SE Santana Review

manufacturer: Paul Reed Smith date: 06/12/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: SE Santana
22 frets, double standard stock PRS humbuckers (H/H), 3-way selector with a volume and a tone knob. Mahogany body & neck without pick guard and cherry red laminated finish.
 Sound: 9.4
 Overall Impression: 9.6
 Reliability & Durability: 9.6
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.1
 Features: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (16) pictures (8) 20 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.6
SE Santana Reviewed by: rinio, on june 19, 2006
3 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 568.8

Purchased from: Italmelodie

Features: 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). // 9

Sound: 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. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: 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). // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 9

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 9.6
SE Santana Reviewed by: STRAT811, on august 18, 2005
2 of 3 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: This is a 2005 model Santana SE. Go to for specs. 22 frets, tobacco sunburst, 2 humbuckers, 3 way Switch. Gig bag included. // 8

Sound: I play jazz and rock. This guitar has a great sound whether it's clean, slightly overdriven, or heavily distorted. I use it with my Crate 15 watt practice amp and a digitech distortion pedal. The humbuckers respond well and don't feedback or give off unwanted sound. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: It was set up perfectly, I just put on some new strings and I was ready to play. I showed it to one of my friends who does repairs and he said it was perfect. // 10

Reliability & Durability: It stays in tune very well, the tremolo is strong and durable, and it will withstand live playing. // 10

Overall Impression: I have only been playing about 2 1/2 years and this is a great intermediate/beginners guitar. I would definetly buy it again if it was stolen. I love the sound and the sunburst. I do not like the slash inlays, though. I would have preferred the eagles or even dots. I also own a Fender Strat. I highly recommend the SE line for anyone who would like an affordable, quality PRS. // 10

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overall: 10
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 03, 2005
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 450

Purchased from: N/A

Features: This is a 2004 model PRS Santana SE. I personally don't care where the guitar was made as long as the quality still shows. This Korean made guitar still shows all of the qualities of the great PRS name. It has 22 frets which delivers a good range when I play music with a very large fret board. With a laminated top and a mahogany body and neck and a transparent cherry finish it is as good looking as it sounds. A volume knob, one tone knob, and a 3 way selector is all you get and frankly all you really need for this guitar. The tuners are PRS' own brand and are non locking. With the guitar I got a kit of tools, a gig bag, a chord for the amp and a warranty to go with it. // 10

Sound: My style of music ranges evreywhere from Korn to George Benson (a jazz writer). Overall you can get any sound out of this guitar and still like it. For an amp I am currently using a Crate FXT30 with all the sound effects you can think of in the amp. Noisy? Nah. A very rich and full sound. And almost on the top for bright. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set up with out one flaw, pickups were adjusted perfictly, and the top was very well bookmatched. The bridge was routed outstandingly also. And like I stated earlier there was not one flaw on this guitar. // 10

Reliability & Durability: While I have played with this guitar, not one thing has worn down in live playing. I have played for numerous amounts of people over time andit is great. The hardware in the guitar is very top of the line for this price range and about 300$ up. It will last me for a long time. I am very dependant on this guitar and I would never do a gig with a backup. I feel that this guitar is so good I will never need a backup, even after years of use. // 10

Overall Impression: I play evrey kind of music you can think of, and it is a great match. I've ben playing for about seven years and love guitar. Nothing at all this guitar is flawless in its own way. I would say that I would have to get somthing else due to the lawsuit that was recently filed against the SE versions of PRS guitars. If that lawsuit wasnt there then I would buy one as fast as I could. I compared this guitar to a Gibson and an Ibanes Joe Stratini model, standard but this one just had somthing about it that I loved. // 10

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overall: 8.8
SE Santana Reviewed by: Luv4metal, on january 24, 2006
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Scheitel's Music

