Purchased from: Spectre Sound, Bingley www.spectresound.co.uk
Sound — 8
Target markets for signature models are pretty obvious. If you're a creed fan, you'll love the low-end nosebleed grind that this is capable of, as well as the gentle harmonic clean sounds that it also relishes. If you're a rich creed fan, you should aim for the higher end Mark Tremonti model. It'll cost you at least an extra 1000 most places though. This is also a great guitar for those browsing the epiphones that want something a bit different. This guitar has, in my opinion, superior pickups to the epiphones in the same price range. The bride pickup is quite bassy, and sounds beautiful clean with a hint of gain. It does it's thing best with the gain turned high though, and produces satisyfying chugs and exhilirating lashes and swells all in good measure. Crucially for fans, it produces a great One Last Breath impression. The neck pickup is even better. It's capable of a very accurate Sweet Child o' Mine, and really sings when it's playing a lead break of any kind. Fuzzy Muse-esque distortions and honking blues/funk tones are all taken care of in this little baby. This axe can get a little muddy and lacks clarity in some cirumstances, but still impressive for this price.
Overall Impression — 8
I play punk rock, grunge, hard rock, sometimes some reggae or blues for a change. This axe works just fine under all these genres. Its sound is quite versatile, but those with very eclectic playing tastes or session players may want a multi FX unit to go with it. Then again, session players probably wouldn't use this, and would already have lots of effects. Oh well. I've been playing around 3 years now, and I've owned this for 4 months. I've settled into it nicely and I use it as my main guitar in any playing situation. I play it through an Ashdown Peacemaker 40w combo and a Boss ME-50 multiFX unit. couldn't be happier with my rig. If it were stolen or lost, I'd very likely buy another, but I'd be tempted by the new SE soapbar that's just come out. Fickle.
Reliability & Durability — 10
Every part of the guitar looks solid and dependable. Mine has withstood live playing, although hardly extensive or gruelling. I would just about play live with this and no replacement, as I've had no hint of a problem so far. It scratches kinda easily though, but I dont worry about that and from a distance no-one will notice.
Action, Fit & Finish — 8
When I played this guitar for the first time, I really was amazed at how playable it was, even though I wasn't used to playing on such a thick neck. The action is just right for me, not so low that an amoeba couldn't fit through it, but it never feels to high either. I raised the pickups slightly, because I prefer the clean channel to break up a bit when you pick hard, but I'm sure most players will find the factory settings of this guitar just fine. The black finish is immaculate, as is the tasty white edgework and the neck. The one beef I have about the build of this axe is the nut. It looks like a replacement (I know it's not, I've seen the same nut on all guitars of this model). It's bulky and uncomfortable when you're playing barre chords low down the neck or playing in any F scale. I guess I've got used to it now, but it's a shame that such an all round class act should be tainted by a niggle like this. Would have given it an excellent otherwise.
Features — 6
This is the "budget" version of the PRS Mark Tremonti signature model, manufactured in Korea. It features a mahogany Singlecut body, 2 humbuckers controlled by a les-paul style 3-way pickup selector. Separate volume and tone controls for each pickup, nice thick maple neck with mother of bowling ball inlays, non-locking tuners. Pretty much what yuo'd expect from a model in this price range. At face value it's a Les Paul Copy with a few differences. Upon closer examination, these differences are quite crucial to the Tremonti SE obtaining it's individuality; the mahogany body and PRS pickups are the best features, but nothing earth-shattering.