SE Singlecut review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 9
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (264 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Singlecut

Price paid: $ 560

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Sound — 9
I play anything from clean blues to classic rock, to somewhat heavier stuff (e.g., Godsmack) and this guitar handles all that beautifully. I don't play anything super heavy so I can't speak to it's ability with Mega distorted tones. It has a great bassy sound but isn't nearly as muddy as my LP. The bridge pickup can really cut through. I go straight through a 50-watt Peavey Valve King (tone on a budget!) and occasionally use a wah and over Drive. This guitar is very versatile from my persective. It can certainly achieve a Vintage-like humbucker sound but will not sound like a Les Paul, so if you're going specifically for a LP sound, buy a LP, not this guitar. One of the other reviewers said he had to clean up his playing b/c the pickups are so good and I agree w/this. It's made me clean up my slopping picking and focus more on controling sympathetic string vibrations. Finally, this guitar has great sustain for it's weight. Not a LP but pretty damned good!

Overall Impression — 9
I was looking for a Vintage-style humbucker guitar with a bit of a more unique sound and this guitar offered exactly what I was looking for. Just to compare, I played Epi Les Pauls for a lot more money and I liked this guitar much better. It's a perfect match for my style of music and I would definitely buy another one if this one got lost or stolen. The only two things I wish this guitar had were better tuners and a more conveniently placed toggle Switch. Overall, I highly recommend this guitar if you're looking for a great humbucking tone, physically solid guitar on a budget.

Reliability & Durability — 8
I've only had this guitar 3 months at this point so I can't comment on long-term durability. It just FEELS like a solid, trustworthy guitar. My only complaint is that even though the strings are stretched, the G string doesn't stay in tune well. I may invest in some locking tuners but it still would be a bargain given the overall quality of this guitar. Strap buttons are solid and the finish seems robust. (I'll update this in the future if I have any problems and when I get the tuning issue resolved).

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The guitar was set up perfectly. The action was perfect for Standard tuning. I play down a half-step so I had a pro adjust the neck to reduce fret buzz and now it's perfect. I bought the black one and this guitar contained no flaws. My only complaint, and this is a minor one, is that the toggle Switch is placed somewhat awkwardly, especially if you're used to a Strat or Les Paul. The toggle on the SE is placed too far back for me but I may get used to it.

Features — 9
As noted elsewhere, this is a Korean-made, 22-fret guitar with a 25-inch scale and two PRS-designed humbuckers. It has single volume and tone control knobs, a 3-way selector Switch and I bought the stop-tail rather than the tremelo model. The neck and body are mahogany and the fretboard is rosewood. It's a Les Paul style body but weighs MUCH less than my Gibson. The tuners are chrome non-locking PRS tuners. Guitar Center didn't include anything (not even a gig bag) but at this price I didn't complain!

5 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Personally I think it's pretty good for $300-$700.
    garrettwichert : If the Les Paul were Paris Hilton, this would be its Nichole Richie. Definitely the ugly one of the two.
    nice guitar.though its kinda les paul.but i think there are things that just in this guitar,not in gibsons or epis.PRS is a good guitar company so i think they'll produce great guitars!
    I used to work at PRS back in the 80's. Ever since then I've been playing the PRS I built when I worked there. I've tried to buy new guitars over the years but nothing plays as well as the one I made... until now! I just bought an SE Singlecut with the stop tailpiece and I can't believe what a nice guitar this is! I only paid US$499 for this beauty. I have always wanted a single cutaway style guitar as I like the Jimmy page "look" but I just couldn't bring myself to plunk down the change for a Les Paul... and the Epi LP just has this disconnect where you feel the vibration in your body but the sound from the amp is muddy and somehow slightly out of phase with what you're playing. It's a weird thing to describe but I just didn't like the EpiLP. Not only that, but the frets on the Epi aren't as well finished along the sides of the neck as the PRS SE. Anyway, I gotta tell you, I LOVE this PRS SE SC!! I played every guitar that Guitar Center had out, including the American teles, Schecter, ESP, Gibsons, whatever... but when I picked up the PRS I couldn't put it down, it was all over. I literally walked around the store with the PRS so nobody would buy it! It was that kinda thing! Unreal! Anyway, it's just the perfect guitar for me. Some differences I noticed are that the PRS SESC w/stop tailpiece had a wide fat neck whereas all of the tremelo versions had the wide thin neck. Not sure if that's the case across the board but it's something to look out for when you go shopping. Seriously, get off the web and go play the things. That's the only way you'll know which guitar speaks to you. You've got to play a lot of guitars before you find the "one". But as far as the SESC goes, go try one! They are the best PLAYING guitar in their price range and the tone is incredible!
    How does the PRS style of stoptail compare to the traditional style? It appears to really stress the strings with the U-turn bend at the bridge.
    garrettwichert : If the Les Paul were Paris Hilton, this would be its Nichole Richie. Definitely the ugly one of the two.
    hahaha well said Im definetly going for this guitar I was thinking about the prs se eg but the reivews were it was to nasal and tone was crap but this guitar sounds like a dream