Features: My PRS was made in 2002 in Korea, with 22 fret bound rosewood fingerboard fat neck style. The body is made of Mahogany finished with a Vintage cheery gloss coat. This particular guitar has the special PRS tremlo which is kind of a cross between floyed at Strat style tremlos. Passive humbuckers, there is one volume level with a tone level also, and a 3-way Switch between pickups, PRS style stoptail. Currently I have the factory pickups still in which are PRS style bass humbucking pickups. Non-locking tuners. The PRS SE also c came with a gig bag, truss and tremlow tools, and a cable. // 7

Sound: I play alot of metal and hard rock, along with the light clean sounds too, this guitar is great for that style delivering awsome sound both ways. I am currently using a Mode 4 half stack through a DigiTech RP200 effects petal. This guitar is not noisy at all it does exactly what you want it has awsome an awsome variety of clean sounds. The 3-way toggle Switch allows you to Switch from the front pickups to the back pickups and to both pickups at the same time. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: When I recieved the guitar it had a nut at the end that should have been made for size 5 strings and the intonation was almost backwards, but nothing a little time can't handle. Also I use size 12 strings with the guitar so I had to go in and have a new nut put on because my 4th string down would not stay in tune and I couldn't set the intonation for that string. The pickups were pretty low when I first got it. The only flaws that I have with the guitar was the problem with the nut and the insert for the cord will never stay tight no matter how tight you tighten it up and I am also having problems with the volume pots. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I have played alot of live playing with my guitar and have never had any proble with it. I feel like my guitar will last forever, athe strap buttons are not solid, I would use this guitar without a backup anytime. The finish will last along time cause mines like brand new and I have played this many times. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal and this guitar is great for me, I have been playing 13 years and own many other guitars and amps. When I bought my guitar I was told it was made in the USA, I didn't think I had to look, but when I got it home I realised it was made in Korea. If I had my guitar stolen I would buy another PRS maybe not the same one, but deffinately a PRS. // 9

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overall: 9.6
SE Santana Reviewed by: UG Team, on july 11, 2003
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Tom Lee Music

Features: Made in Korea under licencing by PRS guitars, this is one fine ass guitar! 22 frets, double standard stock PRS humbuckers (H/H), 3-way selector (neck, bridge & combined) with a volume and a tone knob, you can't get any better than this. Mohogany body & neck without pick guard and cherry red laminated finish. This guitar is a double cutaway, with a designed PRS tremolo and PRS non locking tuners. Mine came with a soft case, string savers, cable & an extra spring for the tremolo. // 8

Sound: You can virtually get any sound you want out of this guitar. From a spiky Strat to a nice bluesy sound to a jazzy warmthy sound, This guitar has all you need. You can produce a flawless clean and Switch to a death metal roar with no added noise or anything. I'm using a Marshall AVT50 Head with a standard Marshall 4X12 stack and I couldnt ask for better. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I have had this guitar for about a year now and I havent changed a thing on it. The action & tremolo setup was just perfect. The only thing I had to do was tighten up the strap holders. Thats it! // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar has lasted about a year of constant abuse and it hasn't changed since the day I got it. I use this guitar for gigs regularly and when I can't bring my other guitars, I don't worry because I know that my PRS won't let me down. // 10

Overall Impression: My other guitars are: a Custom Stratocaster (too many different parts to name), and a D'armond single cutaway. The only other thing I want to do is buy another PRS Santana SE (different colour of course) with a stoptail instead of the tremolo. I wanted this guitar since the first time I ever saw it in a Guitar World, and now I have to say that it is still surprising me with new sounds everyday! // 10

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overall: 10
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on january 12, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: dont remember

Features: This guitar is pretty nice. Made in Korea unfortunately but still is up to PRS quality standards. Which are very high. Its solid top, bookmatched, mahogany body and neck. There is the slight problem that there is only one tone control, but its nice all the same. I use the PRS designed pickups which have excellent quality and sound. It uses two double coils like most PRS guitars except the new. It ueses transparent finish, unscratchable and entirely bulletproof. I have yet to put a mark on it from all the usual bumps and hits guitars get. One other small problem are the tuners, they arent locking but very nice all the same, desinged by PRS. Its a wide fat neck, perfect for people with big hands, like me. Feels excellent when playing. It also came with a nice gig bag, included, worth about 100 bucks alone. Its an excellent guitar and I love it to death. // 10

