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There are few guitar companies that have garnished the kind of reputation that PRS has today. Some of the instruments that bear the PRS logo on the headstock are considered to be of the highest quality.
No matter how long you’ve been playing guitar, you’ve probably given some contemplation toward owning your own PRS. If you’re not sure what PRS model is best for you, consider giving the following worthwhile guitars some consideration.
SE Singlecut McCarty 594 – Best Overall
Looking for the best in versatility, craftsmanship, and PRS aesthetics without breaking the bank? The SE Singlecut McCarty 594 (see price on Sweetwater, Guitar Center) is a ton of guitar for a reasonable price.
As opposed to many of the PRS models, this guitar has a single cutaway design, as the name denotes. This, in turn, gives the SE Singlecut McCarty 594 a very recognizable look, with some obvious PRS characteristics.
The guitar features a Mahogany body capped with a flamed Maple veneer. You can opt to get this model in a number of color options including:
- Vintage sunburst
- Black gold sunburst
- Faded blue
Mahogany is also used for the neck, which has a Pattern Vintage contour, giving it a thicker feel overall. The fretboard is made of Rosewood, which has 22 frets and features the iconic PRS bird inlays.
One thing to note here is that the scale length of this guitar measures 24.594”. This, combined with the 10” fretboard radius, gives the guitar a sort of slinky vintage feel.
For hardware, the SE Singlecut McCarty 594 is stocked with:
- Synthetic nut mixed with Bronze powder
- PRS tuners
- Stoptail bridge
One of the best things about this guitar is how well the pickups respond to the guitar’s natural frequencies. A pair of PRS-designed 58/15 “S” humbuckers are featured here to provide extreme versatility.
PRS offers a pair of volume and tone knobs for each pickup, along with a 3-way switch. A coil-tap has also been included to split the humbuckers into single-coil pickups.
PRS has included a gig bag with the SE Singlecut McCarty 594.
What’s So Special About The SE Singlecut McCarty 594?
If you take everything that you’ve heard about PRS and make it reasonably priced, what do you get? One of the answers would undoubtedly be the SE Singlecut McCarty 594.
Believe it or not, the McCarty 594 series has been one of the best-performing models for PRS since its inception. Until recently, it was only available within the core PRS lineup, making it inaccessible for certain budgets.
However, the SE Singlecut McCarty 594 is a little more unique in its own way, specifically relating to its inspiration. The McCarty 594 is a direct nod to the former owner of Gibson, and mentor to Paul Reed Smith.
It’s only proper to give Ted McCarty honorable respect by emulating the design of the iconic Les Paul guitar. Let’s be real, PRS isn’t trying to fool anybody with the inspiration for this guitar’s design.
The PRS lineup tends to be dominated by double-cutaway designs, so this is already a standout guitar. And while it does resemble the Les Paul, PRS has given the guitar design some updates.
One of these updates has to be the comfort contour on the back of the guitar. This small feature is sure to add hours of comfort for long sessions.
Another excellent thing for long sessions is the addition of the coil-tap, splitting the humbuckers into single-coils. These pickups are already versatile on their own, but this definitely expands the possible tonal range.
Sure, you’re not going to be able to sound exactly like a Stratocaster with the coil-tap engaged. But, you can get pretty darn close, which is more than anyone ever asked for.
You’ll also get to benefit from the SE Singlecut McCarty 594’s massive sustain. PRS seems to have found the perfect combination to allow for the most natural resonance possible.
What Kind Of Guitar Player Is The SE Singlecut McCarty 594 For?
In general, the SE Singlecut McCarty 594 embodies everything that PRS is known for, without breaking the bank. This model gives everyone the opportunity to benefit from the updates PRS has applied to the Les Paul design.
If you’re drawn to Les Paul-style guitars, at least give the SE Singlecut McCarty 594 a good look over. This is practically an updated version of the old classic, breathing life into an old design.
With that being said, it really doesn't matter what kind of music you play. The pickups in this guitar will be more than suitable for anything, especially with some distortion or other effects.
