SE Fredrik Akesson Review

manufacturer: Paul Reed Smith date: 09/26/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: SE Fredrik Akesson
The SE Fredrik Akesson takes the familiar SE 245 formula and adds several upgrades, making it one of the best values in the PRS SE line.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9
 Action, Fit & Finish: 8
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
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review (1) pictures (3) 4 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
SE Fredrik Akesson Reviewed by: andy474x, on september 26, 2012
3 of 3 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 530

Purchased from: GC Boston

Features: The SE Fredrik Akesson takes the familiar SE 245 formula and adds several upgrades, making it one of the best values in the PRS SE line. Mine was made in 2011, purchased in 2012. Like the SE 245, this guitar has a mahogany body with a beveled maple top and figured veneer, SE 245 pickups, 2 volume and 2 tone controls, 3 way selector, PRS non-locking tuners, 22 frets, and a 24.5 inch scale length. The additional perks on this guitar are an ebony fretboard, dark abalone bird inlays, a TonePros fully adjustable bridge with locking studs, a deeper cutaway for upper fret access, and a custom "forntida brun" (antique brown) finish. The PRS spec is for Vintage style silver top bell knobs, but mine came stock with black speed knobs, which I prefer, and I've seen this model new with both. The volume and tone controls are wired in a custom reverse setup, with the volume and tone for the bridge pickup in front and the neck pickup controls in back, which I thought would be awkward to use, but is actually quite handy. The neck profile is wide-fat, and is definitely chunky, but not so much that my smaller hands aren't comfortable. The guitar comes set up with 10's, and the tuners hold the tuning very well. Unfortunately there are no coil taps on this axe, but I'm not sure I would want them - the humbucker tones are fantastic that's all I was after. I do think the guitar would look better with chrome humbucker covers, but in all the features on the SE Akesson are excellent. // 9

Sound: I've been known to play a lot of styles of music, and I would say this guitar is best suited for rock, blues, and jazz. It's not a swiss army knife kind of guitar, it definitely has the "LP" sound. For some reason, the SE 245 wasn't getting the Traditional LP tones I was after, so I had started looking at Epiphone and Gibson, until I stumbled on this model at the shop. Maybe it's the different bridge, but it really nails the sound I was after. I use it mostly with a PRS SE 30 and Egnater Tweaker 40, and it sounds excellent with both. The SE 245 pickups are a low/vintage output, with plenty of punch and fullness in clean tones. Low to moderate overdrive produces the classic hollow/woody sound, which sounds good but can also be limiting depending on what sound you're after. When really saturated, they're smooth and deep, without any harshness from the upper notes. This guitar puts out a lot of bass in its tone, yet the neck pickup isn't woofy in the bass. It's just very warm sounding, with a nice note definition. The bridge pickup is also voiced very nicely, it has plenty of depth, mids, and punch, but doesn't sound nasally. You can play very smooth, warm blues and jazz on this axe, or really fill out your band's sound in a rock setting, and get very meaty lead tones when needed. Overall, a great pick if you want the tone of an LP style guitar, with the quality and reliability of a PRS. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The setup on this guitar was nearly perfect, despite it being a floor model at the shop. I did lower the action a bit and adjust the truss rod, but that was mostly for my preference. The fret ends are perfectly cut and polished, and the intonation on the bridge seems to be spot-on. The top on this guitar is a beautiful quilt top, perfectly matched, and would definitely be a "10 top" on an American PRS. I've not seen a bad top on a SE Fredrik so far. The finish is a bit darker and less in your face than most other PRS finishes, but when combined with the dark abalone birds and ebony board, it really gives this guitar a detailed, classy look that isn't too flashy. The only finish flaw I've found is couple of small clear coat runs at the very edge of the top, but they're so small I'm sure no one but me will ever notice them. The only other flaw is that the bridge pickup vibrates in its mounting at high volumes and feeds back (I can feel it vibrating), so I'm probably going to get in and stabilize it. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I now have 3 of the SE guitars, and it's not just because they look good. I depend on these guitars for almost every gig I play, and have never had an issue with them - I sometimes bring a backup just in case, but have never needed to use it. I expect the same quality from this guitar and so far no problems. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing about 10 years, and have become pretty picky with my requirements for new guitars, and this one delivers. With the additional features, it's incredible that they're being sold for the same price as the SE 245. I don't know very much about Fredrik Akesson or Opeth, I just purchased this one because it's a great guitar. It also doesn't look so much like a signature model that it looks tacky, there are no weird logos or inlays, just Fredrik's name on the headstock. I currently own a Strat and a couple of PRS Customs, and wanted something with a smoother and less bright sound, and this nails it (though I still love the Customs). The LP control setup is a nice change for me, and I love the fact that it came with the TonePros bridge and locking studs, which would have been at least $100 to add to a stock SE 245. Overall, this isn't the most versatile guitar in the SE range, but it sounds great at what it's intended for. Definitely the ticket if you like PRS guitars, but want something a little different from the Customs. // 9

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