Sound: This guitar suits my music perfectly. I listen to rock, some punk, some alternative and even some adult alternative. It works perfectly for all of them. I use it with a Marshall amp. I love the sound on this guitar. Great sound for the great value. full rich PRS tones crank out of this thing perfectly. It comes with a tremolo as well on some models, mine has one. The problem is that it messes up the tuning, but its a nice tremolo all the same. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The construction seems flawless. Just perfect plug and play. The pickups were set up perfectly and the shape and wood was set beautifully. There were no real flaws that I could see. The neck is a set in neck and it had no flaws at all... // 10

Reliability & Durability: I think this guitar is good for live playing. I would keep a backup cause everything stands a chance... but I think the guitar will last perfectly and the finish could be hit by a car and not blemish. My strap hasnt had prblems yet and its had some heavy playing. I could depend on this guitar. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar rocks go buy one...prs is awesome. It's Great guitar for good value...a good guitar for all styles and ages...A+++ // 10

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overall: 9.2
SE Santana Reviewed by: Einzigerfan03, on may 19, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 390

Purchased from: Elderly's

Features: This is a 2002 model Pre-pickguard. Royal blue, 22 frets, Covered PRS humbuckers, 1-volume Switch, 1-tone Switch. It's a stoptail model. Made in Korea. // 10

Sound: I play alot and i dibble dabble into different genre's i've managed to go from nu-metal (Lostprophets, Linkin Park) to alternative (incubus,hoobastank) to Jazz. So this guitar is it for me. The sounds on this is undescribably good. It's definitely not a shredder's guitar. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Action is a little bit high. Pick-ups where on point. No physical flaws as far as i can see. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Being that this is my 2nd guitar I really don't have a choice but to rely on it live. But if it wasnt this would definitely be one of my main axes. I think this thing will defintely stand up against time and my playing (I dont play really heavy.)Only problem i had is that sometimes it falls easily out of tune. (which is rare but it's happened). // 10

Overall Impression: I've always wanted a PRS but like many i dont have the money to drop for one. So this the next best thing. I've been playing for 3 years now and this is the best guitar i've played in awhile it seems like the SE models are way better then there standard and customs.And this axe sounds better then a swamp ash i played. If you're just starting to play i suggest this axe if you have knowledge about guitar brands. or if you've been playing for awhile but couldnt get you're hands on a US made PRS. // 10

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overall: 10
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 10, 2004
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: The Great House of Guitars

Features: - Made in Japan - 22 frets - Two humbuckers - Rosewood fretboard - Royal blue finish - 3-way selecter, one volume and one tone knob - Stratocaster-like tremolo bridge - Deluxe prs gigbag // 10

Sound: I play stuff of all kinds of rock, whether it be punk, metal, alternitve or classic. Ex: Sum 41,no Use For A Name, Greenday, Metallica, Offspring, Linkin Park, Led Zeppelin, Cheap Trick, and much more. For my own band , I play a mix of hard rock and punk. For anything I play, the prs is great. I play this guitar through a Peavy Bandit 112, and a DigiTech RP50 effects pedal, and it seems like every day this guitar impresses me more and more with its great sound compared to my other guitars. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The actrion on this guitar feels just as good as a Gibson and you pay half the cash for it. The Pick-ups are perfect, I wouldent change them unless they broke, but I doubt that will ever happen. This guitar has no flaws, it's perfect. // 10