It isn’t every day that you can play metal, jazz, or slinky SRV-style blues on one single guitar. The SE Singlecut McCarty 594 provides all of that, plus classic aesthetics, for one reasonable price.
Hollowbody II Piezo – Best Premium
This guitar is one of “THE” guitars that people largely associate with the insane luxury of PRS guitars. The guitar’s body is made of Mahogany but comes with the option of a Maple 10-top or Figured Maple top.
Now, do be forewarned that there is quite a massive price difference between the 2 different tops. The 10-top is essentially some of the best top materials you can purchase from PRS.
As such, there’s a massive range of color options here, including:
- Faded whale blue
- Charcoal burst
- Black gold burst
- Black gold wrap burst
- Dark cherry burst
- McCarty sunburst
- McCarty tobacco sunburst
- Red tiger
- Yellow tiger
Mahogany is also used for the Hollowbody II Piezo’s neck, which has a PRS patterned contour. This will feel slim, yet a tad bit wide, lending itself to smooth playability up and down the neck.
The fretboard is made of Rosewood, featuring a 10” radius with 22 frets. PRS bird inlays decorate the fretboard as you would expect.
With a 25” scale length and a 1.6875” nut width, the Hollowbody II Piezo plays quite comfortably. This really does feel like the perfect middle ground between Gibson and Fender's design measurements.
Now, obviously, the Hollowbody II Piezo is a visually-stunning guitar, but its sound is just as pleasing. The guitar is not only equipped with PRS-designed 58/15 LT humbuckers but an LR Baggs piezo pickup as well.
What this means is that you’ll be able to select between electric guitar tones and acoustic guitar tones. You’ll even be able to blend the 2 pickup methods together for a unique tone of your own.
Because of this, the Hollowbody II Piezo does have a few additional things beyond a master volume and tone knob. In addition to a 3-way switch, another 3-way switch is provided specifically for the piezo.
Along with this, there is also an additional 1/4” output designed specifically to accommodate the isolated piezo signal.
As far as hardware goes, the Hollowbody II Piezo is stocked with nothing short of the best. This includes things such as:
- PRS-designed nut
- PRS-designed Phase III locking tuners
- Stoptail bridge with the aforementioned under-saddle piezo pickup
As you would hope at this price, the Hollowbody II Piezo does come with a hardshell case.
Is The Hollowbody II Piezo Worth Its Price?
The obvious question anyone would ask is whether a guitar could actually be worth this price tag. Generally, guitars that cost this much are of the vintage variety.
However, if you have the opportunity to play this guitar, you’ll quickly see why it costs this much. These guitars truly illustrate the finest details that go into a top-notch PRS guitar.
For an off-the-shelf guitar, the Hollowbody II Piezo is definitely the most luxurious on the market. The only guitars beyond this come from the PRS Private Stock collection, which allows for completely customizable builds.
With that being said, if you can realistically afford this, it might not hurt to consider the Private Stock. Going that route will give you total control over every aspect of the guitar’s build beyond basic schematic designs.
Of course, if you don’t have a need for customization, the Hollowbody II Piezo is still an ideal guitar. It is guitars like this that have helped PRS become the company it is known as today.
The Hollowbody II Piezo itself is a sort of modern marvel of guitar craftsmanship. For a hollowbody guitar, it manages to stay on the slimmer side of things.
If you’ve ever played a full hollowbody guitar, you know that it can quickly become bulky and heavy. This guitar is quite balanced when strapped up, and your back won’t be hurting at the end of the night.
The addition of the LR Baggs piezo pickup means that you won’t need to switch to an acoustic. This is the guitar to get if you’re emulating Trey Anastasio’s guitar prowess during the early days of Phish.
Of course, if you’re spending this much on a guitar, hopefully, you have a few original licks. This isn’t really the guitar you’d be playing for your gig at the bar down the road.
SE Standard 24 – Best Budget
Not wanting to spend a fortune to be able to have a guitar with PRS on the headstock? The SE Standard 24 (see price on Sweetwater, Amazon) manages to distill the PRS playing experience into an affordable package.
With the SE Standard 24, you can reap the benefits of the PRS guitar design for yourself. And while it might be a budget PRS, there’s quite a lot of guitar under the hood.
