SE Singlecut review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 8
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.6 (264 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Singlecut
1

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.

7 comments sorted by best / new / date

    david1707
    I have no access to play one of these but I really like what I see and read about it. I play a Yamaha Pacifica right now and am looking to upgrade. I have small hands and wonder how the "fat wide" neck would compare to mine? I can't find actual spec on the size of the neck.
    L2112Lif
    KenG wrote: 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.
    Saw him on tour about a year back. He used both, and brought out his Gibson ES-335 for A Passage to Bangkok. Honestly, I'd only buy Gibson for their hollow and semi-hollow models, because Gibson's solid body guitars are essentially Epiphones that have been built in America, at least tonally. The ES-335, on the other hand, is worlds away from Epi's hollow offerings. The LP neck is notably thick, and I really like the feel of PRS's necks, but I haven't yet had the opportunity to play a single... But those doublecuts are beautiful as well.
    Linkerman
    ovation08 wrote: Bought this model in the Tobacco burst finish about a month ago. Gorgeous finish, plays and sounds nice. This guitar just feels right and comfortable against my body and in my hands.
    Yeah, i know what you mean. I bought one in Cherry Sunburst finish 9 months ago, and i feel the same way about it.
    L2112Lif
    no3rdseat wrote: 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!
    Sorry, but you USED to work there? No offense, but it sounds like you still do, and only got transferred to the PR department, lol.
    Seref
    I love PRS, but I'm not a fan of their Sincle-Cut shape. It looks like a more rectangular Les Paul, and the classy cursiveness of that guitar is part of what makes it so appealing. Like someone overlaid a Telecaster on a Les Paul and cut away the excess.
    MrGuitarGuy01
    Great guitar I'm sure, but I need the other volume and tone knob. If PRS comes out with an SE with that (and a trem) I will buy it the day it comes out.
    | Lightning |
    david1707 wrote: I have no access to play one of these but I really like what I see and read about it. I play a Yamaha Pacifica right now and am looking to upgrade. I have small hands and wonder how the "fat wide" neck would compare to mine? I can't find actual spec on the size of the neck.
    The "fat wide" neck will not be a problem for you.