Swamp Ash Special Review

manufacturer: Paul Reed Smith date: 07/21/2009 category: Electric Guitars
Paul Reed Smith: Swamp Ash Special
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.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 8
 Action, Fit & Finish: 9.5
 Features: 9
 Overall rating:
 Reviewer rating:
 Users rating:
reviews (2) pictures (1) 17 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9.4
Swamp Ash Special Reviewed by: aeliustehman, on march 27, 2009
1 of 2 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 1800

Purchased from: Gruhn Guitars

Features: 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. // 9

Sound: 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. // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: 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. // 10

Reliability & Durability: 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. // 8

Overall Impression: 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. // 10

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overall: 9.2
Swamp Ash Special Reviewed by: SwampAshSpecial, on july 21, 2009
1 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: £ 1650

Purchased from: The Oxford Guitar Gallery

Features: This guitar was made in 2005 in the USA. It has what PRS call a 'wide fat' neck, which feels pretty chunky, 22 frets and a 25" scale length as typical of PRS. The body is made of 2 pieces of swamp Ash, no top, and the neck and fingerboard are both maple. The body has a Poly finish, while the neck is finished in Nitrocellulose. I has a fixed tremolo bridge, passive humbuckers made by PRS with a rail in the middle made by Seymour Duncan, PRS 14:1 Phase II low mass locking tuners, A volume control, 3 way toggle and tone control complete with a coil tap. It came with a hardcase which is very durable and tough and a fairly self explanatory manual. // 9

Sound: I use this guitar with a Vox AD30VT. Let me start by saying that this guitar is one of the most versatile I have ever played! There are a massive variety of sounds available, in total 6 different settings and then incredibly responsive tone controls which respond to every tap. The coil tapped sounds make a great Stratocaster like Hendrix tone, and if you roll back the tone knob can do a passable attempt at a tele! The rail is great for cleans and top of the neck chords, I often use it when I am singing as well as playing. The humbuckers have a flare of their own, but I find I can get a Vintage tone from the bridge, a lead tone from the neck and everything in between from both! // 10

Action, Fit & Finish: I got this guitar second hand, so I cannot comment on the factory setup, however, the guitar is perfect! Everything from the nut to the bridge is good and correct! The neck felt a little sticky at first, but after a few weeks of playing it has smoothed out and now feels great! There were some stains on the hardware when I bought it, but they wiped off easily, and although some sweat marks do appear when I gig, they are easy to remove! // 9

Reliability & Durability: The guitar is extremely tough and durable, the only thing in my rig I would gig with absolutely no back up. The finish is tough as anything, and the guitar has one or two small chips in it but does not seem to chip easily. The hardware is solid. I must say, the stock strap buttons were poor, I replaced them with a set of Dunlop Locking Strap Buttons and they work much better, as do Schaller ones. I would definitely recommend a set of straplocks to anyone buying this guitar! // 8

Overall Impression: This guitar matches any and every style, possibly excluding some hardcore metal. I have been playing 5 years, and this is my only expensive guitar. I chose this over a Les Paul and a Strat and also tried a G & L Comanche, which I almost bought over this. I have no regrets. If it were stolen I would hunt down the thief and crucify him on the guitar case, then grab it and take it home! It truly is the 'gem' of my collection and I would be lost without it! // 10

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