For starters, the SE Standard 24 features a Mahogany body with sculpted comfort carvings in all the right areas. Strapping this guitar on will immediately feel comfortable from the outset.
Because it is a budget model, it doesn’t have the excessive color options that some other models have. Still, the translucent blue and vintage cherry options are quite tasteful and are accentuated by cream binding.
As is common for PRS, the SE Standard 24 features a Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fretboard. There are 24 frets here (as the name implies), which are decorated with bird inlays.
With a 25” scale length, 10” fretboard radius, and 1.6875” nut width, the SE Standard 24 is comfortable. It has a PRS-designed Pattern Wide Thin contour, which is fairly wide but also feels a bit flat.
For hardware, the SE Standard 24 has:
- Synthetic nut mixed with Bronze powder
- PRS tuners
- PRS-designed tremolo
While the guitar does feel great to play, it’s usually the sound that catches people’s attention. This model is stocked with a pair of PRS-designed 85/15 “S” humbuckers.
A 3-way switch, along with a single volume and tone knob is provided. The tone knob actually doubles as a coil-tap, splitting the humbuckers into single-coils.
PRS has included a gig bag with the purchase of this guitar. This small addition makes an already-amazing package into a value deal that is too hard to resist.
Is The SE Standard 24 The Best Value Buy On The Market?
No matter how much we drool, most of us will never be able to afford top-notch PRS models. Not everybody has the means to be able to justify spending a used car’s worth of money on a guitar.
Fortunately, PRS understands this and has made something like the SE Standard 24 available for the common guitarist. This model manages to capture the essence of what makes a guitar have the PRS playing experience.
In fact, if we’re being honest, the SE Standard 24 is probably one of the best-selling guitars PRS produces. There aren’t a whole lot of things to dislike here.
It might be hard to believe, but the SE Standard 24 plays better than guitars twice its price. This is one of those guitars that you need to try for yourself to know just how good it is.
Sure, it might not have the lavish tops and other extremely minute aspects of detailed craftsmanship. Most working musicians don’t really need to have such luxurious appointments on their guitars.
Instead, with the SE Standard 24, you’re essentially getting a workhorse guitar that can handle just about anything. You even have features like a tremolo and a coil-tap, which is a rare combination at this price.
There’s a reason why the SE Standard 24 has been such a popular guitar over the years. It’s one of the biggest reasons why the SE model lineup has continually improved in quality over the years.
Another massive plus is that this guitar has the same pickups as many of the more expensive PRS guitars. That fact alone is enough to warrant serious consideration into purchasing this guitar.
No matter what style of music you play, the SE Standard 24 gives you a fertile platform for creative freedom. You’ll never feel as if you’re being held back by your guitar’s overall quality with this specific model.
For a guitar at this price, making such a statement is quite rare, indeed.
Unlike the aforementioned SE version, this McCarty 594 comes from the core PRS lineup and is made in the USA. As such, this double-cutaway version features the very best of what PRS has to offer, with multiple build options including:
- 10-top Maple top with some of the finest wood grain patterns available
- Opaque (no grain)
- Figured top
As you might guess, the kind of top you choose will change the McCarty 594’s overall price. But, depending on your choice, you’ll have a massive list of color choices to choose from, such as:
- Antique white (opaque)
- Gold top (opaque)
- Black (opaque)
- Black gold burst
- Yellow tiger
- Orange tiger
- Charcoal burst
- Faded whale blue
- Dark cherry burst
- Charcoal cherry burst
- McCarty sunburst
- McCarty tobacco sunburst
- Fire red burst
This particular model features a Mahogany neck with a Rosewood fretboard, offering 22 accessible frets and a vintage feel overall. The scale length is 24.594” (as the name suggests), with a 10” fretboard radius, and a 1.6875” nut width.
All of the hardware on the McCarty 594 is top-notch, with aspects such as:
- Bone nut
- Vintage-inspired tuners
- Stoptail bridge
While the guitar’s aesthetic nature is quite appealing, the pair of 58/15 LT Humbuckers steal the show. These pickups have been given proper analysis and tuning in strict accordance with PRS guidelines.
