SE Custom review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.7 (318 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Custom

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 8
It fits my music style perfectly, as my taste in music changes from month to month. But a few mainstays in my musical palette are 11, Red Hot Chili Peppers, AC/DC, Coldplay, Led Zeppelin, Sublime, Rage Against The Machine and Frank Zappa. And it manages to cover all of those artists pretty well. I run my PRS in this rig// PRS Custom SE 2 --- Dunlop GCB95 (Wah) --- Boss DS-1 --- Boss MT-2 (Distortion) --- Ibanez CF7 (Chorus/Flanger) --- Fender Superchamp XD. It is dead quiet which is awesome when I'm playing Metallica or Avenged Sevenfold. The neck has a wicked clean tone to it similar to the Seymour Duncan Jazz Humbucker I had in my old guitar and the bridge pickup has a dirtier, sharper sound to it. Both pickups have a very rich sound. The guitar can produce so many different tones, and it ceases to amaze me that it was only $600, I can get a chunky Les Paul sound and then flick a Switch and have the sharp attack of a Telecaster or a Stratocaster. However the versatility rarely will not cover the tone that I'm looking for due to the guitar having two humbuckers, so playing some Red Hot Chili Pepper songs can be a stretch, but for me its still perfect

Overall Impression — 9
I play everything so this is a perfect match for me, because I can capture most notable guitar tones with one beautiful guitar. I have been playing for three years and in addition to this guitar I also own: JB Player SG artist series, Boss DS1, Boss MT2, Fender Superchamp XD, Ibanez CF7, a Crybaby and a Yamaha CG101. If it were stolen... you don't want to know what I'd do, this guitar is my baby. I might buy it again, or hopefully by that time I will have enough money for a real PRS Custom 24 or an American Telecaster. I love everything about it especially the fact that no one my age has a PRS so I stand out. I just love this guitar overall. When I was shopping around for a guitar I compared it to a Gibson Les Paul Studio, a Fender Stratocaster MiM and a Fender Telecaster MiM. I chose it on looks and versatility, two categories that it won easily over its competition. I only wish it had a coil tap so I could get a good single coil sound.

Reliability & Durability — 10
I can see myself having this guitar until the day I die, and through countless future gigs. The hard ware is all very sturdy and I don't anticipate ever having to replace it, and the strap buttons hold on to the strap even when I run with the guitar slung over my shoulder. I can definitely depend on it without a back up. The finish is like all Paul Reed Smith guitars in that it is a work of ART, the flame top seems a lot more resilient in comparison to the polyurethane finish on a similarly priced Fender MiM Stratocaster, and I can see this guitar in ten years looking like it does right now.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is incredibly low, which I absolutely love because making the jump from my old guitar which I had tweaked for hours, to this was seamless, I thought my dad who bought the guitar had a guitar tech set it lower! The pickups are sturdy and at a perfect height for me.. and the Tremolo is top of the line, The top is reminiscent of one of Santana's guitars, the flame top pops! I look over the guitar once a week for any scratches or damage and did so upon receiving it, it was in perfect condition, with one exception, and that was that when I would play a note on the first fret of the high e string, I could feel the nut poke my index finger and it was almost sharp, but that wore down after playing it for a little more.

Features — 10
It is a 2009 PRS Student Edition made in Korea for PRS by World Music Industries. It has a great 24 Fret Rosewood Fretboard with a Mahogany neck (Wide fat neck shape) and a 25" Scale to boot. The body is solid mahogany with a maple top and a maple flame top veneer that it takes from its big brother the Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. It has a set mahogany neck as well. As can be expected the SE Custom 24 shares the same body shape as the PRS Custom 24, the only difference is instead of a carved arch top, the SE has a flat top, with a large cutaway for access to the 22nd-24th frets. It has a PRS-Designed non locking tremolo, the same one found on much more expensive PRS's. It has Zebra (Cream/White) PRS-Designed passive humbuckers, and PRS-Designed non locking tuners.

9 comments sorted by best / new / date

    I was thinking of getting this but the one with 24 frets. Is the guitar good for metal as well as the rock/classic rock or will i have to change the pickups?
    I bot a SE Custom 24 for about $561. $600. after taxes, which are high in my state. For the money, I think this is an awesome guitar, far better than any of the others I tried in a similar price point. The first one I bot at GC, I sent back though, when I took it for set-up, it was evident that the neck and frets needed too much work. So I tried again, and the second one is awesome. If the store doesn't give it a reliable set-up I would recommend it, but this is common on new guitars and shouldn't cost over $100. I have small hands but still like the wide/thin neck and the action is easy. The 24 fret version I have is really nice. It gives a nice clean sound as well as a variety of other sounds making it very versatile. The finish is awesome and it is light in weight compared to other electrics which I appreciate. Easy to play sitting, standing, laying in bed, etc. I may replace the non-locking tuners eventually, but for the price paid and the quality I got I don't have an issue with that. I wish I could afford the upper end PRS, but since I can't and think Fenders and Gibsons are over-rated, I think you get a lot of bang for your buck with this guitar. Not happy it's made in Korea, but most guitars in this price range are and heck I just fell in love with it. The Black Cherry finish is awesome! It definetly makes you look good! OF NOTE: The gig bag it comes with is nice too, and very comfy. I think the initial review sounds like someone connected to PRS too!
    Question !!!!!11 DOES THE SE CUSTOM 24 DOWN-TUNE WELL? I want this guitar for playing in c or b standard, so I am curious if the bridge can "handle" thicker strings????? ANYONE have any experience with this? The guitar is on sale for $499, so I want to get it for a second metal-axe (gonna eventually switch the pickups to emg's) THANKS!!!!!
    well it probly could especialy if u adjust the nut but i personay paly alot of harder metal, rock and the ocasional grindcore but i thnk emgs are horible they sound so scrapy and dead i would co with some seymour duncans
    Teh S'moore
    @breeakdownkid784: Sry, I don't know how to quote things correctly, but the difference is that the Custom 24 has 24 frets instead of the Custom 22's 22 frets.
    Teh S'moore
    I'm thinking about getting this, but I'm gonna use the Tremolo A LOT, and I'm not sure if it would stay in tune since it doesn't have tuner locks...