SE Custom review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 7
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.8 Good
  • Users' score: 8.7 (318 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Custom

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Eddie's Guitars

Sound — 7
This guitar can cover a wide variety of sounds. I play a lot of blues and rock and it fairs pretty well. Particularly the bridge pickup for a nice, tight distorted sound.I'm using it with a Marshall 15 watt amp and a Crate GFX 120, both of which can provide adequate effects to achieve unique sounds. The pickups, although generally good compared the stock pickups in most guitars in the $500 range, lack the ability to really sing or provide clear, lasting sustain.

Overall Impression — 8
I have, overall, been very pleased with this guitar, if it were lost, I would probably buy it again, but only if it had the same type of amazing top that mine has on it. My other guitars consist of a Martin acoustic, which I adore, and an Ibanez that hardly ever gets played. In summation, this guitar can make pretty much any sound that I, in my humble playing ability can muster, and provide the tone and feel to knock other guitars in this price range on their heads. Many people want to know about this compared to an Epiphone Les Paul, this PRS is much better, it's lighter, has better action, and if you're gonna get a Les Paul, c'mon get a Gibson. I've been playing for almost six years now and have found that this guitar is a perfectly good stepping stone from beginner guitar to one that costs upwards of $1300, I personally will continue to play mine and after I add the Sperzel locking tuning machines and a Seymour Duncan SH-2 Jazz Humbucker in the neck position and a Seymour Duncan SH-4 JB in the bridge position, this guitar will be able to conjure the screaming leads, thick rhythms, and clean or dirty blues tones that make any guitar player happy to be alive.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar will definitely do Live gigs, I have jammed extensively with friends and saw nothing that would indicate problems should it be played at a real gig. Hardware is solid, replaced strap buttons with Dunlop Straploks because of personal preference, but the originals were OK. The bridge, trem bar, knobs, and selector Switch are perfect. My main beef with this guitar is that it loves to go out of tune, particularly the 3rd string, but I plan on replacing the stock tuning machines with Sperzel locking machines, and I'm sure that will make a massive improvement. The finish is high quality, showing no signs of wear after two and a half years of solid playing.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action and neck were set up very well when I purchased this guitar. However, the store that I bought it from deals in mainly high-end gear and may have performed their own set-up techniques on it. The pups height is perfect. The top was exquisitely bookmatched, appearing to be much like a top seen on a much more expensive PRS. The input jack comes loose after many hours of playing but that is simple enough to re-tighten by fingers.

Features — 8
My PRS SE Custom was made in Korea in 2005. The neck features 22 medium frets on a Rosewood fingerboard. The fret markers are abalone half moons that look much better than more common mother-of-pearl Dot inlays. My guitar has a beautifully flamed maple top that really shines with the cherry sunburst finish. The body and neck are mahogany with the body being bound with natural maple. Standard PRS body style with the deep cut-out for easy access to the upper register. Features dual humbuckers that are PRS designed. Tremelo bridge ha function very well. Closed tuning machines by PRS. The cordura gig bag that comes with the guitar is the best "case" that you will get with a guitar that costs less than $1000. Includes tools to adjust double-acting truss rod and an extra spring for the tremelo.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    A pair of Dragon II's and a set of locking tuners and the PRS SE custom is officially better than any guitar under a thousand.