#1
I will be buying my first electric guitar soon. I'm mainly a keyboard player but I've taken up guitar and have been playing pretty incessantly for about the last 8 months on an acoustic and it's time to move on from that. I play mosly classic rock and blues rock but but like to mess around with a bit of everything.
I've been looking at the Agile AL-2000's and the PRS SE line. Rondo has some of the Agiles on sale for $160 and there seem to be plenty of used PRS SE's for under 300. I was just wondering if anyone had played both of them and could make a solid comparison of the two. I've played a couple SE's and they've felt great but all of the rave reviews about Agile's have me pretty tempted. Thanks in advance.
#2
I can't vouh for the qualit of Agile, but from what I hear they're hit and miss.

That being said, I 100% back the SE line. Mine was a fantastic instrument. If I didn't get offered a Tele for it I'd still have it. It can cover a lot of styles really well, rock and blues especially. The humbuckers are actually quite nice in it, they can always be swapped out later, but I never felt the need to do so. The SE line are great instruments for their price point, if you can find a used one you like snag it up. I particularly like the Santana model.

Also if you aren't in the US there's a markup on Aglies and I believe there's no return policy as well.

I'll let someone else chime in on Agiles. But I hear they're hit and miss, but if you're in the US there's a good return policy.
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#3
Get the SE, can't miss on it. Nothing against the Agiles, but if you can snag a good used SE, go for it. It will do what you need it to do. Also, get a good amp. Nothing makes my baby Jesus cry like playing through an amp that limits my guitar.
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#4
Thanks guys. I really appreciate your help. Honestly I kind of figured that might be the answer but I had yet to find someplace comparing those two. I've been looking at the used SE's at guitar center online and there are a couple at a local guitar shop. Is buying used from GC online generally reliable?
#5
SE... no doubt. PRS quality shows through even in their imported guitars.

I would check my local Craigslist... there are always SEs for sale at good prices.
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#6
It will be much easier to try a PRS SE than an Agile before you buy.
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#7
As you can see, most have never played an Agile. The SEs show up at Guitar Center, so most folks have at least seen one.

I've played both and currently own three Agiles (and no SEs): an AL-2000, an AL-3100 and a semi-custom neck-through version. Whaddya wanna know?
#8
I briefly played around with some of the SE guitars, and I don't know why but I wasn't impressed. They felt cheap, and they were much too small and thin for my personal tastes. The stop tail piece used on the SE line aren't TOM, they're a sort of weird modified version that looks much cheaper and less stable IMO. I've heard stories of SE guitars not holding their tunings very well.

I know I'm going to take some shit for this because people like PRS, but I've picked new ones off the rack and they sure as hell don't feel like a guitar that should be list-priced at $700. I guess if you find one you like used for around $250, it's probably better than what you can get for $250 from Agile. I realize others have had much different experiences with the SE line, it's all cool.

My own preference in your price range would be for a Classic Vibe, Modern Player or Vintage Modified Telecaster or Strat. On the upper end of your budget are the cheaper Gretsch, Godin and G&L guitars. These three companies generally make quality instruments in all price ranges.
#9
While I am not one of them, there's a lot of people on UG who have tried and liked Agile's abillity to deliver bang for the buck. (I've never even seen one in person.)

However, I have rarely seen it said that they were as good as a PRS.

So, if i were limiting myself to those 2 companies, and budget was the main concern, I'd probably take a hard look at Agile. But if I could afford a PRS, that's what I'd buy. It's the devil I know.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

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Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 22, 2013,
#10
I own the PRS Tremonti Custom SE and 2 Agiles (3000M and 3001) and for me I like the Agiles better, mostly because they are beefier sounding. The PRS is a great guitar, thin neck and is really smooth to play and I do love it. To be noted, my PRS has a maple neck and I find it a little bright sounding, so a different PRS might be more rounded sounding. But for quality, both guitars are amazing. If you could up your budget to an Agile 3000 model, I think you would be happy either way. At that point it comes down to preference for you.
#11
Quote by dannyalcatraz
While I am not one of them, there's a lot of people on UG who have tried and liked Agile's abillity to deliver bang for the buck. (I've never even seen one in person.)