The guitar has a 3-way pickup selector switch, as well as a pair of volume and tone knobs. A coil-tap is hidden in a tone knob to split the humbuckers into single-coil operation.
PRS includes a hardshell case with this guitar.
What Is The Difference Between This And The SE Model?
After giving some comparisons to this core model and the SE model, you might be faced with a conundrum. Do you opt for something more inexpensive like the SE, or do you go for the core McCarty 594?
On the most basic level, both versions of the McCarty 594 take inspiration from the vintage Gibson Les Paul designs. This particular core version is a little more discreet in this fact due to the double-cutaway body.
In other words, if you added a shoulder and made it a single-cutaway, it’d look like a Les Paul. That’s precisely what we saw with the aforementioned single-cutaway SE model earlier in this article.
This guitar, however, is leagues beyond the SE in almost every category. That’s nothing against the SE model, as it definitely serves its purpose for most people.
In fact, there’s a select margin of people who will really get to own a core McCarty 594 model. The average working musician playing gigs in bars might find this McCarty 594 to be a bit overkill.
And really, that’s part of the reason why this isn’t ranked as the best overall. With that being said, you do have the full smorgasbord of options when it comes to this guitar’s build.
It must be said that the pickups are especially far more responsive than the SEs on a noticeable level.
Overall, this is another prime example of the willingness PRS has to put everything it can into a single guitar. It might be a luxury, but it’s one that’s worth its price.
Chances are unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you’ve heard about the Silver Sky. This guitar made quite a bit of waves upon its release and has since won the hearts of many guitarists.
The Silver Sky features an Alder body and comes in numerous color options, including:
- Dodgem blue
- Roxy pink
- Midnight rose
- Polar blue
- Satin moc
Like the original Stratocaster, the Silver Sky’s neck is crafted from Maple to have a 25.5” scale length. The contour of this is a sort of thicker C-shape, with inspiration taken from Mayer’s iconic vintage Stratocaster models.
With this model, PRS gives you the option to choose between either a Rosewood or Maple fretboard. No matter the choice, this features 22 frets with bird inlays, a 7.25” fretboard radius, and a 1.656” nut width.
For hardware, the Silver Sky boasts components such as:
- Bone nut
- Vintage-inspired locking tuners
- 6-point tremolo with bent steel saddles
A trio of PRS-designed 635JM single-coil pickups is featured in the Silver Sky. The traditional setup of a volume knob, a pair of tone knobs, and a 5-way switch is provided for control.
Like the overall design, these pickups seem to resemble what is installed in Mayer’s vintage Stratocasters.
PRS includes a gig bag with the purchase of the Silver Sky.
Is The Silver Sky Better Than A Fender Stratocaster?
This simple question has been the equivalent of gasoline for heated debates in the guitar community. The Stratocaster has always been regarded as one of the best, so, when it gets challenged, some people become unruly.
If you think about it, it does seem preposterous that the Silver Sky could be better than the Stratocaster. On paper, the Silver Sky really is nothing more than a Stratocaster with vintage inspiration.
For instance, the Alder body is something that has been commonplace with Stratocasters since the beginning. Even the traditional 25.5” scale length and vintage 7.25” fretboard radius are hallmark Stratocaster characteristics that are included here.
So, why is the Silver Sky such a big deal? Surely this isn't all hype based on an extra fret, different pickups, and modern colorways, right?
To put it simply, the Silver Sky is something you are going to need to experience for yourself. On paper, these guitars are nearly identical, but there is something unique about the Silver Sky.
It’s pretty obvious that PRS went to painstaking lengths to reproduce certain aspects of the Stratocaster’s lineage. They even reversed their headstock so that it resembles that signature offset Fender headstock shape orientation.
Why Buy The Silver Sky Instead Of The Stratocaster?
To say that the Silver Sky is better than the Stratocaster is completely dependent on personal taste. It does have its own thing going on, especially in regard to its overall feel and how it sounds.
While this is marketed as a “modern” Stratocaster, it does lean a little more on the vintage side of things. The thicker neck is something that is quite different than what you’ll find on current Stratocaster models.
