SE Custom review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 9
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.8 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (318 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Custom
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Price paid: $ 550

Purchased from: Musicians Friend

Sound — 9
This guitar is pretty diverse. You can crank some pretty good jazzy sounds out with a clean tone with the tone knob rolled back a bit. For me, this guitar fits the classic rock style. This bridge pickup has a nice bite to it and is punchy. The neck pickup has a smooth/creamy tone that is good for soloing but the bridge pickup is also good for soloing. You can control the tone easily with the volume pot. If you roll off a bit on the volume, you'll get a good rhythm tone on a distortion channel. Once you crank the volume up, you get full tone out of the humbuckers. The sustain is pretty good if you don't expect hours of sustain. Overall, this guitar has a bright and punchy tone to it.

Overall Impression — 9
Well because I play classic, '80s, alternative, and all kinds of rock, this guitar fits my style quite nicely. I've been playing for about 5 years now and I own a Fender Standard Strat, a Takamine acoustic/electric, and a Vox AD100VT. The only thing I would have really done before I bought this guitar is played it first. I had played similar guitars and figured this one was the same and I got lucky. If it got stolen/lost, I'd probably buy this guitar again. I played and Epiphone Les Paul and the guitar felt cheaply made. The PRS SE Custom is a solid guitar compared to the Epi Les Paul. I do kind of wish it had a Original Floyd Rose for the heck of it.

Reliability & Durability — 9
I've played this guitar live a few times and it has held up pretty well. The hardware is holding up quite nicely. The strap buttons are very very solid. Haven't used my other guitars recently because this guitar is so reliable. The finish also seems that it will last forever. I've banged the guitar against desks and chairs and it hasn't been scratched. It was even hit by a fan blade pretty hard and there were no scratches.

Action, Fit & Finish — 9
The action was perfect when I received this guitar. The pickups were fine but I adjusted them for my needs. The bridge seems properly routed. The finish is that of the American made PRS' and Gibson's but its nice for the price. The finishes were smooth with no flaws or blemishes whatsoever.

Features — 8
This guitar was made in Korea (don't let that fool you) around 2006. The body is a mahogany back with a flat maple top and flame maple veneer. The finish I got on my guitar was the gray/black finish with a maple edge. The neck is 25" scale length mahogany. 22 frets with a rosewood fretboard and moon inlays. The neck has a wide fat carve but is pretty nice for any size hands. It has a PRS designed tremolo which resembles that of a Fender Vintage tremolo. The tremolo arm pushes in instead of screwing in which is quite nice. There are also PRS designed non-locking tuners. The pickups are stock PRS designed treble and bass humbucking pickups with zebra bobbins. There is a volume, tone control, and a 3-way toggle switch. Included accessories are a deluxe gigbag, cable, allen wrench, extra spring.

