SE Santana 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: 8.3 (107 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Santana

Sound — 9
The sound of the guitar is great for it's price. I really don't have any problems with that. Compared to other guitars in the same price range -Epi Les Pauls for example- it has a much better sound in my opinion. I think it's just made of better quality wood. It will definitely fit my musical style when I change the tone knob for a a push-pull potmeter to be able to split the coils. The Bridge pickup can be used for jazz if you roll the tone knob to 0. The middle position can be used for funk and the bridge pickup can generate some really powerful twangy sounds and has a nice attack if you roll the tone knob to around 4. I recommend this guitar for anything but's not exactly for shredding. I play blues, funk, reggae, but mainly prog rock. I normally only use all analog effects, so the sound through those is just..raw. It sounds like a humbucking guitar is meant to sound like. I use it with all kinds of 100w tube heads where we have band practice and a Laney Lx20d practice amp at home. Even with the practice amp i can get some really cool sounds out of it. Also if you want to turn it into a high-end guitar, you better save for some good pickups, coz the stock ones are a lil' bit weak to make you have an orgasm while playing.

Overall Impression — 9
It's the best match for me I could get for the money I paid for it. When I'm finished modding it and changing the stock pickups for some USA made PRS ones or Seymour Duncans, I wouldn't trade it in for a Gibson. I compared it to several Epiphones, Corts and a Vintage V100(which is much cheaper than this but still a nice guitar). This was the best in my opinion, so I got it and didn't regret buying this guitar.

Reliability & Durability — 8
The guitar will withstand Live playing, no problems with it on stage. It's pretty reliable. The strap buttons are fine, but I prefer locking straps. I will use it without a backup, because I don't really have any other guitars to use for a backup and I trust it enough. The finish seems like it will last for a long time, except for a small part of it near the jack input where it started to wear off coz I accidentally dropped it once.

Action, Fit & Finish — 8
I can't really comment on the factory setup, the action and such, because I got it used and it was flawless. The pickup selector is a lil bit noisy at high gain settings but that's partly because of the body resonating when you click it. The finish looks good. No shiny flamed top and such, except for the neck which has a nice simple white binding.

Features — 8
The guitar was made in Korea but I don't know when since I got it used. The neck and body are made of mahogany, the fretboard is rosewood and has 22 frets. 1 volume and 1 tone knob, 3-way selector switch, Standard PRS tremolo bridge, non-locking PRS tuners, Standard passive PRS humbucking pickups and a fairly wide but really comfortable set neck with Slash inlays and a nice binding. The set included a really nice PRS gigbag. Mine has the sunburst finish, which looks really nice when it starts to wear off(altho you really gotta bang it around to make that lacqueur come off). The only things I miss are the locking tuners, because if I use the tremolo the guitar loses it's tuning pretty fast (or at least te G string).

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