Whether the neck feels good to you will, again, depend on your own preferences. But it does seem to provide a good middle ground between playing chords and solos/leads.
The rounder fretboard radius could seem like a troubling aspect to anyone who incorporates monster bends. But Mayer provides plenty of evidence that the Silver Sky can handle just about anything.
In fact, the guitar has more than a few years of recorded history in Mayer’s involvement with Dead & Company. He’s also reportedly used the guitar on recent album releases such as Sob Rock.
The Silver Sky’s tone clearly takes inspiration from that signature Strat single-coil spank we all love. However, these have a bit more throatiness to them, with a little more girth overall.
Where the Stratocaster can sound fairly thin, the Silver Sky manages to always remain fairly full-sounding. You’ll especially notice this on the 2nd and 4th positions on the pickup switch, which are notorious for being thin.
There are also some modernized comfort bevels, which are especially noticeable in the hand-pocket horn area. The extra 22nd fret is nice, but a full 2-octave range of 24 frets would have been amazing.
In general, I do think it’s best to try the Silver Sky and a Fender Stratocaster (of comparable price) side-by-side. Each of these has its own merits, to which one might be more applicable to your playing style.
The Silver Sky, though very nearly copying the Stratocaster in every detail, does manage to be quite refreshing.
If you have an illogical aversion toward John Mayer, I urge you to open yourself up to this guitar’s possibilities. You will likely find yourself pleasantly surprised, as so many other guitarists have been over the last few years.
Maybe the only bad thing is PRS’s inclusion of a gig bag rather than an actual case. At this price, it’s almost straight-up disrespectful.
What’s The Difference Between The Silver Sky And The SE Version?
The SE version of the Silver Sky has made just about as many waves as the core PRS model. Make no mistake about it, there’s definitely a good reason for all of this hullabaloo.
While the guitars are nearly identical, the SE Silver Sky might be more practical for modern players. The guitar has the same neck contour with the exception of a flatter 8.5” fretboard radius.
So, where you might fret out on a bend with the 7.5”, this will give some more clearance. If you’ve ever choked out in mid-bend during a performance, you know this is a necessity.
The SE guitar also has a Poplar body as opposed to Alder, though this could help reduce weight. Another difference is in the fact that the SE Silver Sky has a 2-point tremolo system.
As far as pickups go, the guitars do share many similar characteristics. But, like other SE/Core model comparisons, the US-made versions are a little more dynamic overall.
The color options with the SE Silver Sky are also completely different, with fewer options overall. Plus, the backside of the SE model has a backplate over the tremolo springs (whereas the core model does not).
If you’re trying to be practical with your money, the SE Silver Sky is worth looking at. It’s more than half the cost of the core model and still comes with a gig bag.
There isn’t much to dislike about the SE model. Either way, you’re still getting a fabulous guitar no matter what model line you choose.
What To Look For When Buying A PRS Guitar
If you’re not only vaguely familiar with PRS guitars, their model line can be a little confusing. They tend to use similar shapes across the entire range of guitars they make, and knowing the differences is critical.
It’s especially crucial if you’re considering shelling out the clams to be able to have a PRS of your own. You want to make sure that the money you’re spending is worth every cent in regard to your satisfaction.
Being hyper-discerning isn’t always the easiest thing to do, especially if you have your heart set on a guitar. The only way to see things for what they are is to know what it is you’re actually looking at.
You’ll find that the following information will help guide you in your decision processes. Keep in mind that taste and preference are completely subjective, and because of this, there are no hard-and-fast rules.
When it comes to buying a PRS, the first thing you’ll need to decide is how much you can spend. It’s probably not that much of a surprise, but you can easily spend 5 digits on a PRS guitar.
Now, let’s be real for a second because there aren’t many people actually shelling out $25,000 for a PRS. I’m sure it’s probably happened at least once or twice, so if you’re capable, know that the possibility is there.
For the rest of us, we need to be a little decisive on certain aspects of a PRS guitar’s build. Fortunately, the rest of the information in this guide will help provide some focus points to steer your decisions.
