SE Soapbar 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: 9 (51 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Soapbar
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Purchased from: Gamlins Music, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Sound — 10
I play through a Marshall MG-15 CD (45 Watt) and have been and will be playing it through a Zoom FX pedal of some sort (probably the 606). What a sound. P-90's were found on the original Les Paul but were dropped and humbuckers were used on the '59 onwards. I wonder why Gibson dropped them? The pickups make an excellent mid way between humbuckers and Strat style singlecoils. The bridge pickup has lovely bite for that stadium rock sound with plenty of treble which doesn't sound sqeaky like a Strat. The neck is a tiny bit bland but enough treble on the amp and your fine. I play ACDC, Led Zep mostly and this really does make a good sound. The variety of sound possible from it is amazing. I've also played funk and heavy metal and this guitar doesn't disappoint in those areas.

Overall Impression — 10
Love this guitar. This guitar will suit almost every type of music you play. Since I've filled this article with pros I'll now make a little list of cons to be a little more even handed: - The tone pot isn't great, and both pots have no grip; - The weight, thought a Les Paul was heavy? You havn't tried this; - That PRS headstock, beautiful but prone to getting scratched because of the pointy bits; - The body, the original is no longer made because the Singlecut body was too similar to the Les Paul and Gibson won the law suit. A new double cut version is out but it doesn't look as nice. Oh well! So a great guitar which has the potential to suit everyone.

Reliability & Durability — 10
The strap buttons hold the strap fine but the screw on one is a little loose and slowly makes its way out, but this is no problem, I just twist it back in, as I haven't the correct sized screw driver to fix it mote tightly. I use this guitar at gigs without backup because I don't have a backup (I have an old Squier but I can't be bovered to string it). Even so the guiat has not failed on me and I don't think it ever will. It's as hard as nuts, if a little heavy, but I'm barely 5ft at 15 and manage more than fine.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The SE range is the Korean made range of PRS guitars and so they arn't quite as well made as the Custom 22 and 24 for example. However the finish is brilliant, I've knocked the body against various things by accident and the only scratches are on the area below the strings from pickmarks, but you can only see these if you look incredibly closely, a metre away and you can't see them. The only problem was the action. Because I have quite weak, small fingers the factory action was too high so I lowered it considerably, but I won't mark down on this because everyone has their personal preference.

Features — 10
Nothing over the top or particularly special, really. Simple but great. 22 frets, mahogany body and neck, rosewood fretboard, standard PRS fixed bridge and tuning nuts, one volume control, none tone control, two P-90 "Soapbar" pickups and a three way selector Switch.

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