Sound — 9
The tones on the SE Standard were quite good; exceptionally good when compared to any guitar in its price range. As you'll hear from the audio clips, this guitar is an extremely versatile tone machine. It is very percussive and rhythmic when playing open chord progressions and funky clean riffs. Both PRS designed humbuckers sounded great, clean or distorted, and when I rolled back on the tone knob I even found it had great capabilities for jazz. My favorite tone was when I combined the bridge pickup with a light distortion from a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp.
Overall Impression — 8
Back in my high school days I dreamed of owning a PRS. I used to walk in to the local music shop, ask to play each one, and the salesman, thinking their was a slight chance I had rich parents, would let me sit there and wank my way through every Metallica and Nirvana riff I knew. Of course, I'd leave disappointed that my parents were indeed not rich and that minimum wage was only $5.25/hr. But times have changed and now all you lucky guitarists with champagne tastes and box wine budgets can now own a very sweet Paul Reed Smith guitar. Perhaps even putting away the plastic and paying with cash this time. All in all, this guitar gets a 10 in our book. If you're a novice or professional player looking for a well-crafted guitar that's versatile, attractive and downright affordable, then do yourself a favor and try out one of these babies. They simply look, sound and play amazing and you won't have to miss next months rent payment to own one!
Reliability & Durability — 8
My first impression of the SE wasn't even of the guitar itself, but rather the excellent Cordura gig bag that the SE was packed in. Not only is it almost as sleek as the guitar itself, but its solid interior reinforcement will definitely protect your investment from any possible mishaps while on the road or just loading up for another Saturday night gig at the local dive. But, enough about the gig bag. The PRS SE Standard is a well-crafted guitar, and a perfect compliment to the outstanding sustain this guitar brings to the table is the way it manages to effortlessly stay in tune for hours of non-stop play.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
Visually, the guitar is a perfect 10. The design of the body is very similar to any high end PRS's I used to not be able to afford. The guitar I tested had a Matte Vintage Mahogany finish... very smooth to the touch and an awesomely neutral color. Of course, the trademark moon inlays look stellar while the beautifully chromed hardware & now famous PRS Headstock round out the SE with style and beauty. I found this guitar to be ultra light and extremely comfortable to play sitting or standing.
Features — 8
One of my favorite features of the SE Standard is its seemingly endless sustain. The 25" scale length mahogany neck through design has much to do with this. The intonation, even past the 15th fret, is also on point and the 22-fret wide fat neck was surprisingly lighting fast. The guitar came with a Cordura gig bag that sports an efficient yet roomy accessory pocket allowing you to store your picks, capos and sheet music in style.