Price paid: C$ 339
Purchased from: Tom Lee
Sound — 10
For rock, punk and the various offshoots (grunge, alternative, whatever you want to call it) this guitar is awesome. I bought this guitar because I wanted the utter simplicity of a P90 without the complications of a tone knob. Plugged into my Traynor Darkhorse with matching 112 Greenback cab, the PRS SE One Korina really shines. The tube Drive and P90 play off one another beautifully. The one criticism I have is that the volume control really drops off below 7. Solution: don't turn it down below 7. With the guitar at 8 and the amp's gain/master at 11 o'clock/3 o'clock respectively I get a terrific smooth sound with some bite and crunch. Dime the guitar and gain/master and the overdrive is just awesome. It growls like The Who at Leeds. It's rich and bright, with no mud at all. The One Korina is not a one-trick pony, but I won't kid myself that it's versatile. What it does it does really well. And cheaply.
Overall Impression — 9
The SE One Korina was purchased to fill a specific little spot in the sonic landscape. I have an Amercan Standard Strat and Tele, an Epi Les Paul Studio and a Hagstrom Viking. I wanted a growling P90 with no frills to get in the way. This guitar delivers in spades. I was cross-shopping the Gibson Les Paul Jr and other P90 guitars. I wanted simplicity and this was the simplest most beautiful sounding little monster I could find. I'm thrilled I found it for the low price I did.
Reliability & Durability — 9
Being Korina, the guitar is surprisingly light. So far the contructions seems solid, but I haven't been mean to it yet. It feels like it would hold up nicely under stress. This thing's simplicity will help it be dependable, I expect. There's just not enough parts that could break. Would I use it without a backup? I can't imagine it needing a backup for anything other than adding to the sonic depth of a setlist.
Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action is great and the guitar was nice right out of the box. The fretboard's edges are nice and smooth and the neck is straight. I've detected no fret buzz at all. The woodgrain is very appealing. Some might find the odd imperfection less appealing, but I like that the rain has some variation in it. The three piece body is quite well matched up, too. I had to look fairly closely to see that it was 3 rather than 2 pieces. I was concerned about the intonation, seeing as this guitar had a wraparound bridge, but I was wrong to worry. The intonation is just about perfect.
Features — 8
This is the 2011 SE One Korina from PRS. It's like the discontinued SE One, only this one is made from Korina (African Limba) rather than mahogany. The solid korina body is made of 3 pieces of wood. The set neck is also korina, with a rosewood fingerboard and 22 frets. It has a 25" scale. The finish is a clear yellow finish that lets the wood's grain (and imperfections) come through. The body style is similar to a Les Paul Jr, except the PRS has some contour work around the edge and on the single cutaway. It has a one-piece wraparound bridge, a single P90 bridge pickup and just the one knob: a volume control. The tuners are PRS-designed tuners. Amazingly, it came with a gig-bag. The price was a rather low $339, presumably because the 2012 model has bird inlays in the fretboard, and cream binding on the neck. I prefer no binding and moon/dot inlays. This is an Ultra simple guitar: one P90, one knob, a one piece bridge. The real feature is the simple growl you get from the single-coil pickup when cranked.