But first, it must be said that, if you’re especially frugal or thrifty, consider buying a used guitar. This might not always be the best-case scenario, but for certain models, you might come home with a deal.
The simple fact is that used guitars will be at a bargain price compared to what they sell for as-new. Perhaps the only exceptions to this come with vintage guitars or models that are exceptionally rare or desirably unique.
For the most part, you won’t find certain PRS guitar models on the used market very often. But, if you’re more on the budget-friendly side of things, it doesn’t hurt to at least take a look.
Because really, we could all stand to save a few extra hundred dollars here and there where we can. That’s money that could be allocated toward other things, such as an amplifier, pedals, or other accessories.
Understanding The PRS Product Line Categorization
To make the most of your money, it’s best to familiarize yourself with the entire PRS guitar line. As you might guess, PRS makes guitars designed to accommodate different budget levels.
On a very brief overview basis, these can be categorized into the following families:
- Private Stock
Starting things out is the SE (“Student Edition”) model line, designed for the lowest consumer cost possible. These guitars are made in South Korea with lower labor costs, thus lowering the guitar’s overall price.
SE models are incredibly affordable, sometimes ranging just around the $700 range.
The S2 model line is sort of like the entryway into the world of American-crafted PRS guitars. This delineation was more apparent 10 years ago, as now the S2 models share many similarities with the “Core” models.
Some S2 models have slightly different features than what’s found on other PRS models. This could include things like different pickups, unique pickguards, and simplified aesthetics.
I’m sure you’ve heard how both Fender and Gibson have their “Standard” models. The PRS “Core” models are essentially the Standard models that PRS produces in the US.
Core models do tend to be fairly pricey, sometimes running as high as $7000. The end price depends on the quality of materials and if any other options are included in the guitar’s build.
As you might guess by the name “Private Stock,” these guitars are fully customized to the guitarist’s desires. In a way, you could think of Private Stock as the Custom Shop of PRS.
With that being said, Private Stock guitars can be expensive enough to cause a stupefying sticker shock. There is no ceiling as to the quality of materials and craftsmanship put into a Private Stock guitar.
For instance, you could choose to have your fretboard inlays made of specific shells. Or, maybe you want only the finest guitar body top that you’ve ever laid your eyes on.
Because of the range of possibilities, a Private Stock guitar could easily run $15-$20,000 and beyond. Generally, you won’t be able to buy a Private Stock in a store, as you’d have to order it yourself.
Where it can get a little confusing for some is differentiating the guitars by the actual look of their designs. Many PRS models share extremely similar shapes that even a trained eye might have issues recognizing.
To make matters as simple as possible, we will attempt to categorize PRS designs into a few different classes. Starting off, PRS makes both solid-wood guitars as well as semi-hollow and full hollowbody guitars.
From there, PRS has its iconic double-cutaway shape that runs consistently throughout the product line. In addition to this, they also have double-cutaway shapes more akin to a Fender Stratocaster shape.
Taking inspiration from Fender, PRS has its own range of “offset” guitar designs. This is mostly applied to the signature PRS double-cutaway shape, giving it a sort of slanted aspect.
PRS also makes double-cutaway designs with each horn more parallel in overall size. These are most commonly associated with the guitarist, Carlos Santana, and resemble a double-cutaway Les Paul.
Speaking of Les Pauls, PRS also has models that have a single-cutaway design. Many of these models apply modern sentimentalities to aspects inspired by the vintage LP models.
Now, where it gets really confusing is when it comes to the naming of certain guitars. Please note that this goes beyond the delineation of product lines (SE, S2, Private Stock, etc.).
PRS actually has guitars of numerous scale lengths, some of which are named specifically to the guitar model itself. The biggest instance of this is with the McCarty 594 model, which has a scale length of 24.594”.
Some guitars will also have “22” or “24” in the model name. This refers to the number of frets the guitar has.
PRS exists in this space where they aren’t necessarily bound to the limits of tradition with guitar designs. But, any market research will show that guitarists do tend to value tradition in a guitar’s design.
Because of this, PRS seems to aim at providing a fulcrum point between a traditional playing experience and innovative improvements. With that being said, it’s a good idea to know what features you want your PRS guitar to have.