Reliability & Durability: This guitar withstands anything I do to it including live playing. The hardware seems like it will last forever, and the finish seems like it's going to last very long. The strap buttons are extremlly solid, to test it I jump around, do the "Around The World" thing (throw guitar around my shoulders and many other tests which proved them strong). I can definetlly depend on this guitar, and I would bring it to a gig without a back up, but I still use my B\.C\. Rich as a backup just incase. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is a great match for my style. I have been playin for 4 years now, I also have a B\.C\. Rich Bronze Warlock and an Aria STG. If it were stolen or lost id definetlly buy it again. My favorite features are the finish, and the headstock (it looks soo damn cool), and the over all way it plays. I compared this to a Gibson SG Standard, and a Les Paul Standard before buying it. I chose this becuase it played just as welol, and was less than half the money. This is by far, my favorite guitar I own. I recommend it to anyone. // 10

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overall: 9.8
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on december 14, 2005
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Online music store

Sound: I play 80s metal, blues, classic rock, etc. The guitar fits my style perfectly. And it always seems to sound better than the other person's guitar, that said from the other person! lol This guitar has the PRS sound and quality. Why wouldn't I buy it? No-brainer. Amps: Fender Princeton 112, Marshall 50wt. Both amps run together, all the time. Guitar is dead quiet. I have no idea as to what style of music this guitar could not be used for. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Setup was perfect from the factory. I did raise the pickups a bit myself, but just a tad bit. The top is bookmatched really well. There were no flaws, but I can say that after a few years of owning the guitar, the finish is beginning to not be as bump-resistant. It seems to accept slight scratches more easily these days. I can't say if this is the finish breaking down, or what. I am still happy with it though. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I have played out with this guitar many, many times. I have been playing for over 20 years now, and I can tell you that this guitar will hold up, no matter what. If I could rate higher than 10, I would. // 10

Overall Impression: I play metal, rock, blues. 20 years of playing. I would buy this again, a few times over. I love everything, except the single tone and volume knobs. I chose this because I couldn't afford a full blown PRS. I will be purchasing one soon, but I will not put the SE away at all. It really is that good. Would be nice if all Korean guitars were as nice. // 10

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overall: 9.6
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on february 18, 2008
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Private Seller

Features: 2002 model, version 2 Santana SE Model, in aqua marine finish, a beautiful unique looking guitar, not sure of the body materials, rosewood neck with special inlays, stop bridge with wrapover strings, two PRS open humbuckers, with chrome surrounds, three way selector switch, two controls, one volume & one tone. Comes with heavy duty gig bag, but I put all my guitars in hard cases. // 10

Sound: Really nice sound, does sparkling clean sounds, nice warm sound with neck pickup, great funky type sounds with middle position & some nice arpeggios to be had from bridge humbucker. Throw in some gain & this guitar reallsy shows its quality, now I have not tried this through my gigging amp which is a Engl Screamer 50 Combo, but used the sellers Session 25w combo, the dirty sounds from this guitar are great, will cover anything from blues to heavy rock/metal, leads sing through & the sustain on notes when using the neck pickup is amazing, the notes last for ages. I love this guitar & have sold my PRS SE Custom to buy this model, it will be used as my main gigging axe. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Excellent finish throughout, the action/set-up all fine from the private seller. Slight problem with bottom e string going out of tune, nothing that a good set of replacement strings won't sort out. As this Guitar is now a few years old, I've noticed a slight yellowing of the binding on the neck, but I like this, I find it adds character. The paint finish has lasted well. No rough edges on the frets & no dead spots anywhere. // 9

Reliability & Durability: I haven't gigged this Guitar yet, but as I did over 100 gigs with my PRS SE Custom, I expect this model to be as reliable, it has lasted well since the last owner had it from new. Everything is still solid in it's place, with no signs of wear. I will always use a backup guitar when gigging, it's not professional to gig with only one Guitar, anything can happen! // 9

Overall Impression: I play in a rock covers band in the UK, I play all kinds of music & need a very versatile Guitar to play from ZZ Top, Gary Moore through to Pink, Anastacia, Evanescence etc. I've been playing for 23 years now & PRS are the only guitar I've used that will cover all bases of music. If it were stolen I would definitely buy a replacement. I've had top range Les Pauls & Strats etc, but always settled on the PRS SE range. // 10

