SE Soapbar Review

manufacturer: Paul Reed Smith date: 10/03/2012 category: Electric Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: SE Soapbar
Mahognay neck and body, 22 fret Wide/Fat' neck, stop tail piece, moon inlays, 25in scale. Single coil Soapbar pickups, 3 way toggle switch.
 Sound: 9.6
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.1
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.1
 Features: 9.1
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (8) pictures (2) 21 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.6
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: Midness, on july 27, 2004
5 of 6 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 731.982

Purchased from: Andertons

Features: - Made in Korea - 22 Jumbo Frets - 25 inch scale - Cutaway Body Style - Black Burst finish - Stoptail Bridge - 3-way selector with a one volume and tone control - Soapbar (P 90) pickups - PRS gig-bag // 10

Sound: I play quite a lot of heavy rock/metal and this guitar is good for this type of music (not outstanding though). It has both a very nice clean sound and a very nice overdriven/distorted sound. This is definately one of the best sounding guitars on the market for most styles of music. // 8

Action, Fit & Finish: The action on this guitar is perfect, nothing wrong with it. The pickups have been adjusted perfectly. Everything about this guitar is brilliant plus the finish is very cool as well. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Definitely very durable. It seems like it will last a long time. The strap buttons are still as strong as they were when I first got it. The finish is very good and has not worn off yet. But the strings that come with the guitar only last about 3-4 months. // 10

Overall Impression: This is definitely one of the best guitars that I have ever played. It fits all types of music well (especially blues and rock). It sounds good going through all types of amps. I would definately buy this guitar again if it was stolen or lost. I love everything about this guitar as it fits my playing style so well. Comparing it to a BC Rich guitar, I prefered it even though it was more expensive as, in my opinion, it had a better sound. Anyway, this is a great guitar and I would recommend it to anyone who doesn't know what guitar to get. // 10

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overall: 9.6
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: unregistered, on august 09, 2004
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: See the above review for all the technical stuff. This is a truly impressive guitar for the price tag. I will say the bag you get with the guitar is fantastic, not like the rubbish ones you get with the other SE models. // 10

Sound: The sound is supurb, the pick-ups are beasts, full sound on any settings, good treble and thick distortion, makes the humbuckers on a LP standard seem a bit weak. Only having 1 volume and tone is fine, the sound is good enough not to have to keep fiddling with the bloody thing to dial it in. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: Action is a good height, and the stock strings aren't too bad I like the size of them, a change to some ernie balls will follow shortly however. Stays intune well due to the fixed bridge, and handles droptunings well (mine is staying tuned down a whole step and is fine with no fret-buzz.) However the volume and tone adjusters are absolute bollocks. I don't know if it's just mine, but they are going to be replaced for some better ones, please give them a good going over if you are looking at buying this guitar, but the 12 month warrenty will cover this.) // 8

Reliability & Durability: Sturdy, feels nice and balanced in true single cut fashion. The strap buttons are good and strong. Also the guitar is suprisingly light. I like the Vintage look of this axe. // 10

Overall Impression: This guitar is fantastic and I am pleased with it. It is a good 2nd guitar, meaning a guitar you buy after you realise that you are going to keep plating and need a better guitar than the one you got from argos. Just check it's your thing. Oh and the neck is quite fat, but you get great sustain and good power for all thoes james hetfield moments. // 10

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overall: 10
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: cantshreddave, on march 21, 2005
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Purchased from: Gamlins Music, Cardiff, Wales, UK

Features: 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. // 10

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 10

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 8.4
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: IamJonsCranium, on july 13, 2005
1 of 4 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Peeler

Features: This is the Soapbar II, double cut. Wide-fat neck, you can get dimensions from the PRS faq on there site. See above for features. // 6

Sound: One of the most incredible sounding guitars I've played. It has this hollow, deep resonance to it, sounds better than the Gibson gold top reissue with P90's, Schecter Blackjacks with Seymour Duncans, and the humbucker PRS' in my opinion. Hum cancelling in the middle position, small hum in bridge or neck single. It has a very rich, full sound. I played it on a Peavey classic tube. It won't be the most versatile with P90's. Didn't buy it (yet) but I've played it many times in the store (they should make me put a down payment on it every time I ask to play it from now on). I can't put it down, it sounds so beautiful. Nice thick cruch through the Peavey, good Drive on either pickup, though not as strong as, say a Schecter or Ibanez. But that's what the effects pedal is for. The bridge has nice treble, the neck is very warm and mellow. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I played 2 of them, one has kind of high action, the other was very nice and low. I didn't notice fret buzz on either. The pickups sounded even on all strings. Even though it played nice, I'm not sure if the frets are finished, they looked 'cut' at the ends, like they were never smoothed or filed. But the edge of the neck has a nice feel to it, unlike my Schecter which feels like it is digging into my fingers on barr chords. All the controls seemed well put together. I'm not sure how well it stays in tune. Classic PRS double cut shape looks good, but nothing great overall in thelooks department, black or white, I've seen the burst on the Santana, and it is ok. // 8

