SE Paul Allender review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.8 (97 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Paul Allender

Price paid: C$ 850

Purchased from: Gilbert Guitars

Sound — 9
I play mainly metal and hard rock. This works great for both. Needless to say EMG's don't clean up as well as most passive pickups, but that's not why I bought this guitar. The coil tap option is actually really nice. I find myself using it to get Strat like cleans, even though when I bought it I had no intention to use the coil tapping. I've played it through many amps and it's sounded great through everything so far. You get that great EMG sound(for those who enjoy EMG's). The ebony fretboard helps to get rid of some of the piercing you get at high gain/high treble settings with EMG's and this is possibly my favourite part of the guitar. It helps to deepen and fatten things up. Country Strat sounds to double humbucker metal can come out of this thing. Usually I would never say a guitar can do both, as many can't, but the coil tap really does the job. I can't see anyone buying this guitar for country though.

Overall Impression — 9
This is of course the PRS for the man who can't afford the USA versions. I love it and plan to keep it forever. Just because I didn't rate it straight "9" and "10" doesn't mean it isnt great. Nothing should be rated straight "10". My personal trem problem should not discourage you. I've been playing 11 years. I've owned and played many higher end guitars that didn't measure up to this, or even close. If it were stolen I would do unspeakable things to the person who stole it. Otherwise I would buy another one. When compared to the basic PRS-SE models, this thing is even better. I never was a fan of the Standard SE models. This changed my mind on the whole line though. You need to try one of these if you're looking for an awesome metal/rock guitar. Even at $850, it's worth MUCH more than that to me.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This is perfect for live or bedroom playing. Everything's very solid. I depend on this thing as my only live guitar and it doesn't fail. No string snapping issues or anything. After playing it a ton, there is still no wear in the finish except for a little buckle rash in the back, but that is to be expected. Scars on a guitar often show love.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Like I said to start, the action was garbage. It can be set up very easily if you know what you're doing with floating trems. Adjusting the pickups is a given. Never expect a great set up from the store unless they have a great tech. I did my own of course. There is one small flaw on the the top, though I don't see it as a big deal.

Features — 8
Not sure of the year on this one, though I know this is the new model with the chrome hardware and EMG's, not the gold hardward with stock PRS-SE pickups. It was made in Korea. I have the purple one. 24 frets, a pretty thin neck as far as the SE models go. It has an Ebony fret board and PRS designed tuners. The top is a quilt maple, and the body is mahogany. The pickups are EMG 81-TW in the Bridge and 89 in the neck. These are active pickups(humbuckers) and seems to be one of the few guitars with EMG's to come out lately with just the 9 volt and not 18 volts. This is a variation on the traditional EMG 81/85 combo. They are essentially the same pickups, but these have the option for coil tap. The Bridge pickup is coiled tapped by pulling the volume knob up, and the neck from the tone knob. I've found the Bridge to be the only real downfall to this guitar. It is a PRS style floating trem, but it REALLY has to be lowered to get a decent action without knocking the saddles down to the bottom where they may rattle. Be careful when buying this model if you intend to bend back at all with your trem, as it wont go as far as some other floating trems, though that really is to be expected. From playing a few of them, I've noticed this varies from model to model. I wanted this one due to its colour, and I knew I could set the Bridge up regardless. The bat inlays are VERY well done and there's no flaws found around them. If you haven't seen them close up, you gotta check them out.

1 comment sorted by best / new / date

    okay guys, im tossing up between this and a jackson RX10D (which has the rare polka dot finish). can you help me out?