However, I have rarely seen it said that they were as good as a PRS.

So, if i were limiting myself to those 2 companies, and budget was the main concern, I'd probably take a hard look at Agile. But if I could afford a PRS, that's what I'd buy. It's the devil I know.


Okay, here's the deal. It's a tough comparison, since there's only one price point at which the two brands are even remotely comparable, and that's around $700, new.

At that price point, the SE Custom 24 gives you a set-neck mahogany guitar with a veneer top, a rosewood fretboard, plastic inlays, a relatively thin body, one volume, one tone, no binding and a gig bag.

The Agile AL-3200 has neck-through construction (multipiece maple and walnut), a shaved neck heel (very comfortable upper fret access) like the Gibson Axcess, a tummy cut, a solid full-thickness mahogany body with a veneer top, triple binding on body and headstock (most versions) and a bound fretboard. The fretboard is ebony, inlays are real MOP or Abalone. It comes with a Graphtech NVS2 bridge with String Saver saddles, hand filed stainless steel jumbo frets (13.7" radius), a Graphtech nut, Grover tuners, Alnico V pickups, 2V, 2T controls and a very good hard shell case.

There are a couple of choices of neck profile: wide, with a 1 3/4" nut width, standard depth (an extremely comfortable neck), slim, which is a standard 1 11/16" nut width, but the depth of the neck is only 17mm at the first fret and 21mm at the 12th (a shredder's dream) and standard with a 1 11/16th" nut width but sort of a 60's Gibson depth.

In short, this particular model is a LOT more guitar for the money than the PRS, but it's a different guitar. It will be heavier (usually), it will sustain better (usually), the frets will wear much longer and for my money, it plays faster. You can't find anything like this in the Gibson line at any price.

Okay, let's talk about that money. I can afford pretty much whatever I like. I've got at least 50 guitars at this point, with a Variax JTV-89F due the middle of September, and I'm arm-wrestling a deal for a used LP Supreme ($2K region). I have just one PRS (a thick hollowbody that no one seems to know existed) and none of the PRS SEs.

I do, however, have three Agiles -- an AL2000 Floyd, an AL-3100 Floyd and a neck-through custom build (predates the 3200 model) that was around $1160 with case, delivered. I had the frets superglued on all three and they've all been tossed onto Gary Brawer's PLEK machine in San Francisco. All three are amazing players, and the neck-through has supplanted the Gibson Axcess Custom ($4K+) that arrived the same day as the number one for a specific project. I paid under $200 for the AL2000 with case (it was a B stock with finish issues), $200 on the nose for the 3100 (used, no case). If I were offered the PRS SE, new, in exchange for that 3100 (PLEK'd and superglued), I'd turn it down flat.

It's probably unfair to compare a $700 guitar, even used and discounted, to a guitar that's normally $225 new (the standard AL 2000). And yet the specs probably compel that, since both have mahogany bodies and rosewood fretboards and plastic inlays. The truth is, that doesn't speak well for the SE. If I had a choice between a used SE for $300 and a new AL2000 for $225, and knowing full well that I'd probably want to spend another $200 on either for a fret superglue and PLEK to get them where *I* want them, it'd be a close thing, and it would depend on whether I wanted a heavier guitar in the LP mold or a lighter (slightly) guitar with the PRS look. At *that* point it might be a tossup.
#12
Quote by dannyalcatraz
But if I could afford a PRS, that's what I'd buy. It's the devil I know.


For most folks, this is what it comes down to -- they never see an Agile in person and the PRS are hanging on the wall at GC.

If you give that some thought, of course, you may notice that what you're paying for is a healthy layer of profit (around 50% of the selling price) for that availability at GC. You're also paying for PRS corporate profit and a whole LOT of marketing and advertising (when was the last time you saw an ad for an Agile?).

