SE Singlecut review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 8.6 (264 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Singlecut
2

Price paid: $ 650

Purchased from: Pro Music

Sound — 10
I play hard rock mostly, in the vein of Godsmack, Sevendust, and Breaking Benjamin. I play other styles, and this covers most bases. I play this through a Mesa Boogie Nomad and Mesa Boogie Blue Angel. I didn't brutalize the truss rod by tuning down low, so I played Straight Out of Line and then tuned up and played Green Eyes. Going from Godsmack to Coldplay on one guitar seems impossible, but this gem pulled it off well, and ultimately sold me. This doesn't feedback as bad as my Gibson Les Paul. A little hum, but not the annoying feedback. The sound is ultimately where this thing shines- it can go from soothing clean to all out scream. Flick up to the neck position, and a very beautiful clean tone comes out. I never thought my Mesa could have such a good clean tone! On the bridge, it's very piercing, and open chords are very ineffective. Switch to the overdrive channel, and prepare to incite a riot! This is a great rhythm guitar, and a good lead guitar. I'm not a lead player, but my friend is, and he played it and was amazed. The biggest difference in the tonality of the SE Singlecut and my Les Paul is how precise and clear the tone is the Les Paul is very boomy and muddy. I used to be pretty sloppy playing the Paul, because I could get away with it. Now, I'm playing a very high Precision instrument, and you hear everything!

Overall Impression — 10
Overall, this is the perfect match for me as far as playing original music and covering other artists' work. I've been playing for about 6 and a half years, and this is my favorite guitar out of any guitar I've ever owned, and my stable includes a 2003 Fender Standard Fat Strat, a Fender Esquire RI, a 1996 Ibanez Talman, a 1979 Gibson Les Paul KM, and now a late 2007 PRS SE Singlecut. The combination of looks, playability, tone, and simplicity are what really sold me. I'm more inspired to play and upkeep my guitar than I ever have been. If someone stole this from me, whoever did would be sorry, because I'd beat them mercilessly and take back my jewel. I'd buy another one for kicks afterwards. Actually, I would not be ashamed to be seen with nothing but PRS SE Singlecuts, I'd like to buy one in the new Blue Matteo finish online to see how the factory setup was. I like the guitar for what it is, it doesn't need the birds or locking tuners or coil tap for me, I'm satisfied. My first PRS and not my last, to say the least.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will withstand Live playing- I'd do a very very small gig without a backup, and that's anywhere between 25-55 people. This guitar will last as long as the owner takes care of it. In a few years, I'll probably have to get this guitar re-finished, the lacquer seems a little thinner than on other guitars I own. It may not be necessary, but as a precautionary measure to say the least. The strap buttons are the most solid out of all the guitars I own.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Since I purchased this in a music store, I couldn't tell how well it was set up from the factory. The action was perfect, as was the pickup height. The strings smack the pickups on my Les Paul, and that's simply not the case with the SE Singlecut. This guitar suits the player, whether sitting down or standing up, and that's a plus. There's a rib carve in the back which makes for more comfort playing as well as weighing less than a Les Paul or a Standard Singlecut. The wood is definitely high quality, as is the hardware. The top has a much deeper and broader flame than the LP, and that's a shame, considering I spent $3000 on a 1979 Gibson Les Paul, and a $650 import guitar shames it 95% of the way.

Features — 10
Late 2007 model, 22 frets, mahogany body, slightly carved flame maple top and mahogany neck, Whale Blue, 2 passive humbuckers, volume, tone and 3 way toggle. Standard PRS stoptail bridge and non-locking tuners. Came with a nice gig bag, humidifier, strap, cable and polishing cloth. Not the bag of bones as far as features goes, but this guitar certainly proves that less is more.

11 comments sorted by best / new / date

    GuitarPlayer716
    Everyone always calls a single cutaway a "Les Paul" style, but let's be honest, the first single cutaway was the Fender Broadcaster which later became the Telecaster. Why is this? Because it was the first solid-body electric guitar ever made. The end.
    qotsa1998
    Looks nice. The only thing i dont like so much about this guitar is the bridge. It looks like the bridge is one of those non-intonatable wrap-arounds, which would be a bit annoying if u wanna down-tune or use thicker strings. It'd be an extra $60 or more to get a replacement. Otherwise, it looks like a great guitar, and probably much better-sounding and playing stock than an Epi LP Standard, and maybe even an LP Custom.
    KenG
    TheGunslinger wrote: for all you Gibson fanboys out there, smarten up! I bought this guitar in octobre and ive been using this and only this! Yes, its a cutaway. yes, it remotely resembles paul but match this up against your crappy 3000$ Les Paul and guaranteed youl prefer the sound of this guitar! so befeor you go waste you hard earned money on a Gibson I'd suggest you at least shop around and look at some PRS guitars because they are much better!
    I'd imagine Alex Leifson of Rush has a different opinion than your's. He used PRS for years but now he's back to the classic Les Pauls. His band mate Geddy Lee also prefers the sound of Gibson to PRS. This is not a slur against PRS quality which is top notch.
    richgray5
    how is this comparable to a $3000 LP? Compare a PRS with that....fine....but not these things. If you want a "poor man's" PRS, buy a high end schecter, and if you are not happier with that over an SE....you are a victim of marketing.
    Grandis41
    Lifeson changed back to Gibson because he was tired of "hearing PRS's on everything" At the moment I have a Gibson SG Special Faded, but this lovely piece of guitar shall be the next one
    KenG
    richgray5 wrote: how is this comparable to a $3000 LP? Compare a PRS with that....fine....but not these things. If you want a "poor man's" PRS, buy a high end schecter, and if you are not happier with that over an SE....you are a victim of marketing.
    While a tad blunt, I sort of agree that a Korean version is not going to be all that the American PRS guitar is. After all, an American PRS is well over $2000.00 and goes up from there! It's not just labour, it's different quality levels of tone woods and lesser hardware as well that's saving the price. I'm sure this is a good playing/satisfying guitar but if you really want to experience the real quality of PRS, ESP, Fender etc you need to see their original, made at home models and not their lower line ones even though they have good workmanship too. It would be like comparing a standard Chinese EPI to a Gibson (close but no cigar).
    Joe4/4/1992
    does anyone on here reckon i should trade in my epiphone lp custom flametop and get this instead? i got the epi for xmas but, i dunno theres sumat about it that i dont like any advice?
    KenG
    Joe4/4/1992 wrote: does anyone on here reckon i should trade in my epiphone lp custom flametop and get this instead? i got the epi for xmas but, i dunno theres sumat about it that i dont like any advice?
    It would be helpfull if you knew what is was that you didn't like about the Epi LP! Both the PRS & Epi are LP based, have Humbucking PUs, with only a slight difference in scale length (25" PRS vs 24-3/4" Epi). Before you start spending more money you should try to determine whether it's: A) Style of Guitar, B) Workmanship, or C) Setup issues. If you don't feel comfortable with single cutaway with arched top body a PRS isn't going to help you. If it's quality of workmanship the SE is Korean while the Epi is Chinese. There's bond to be a variance in quality from guitar to guitar that you have to check for when you buy (always try multiple guitars of the same model). If it's setup, it may be the action isn't set to your taste yet or the intonation is off so it doesn't sound as nice.
    KapitaanKOOL
    i dont see how anyone can call a prs a ripoff guitar paul reed smith helped make the gibson company until he laft when gibsons got crappy
    KenG
    American PRS guitars have to be right up there with the best which is why they are used by so many. The SE line are their entry level product and would be significantly "less" guitar when compared to the US versions. In my opinion this doesn't mean the off-shore models are bad but thay are scaled back.