For the most part, even the most base SE models will be stocked with flavors of PRS innovation. Whether you want anything beyond these features is something you will need to be vigilant about.
PRS seems to make models and variants for just about every kind of guitarist under the sun. You’re bound to find something that ticks most, if not all, the boxes on your list of wants and needs.
Some of the things you might consider include:
- Specific colorways
- Specific finish types (polyurethane, nitrocellulose, etc)
- Pickup type
- Locking tuners
- Bolt-on neck joint
Just because PRS is known for its craftsmanship doesn’t mean you should be lax in your eye for detail. Don’t let the company’s reputation precede you when you make any purchasing decisions.
With that being said, PRS does have a phenomenal track record of producing quality guitars consistently. But, due to the human factor involved with any process, some error could be accounted for in anything, even guitars.
Again, it’s pretty rare when it comes to PRS (when compared to the likes of other companies). Still, even the SE models are pricey for some people, so make sure your money is being well-spent.
How Good Are The PRS SE Guitars Compared To The Rest Of The PRS Guitar Line?
The question about the quality of the SE lineup compared to other PRS models comes up quite often. Every person who has ever considered a PRS has to consider whether or not the SE lineup is sufficient.
Obviously, it might be the only type of PRS that you can actually afford depending on your budget. But, even if it was, I do feel like you are getting your money’s worth.
The SE lineup, while crafted in South Korea with maybe less-quality materials, is still an excellent buy. These guitars practically have the same exact designs and pickups as the more expensive American models.
In fact, the only real difference that is readily noticeable is likely purely aesthetic. And, for the most part, the more expensive the PRS, the more excessive and lavish the guitar’s materials are.
Now, let’s be realistic for a second, and consider the places and scenarios in which you’ll be using your PRS. Would you take your Private Stock or 10-top to play at your local bar?
The answer is probably no, as you’d probably look for more of a workhorse in this instance. This would allow you to play gigs without having to worry about normal wear and tear on a guitar’s condition.
For that reason, I think the SE is one of the most practical decisions a weekend professional musician can make. You’re getting a quality guitar with much of the same versatility as the American models.
If you look hard enough, you could find an SE model with the aesthetics and hardware appointments you’d ever want. Having had the opportunity to gig with one myself, I can personally attest to the quality of the SE lineup.
Is It Even Worth Buying A Standard PRS Guitar?
So, considering that the SE versions are such a value buy, why would anyone buy a standard American model? Well, as with anything, there are some subtle differences between the American models and the SE models.
For starters, aesthetic appointments are undeniably some of the most extravagant to be found on the market. These models also tend to have more options in relation to the features of the guitar itself.
While some standard models have the same pickups as the SE models, it does seem like there’s an audible difference. It’s hard to tell why that might be, but maybe the American pickups are wired with different materials.
Either way, American PRS models do seem to have an extra hint of mojo inherent within each guitar. These guitars will also have a higher degree of craftsmanship that PRS has built its reputation upon.
What Are PRS Guitars Good For?
Aside from lavish designs and superb craftsmanship, this is one of the reasons why so many seek out PRS guitars. These guitars are some of the most versatile to be found on the market, period.
History Of PRS As A Brand
PRS stands for Paul Reed Smith, who is the chief luthier that founded the company in 1985. It was through his mentorship with previous Gibson owner, Ted McCarty, that Paul created his iconic guitar designs.
These guitars really started to gain mainstream attention in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Now, the PRS guitar is considered to be one of the most luxurious playing experiences money can buy.
PRS has an excessively long laundry list of famous guitarists who have openly endorsed their guitars. This, combined with their history of craftsmanship, has made PRS one of the best guitar companies currently in the industry.
Best PRS Guitars, Final Thoughts
PRS guitars will likely continue to be one of the most sought-after instruments for years to come. These guitars have the rare combination of extreme luxury in both their overall aesthetic features and practical designs.
As this article illustrates, you don’t need to spend a fortune to reap the benefits of PRS craftsmanship. The company continually proves that a high-quality guitar can be produced without charging an arm and a leg.