Reliability & Durability: Due to the beefy set neck and opaque finish, it feels pretty durable. But I don't own it (yet) so I can't say too much on this. // 8

Overall Impression: I play alternative rock, love a mix of the classic sound of the Strat and the full sound of the humbucker, this has it. I've been playing for 2 years. I love the way this guitar plays and sounds. I've compared it to an Ibanez SZ and Schecter Blackjacks. They sound like every other guitar I picked up, the PRS SE soapbar struck me as very unique from the moment I started playing it. // 10

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overall: 9.2
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: unregistered, on march 19, 2008
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 492.27

Purchased from: Wolverhampton

Features: Shop demo model, no marks what'soever. Korean made, dark red stain on Mahoganny. Standard PRS shape, with doublle cut away. Tune-O-Matic bridge with no actual slots, very comfortable for muting. 2 Soapbar pickups, 3-way switch, 1 x volume 1 x tone controls. Very smooth and accurate tuners. PRS padded bag included. // 8

Sound: This is where this guitar comes into it's own. The finish on the SE range is much like a stained Les Paul Studio, practical to keep the price down. I play in a melodic rock band and our lead guitarist has the most powerful of sounds and I've changed guitar several times to find something with a solid, full bodied tone that can compliment his playing. I've tried Gibson & Yamaha Les Pauls (lacks definition), Strats (too biting), Carvins (lovely on their own, lost in the band) Godin (lost in the mix) but had never tried P90 style pickups before. This guitar honks and is as clear as a bell in the mix, even when Rich is locking horns with Bealzebub. I presently use a Carvin XV112 combo with a Marshall 1X12 cab. It's a very mes Boogie type sound with one of the reverbs available. I use mostly Line 6 stomp pedals. I also have a Maison SG with Seymour Duncan Custom & Jazz pickups that has tone to die for. This SE Soapbar is full toned, very clear, whether clean or dirty and possibly a bit to bright on full tone knob and bridge pick up, but that plays into my love of flicking pick-ups mid-solo, by running the bridge pick up at 4-5 on the tone knob, the Switch to the neck pick-up falls into the lovely mellow setting too. This guitar is very flexible and even the middle position is handy both clean and dirty. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: The guy in the shop re-set the action at my request and now it's just perfect for my fingers. I've slightly hired the neck pickup. No flaws found yet. The fretboard is very solid feeling. I also tried a Hamer in the same shop and I felt the need to hold it very tightly incase anything fell off, it felt so loose after playing this PRS. This guitar is not heavy to wear and the balance is superb. The action is also great for 2 hand tapping. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This guitar will definately handle live playing and its also going into the studio next month. This guitar is probably felxible and relaible to play a gig without a back up but I'd be more likely to play 2/3 of the gig on this and 1.3 on my SG, just for the smoother lead tone. // 9

Overall Impression: Superb quality, especially for this price. I've been playing for about 30 years and gone through a few top range and mid-budget guitars in my time. This is probably not the best looking guitar I've had, or my favourite tone for practicing at home (that would be my Carvins by a long way) but along with my SG, this guitar is the best for playing in a rock band and hearing everything that you play come through without having to be too loud and it's very flexible. // 10

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overall: 9.6
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: LedZepFan345, on february 04, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Features: This Guitar was built in Korea. It's got 22 frets and a wide-fat neck. Solid mahogany. Beautiful sunburst finish, but I'm not sure if they make them in that color anymore, haven't seen any like it recently. I have the Soapbar II, which is a double-cutaway. Nice stoptail bridge, apparently designed by PRS exclusively for this guitar. It has tone and volume dials, and a 3-way pickup selector. Nice, clean sounding soapbar pickups. Sound awesome with a lot of distortion and excellent clean. Comes with a durable gig bag. Really excellent guitar, sounds great no matter what genre of music you play. // 10

Sound: I play rock and metal, and I usually play it through a Raven RG60 amp. Not noisy at all compared to other guitars in it's price range. Clean clear sound or heavy metal sound. Avarage sound variety. With the amp I usually practice on, it sounds better than many other guitars I've played. // 9

Action, Fit & Finish: The guitar is very well made. No flaws or imperfections of any sort and stunning finish. Bridge is set up nicely. The pickups are phenomenal. They have a sort of plastic guard that cancels out some of the buzz from distortion. I was impressed at how well the guitar was put together. It looks almost like it's all one piece. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Everything seems like it will last. Hardware appears to be very durable and steady. The guitar seems very sturdy. I've brought it along with me to many places and it still Isn't scratched at all. I definately wouldn't need a backup guitar because this one has all the features I need. The only small problem is the strap buttons, but that's no big deal. // 9

Overall Impression: I've been playing rock and metal on this guitar for about 4 months now and it hasn't failed me yet. it's got all the features I need and knocks out most guitars in the price range. Very comfortable guitar, feels good to play. It has a fast neck and it's good for main riffs, rythm, lead, solos, and shredding. // 10