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overall: 8.4
SE Santana Reviewed by: imaginary.frnd, on august 28, 2009
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Features: 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). // 8

Sound: 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. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 8

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 9

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overall: 8.8
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 27, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: second hand

Features: Don't know the year, but it was made in Korea. 22 frets, 25" scale, medium frets, rosewood frtbrd, mahogany body and neck. Glossy finish, tremolo bridge. Non-locking tuners. It's a very simple setup. Came with a nice gigbag. I give it an 8 only because the tuners kinda suck, I'd rather have two tones and two volumes like a Gibson, and cause I was forced to buy a tremolo and block it (I don't whammy)cause the 11 gauge strings I use are too thick to intonate properly on the PRS stoptail bridge. // 8

Sound: The sound is 90% of the guitar experience for me and that's why I love this guitar. To give you an idea, it sounds very much like a Gibson SG but more focused and tinnier. But I've compared it to a USA-made SG and I prefer this "cheap" import cause it rocks just as hard and is just as sweet, or mean, but less noisy. However, although it is similar to a Gibson, I'd say its sound is unique and has its own distinctive character. Superb for blues and hard rock, can handle metal but not ideal for it, and pretty much any other style except for jazz that requires a hollowbody. Excellent sustain, very well balanced tone in all the ranges. The tone and vol controls can provide a variety of tonal variations with just a slight twist, which I cannot say for most guitars in this price range. They call this a student model, but the sound to me is worthy of a pro. I hve yet to find a better sounding solidbody for even double the price. I give it a 9 just cause 10 is perfection and does that even really exist? // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: I don't comment on factory setups because that's irrelevant. Any decent musician tweeks the setup to his taste anyway. I've set it up with 10 and 11 gauge strings and have settled on 11s, which makes it feel like 10s on a Strat more or less. Action low enough for speed is easy attainable and I can't really note any construction flaws or blemishes at all. If not for the "made in Korea" stamp on the back, I doubt a pro musician would finger this as a so-called student import. It's as good or better than USA Gibsons and Fenders I've had. Superb craftsmanship. The only negative I can state is that I had to push the low e string saddle to the end of its range to intonate, but still got there, so no worries. I still would have rather had just a bit more range for...just in case. // 9

Reliability & Durability: It's a rock. I've gigged with it and play it daily. It was bought second hand so it's been rocking for years and doesn't show any signs of crapping out. The only problem with gigging is the tuners are crappy so one has to tune between songs a lot. But the tuners can be replaced. // 9

Overall Impression: One can always find shortcomings, and I think I mentioned all of them. But bottom line this baby smokes, and not just measured as a student import, but compared to pro-level Gibsons and Fenders, which I have also owned. I can't say it's better than a Gibson or Fender because PRS has it's own character. But I'd say this is equal. Things I really love are how easy it is to use. It plays slicker than either a Gibson or Fender according to me. It has this nice balanced tone that is overflowing with personality but at the same time manages to stay cleaner than the others. And other tiny details too, such as its light weight and how it hangs perfectly on the strap. It's clearly the product of years of thought and research on the part of Mr. Paul Reed Smith to create a true workhorse players' guitar. If it were stolen I think I'd have to take therapy to overcome it, cause they don't make em any more! Plus the other SE models today don't have the exact specs I like. I think I'd have to bite the Bullet and fork over a few grande for a USA-made McCarty...and one day I might. // 9

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overall: 9.2
SE Santana Reviewed by: unregistered, on september 23, 2010
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Features: Don't know what year it was made but it's discontinued. Made in Korea. 22 medium jumbo frets, wide-fat neck, mahogany body and set neck. Beautiful stained red finish. Tremolo version. 2 open-coil humbuckers more on the hot side, but not as much as a metal guitar. Master tone and vol controls and 3-way switch. Very simple set up. PRS tuners, which are crappy. Comes with a great quality gig bag. I give this a 9 only because of the crappy tuners. The rest is really good quality. // 9