Kurt Zentmaier has a single tin warehouse in New Hampshire somewhere, a website and a presence on eBay. And a whole LOT of word-of-mouth from happy buyers. The factory makes some money and he makes some money.
#13
I want to be perfectly clear: I am willing to venture into the unknown to buy a guitar. This year alone, I bought a Malden Bad Karma and a Fret-King Super 60HB. Neither brand could I try locally.

However, I knew their rep. That was good enough.

With Agile, I know their rep. I know enough about them that i wouldn't feel any qualms about ordering one, if they had one I wanted.

But I know PRS' rep better, AND have played them in person. That level of familiarity means its a no-brainer for me, and I'd probably choose PRS over Agile 9 times out of 10.

Its not about the brand name and the markups, though I'm aware of both. Its about being much more familiar with PRS than with Agile.

In truth, though, there are other guitars I'd buy before either.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
Last edited by dannyalcatraz at Aug 22, 2013,
#14
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I want to be perfectly clear: I am willing to venture into the unknown to buy a guitar. This year alone, I bought a Malden Bad Karma and a Fret-King Super 60HB. Neither brand could I try locally.


All good.

That said, I think the OP is good to go with either brand (his $160-300 budget as a beginner is adequate). It might be more comfortable for him to buy a used PRS SE, since it's something he can see and touch. It might also be easier for him to resell if he's moving up the ladder toward more expensive guitars, and a used one would have most of the "air" let out of the pricing, so he'd be more likely to get most of his money back. I think the only advice I would give would be to take an experienced player with him to help with the selection. When you move from acoustic to electric, you don't want the same action (nor do you play both the same way), so level frets are going to be more of a concern, as is fret buzz and proper nut cutting and proper set up.
#15
Thank you guys so much. It seems like the SE's are generally favored so I'll certainly begin looking at those used. I've played a little bit on a used Santana model at a local shop that has felt great. I think it's going for right at $300 which is a little more than I'm seeing some of them for online but then again, I can go and play it extensively before I buy. I've also looked some at the Squier Classic Vibe line and have heard nothing but great things about them. I played one the other day and didn't think it played quite as well as the SE custom that was also in the store. For those who own Agiles, how comfortable are the necks on them? I would say that's probably the most important aspect to me. I wouldn't want it to be overly chunky but also not a purely shredder neck profile.
#16
Also, is there anything else in that price range (<$300) that y'all would recommend? I'm by no means locked into either of those two. They just stood out to me as I was reading and I was curious about a comparison.
#17
Epiphone Les Paul standard or better for around $300. Maybe an Epiphone sg 400 if you prefer lighter with better fret access. Or mabye the 80s route with a nice used ibanez rg570 or Kramer. I've played all of these guitars, and for the price they are all really nice instruments.

You can't go wrong with a PRS Se. I had a custom 24 se and I loved it. It felt really light and almost toyish to me though. I guess I just like the heavier LP type guitars. They just feel more solid and better constructed, although weight has nothing to do with quality of build. All that being said I've never played an agile, but they look sharp. If I were set on one or the other I'd take a chance with an Agile.

My main guitar however is a US made PRS swamp ash. I haven't played a lot of fancy guitars, but this guitar is by far the best guitar I have ever owned or played. Finding it was like finding a life mate besides my wife. My wife kicks ass for letting me buy it!

Good luck and enjoy the hunt....shopping for a guitar is half the fun.
Last edited by Starcounter1 at Aug 22, 2013,
#18
Quote by JCParker3
Also, is there anything else in that price range (<$300) that y'all would recommend? I'm by no means locked into either of those two. They just stood out to me as I was reading and I was curious about a comparison.

This is worth considering:

Dean Zelinsky Private Label guitars is a new company by an established guitar maker. (I have a Tagliare in my sights.)

3 models- only 2 currently on sale. Deeply discounted introductory rates, available directly from the website. Worldwide shipping $79. I have been told his guitars are also available internationally from places like Thomann.

