Swamp Ash Special review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 9
  • Reviewer's score: 9.4 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.1 (17 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: Swamp Ash Special
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Price paid: $ 1800

Purchased from: Gruhn Guitars

Sound — 10
I play all kinds of music. From southern rock to blues to metal, I do it all, and so does this guitar. I run it through a Boss DD-7 delay and a tube screamer mainly into my Peavey Valveking 212. It's not noisy at all. It has a rich, full, beautiful sound on every pickup and setting if you configure them right. When I play clean, I always have chorus and delay on. On the neck pickup, it has a room-filling, kill-you kind of sound like a Metallica kind of clean. On the single coil, it is a very Strat kind of sound. The humbuckers provide the Gibson sound, while the single coil provides the Fender sound. It has a very bluesy sound, and it's awesome. On the bridge bucker, it's very trebly and good for country and things. When distorted, it has the richest, best tone for things like AC/DC. With higher distortion, it is perfect for metal.

Overall Impression — 10
Like I said, I play all kind of music, and it fit's them all perfectly. I have been playing 2 years and I own some other gear, and nothing compares to this. I have NO regrets buying this and it will be with me for the rest of my life. If it were stolen or lost, I would do everything in my power to get it back. I love everything about it, my favorite being the bridge pickup. I compared it to a few things like a 70s Strat, and a 69 SG but nothing compared. Best. Guitar. Ever.

Reliability & Durability — 8
This guitar doesn't seem like a very sturdy guitar. I love it, it's the best guitar ever, but it doesn't seem too tough. The pickups and everything do look good though. The strap buttons are solid. I would always take a gig back up but I think I could rely on it.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
When I got it, the action was great, no buzz at all, best feeling strings and neck ever. The neck is really fast with the 9 and 11 string gauges I use and it plays like a dream. The factory set up was perfect, couldn't have been better. The pickups were perfect, and all the electronics could not have been wired any better. No flaws at all.

Features — 9
This guitar is a 2004 Model, made in the US, with 22 jumbo frets. It's a solid top, and the body is made from Swamp Ash (thus the name), while the neck is made from maple. It's a natural swamp Ash finish, and the body is a classic double-cutaway. The bridge is a stock bridge with an included tremolo bar. It has passive pickups, which are two Dragon II's with a classic single coil in the middle. It has one volume, one control knob, and a 5 way selector. The tuners are non-locking PRS tuners. The Guitar came with it's hard-shell case and a tremolo bar.

15 comments sorted by best / new / date

    SG_Player93
    i was immedietly "atracted" to prs's the first time i saw one. they're just amazing guitars.
    Fik0n
    I own Swamp Ash Custom, they are completely amazing. As for sturdyness, I think it's mainly because it's incredibly light! I wouldn't describe this guitar as more or less fragile then any other guitar modern guitar.
    ratlr
    yea, i would say the fragile feel probably comes from the lighter wood(ash) as compared to what most guitarist are probably used to(mahogany). mahogany is really heavy.
    SuperFlyinMonke
    I played this through a DSL and it could handle so many different playing styles. I actually liked it more than the G&L legacy, albeit, two very different guitars. PRS is unrivalled when it comes to production quality. I might just get one. I wouldn't call it fragile in the least. You could definitely beat someone to death with it and then play a solo using one of their teeth as a pick as the pool swelled around your feet, all the while staying in perfect tune.
    ThatsAgood1jay
    StratStar21 wrote: imo PRS owns all other productin guitars, except maybe some higher end ibanezes
    High end ibanez's are not that special. Mostly just RG or S series bodies with better pick ups, and custom neckings for the professional players that the guitar is built for.
    jean_genie
    PRS seems like a love/hate brand. Like the aforementioned Ibanezes. Ibani? Anywhoo, I don't like PRS guitars, Les Paul all the way. But I can see the appeal. Except pre-1992 PRSs. Those I like, back when they were still more-or-less handmade. Something just feels clunky on the new ones, and it's just not comfortable to me.
    hm92
    my guitar is a PRS that cost around 1200$? but 1 thing for sure PRS guitar are good looking and nice
    limefan913
    jean_genie wrote: PRS seems like a love/hate brand. Like the aforementioned Ibanezes. Ibani? Anywhoo, I don't like PRS guitars, Les Paul all the way. But I can see the appeal. Except pre-1992 PRSs. Those I like, back when they were still more-or-less handmade. Something just feels clunky on the new ones, and it's just not comfortable to me.
    I've seen the factory in person, and trust me they're still made almost entirely by hand. They CNC the body shape and neck shape, but everything else is done by hand. I've seen guitars that I'd give my left nut for, that they didn't deem high enough quality due to a burn from the CNC or something. They send them back for sanding, or if they can't be salvaged, they burn them. BURN THEM! WTF! You think they'd use a non-transparent finish or something instead...
    richard_edwards
    best guitar ever even though you basically said it was made of paper-mache? if it feels weak, get rid.