12 comments sorted by best / new / date

    ECwomantoneman
    If this had separate tone/volume controls and trapezoid mother of pearl inlays, it would easily be my dream guitar, over the SG and the Les Paul.
    Kirfa
    I have own my SE custom for exactly a month. Off guitar Center, it did need setup, but I got the ax for $490.- so with setup, I still got street price and hey, I got snake oil strings on it. The sound of this guitar is absolutely killer. You have to have a VERY undiscerning eye to grab an Epiphone Les Paul over this one. Actually, this guitar is at par or better sound-wise compared to a LPS. I am impressed both with its pure, clear voice playing it clean, as well as it squealing, grunting sounds played in overdrive and a variety of pedals (I own a Marshall AVT50). It works incredibly well with the MXR dyna comp pedal and the big muff pie, oh and the cry baby. There is no end to all ther good things that I can say about this guitar. Let me just say than when I first got it a month ago, I could not afford a LPS. Last weekend I had the extra dough, so I went back to the store resolved to do the uopgrade but, after playing the LPS a bit more, I was convinced there was no turning point, I kept the SE custom. I poured the extra money on the dyna comp, the setup, getting a set of texas road house pickups for my strat, the setup for the SE, man, I still had change to go back home with roses for my old lady! Folks: you can overcome the Gibson fever, it's okay, a Gibson will not make you better, this is one of those few cases in life where half price is actually a better deal.
    Kirfa
    One more thing: the craftsmanship is amazing. I own a strat and an 52 reissue tele. Both are extremely nice guitars, but I had to put some dough to get them. The SE Custom is absolutely at par: perfect finish, attention to every detail, a very good quality nut. The only thing I may do with time is upgrade the tuning machines to the better PRS ones. The guitar tends to go out of tune, although that problem is almost entirely gone after setup. I would highly recommend that you take the guitar from the store to a reputable shop for setup. You will notice the difference. One last thing, the tremolo bridge is awesome, better than the one on my strat. Note bending is just awesome with the SE!
    mustangrobert13
    i played this in a store yesterday. im plan on getting it when i get some dough. the tremelo was very light. my current guitar has a floyd rose with a locking nut, but this guitars tremelo was so much easier to use.
    Vintage_Axe
    can someone tell me if you can get this guitar with the bird fret inlays or doe sit only come with the standard dot inlays? cheers
    Mandopickr
    I own a 60's strat cp,lp studio,a dp strat, and this PRS SE custom. All have great sounds, but different, and that goes for the SE custom. The SE has a very full sound, kind of a bluesie lp sound, certainly closer to the lp sound than a strat sound. And while I prefer the 60's maple fingerboard and neck, this neck is also a pleasure to play. It feels smaller than it is, and its very easy to bend notes.The sustain is better than even the lp (I have the tremolo tailpiece, though I don't use the tremolo) The tone control has a very wide range, the finish is blemish free, and its a fun guitar to play , especially knowing that it is sub $500. I'm not sure that this guitar would satisfy heavy metal players, or someone looking for the 50's rock sound, but anywhere in between and you're in for a treat. By the way, I use a gator lp case, and this guitar fits pretty well. It has a little room at the top, but the sides fit snug.
    Nightfyre
    Mandopickr wrote: I own a 60's strat cp,lp studio,a dp strat, and this PRS SE custom. All have great sounds, but different, and that goes for the SE custom. The SE has a very full sound, kind of a bluesie lp sound, certainly closer to the lp sound than a strat sound. And while I prefer the 60's maple fingerboard and neck, this neck is also a pleasure to play. It feels smaller than it is, and its very easy to bend notes.The sustain is better than even the lp (I have the tremolo tailpiece, though I don't use the tremolo) The tone control has a very wide range, the finish is blemish free, and its a fun guitar to play , especially knowing that it is sub $500. I'm not sure that this guitar would satisfy heavy metal players, or someone looking for the 50's rock sound, but anywhere in between and you're in for a treat. By the way, I use a gator lp case, and this guitar fits pretty well. It has a little room at the top, but the sides fit snug.
    oh, its plenty good for metal, imho. gimme this and a schecter damien 7 (love those bat inlays!!!) and i'm good to go. ya, i'm cheap, but i'm poor. and this and the damien are both great guitars, though i don't have the damien yet. this prs is one of the highest quality guitars i've played on, and even though i'm poor, i like to play the high end stuff at the stores every now and then. this guitar is so much better than most of them its insane. anybody know anything about the semi-hollow version of this? i cant find any reviews...
    limefan913
    I played this in stores, and it's probably going to be my next guitar if I can't get a slightly higher end PRS. The only thing I don't like as much is the wide neck that most PRS guitars tend to have, but if I want to play some Vai, I'll pick up my Ibanez JS1200.
    im_bored
    i played this in the store and its awesome, i would have got it if i had the money
    Slash15
    I just recently bought this guitar after a year of just starin @ it nd cryin I didn't have the money. Nd its perfect to me, I have a ibanez rg350, a b c rich warlock, a mockingbird, and a washburn acoustic electric but out of all of ma guitars I think that this is the best I have (so far). I haven't used it live yet but the studio work sounds friggin awesome. Its worth more than what it sells for.