SE Santana review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 8.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (109 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Santana

Price paid: $ 568.8

Purchased from: Italmelodie

Sound — 8
This guitar is really good for ska/punk. It gives sweet cleans (with a kinda jazzy/rock feel) and when driven, although not the best, gives adequate tone. I think maybe swapping the bridge pickup would be beneficial for the drive, but not a purchase that needs to be made iminently. I run directly into a line6 spider II and it doesn't hiss the slightest bit (but the amp does have a noise gate). Obviously you can't compare this guitar to a Gibson or a full-fledged PRS, but when compared to the Epiphone Les Paul (which is around the same price), the sounds are virtually identical (the Paul is a little clearer when distorted, but the PRS has a warmer clean). The guitar is not the most veratile, simply because of the lack of feature, but for a reggae-ska guitarist it is ideal (compared only to other guitars in it's price range). For punk-hardcore-pop/punk guitarists this is adequate, but I might recommend changing the bridge pickup. Overall a good sounding guitar, but a little bit unversatile.

Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this is quite a fine instument. It is a very good guitar for ska and reggae, and if you throw punk into the mix too, it is at least adequate.I have been playing 4 years, and this is my 3rd guitar, and it is my baby. If it were lost or stolen, I would either buy this guitar again, or maybe go for an Epiphone Les Paul, they're both pretty equal. The neck is amazing, but I think the action could be a little lower. I hate the finish, and, honestly, this is not the best looking guitar. I also love the cutaway, it's really neat and useful. I was comparing this guitar mostly to the Epiphone dot and Les Paul. I ruled out the dot cause I decided I would rather have a solid body as a main guitar, and the Les Paul was a very close 2nd. I bought the PRS because I fell in love with the neck.

Reliability & Durability — 9
This guitar will do an excellent job live. I play ska/punk. Live this means fast, and energetic. Take the most energetic band you know and put them on speed; that's how we do. The strap buttons are amazing (too bad we cant say the same for my strap). I always gig with this guitar withour a backup, because I can't afford to buy a backup (I really should thouhg). but, live, I have yet to break a string with it. As I mentioned above; the finish is the one thing on this guitar that I dont think will last.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
This guitar was perfectly set up at the factory, but before buying it I tried quite a few different ones, and they were not all set up perfectly. The action was set up optimally (as low as possible, without buzz). I have not experimented with pickup height on this guitar, but that is because they are already well enough positioned that I dont think I could make a significant difference. There were no visible flaws on the guitar when I purchased it. Two thing I should mention are: if you really like heavy guage strings, they wont fit on the guitar (I tried putting an old one on from my other guitar as a temporary replacement, but it didn't work); the finish is not very good (one day I came home from school and someone had taken a big chip out of the headstock while the guitar was on the stand. I assume someone was moving the vacuum and accidentally hit it, but I have yet to find the culprit).

Features — 9
I'm assuming it is either a 2004 or a 2005, but I'm not sure. 22 frets. Neck: wide/fat. Mahogany neck+body. Rosewood fretboard. Finish: black. Strat Style body. Stop-tail bridge. Passive elctronics. 1 volume/1 tone controls. 3-way pickup selector. 2 PRS humbuckers (bridge/neck). PRS non-locking tuners. Basically this is a very simple guitar. Just the way I like it, but since maybe you're getting a little less than going with Epi Les Paul (for about the same price) I'm gonna' dock a few points. But didn't buy this guitar for it's features and sound (although they are both good), but, rather, I bought this guitar, because I fell in love with the neck. This guitar is also extremely lightweight (I find this a plus).

8 comments sorted by best / new / date

    i love this guitar, ive owned one for 2 years now, i have the discontinued platnum. i have only had one problem that took about 5 minutes to fix. the only problem was the ground wire broke off of the input and just neede to be re-soldered. the guitar has an amazing sound for $500. i cant believe it. i love playing the blues and this is the perfect guitar from it. it still sounds great for anything else though. i love ripping off slash and mark tremonti from alter bridge. and the guitar is perfect for it. im going to keep this till i get my "dream guitar" the PRS 513!
    joshua wayne x
    mine is pretty impressive, i got it for 300$ and i feel it was worth every penny. I noticed its made in a few different countries, is that unusual?
    mr. ...
    AnTiSuCkEr wrote: Is it really stays in tune. My main problem with my santana se is that. It is not staying in tune also it is getting worse with using trem bar. What sould i do ?
    go buy some grovers or schallars
    ever dying
    I only paid 200.. And I'm freaking happy! My tuning is great, I locked my tremolo Thats the best guitar I have ever seen, for that price.. Now get me a PRS CE!
    Is it really stays in tune. My main problem with my santana se is that. It is not staying in tune also it is getting worse with using trem bar. What sould i do ?
    you should kill urself. no no, im kidding, dont do that. i have the same problem at certain times (concerning the tuning). most of the time its perfectly fine, then sometimes itll onlt be the g string, then at times it will go way outta tune fast. i dont use a trem bar so thats definatly not the problem. but every couple of months when it starts going weird again, i just take it to my friend and he fixes it. i dont kno how, but i think he does something with the tuning pegs. its only happened a couple times, never live thank God. but hey, its a prs bitch. be happy