PRS....why an S2 over an SE?

Discussion in 'Guitars in General' started by rauchman, Nov 14, 2018.

  1. Jacobite_Rebellion

    Jacobite_Rebellion Member

    Feb 19, 2017
    Also, perhaps, knowing that you're supporting American workers.
  2. Jugghaid

    Jugghaid Member

    Dec 7, 2016
    Denver Colorado
    I have had SE's, S2's and Core models.

    The S2 is definitely a step up from the SE, but the SE line, in their own right, are terrific guitars. I have yet to play a PRS I didn't like. From a $400 Se Tremonti that I bought years ago to the S2 Studio and Core Tremonti I bought this year.

    this is the S2 that really got me to fall in love with that line:

    grausch, jetydosa, IAO and 1 other person like this.
  3. Baba

    Baba Supporting Member

    Dec 23, 2002
    Marlton, NJ
    The very few S2's i've played in a store seemed a little "better" than an SE, but not worth the jump in price, to me. Again, limited experience though.

    I'd rather have my Tremonti SE or a Zach Myers over the S2's I've seen/played, anyday.
  4. Jarick

    Jarick Supporting Member

    Jan 25, 2006
    Saint Paul, MN
    I had two SE's which were gateways for me. Now I have an S2 and a CE.

    SE's are great guitars for the money. Build quality for an import is great, features are great, very consistent. You could grab one off the shelf, maybe a little tweaking or setup work needed, but I'd take one over a lot of other options.

    The S2 guitars to me are just a little better in almost every way. Locking tuners with brass posts, Core nut, better fretwork (SE frets feel small to me), known quality wood (SE's are a bit of a mystery), solid maple tops, better pots/switches, better jack, Core knobs (those are pricey). And it's an American made guitar in the same factory as the $4k models.
  5. Garrett Bagby

    Garrett Bagby Member

    Nov 8, 2003
    Pickups, electronics, and the tremolo are equal. Aside from that, every single aspect of the S2 is superior to the SE. Well, I guess the inlays are debatable: shiny shell-esque plastic on SE vs. plain white plastic on S2.

    If you don't like the satin finishes, no problem. They make everything in gloss as well.
  6. Telechamp

    Telechamp Member

    Dec 3, 2009
    Tampa Bay
    I've got a 2014 S2 Custom 22, but the stock pups were swapped out to Duncans by the previous owner, so I can't comment on the original pickups - but the Duncan JB/Jazz set in mine are stellar in this guitar.

    Coil splits - they do deliver on the single-coil Strat-like tones. (Especially in the middle position.)

    Pattern Regular neck - slightly chunky, very comfy. Nice dark rosewood board.

    Great trem - nice and smooth. I've got it set up to float.

    Locking PRS tuners - they hold tune great and it's easy and fast to change strings.

    Mine's a nice weight - 7 lb 4 oz

    All in all, a fantastic guitar. Really happy with it.



  7. guitarman3001

    guitarman3001 Member

    Apr 6, 2009
    I've read a few posts saying that the S2s have coil splits and the SEs don't. Both of my SEs have coil splits.
    68reissue likes this.
  8. bobcs71

    bobcs71 Member

    Sep 12, 2008
    Anderson, SC
    IME PRS voices pickups for a Marshall circuit. Mesa amps match great too. I’m a fender amp guy & have had great results by swapping pickups in my S2 & core.
    rauchman likes this.
  9. myke232

    myke232 Member

    Oct 18, 2011
    Yeah but I just mean build quality between the satin S2's and the higher end ones; someone posted that there's a difference...
  10. 68reissue

    68reissue Member

    May 30, 2007
    I wanted to reiterate this. My SE Custom 24s, which have the 85/15S, are quite bright and well defined sounding. In fact, they’re the first humbucker equipped guitars I’ve been entirely pleased with. I love the bright and snappy tone.
    rauchman likes this.
  11. PaisleyWookie

    PaisleyWookie Member

    Feb 27, 2015
    Travel A LOT!
    There isn't. The build quality is the same, it's just the finish that's different. Anyone who says otherwise doesn't know what they're talking about. I've played dozens of Satins, regular, Custom, Core, SE, etc. The S2 Satins are a great value.
    myke232 and sedawkgrep like this.
  12. fr8_trane

    fr8_trane Supporting Member

    Jan 20, 2005
    Different strokes I guess. My S2 satin single cut is one of the nicest playing necks I've ever felt. I LOVE the satin nitro finish over unfilled grain. Prior to buying it I tried a Couple SE's at the store. I didnt like the SE neck contour or the poly finish at all. I also don't like the bird inlays.

    I like that the S2 satin wood, bridge, frets, and nut are all PRS USA stock and that the guitar is assembled and setup in Maryland.