Sound: The sound is top notch and very similar to a Gibson SG but a little tinnier and more focused. I suppose it can improve with some Seymour Duncans, but I find these pups pretty hot and responsive, and very quiet. I think it could do with a little more high end and actually considering getting one of the maple top versions for that very reason. Other than that it's just awesome. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: It's a waste of time commenting the factory set up. There's a reason why setting up a guitar is a topic in the first place, because you have to tweek it to your preferences regardless of the instrument you own. I do my own setups and found this to be as good as I've had. The action is really really low, favored by the fact that I blocked off my tremolo. It buzzes a little but not enough to come through the amp so who cares. The intonation is easy to set and perfect with 11s, unlike a previous PRS I had with a stoptail. I don't recommend that bridge by the way. As for the craftsmanship, this is as good as I've seen anywhere really. I've played a plethora of guitars of all types and this has no flaws, it is way better than even $3000+ Gibsons and Luthier classicals I've played. Now, Asian makers like Ibanez also manage to pull off flawless craftsmanship so that isn't that uncommon these days either. However those all seem a little plastic and too noticeable that they are mass produced. More machines than instruments if that makes any sense. PRS, on the other hand, manages to pull off flawless craftsmanship while still presenting a guitar that looks like it was handcrafted. The stain lets you see the wood grain, so you know it's not plywood they gave you. The frets are all leveled. Sure this is a so-called student model, but whoever made it you can tell was concerned that a real musician would be playing it. Bravo is all I have to say. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I bought this particular one second hand and it had a few scuff marks on it already, so I could tell it had been around. I have gigged several times with it and it's my go-to rehearsal guitar also. So in short, it can take wear and tear as well as any guitar I've had. It's not a good idea to gig with out a backup no matter what guitar you own. The finish is a little delicate. I dropped my slide on it one day from about two inches away and it left a mark. But that would probably happen with any guitar that doesn't have one of the plastic encasement finishes like on most Fenders. The thinner the finish the more resonant the guitar is anyway. // 9

Overall Impression: This is my second PRS SE and I bought it years after owning another Santana model in college. I got that one about a month after having to hock my Les Paul to pay rent, which was weird cause I almost broke down and cried at the time. Then I got one of these as what I considered a serious sacrifice. But after a week I realized this was actually better sounding than my Les Paul, no matter how sceptical you may be about that. I found the tones really similar but more balanced than the LP, which had really screamy and noisy burst bucker pups in it. No, it doesn't have that irreplaceable chunky LP low end, hence my comparison to an SG instead. But that model I had in college had a serious problem with intonation as it was the stoptail version and I cannot use strings lighter than 11. I got rid of it because of that and was turned off from PRS for the longest time after that. The version I have right now has the tremolo, which I blocked. But I still prefer the tremolo as obviously it is fully intonatable you can get lower action than with the stoptail piece, even the fully intonatable one they sell. My overall impression is that once you go PRS you don't go back. And after you accept that it's all a matter of which one you can afford, cause damn are they expensive. So one day I'll bite the Bullet and get an American made McCarty. But until then, this is my favorite axe. // 9

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overall: 10
SE Santana Reviewed by: incidentslip, on august 10, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 200

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: Mine is an early one, I don't know what year. Korean made, solid mahogany, transparent blue finish, wide-fat mahogany neck, rosewood fingerboard, 22 medium jumbo frets, PRS tremolo & PRS non-locking tuners, covered humbucking pickups, 3 way switch, single volume & tone and a gig bag. // 10

Sound: I play many styles from clean to mean, and this guitar doesn't disappoint, it covers the gamut gracefully. I run it through a pedal board which is made up of Fulltone, Keeley, SRB, and Retrosonic effects into a Fender Super Sonic combo or a 30th Anniversary Marshall 100w half stack. This guitar goes from jazz to death metal with an ease and finess I've never seen. Has a very usable vol and tone controls and all the great tones you want. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this guitar second hand, the set-up was perfect, everything behaved as it should. The intonation was spot on, in fact, better than the Gibson Les Paul Standard I sold 10yrs ago, so is the overall tuning stability. The only problem that I've encountered in my 3yrs of owning it, was, I had to glue a toothpick into one of the strap buttom holes to snug it up. // 10