At one time, there was even a discount code for $100 off if you subscribed to his newsletter. I don't know if he's still doing that promo.

He's also doing a giveaway of a tricked-out Tagliare..."free" is a great price!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#20
Quote by dannyalcatraz
I want to be perfectly clear: I am willing to venture into the unknown to buy a guitar. This year alone, I bought a Malden Bad Karma and a Fret-King Super 60HB. Neither brand could I try locally.

However, I knew their rep. That was good enough.

With Agile, I know their rep. I know enough about them that i wouldn't feel any qualms about ordering one, if they had one I wanted.

But I know PRS' rep better, AND have played them in person. That level of familiarity means its a no-brainer for me, and I'd probably choose PRS over Agile 9 times out of 10.

Its not about the brand name and the markups, though I'm aware of both. Its about being much more familiar with PRS than with Agile.

In truth, though, there are other guitars I'd buy before either.


+1 (and I haven't been that fussed on the PRS SEs I've tried)

there's being willing to try stuff you haven't tried before (which is a good thing) and then there's going out of your way to get the more obscure stuff for no good reason (which can backfire if you're not careful).

I'd also add that most of those agile reviews are probably done in the honeymoon period by people who probably aren't so used to high-end guitars.

Maybe I'm being too hard on them, maybe they are great. I dunno.

I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#21
I've seen too much Agile love on UG to think there isn't at least SOME substance to the tales of their quality. I don't hear that kind of appreciation about many other makers on the lower end of the market.
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!
#22
Oh yeah I mean I'm not saying they're crap or anything like that, but when things are cheap expectations are lowered and it often changes from "good for the money" to "good" for no good reason
I'm an idiot and I accidentally clicked the "Remove all subscriptions" button. If it seems like I'm ignoring you, I'm not, I'm just no longer subscribed to the thread. If you quote me or do the @user thing at me, hopefully it'll notify me through my notifications and I'll get back to you.
Quote by K33nbl4d3
I'll have to put the Classic T models on my to-try list. Shame the finish options there are Anachronism Gold, Nuclear Waste and Aged Clown, because in principle the plaintop is right up my alley.

Quote by K33nbl4d3
Presumably because the CCF (Combined Corksniffing Forces) of MLP and Gibson forums would rise up against them, plunging the land into war.

Quote by T00DEEPBLUE
Et tu, br00tz?
#23
Yeah, I entered in that Zelinsky giveaway. I certainly wouldn't mind something for free One thing that might even be an option is to go ahead and get the agile and play it and if I don't like it use Rondo's return policy and I'm only out the $17 that it would cost to ship to TN.

...although if that happens I'll probably be way too excited about a new guitar to actually return it.
#24
Quote by JCParker3
For those who own Agiles, how comfortable are the necks on them? I would say that's probably the most important aspect to me. I wouldn't want it to be overly chunky but also not a purely shredder neck profile.


its going to be in the ball park of an epiphone/gibson. if you like those necks you will be fine with the Agile. Thats for the standard neck, they also offer wide and thin options on necks.
#25
Thanks guys. I think I'm going to go with the SE unless something else jumps out at me over the next few weeks. I played a custom 24 earlier today and the neck felt fantastic.
#26
Bought an SE 24 and I dont regret it one bit. Most versatile guitar I've ever owned.
"Any statement beginning with the words 'In truth' is almost always a lie."

The Legion
#27
Quote by JCParker3
Thanks guys. I think I'm going to go with the SE unless something else jumps out at me over the next few weeks. I played a custom 24 earlier today and the neck felt fantastic.

Great- now don't forget to take a lot of pix for your pending NGD!
Sturgeon's 2nd Law, a.k.a. Sturgeon's Revelation: “Ninety percent of everything is crap.”

Why, yes, I am a lawyer- thanks for asking!

Log off and play yer guitar!

Strap on, tune up, rock out!