SE Torero review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Features: 8
  • Sound: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 9 Superb
  • Users' score: 9.5 (65 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Torero

Price paid: $ 899

Purchased from: Ebay (new)

Features — 8
2013 Torero SE in see-through black.

  • Flame maple top (veneer)
  • 24 frets, bound ebony fretboard
  • 25.5" scale length
  • Traditional PRS style double cutaway, flat top
  • Original Floyd Rose Bridge
  • Active EMG 81 and 85 pickups
  • 1 volume, 1 tone, 3 way switch
  • PRS designed non-locking tuners
  • Came with a padded gig-bag (very high quality) from PRS
As a guitar designed for hard rock/metal, this guitar has pretty much every feature you could want in a guitar. Real EMGs, an authentic Floyd Rose. It's very high end.

I would have rathered have 2 volumes (since tone knob is useless to me) but that's just preference. Carved top is out of the question at this price range (given the high end hardware/electronics) but it would make the guitar perfect. (NOTE this guitar has gone up in price since I bought it, so I'm taking a point off for features because at this price I believe it should have a real maple top not just a veneer).

Sound — 9
My style is hard rock/metal. I'm using this guitar with a couple of amps: a Marshall TSL60 Head and a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster. I'm also using it with a Mesa Boogie Throttle Box distortion pedal and an Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff (occasionally).

First, the clean sound. The sound is a bit stale, but that's typical of EMG equipped guitars. It's very, very clean.. almost too clean. The guitar lacks a true maple top so the sound is a little bit darker than I'm used to (my main guitar is an ESP Eclipse, which has a real maple top). But especially through a nice amp, the clean channel can sound very good as you turn the volume up. There's a lot of bottom end especially with the neck pickup, so you can really nail the "Welcome Home (Sanitarium)" sound. That said, I spend very little time playing clean so on to the distorted sounds...

The distorted tone is very, very good. The guitar does sound a bit darker than my Eclipse because of the wood used (basically only Mahogany) but when you crank the gain and play metal it's less noticeable. More importantly, the sound is very easy to control. There's no unwanted noise or scratchy high end. It's absolutely perfect for hard/rock metal riffing and it only sounds better the higher you turn it up. The Mahogany body gives it a really thick sound for rhythm playing despite the double cutaway / thinner shape.

I recorded most things on my album with the Eclipse, because it's the best sounding guitar I own, but found myself using this one on some of the faster more technical parts without any noticeable difference in sound. It sounds really good.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
Perfect. Straight from the factory, I didn't have to change a single thing. The pickups were at the right height, as per EMG's spec (as close as possible without touching, I believe), and the action was just high enough to avoid buzz but very very fast. No cosmetic defects at all. My guitar is a see-through black flame color, and it looks stunning. Bookmatched top was well aligned (though that will vary from instrument to instrument) and everything was in pristine condition from the factory. Nothing to complain about here and nothing to deduct a single point for.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar is built to shred and it feels very solid in my hands. I haven't gigged with it yet but I have taken it to band practice and it's held up well. The hardware is all very good quality (Floyd has been great since I got it). I changed the strap buttons out for Dunlop strap locks like I do on all my guitars.. the original ones were fine though. Since it has a Floyd you'd be crazy to gig without a backup... Finish is pretty solid. I've owned it for about a year and the finish still looks good as new.

Overall Impression — 8
I play a blend of metal/hard rock/punk music. This guitar suits that style of music very very well. Have been playing for 14 years and I own a variety of other gear: Gibson LP Custom, ESP Eclipse, Fernandes Ravelle Elite and Deluxe Tremolo. Bottom line on this guitar - it's fantastic, but I think the price is too high (it's gone up since I bought it). Not worth $1100 IMO as there are many guitars in that price range that have a real maple top and the same features. But if you can find it at a lower price it's an absolute beast. Has (almost)all the features that you'd want for this kind of music and the fit and finish is perfect. It plays really really well (very comfortable) and sounds great.

If it were lost or stolen I'd consider buying another one used but would not spend $1100 on it. I've actually thought about buying a second one after seeing how cheap they can be found both on eBay and through places like Guitar Center.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Guys. I own a Line 6 Spider II as well as a Mesa Boogie Dual Rectifier Roadster. I also reviewed this guitar because I own it - so I think I'm the most qualified to comment on how it sounds. After the $400 mark or so, any guitar you play through the Line 6 sounds exactly the same. The amp's tone is just too overbearing. I can tell you this with confidence because my $600 strat sounds exactly the same as my $4k Les Paul Custom through that amp. So the reason that people don't like reviews done with cheap Spider amps is that you can't tell what the instrument actually sounds like. However, regardless of what amp you're playing, you can tell how the guitar *FEELS. And it feels very nice in your hands regardless of the amp. This guitar plays and sounds great on my Marshall and Mesa. And on the Line 6 it sounds just as good as anything else.
    FYI, you can get this guitar new for $600, while supplies last...