Reliability & Durability: No problems what so ever except for that loose strap button. This is my main humbucker equipped guitar that I play live. It can take a good pounding on stage, and hold it's tune well. I've owned real Les Paul's, this guitar holds it's own against any of them in all criteria, at 1/10th the price! // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar matches well to any style of playing, where humbucking pickups are used. Strats & Teles are different animals and shouldn't be compared... I own both. I've been playing for 30yrs, I own a Fender SRV strat, G&L ASAT (tele), PRS SE One (P90), Washburn Jazzbox (soon to get the Thorogood treatment ie. 2 P90's, 3 way switch, and second vol. & tone)and the PRS Santana reviewed here. I use the Santana and the SRV most. If it was stolen, I would replace it in a heartbeat. The PRS SE line is loaded with very well built, great sounding/playing guitars that will suit any player who is looking for a good P90 or humbucker equipped guitar. They have added some real winners to the line... The new Santana, the SE245, and the artist models. As much as I'd love to buy a crazy flamed 59 Reissue Les Paul... These guitars will get the job done for a lot less, and sound really close to the big guys. // 10

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overall: 9
SE Santana Reviewed by: endorse_me!, on january 06, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: € 699

Purchased from: The Guitar Villa

Features: My PRS SE Santana was made in 2011 in Korea. The body is solid mahogany with a flame maple veneer on top. The neck is mahogany as well. Mine is finished in Orange and it looks beautiful! The neck's scale length is 24 1/2" and has 22 frets. It's is what PRS calls a "wide fat" neck so it's not a wizard fast shred neck, as you would expect on an Ibanez or something, but a bit more chunky. For me it feels great! The rosewood fretboard is fitted with the classic "old school" bird inlays. The body is styled in the shape of Santana's American made PRS's and the bridge is a PRS designed Tremolo (which is awesome!). It's fitted with 2 PRS designed SE 245 (zebra-style) passive humbuckers, which are able to get an amazing variety of sounds. The controls are pretty basic and include a volume-knob, a tone-knob and a 3-way selector switch. The tuners are PRS designed non-locking tuners, which seem to amaze me everytime! No mather how hard I abuse the trem, put it in and out of the gig bag etc., they can handle it. Even with the tremolo system. I have no idea how they managed to do that but somebody in Korea must be doing a really good job. The guitar came with an awesome PRS SE gigbag which I think is able to carry a small elephant. It has lots of spaced to put cables, tuners etc. It also has a pretty sturdy hook which enables you to hang it on a clothes hanger and can possibly be used as a weapon to fight bears. It also came with a small tool-kit with some extra springs for the trem, a smal allan key and a tool to adjust the truss rod. // 10

Sound: I play about every style, from soft blues/jazz to metal and everything inbetween. So when I went out to buy this guitar I was looking for a guitar that versatile enough to handle all those styles, and it does. This guitar really suits my playing style and has never failed giving me the sound I wanted. I use it with my Peavey Vyper 30 and it sounds great. I've also tested it through my friends Line 6 Spider 30 which was great as well. I've also tried it through a few Tube amps in the store which was even more amazing. The guitar isn't noisy at all unless when you crank the amp up to the max with the dirtiest sound you can get (but I think every guitar will get slightly noisy at that level). I was really amazed with the variety of sounds this guitar had to offer. When I saw the mahogany body, the short scale length and the 2xH configuration I expected the guitar to be rather dark and warm sounding. But if you use the bridge pickup with the tone all the way up you get an amazing almost "single coily" sound. The neck pickup is really warm, not "Les Paul warm" but pretty close. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar was set-up pretty good from the factory. The action was set pretty low but not extremely low and the pickups were ajusted perfectly (no volume difference while switching pickups what'soever). The only problem it had was a tiny bit of fret buzz on the low E string, but that could easily be solved with the provided truss rod adjusting tool. The guitar was well-finished and had no flaws in the body-work what'soever. The trem was set up as it should and works fine. This trem is a trem that allows you to lift the bar as well as lower it (a bit like a floyd rose enables you to but not that extreme). The trem works fine but it's a little tricky to detune your guitar to let's say drop C. Because from the minute you lower the tension on one of the strings, immediatly all the others detune. It's less dramatic as you would experience with a Floyd Rose but it can be slightly annoying. It's not impossible but it takes some time. Therefore I usually keep it in standard tuning. I hardly ever drop tune anyway. The knobs feel pretty sturdy and the tuning pegs move smooth and are very precise. // 8