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overall: 9.6
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: Wildheart1118, on february 15, 2011
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 350

Purchased from: Ebay

Features: This 2007 PRS SE Soapbar 2 is the double cut model. No doubt the Koreans have done a great job in crafting this guitar, under PRS's watchful eyes. With 22 jumbo frets, it has a mahogany body and mahogany set neck with the wide-fat carve. It has a stunning, high-quality flame-maple veneer, with tri-color tobacco sunburst finish and hi-gloss black back and neck. A rosewood fretboard, and polished fretwork makes for a neck that asks to be played. The two Seymour Duncan designed cream-colored soapbar P90s were made to PRS specs, controlled by a three position heavy-duty toggle. The understated, yet functional EQ controls consists of two speed knobs, one for volume, the other for tone. The beauty of this setup is in its simplicity. The Bridge is a one-piece wrap-a-round that is factory preintonated. It came with an extremely high quality gig bag. // 9

Sound: This guitar suits my style perfectly for it's versatility: Classic and Hard Rock, Contemporary Christian, some Jazz, Blues, and Pop. P90s aren't really for Death Metal, but with the right amp...? My main amp is a Peavey Delta Blues 210, 30 watts of warm tube power. If you are not familiar with single coil P-90 pickups, you will get some minor humming in the Bridge and neck positions. The trade off is this growling, snarly tone in the Bridge pup that cuts through the rest of the band The neck pickup is warm, yet articulate, sweet as brown sugar, retaining a round scooped sound. Tons of tone, a meatier sound with more midrange bottom end, than say, Strat single coils, and much higher output signal; yet, they retain more high end clarity than a humbucker. This axe pierces through when I want to be heard. P90s are the offspring of a marriage between a singlecoil and a humbucker. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I bought this guitar used, and the action was a little too high for me, but since it was preowned, I can't comment accurately about the action. I've read blogs about PRS setups being very playable out of the box. However, action is subjective, and adjustable to taste. The pickups were setup slightly low output, so I raised them slightly. The flame-maple top was perfectly bookmatched, the Bridge was flawless; I have yet to read about anyone who owns a PRS SE line who has complained about the fit or finish of these guitars. The tuners feel kind of budget quality, as does the sharply cornered graphite nut, which is hollow, and going to be replaced soon with a bone nut. These two issues are in stark contrast to the overall fit, finish, and looks, which is that of a guitar that is worth 3 to 4 times what I paid for it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: Although only a comfortable 7.2 pounds, this guitar still carries the PRS name on it. It was put together with exactingly high standards. I will gig without a backup with confidence. Strap buttons were solid; I use locking Schallers. The nitrocellulose finish looks bulletproof. // 10

Overall Impression: Since I play primarily Classic & Hard Rock, Blues, and jazz, this guitar suites me pretty well. It is beyond doubt the most comfortable guitar, fun guitar I've ever played in 30+ years of playing. The Korean quality, combined with PRS quality control matches and exceeds some higher end Gibsons and Fenders made in this country. I own a 1991 American Standard Strat, and this "Soapy II" has relegated it to backup status. I would buy it again, used because this model is discontinued, if stolen, after I was let out of jail for killing the thief. I love it's Vintage sound, yet versatility. I only wish it came with a maple fretboard, and another tone pot, one for each pup.But, this fact is easily overlooked because of the sound I get out of this guitar. Mr. Smith's SE line is not a budget line, only budget priced. // 10

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overall: 9.2
SE Soapbar Reviewed by: DPapa93, on october 03, 2012
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 500

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Features: - Korean made - 22 frets, wide rosewood neck - Solid top - Mahogany neck and body - Transparent cherry red finish - Single cut - 2 Passive, standard PRS P90 pickups - Single vol, single tone, 3-way selector - Purchased with PRS standard tuners but replaced with Grover mini-locking rotomatic tuners // 10

Sound: Hands down, the most versatile guitar I've ever owned. It's got a very full range. Handles gain extremely well (everything from heavy dual rectifier type gain to blues driver type gain). I use it mostly through a Roland Cube 60 with a DigiTech RP-350 on any setting and it sounds amazing! Even unplugged, it sounds like a chambered guitar (even though it's not). Absolutely no weak spots! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: No problems at all. It may not be the flashiest guitar but it seems like every cent put into this guitar was put into playability and tone. // 9

Reliability & Durability: A little trouble with a tight nut and staying in tune (the reason why I changed the tuners) but that's a fairly simple/cheap fix. // 7

Overall Impression: I play everything from Red Hot Chili Peppers to Avenged Sevenfold with this guitar and it fits perfectly. You never have to fight with it, it just works. I would definitely buy it again if I had to. When I bought it, I was also looking at a PRS SE Singlecut but I liked the intonation of the Soapbar more. It is my most played guitar and also is my 2nd cheapest guitar (the cheapest one being one that I built myself). This guitar plays like it should cost 4 times more. // 10

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