SE 245 review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.9 (51 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE 245

Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 10
I play a lot of different music. Some of my favorite bands are CKY, Dream Theater, and Children Of Bodom. I also listen to a lot of Paul Gilbert, Journey, John Mayer, Foo Fighters, etc. I think it would do most of these very well. This guitar is mahogany, much like the Les Pauls. Its got a really huge sound, and it's got a bit of weight to it. It's definitely not the lightest guitar I've ever played. The pickups on this thing are great. They aren't EMG's by any stretch, but I could play all types of metal on these pickups. I just compensate on my Maxon OD9 for a gain increase. I'm playing this guitar through a Mesa Boogie F100 with a Maxon OD9 and MXR Carbon Copy.

Overall Impression — 9
As I said earlier, I play a bit of everything. It would fit most anything that didn't require a single coil type of sound. I wish it did have coil tapping though. Maybe some of the higher end models have that. But I have guitars with that option on it, so missing the coil tap isn't going to hinder anything one bit. It would just be a convenience thing for live situations. I love how fat the sound of this guitar is. It's definitely Les Paul-esque. I love the single cut look. I've always wanted to own a PRS Single Cut, but wasn't aware they made more affordable versions until recently. It's not the fanciest guitar out there, but its a solid guitar and perfect for what I wanted.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar seems very solid. I tuned it a couple times after I changed strings on it because I didn't stretch out the strings before hand, but after they settled, I haven't had to tune it. I bought another DiMarzio Clip Lock strap, so I don't have the original strap button on it. I would never gig without a back up. Too much can go wrong, no matter how good your guitar is. But I could see myself playing an entire 1.5hr set with this guitar without changing.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
I didn't have to make any adjustments to this guitar. I didn't have to adjust the pickups, action or intonation. As far as everything else goes, no problems at all. I can't really imagine that a 2000+ PRS is THAT much better than this guitar. But I've never played one so I can't say for sure. The ONLY thing I did have to do was change the strings on it when I got home. It came with 9's on it. And all PRS guitars come with 10's standard except the SE series. I bought this guitar mainly for a CGCFAD tuning, so it was necessary to change the stock 9's to 10's. The only thing that seems kind of cheap about this guitar are the tuners. I've read that several people changed theirs out on the SE Single Cut version of this guitar. So maybe that'll be an option one day down the road, but not any time soon.

