It's the best playing/feeling import I've owned (and I've owned quite a few). I didn't actually care for the more compressed modern, almost humbucker-like tone I felt I was getting from the P90's (very unlike my Gibson P90 gutiars) so I added EMG's to mine. Right now it has P85's, which are just EMG 85 humbuckers in a P90 sized EMG housing. But I have on order a custom shop Steve Lukather SLV single coil built into the same P90 housing that's going into the neck spot. It's a great guitar all the way around.

  8. Ron K

    Ron K Member

    Jul 12, 2002
    Great story Scott. My Little Guy is approaching his second birthday, so I'll look forward to having that same experience someday.
  9. CS'56

    CS'56 Member

    Jan 28, 2002
    I love my Soapbar II! Fantastic guitar. I ordered mine expecting it would need a pup swap. To my surprise the stock pups sound great! Mine is vintage cherry. I swapped the black knobs for amber and installed cream pup covers with a cream switch tip. Big improvement in looks.

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