SE Paul Allender review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (97 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Paul Allender

Price paid: $ 600

Purchased from: Davis Guitar

Sound — 9
The closest cousin that i can relate the bridge pickup to would be the SeymourDuncan JB. Its got a clear, bright sound. On the clean channel, it was a tad bit too bright for me but some tweaking with the eq settings and tone knob can deal with that. On distortion, the pups really Shine and the high output pups are suited for the stuff i play, and of course cradle of filth stuff. Neck pickup is comparatively warm and good for moody solos. I'm currently playing through a Roland Cube 20X and i can get pretty close to a Lamb of God sound. The pickups sounds distinctively different from one another. And all 3 positions are "usable". Even when i'm in a very high gain metal set-up, the 3 positions are still distinctive from one another. The overall tone of the guitar: high output, heavy, fat, but with a distinctive clarity/brightness. More depth and character than EMG pickups.

Overall Impression — 9
I mostly play groove metal (pantera, LoG), but also some other stuff such as blues, funk rock and alternative. It comes with a nice, soft gigbag and the sales guy threw in a bunch of picks too. For the price I think its really a steal and would make a perfect birthday gift or something. I just wish it had locking tuners.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar rarely goes out of tune, unless the tremolo is used. I'm not a performer so I dunno whether it will withstand live gigs. I've had this guitar for about 6 months now, and the fake "gold" hardware is wearing away already. Overall the guitar is built solidly and it won't fall apart anytime soon.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I don't really like the action. Its low, but the strings buzz slightly. I don't like how the bridge "float". Its well 2.5mm over the top of the guitar. I find there's no way to lower it flat on the surface to block the tremolo movement (for those who prefer push only, not pull), without the strings buzzing! The only option is to block the trem via the spring cavity at the back with a block of wood (like Clapton). At the moment, i will live with the float... I couldn't spot any flaws, glue marks or sharp edges around the frets. Pickups were adjusted at the ideal height. No loose screws.

Features — 8
I want to tell you that this will be an unbiased review. Made in 2009, Korea. (not that it really matters, unless its China) Mahogany body with maple top (the maple top is so thin it doesn't make a difference in tone) 24 jumbo frets, rosewood fretboard, 25 inch scale length maple neck. PRS desinged tremolo bridge and paul allender passive humbucker pickups. 1 tone knob, 1 volume knob and 3-way pickup selector. The purple burst colour is really beautiful and stand out from other guitars. Comments: For those who wanna know how thin the neck is, its not as thin as an Ibanez or an ESP but about the same thickness as an LTD. The hardware isn't 100% gold, its just chrome or nickel plated with gold. Despite having a mahogany body, its relatively light. The fretboard is flat, which is good for shredders but not for rhythm players like me.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Wow, I wish I had the opportunity to see and purchase an Emerald Burst version..... I've had my (purple) one for over a year now and still love it. Oh, and still don't like COF
    This guitar looks seriously hot.But I've been eyeing the new SE Nick Catanese because of the red bindings and the EMG 81 & 85 pickups on it.I'm still deciding on this one because of the thin neck,24 frets,and amazing bat inlays.Can anyone tell me how is the tone of the EMG 81-TW and 89 compared to the 81 & 85?
    i just got this guitar a week or so ago. i havent had a whole lot of time to play it due to other priorities, but i must say that it has a very good feel to it. only thing i dont really like and im having adjusted is the height of the nut (im tuning this guitar to drop C and using 11 gauge strings) and i had to have it lowered. a few of the frets are a little sharp, but nothing too bad, and the nut has a sharp corner that can be very easily rounded smooth. i must say though, the tone and sound of this guitar is comparable to a Very pissed off Bear. it has incredible tone.