Price paid: $ 530
Purchased from: Musicians Friend
Sound — 10
Now that specs are over we can get on with the review. I play everything from classic rock to prog metal. Personally the stock pickups sounded great, which I did not expect at all. The instrument was very well made, which surprised me. I always wanted the full Tremonti model because I like the specs on it, but I couldn't afford it. So I took a chance and got the SE model. It has suited every single style I play so far. I haven't found anything it couldn't tackle. I have changed the pickups to the Tremonti Signature pups because I need something else a bit hotter than the SE pups and the Tremonti's are the hottest ones that PRS has to offer. I use all kinds of amps with this guitar: Line 6, Bogner, Mesa, you name it. The guitar is not noisy, which is why I got it. I had a ESP Viper Deluxe 1000 and that guitar was ungodly noisy. Damn EMGs. Never again. If you play the guitar through a clean channel, it sounds like a higher being has put Tremonti's actual clean tone in your hands (In Loving Memory, One Last Breath, etc). I love the clean tone on that guitar. If you enjoy hard rock or metal, this guitar can handle any sort of hi gain settings you throw at it without sacrificing tone. I didn't expect anything less. If you haven't heard the hi gain riffs Mark plays, listen to White Knuckles or Ties That Bind. It can easily reproduce those sounds without sacrificing clarity. I've been playing a lot of Opeth inspired riffs and acoustic parts on this guitar and it can make that sound as well. I know a lot of your tone comes from your amp, settings, etc, but I really think in Tremonti's case, his guitar has a hell of a lot to do with it. I love the modern rock sound that Alter Bridge has and this guitar can make that sound happen.
Overall Impression — 9
As I said earlier, I play modern hard rock. It fits perfectly. But if you play anything hard, don't let that stop you. It will be able to handle it. I've been playing around 8 years now. I own a Fender Telecaster, BC Rich Warlock, ESP Viper Deluxe 1000, Goth SG, and two acoustics alongside my PRS. Honestly this had everything I wanted in a guitar (minus the tremolo) so it fits my needs as a musician. If it was lost or stolen: I wouldn't get it again. I'd get the full Tremonti model, because I honestly cannot fathom how PRS can sell such excellent instruments at such low prices (SE Line). I've played a lot of high end guitars and this SE has easily trumped those. I can't imagine how the actual Tremonti sounds and feels. I really liked how smooth the neck was. My ESP wasn't rough at all... But it... Hmm... My hand would get stuck on some parts of it. Hard to explain. The headstock has always looked really cool. My favorite feature isn't a big deal, but the bird inlays are sick. I've put off getting an SE because of the lack of the PRS birds. In 2011 they produced all of them with birds. So then I got one and dropped the Tremonti pups in there. It looks like the real deal. I really wish it had a tremolo with a locking nut. If this guitar came with that, it would be the best guitar I've ever owned. But all in all, this IS my go to instrument. If you've been holding off, don't. It's f***ing awesome.
Reliability & Durability — 9
The guitar is rock solid. I've banged this thing against solid wood, glass, etc. Nothing even happens. I once had something awful happen and cringed while watching helplessly. I was sitting on my bed and out of the corner of my eye, I saw something fall. It was my guitar, falling off the stand (frets facing downward)... And onto my concrete floor. The noise it made when it hit the ground was something I'll never forgot. I thought, "I am ****ed. It must have broken." Nothing happened at all. It was still just fine. The hardware is fine. I hate that the chrome does start to fade. My palm rests on the stoptail and it has started to fade. I would definitely use this guitar without a back up. No need for another. My guitar is black and has not begun to fade. I think the finish will last a very long time.
Action, Fit & Finish — 7
I had an issue with this part. I got this from Musicians Friend (Never again) because Sweetwater sold out of the 2011 model in like 2 days. There were a lot of muted frets. It has seriously pissed me off since I got the guitar. I've adjusted the truss rod and action and that has slightly helped but not much. I wanted to get it from Sweetwater because they keep the instruments in a climate controlled setting and do a 55 point evaluation and that sh*t wouldn't have flown over there. Also, the nut is awful. If you get this guitar, buy a PRS graphite nut. When tuned down to lower tunings, the nut creaks. For example, say you do a bend on the higher strings, you'll hear creaking sound. I had no idea what it was so I asked a friend who has the guitar. He told me it was the nut and to replace it right away. If not, it keeps creaking and eventually the guitar will not stay in tune. The pickups were perfectly adjusted. I was surprised they sounded as good as they did for SE humbuckers. There were literally no flaws in setup, wood, anything, except the damn nut. That nut and muted frets (Musicians Friend caused that sh*t) are knocking off 3 points. Other than that, it's amazing. Musicians Friend even sent a little piece of paper saying that the guitar most likely had a warped neck due to shipping. I don't know if this is always the case and they ship that with every guitar, but it certainly was warped and no amount of truss rod adjusting did the job.
Features — 8
Specs: - Year: 2011 Model - Made: Korea - Frets: 22 - Inlays: Birds - Neck: Wide Fat - Neck Scale: 25" - Wood: Mahogany (Body and Neck) - Finish: V12 - Body Style: Singlecut - Bridge Style: Stoptail - Pickups: 2 PRS SE Humbuckers - 2 Tone and Volume Knobs - 3 Way Pickup selector - PRS Tuners - Gig Bag Included - Truss Rod Adjustor Included I wish a trem had been included so I knocked off 2 points.