    My S2 was dark sounding out of the box. I swapped the pickups for PAF masters and... problem solved.
    Last edited: Nov 14, 2018
    rauchman and sedawkgrep like this.
  13. Mr Fingers

    Mr Fingers Member

    May 14, 2017
    The more expensive ones are better... if money is no object. The USA-built models are better in terms of materials and build. Personally, I dislike sating guitars, period, though they are a labor and money-saving build that increases maker profits.
  14. Russ73

    Russ73 Member

    Aug 3, 2014
    OP like a few other on here I have SEs Cores and S2s, the S2 Satin Standard 22 gets the most action, fantastic guitar all around for under a grand, the SEs are cool to bang around with and are great but there is a difference in the S2, its just simply a better quality and better playing guitar, the strings bend easier, they sound better, better frets, nut and are solid....but this is my opinion since owning 3 S2s since 2014, still have them, others here will disagree after playing one for 2 minutes as GC...
    rauchman likes this.
  15. gtrdave

    gtrdave Member

    Jan 18, 2012
    The Small Wonder
    As others have probably said, the S2s are built in Maryland next to the Core and custom shop/reserve models. They have a leg up on quality of materials overall. Yes, some do share pickups with the SE line, but for me the locking tuners make them worth the extra few dollars that they cost over the SEs.
    That said, PRS SE guitars are great import instruments. Maybe some of the best out there.

    When I bought my S2 Standard 24, I was not shopping for that particular guitar. I had actually been looking at some SE models, including the SE Custom 24 Floyd Rose that the store had in stock. I played it for a while and was impressed.
    Then I picked up the S2 Standard 24 matte and was blown away. To me, the neck feel was the selling point. It felt smooth and fast and wonderful compared to the SE. The sound was a little more defined on the S2, too. A little more note articulation and sustain.
    Understand, the SE was not a bad guitar...and it was a beautiful guitar...but to me the S2 was better and only cost less than $100 more (sale + coupon).

    In regards to them sounding "dark", I don't think that's a thing with them. I know my Vela is anything but dark. It's like a Tele meets a Gretsch and very open and bright.
    rauchman likes this.
  16. RolandKorg

    RolandKorg Member

    Feb 8, 2016
    Los Angeles
    Before trying an S2, i had read here that they were 'no better than the SEs.' I went out looking for a 'les paul alternative,' and tried the SE range including the Tremonti, and a single cut S2. I definitely thought the S2 felt like a
    'more quality' instrument, and i liked the neck much more. Something about the glossy, hard finishes of the SEs made them feel very solid, but less 'like wood' to me. Something like that, i dunno. I came away thinking i no longer had any interest an an SE, but definitely wanted an S2. This was based only on feel, though. Not tone/pickups.
  17. el capitan

    el capitan Member

    May 31, 2017
    the land of ice and snow
    I’ve got a close friend who is a SERIOUS gear snob. He’s got a beautiful LP standard, a 335 figured, SG, SG bass, a couple American Strats, a AmDeluxe tele, a high end Taylor, a Gibson acoustic, I could go on.

    Until I got a PRS SE Zach Myers, he was generally prejudiced against Asian-made guitars. Now he owns a ZM too and loves it!

    He now also admits my Squier CV Tele deluxe is the bomb .. so he went and got that American Deluxe.
    Roe and rauchman like this.
  18. exactopposite

    exactopposite Member

    Oct 5, 2010
    I have a 2017 SE Custom 24 and it is definitely not dark. The maple neck makes it very snappy. The cliche Telecaster on steroids comes to mind. I also have a 2001 Santana SE with a set of Dimarzio 36th Anniversary pickups and its not dark either.

    I haven't played any of the S2 models.
    rauchman likes this.
  19. ucnick

    ucnick Supporting Member

    Dec 4, 2008
    East Bay Area CA
    Today was a NGD for me, an S2 Standard 22 in Alpine white I bought on Reverb arrived. It is a 2018 (mfg date says 9/24/18), it's a one-off with birds and covered 85/15s. I have a CE-24 with 85/15s and I love 'em. Clear and sort of hi-fi, they don't get muddy, which I really like when playing with some gain, the bottom stays nice and defined.

    I have had an SE245 and a Zach Myers, sold 'em both, I tried but I just didn't get on with them, but boy the S2 feels really good. Nice and resonant acoustically. Light too. Fit and finish are impeccable. Setup looks good, and I like the neck profile. I was chuckling to myself that it is an SG for Strat aficionados (I crack myself up sometimes :crazy), although I'm not a huge Strat fan, I prefer Teles (and my Anderson drop top). Anyway, I can't wait to plug it in after dinner, just to make sure everything works, of course. :D

    It was shipped from Florida and I'm in the SF Bay are in California and it was almost in tune. Amazing. Anyway, it's my Xmas present (to myself) that arrived a month early, the deal was too good to pass up. I have to give it to my wife and I will get it on Xmas. It will be a white Xmas for sure, good buddy!:banana:aok:beer
    rauchman and Chicago Slim like this.
  20. rauchman

    rauchman Member

    Apr 20, 2018
    Northeast NJ
    I really dig the Vela shape. Don't understand why they didn't offer one with a trem.

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