Sound — 10
I play mostly hard rock/alternative, and this pretty much fits the bill. I actually loaded my first PRS with EMG pickups a few years back, and to me at least, this guitar, stock no less, actually sounds a little meaner, all the while still retaining sonic clarity and a nice woody tone. I think the pickups are great, very versatile, crisp highs, thick low end, and it ROCKS with palm mutes. This really isn't a Les Paul-type sound at all. It's almost got the clarity of a Fender without the spank or twang (thanks to the humbuckers), but it can really crunch.
Overall Impression — 9
Overall, this guitar is great. It's gonna be my main live guitar as soon as my band resumes touring at the end of the month. I've been playing for almost 10 years now, and I have had lots of other guitars, including a rare 1980 Electra X210, a Korean Epi LP Standard, LTD Viper 400, etc. I currently own, in addition to this SE SC Trem, a PRS Tremonti SE, a Squier CV 50's Tele (which is surprisingly good, by the way), and an old Fender Strat. I use Randall and Line 6 amps through Marshall cabs, and this guitar most definitely holds its own, if not dominates. I tried many other guitars while shopping (including a Schecter Tempest Standard, Solo-6, and Corsair; LTD EC-400 22-fret, and EC-1000 24-fret; Gibson LP Studio; Epi LP w/P-90s; Various Ibanez ART series models; and several PRS models, at least 5 SE Singlecuts, 3-4 SE Customs, the SE Torero, and SE Soapbar) and this was my favorite above all. Quality-wise, I think it holds up with a Gibson LP Studio easily, for half the price (The PRS SE SC Trem sells from $575-625 brand new, while most LP Studios can easily fetch upwards of $1000 and more). The only thing I might change aside from the tuners are the controls. I might opt for dual volume knobs and no tone knobs. I like having independent volumes for pickups. This guitar must be replaced if stolen, lost, or destroyed. You will not beat this quality in its price range.
Reliability & Durability — 10
I must admit, I did change the strap buttons immediately to Dunlop Straploks, not that the stock buttons were bad, but I do this to every guitar I own. I might change the tuners, not that they're bad, but I feel the PRS Phase II locking tuners will be better overall, since I do use my trem. Otherwise, the hardware seems pretty solid. I haven't used it live yet, but it feels every bit as solid, if not more so, than my other PRS (the EMG-loaded Tremonti SE). I've been playing PRS for almost 8 years now (since I was 15) and I know I can depend on them. Yet, I still NEVER, EVER gig without a backup.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Action and setup was great in-store; however, it was set up for Standard tuning with.009s. My band plays at least a whole step down, sometimes more, so I had to file the nut out to accept the.012-.056 Ernie Ball set I put on it. I even had to widen the slot on the low E bridge saddle so the.056 could fit. No biggie though. Tremolo works better than any other non-locking trem (and I must say, I like this better than I like Floyds). I cut a guitar solo with it two days after buying it and did a few whammy bar tricks on the fly (even closing with a dive bomb) and it held its tune pretty well. Finish was beautiful, yet I did notice a few dings and scratches on the back of the body and on the neck (must've been damage from in-store display, and the reason I got a $100 discount on it), but as I travel and play regularly, this doesn't faze me. I love the neck. It's chunkier, yet fast and comfortable for my rather large hands. Tuners are far from bad--decent, not great though, might upgrade still.
Features — 9
PRS SE Singlecut Trem, Made in Korea in 2008/2009 I believe, Tobacco Sunburst Finish. Mahogany body with maple top, and beautiful flame maple veneer. Natural maple faux binding on top of body (I like this). Wide/fat set mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, 22 medium-jumbo frets, 25" scale. PRS-designed non-locking tuners, two PRS-designed humbuckers, vol/tone with 3-way pickup toggle switch, and a PRS-designed tremolo round out this package. Not exactly a boatload of features, but I like simplicity on a guitar, seeing how I'd rather plug in and play than mess with a bunch of knobs and switches.