Price paid: $ 664
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 10
It sounds plenty full, very similar to a Gibson but higher with more treble and not as much low end as a Les Paul. More sustain than any bolt-on guitar but slightly less than a Gibson, probably due to the tremolo. In any case, more than enough sustain than I've ever needed. The pickups are what I consider medium hot, enough for hard rock and ok for metal but not ideal, a bit muddy. A little too hot for jazz but you can still pull it off if you roll back the vol. As with all PRS guitars I've played, the vol is very sensitive and you can clean up dramatically with just a slight turn back, making it very versatile. This guitar's home field is anywhere from blues to hard rock. The pickups are very noiseless and I find they take overdrive very well. Compared to a PRS Santana SE I also own, this is much brighter, thanks to the maple I assume. This allows for a more-or-less Fenderish bell tone on the neck pup with the tone to the max, but not nearly as high. with the tone rolled back you get woman tone but with more bite and focus than say a Gibson SG or the Santana SE. The bridge pup has lots of bite and you can get seering leads from it, much tinnier than a Gibby. In general, a very pleasing rock and roll guitar no matter how you set the controls. In a nutshell, somewhere in between Gibson and Fender without achieving exactly either one's tone. It sounds like a PRS, you have to decide if that's what you want.
Overall Impression — 9
I've been playing for over 15 years and have owned Gibsons, Fenders and many other brands and feel I've found home with PRS. I could upgrade to a US model but I find these SE's allow me to express all my musical ideas as well as I would with any guitar so I don't see any reason to upgrade except materialism. I can't knock the quality so the only thing left is for you to decide if you like it or not. If stolen, I'd get another PRS model probably, maybe the singlecut. The things I don't like are the tuners, the birds (prefer ordinary dots), the thin neck (I like the big fat ones) and the fact that PRS makes me get tremolo even though I don't use one. I wish they made a Telecaster type bridge (one with a saddle per string) with strings through the body. Oh well, guess I'll have to wait for my signature model to come out.
Reliability & Durability — 9
I've gigged with this guitar with no problems other than the bad tuners. I will soon replace for Grovers. The finish is a bit delicate but no more so than other glossy mahogany guitars I've played. In general, I advise against gigging with no backup for reasons that don't have to do with the build quality of a guitar, but this is as solid as any. Gets a 9 due to the bad tuners.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The finish on mine is pretty much perfect, very impressive for a Korean guitar. But no better than my other PRS. The top veneer looks great, the frets are well dressed and everything is as it should be. To be expected from PRS. As for the action, I prefer tremolo models, even though I don't use the whammy, because I lower the bridges to be flush with the body. This gives me more sustain, plus lower action than I'm able to get from PRS' stoptail bridge, which I dislike all together because you can't intonate it perfectly and I play 11 gauge strings so it would be this way or I'd have to buy one of those tonepros replacement bridges for another 150 bucks.
Features — 8
Made this year I think, in Korea...South obviously. 24 medium jumbo frets, wide thin neck profile made of maple with a rosewood fretboard and birds, a first for an SE. Mahogany body with a maple cap and on top of that a thin slice of maple veneer, all covered in a very glossy finish. Two open-coil humbuckers linked to a 3-way Switch and one vol and tone. Non-locking tuners that have some play in them, not that great, and PRS' proprietary tremolo made of nickel-plated bras, works well. The guitar gets a 8 discounted only because of the poor tuners and the wide thin neck since I wish they also offered it in a wide fat profile. Also, two vol and tone controls like a Gibson would have been nicer.