Features — 8
First I should say, I got this guitar during a sale. I received 12% off the original price of $619.00. Just to clarify - and the original price did NOT include a gig bag like some other retailers advertise. On to the review! This is a new model for PRS for 2012. I got mine in black. It also comes in a Tobacco Burst and a transparent red finish. I bought the black by choice. They had the others available. The SE series are the imported guitars in the PRS line which are made in Korea. It is the newer model of their PRS SE Single Cut. The main difference between the two I have found is that each pickup has their own independent volume and tone, which is something I really wanted, which is why I went for this one instead of the older model. Specs: - Body Wood: Mahogany (maple veneer top for transparent finishes. Solid finishes to not have the veneer) - Set: Neck - Number of Frets: 22 - Scale Length: 24 1/2" - Neck Wood: Mahogany - Fretboard Wood: Rosewood - Neck Shape: Wide Fat - Fretboard: Bird Inlays - Bridge: PRS Designed Stoptail - Tuners: PRS Designed Tuners - Hardware Type: Nickel - Treble Pickup: PRS Designed SE 245 Treble Humbucker - Bass Pickup: PRS Designed SE 245 Bass Humbucker - Pickup Switching: Volume and Tone Control For Each Pickup and 3-Way Toggle Pickup Selector On Upper Bout As the name implies - this guitar has a 24.5 inch scale length. Slightly shorter than the average guitar - but I haven't noticed the playability to be any different than my other standard length guitars. It's got a pretty fat neck on it. I've grown to like the "baseball bat" type necks as of late. I just purchased an Epiphone Les Paul Custom Pro last week - and the neck on this SE 245 guitar is just as thick as the Epiphone. It's a pretty bare bones guitar though. Nothing extra on it as you can see from the specs. But I've been through the phase of buying fancy feature-ridden guitars. I'm definitely more in the realm of basic guitars now. So for me, its perfect. I'm giving it an 8 just because when it comes down to it, no matter how much I like it - its just a basic guitar. I do wish it had coil tapping though.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Nice guitar !!!! You should have gotten the gig bag for free, that is how they are sold everywhere, if you didnt theyre ripping you off.
    I just bought a black one, came with a nice gig bag. I played it next to a PRS 20th anniv. singlecut. The high end singlecut felt a little looser since it was 7 years old, nice and broken in. It had #6 pickups which sounded amazing through a 6505+ and v30's. This SE model felt like a newer version with thinner pickups. The pickups aren't as hot as I would like and lack some real note definition on open chords. I ordered a Duncan sh-11 and a 59' before I bought this SE model. I bought this to do alternate tunings with also. Haven't gotten to mess with tunings yet. I mostly plan on using it for covers in standard tuning. I grew up on jacksons and ibanez. I have no problem ripping sick ass on this baseball bat of a neck, but I'm also 6'6" and have gotten used to thick necks since my other guitar is a Washburn Dime 333. So far I love this PRS se 245 after the pickup swap.
    Beautiful guitar. Probably not the best guitar to buy for alternate tunings, since the tailpiece won't let you adjust each string separately. Frankly, that tailpiece has no business on a quality guitar. I'd like to see how well you got the C and G intonated.
    I recently got one of these. All I can say is I want another one. Wish it had a satin finished neck, but other than that, it's perfect. Zero defects, wonderful sound, just a really well put together guitar at a fantastic price. Wish I didn't have to resort to comparison with more expensive guitars, but I played high end Gibsons and Fenders at Guitar Center, and to be honest, they didn't come close to the fit and finish, not to mention the sound of the PRS SE. The sound is subjective, the fit and finish is not. Yeah, it's got a urethane finish, but I prefer that over nitro. I'm one of those who doesn't believe the finish makes much difference in the tone of an electric guitar. Maybe long ago, when the pickups were much more microphonic, but not today. Either way, I've got most of my bases covered on guitars...PRS (HH), Agile 3200 (Active JH HH), Gretsch (Filter'Tron), Peavey (P90), LTD (SD HH), not to mention acoustics. But I think any future purchases will have PRS on the headstock (and probably SE, since I'm po' as hell). Fantastic guitars, even better considering the price.
    I just bought one & for the money $569 CAD it was hard to beat. Even the Epiphone LPs are for the most part more expensive than this. It won't replaced my RIs but it will give me a very LP like guitar for a fraction of the price.
    CkY freak
    I agree it should have came with one. I talked to 3 sales people and none of them mentioned it, and the tag didnt mention anything about it either. I bought a hardshell with it anyway. So I wouldnt have used the gig bag anyway. As far as intonation goes - I agree the bridge should be better. I have never seen a not so adjustable tail piece before. I suppose I can change that out one day. I havent really focused on the intonation a whole lot, but I havent heard any major difference yet. ONE THING I FORGOT TO MENTION IN MY REVIEW - I did have to file out the nut to compensate for the larger gauge strings. Specifically the A and D string slots, everything else was fine. But the nut appears to be a cheap plastic material, Im trying to figure out what size replacement to buy. Can anybody help? Musicians friend has Epiphone and strat styles. Not really anything else. Any help would be great!
    Guitar center tried to send me out the door without a gig bag when I purchased this guitar, I made the sales person look it up on their website and they ended up giving me a nice $40 gig bag for free. This guitar rocks!
    Gatecrasher53 wrote: Looks quite similar to the discontinued Tremonti SE...
    This one has a thicker body than the Singlecut SE and the Tremonti SE. I have not compared it to a SC 245 or the high end Tremonti Sig.
    I bought the SE Bernie Marsden which is pretty close to the SE 245 but with a thicker body and even chunkier neck... I prefer the bass response out of the Bernie AND found overall it has better sustain.. still that MAY be specific guitar related but overall the quality on these PRS guitars is astounding for the price... with my Strat I have to continually mod, tune and intonate it.. with the PRS I just tuned, plugged and started playing... After 6 weeks I have had to tighten the truss a little for a bow which developed but as I take it from a hot apartment 78 degrees into the freezing cold NY air and then the humidity of the Hamptons it should be expected to see some neck bow or hump.... Overall, both models are great for the blues and Gary Moore type stuff
    My dream guitar. Unfortunately there are no PRS factory on Brazil, and they put lots of taxes when you buy something from other countries, who knows... may someday I can buy one