Well today I found a store that carried new Epis and to my surprise PRS SE's. They also had very sweet PRS and Gibson LPs, I dont care what you say a real Gibby LP is a beautiful axe to play, hear and see. Im looking for a LP type mahognay set neck for $500 or less so I limit my review to that criteria. I played them all unplugged b/c pups are subjective and would be changed on any of these guitars. On to my impressions....

Epi LP Standard - $379 they had black and cherry sunburst ($450) which looked good flamed top. I was wary of ordering one from MF b/c its made in China, but I was wrong its fit and finish was just as nice as Korean made guitars and much better in build quality and materials than Stagg, OLP and other Chinese guitars. The neck was a pleasant surprise its just like a Gibson LP 60s slim taper neck and as thin or thinner than an LTD EC1000, with jumbo frets and was set up nicely without buzz. Its much lighter than a real LP b/c of the alder and much lighter than my USA Hamer doublecut. So it has a brighter more midrangy tone as did all 4 guitars I tried. Bottom line if the real LP shape is important with a slim comfortable neck its hard to beat the Epi and makes it hard to justify spending $800 for an LTD EC1000. But rather than buy a standard I would get the Epi Classic Quilt Top from MF for $379 on sale now, you get a better finish for your same $379.

Epi LP Zakk Wylde bullseye - $799 this one is made in Korea not China but didnt feel much heavier than the Chinese Standard and was way lighter than a real LP with same brighter/midrangy tonal quality as the Epi Standard. Its all mahogany with maple top and maple neck so I dont know why its not any heavier than an Epi std. The satin finished neck was smooth with jumbo fretwire but was noticeably thicker like a 50s style LP neck which was a dissapointment. Fit/finish was good but is overpriced and neck to fat to be considered.

PRS SE Custom - $499 A very nice looking guitar in grey black flame top, cherry sunburst good looking as well. The flat top wasnt as nice as the others but acceptable. It was trem version but no bar installed but looked like a solid fulcrum trem. Same wieght as an Epi LP standard, much lighter than a real LP with the same bright/midrangy characteristic as the Epi std. Sadly the wide/fat neck carve is just that, wide and fat, just as fat as the LP 50s neck on the Zakk model above but with smaller, thinner (medium) fretwire which I dont mind but some might. Also 22nd fret access was almost as impared as a LP shape b/c the cutout area in front of the small lower horn left my pinky cramped for space so its no real benefit over a LP shape.

PRS Tremonit SE - $499 Nice shape with a bit better 22nd fret access than a LP b/c of the angled neck to body joint. Its thinner than an Epi LP but all mahogany so its just as heavy as the Epi std but much lighter than a real LP. Again this lends itself to a brighter/midrangy tone like all of the above vs. a real LP. BUT the neck has a very nice carve just slightly thinner than the Epi Standard 60s slim taper neck with jumbo fretwire unlike the PRS SE Custom, which was a pleasant and welcomed surprise. the thin neck is worlds better than the SE Custom to me. The non adjustable for intonation tailpiece/bridge felt ok and it seemed to be intonated correctly. I would take this one over an LTD EC1000 just for the neck but wish it came in more colors than black and silver, thats its only downside to me, I want a flamed or quilted top.

So bottom line is for a great thin neck the Tremonti SE followed by the Epi LP Std or quilt top (and I would assume plain top but havent felt one) are better choices than a PRS SE Standard or Custom. Hope this helps b/c I just assumed all PRS SE's had the same wide fat neck carve until I actually played them as I have read nothing from vendors that tells you they are different. I would have to assume the PRS SE Singlecut gets the same thicker wide fat neck carve as the Custom as its not a signature model like the Tremonti, which is a shame b/c I would like the flame top finish of the singlecut with a Tremonti neck. IMO for the money, $500 or less, the best deal is an Epi LP std, quilt, or plain top with a pup swap.

All 4 guitars had the same level of quality in the fit and finish dept. Chinese or Korean I wouldnt be able to tell the difference if it wasnt stamped on the back, so good job Epi with the Chinese labor.
Last edited by CustomCustom at Aug 6, 2006,
I still think you should get an RG

BTW, ive got some new rhythym tracks for a metal song, we need to get back to recording again. Get on msn so we can talk,.
Jackson SL3 Soloist
89' Ibanez RG570
Vader 4x12 Cabinet
Line 6 HD147 Head
6space HEAD/RACK case
Korg DTR1000 Rack Tuner
Furman Power Conditioner
ISP Decimator