Reliability & Durability: I haven't played live with this guitar yet but I'm sure it will withstand live playing. Everything feels sturdy and I've banged it arround quite alot and it didn't seem to affect the paint job or the wood work at all. The hardware seems to be sturdy as well so that shouldn't be a problem either. The first thing I did when I bought this guitar was fitting it with strap locks. Not because I didn't trust the stock ones but just to be sure. This is my only (real) guitar and I treat as if it was my baby. Idon't want it to fall to the floor. I think you should be able to gig this without a backup but I wouldn't recommend this. There's always a chance you break a string or a very enthusiastic fan pours beer over it or something... The finish should be able to handle a beating, cause it's pretty thick. // 9

Overall Impression: This guitar really suits my playing style. I have been playing for a little more than 2 years and I bought this guitar as an upgrade to my first guitar which was an Epiphone Les Paul Special II (which was a piece of...). I wanted something that was a real upgrade rather than another crappy guitar to be complaining about. This guitar is more than an upgrade and in my opinion it beats about all the guitars in it's price range and even above. If this guitar were stolen I'd hunt down the one responsible and end his/her life with the provided hook tool in the gig bag. If I couldn't find him/her I'd buy the same guitar in a heartbeat, and maybe buy a fixed bridge PRS SE as well while I'm there. The thing I love the most about this guitar is the sound it produces and the feel. For me the slightly fatter neck feels great. It's great to have a little more wood in your hand when your bending a string etc. And although it's pretty thick it's not impossible to play some shred licks on it. It just takes a little getting used to. When I went out to buy this I was very open minded and played about everything the shop had: Les Pauls, Telecasters, Stratocasters, pointy metal shredmachines... And this immediately felt great. I wish the there existed a trem system which could be switched on and off though... There's this system called tremol-no which should enable you to HardTail the trem whenever you want to but this system is pretty expensive so... But other than that this guitar is great, I immediately fell in love with it. If your looking for a versatile, great sounding and beautiful guitar it would be a crime not to check this one out! // 9

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overall: 9.2
SE Santana Reviewed by: ghostbust555, on june 12, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 725

Purchased from: Sweetwater

Features: This is a 24 3/4" scale (I believe) guitar instead of PRS's standard 25.5" like fender. I really hate the larger scale so I love this model. I got it in limited edition whale blue which looks great however the flaming on the maple is very light and hard to see unless you look at the guitar closely. It also came with a gig bag which I learned about from the review though nowhere in the actual description did it mention this. Its a great deal without one, but throw one in and its even better. // 10

Sound: Compared to my Epiphone Les Paul Standard, the PRS Santana SE is far clearer, less muddy, has surprisingly more sustain (a lot more! ), and has a decent range of sounds. The only complaint I have is that both humbuckers alone are fairly noisy. Its not terrible but it could be much better. I might try putting in some of my own sheilding behind them to see if that helps. Together though they produce almost no hum and pretty good sounds as well, but it kills all of your harmonics. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: Everything was perfect. The flame on the maple top wasn't as nice as I'd hope but overall very beautiful. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Everything seems very solid. // 10

Overall Impression: The feel of this guitar is unlike anything I've ever played. Notes flow together beautifully and I can slide up and down the fretboard smoothly. Highly recommend. // 9

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