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View Full Version : Korean Line Worth the Money?



slinky005
09-29-2012, 02:50 PM
I am considering getting a PRS but don't have a huge budget. I own a Les Paul, Strat, and Tele so I'm looking for something else to compliment the collection.
Tried a Korean made one briefly and thought it was pretty good. Never tried and american to compare. Would you compare it to a MIM Strat vs and American? Or Epiphone vs a Gibson?
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

Twinfan
09-29-2012, 03:37 PM
The comparison is more similar to an Epiphone vs a Gibson as the SE PRS guitars use local woods etc to Korea. I've owned an SE Custom 24 and it was a great guitar for the money. Given the market at the moment though, and depending on your budget, you may be able to score a used USA PRS for a price not too much more than a new SE.

CoreyT
09-29-2012, 03:51 PM
Absolutely they are worth the money.
I have two PRS SE guitars as seen in the 2nd link in my sig.
The one to the far right is my son's.

I also have a new 2012 Gibson SG '61 Reissue that I paid over $2K for, and I would put my two SE ones up against it anytime as far as sound, quality, and playability go.

andy474x
09-29-2012, 04:02 PM
I guess you could compare it as Epi vs Gibson, etc., but if you're on a budget I would also say that just like PRS is top of the line for USA made guitars, so are the SE's for imports... the quality of the SE's is far above an Epiphone or MIM strat. There are a lot of SE models though, try as many as you can!

]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T !
09-29-2012, 05:01 PM
If you ever hear a PRS player snob an SE, you can just about bet the farm that he/she has never played one.

I'm sure there are exceptions, of course. But not many.

Artist
09-29-2012, 06:12 PM
SE's are way worth the money. Their quality and playability is top among any other Import line.
I have 3 US PRSs that are great but I was able to setup my SE perfectly to US specs! Action super low and awesome playability, so now I use it just as the others.

I was never able to set the action this low with my two other Ephiphones. They would buzz all over and never intonnate correctly.

The 2012 models look good too and getting closer to an US model look. An used US model is also a great buy depending on your budget.

Mikegarveyblues
09-29-2012, 06:42 PM
I am considering getting a PRS but don't have a huge budget. I own a Les Paul, Strat, and Tele so I'm looking for something else to compliment the collection.
Tried a Korean made one briefly and thought it was pretty good. Never tried and american to compare. Would you compare it to a MIM Strat vs and American? Or Epiphone vs a Gibson?
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

The PRS SE's are worth every penny IMHO!

When I was looking for a twin humbucking guitar late last year I had no brand or model in mind. I had a set budget that I couldn't go past and I knew it had to be twin humbucking. Beyond that anything went. I won't bore you with the whole story but after a false start (Got my fingers seriously burned by another manufacturer) I wound up with the Bernie Marsden which I love to bits!

I tried a lot of other guitars from different manufacturers and I can tell you that no Epi I tried came close. It seemed more on a par with the Gibson Studios which where significantly more expensive! Admittedly this is based on a small sample of guitars but the Epi's didn't compare (They were't the cheapest Epi's either). That's not to say the Epi's I tried where bad guitars, they weren't. But the SE Bernie just seemed better constructed with a perfect setup.

I'll be honest and say I have a MIM Strat which I love as well. A good guitar but it's too different to compare to the SE I feel.

For me, one of the big differences between the SE's and other guitars in the mid priced bracket is that PRS focus on building a solid guitar first whereas others make it look all nice and pretty and put 'big name' hardware on there. But at the price point they are, corners have to be cut. The SE's are incredibly well built guitars with good hardware stock that you can upgrade as time goes by and your budget allows. Some other manufacturers cut corners on the build quality which can wind up costing you a small fortune to put right!!! What use is big name pups on a guitar that has sky high action and poor fretwork?

I'm not a big fan of buying guitars online - regardless of name or cost. However i'd sleep a lot easier knowing i'd ordered an SE than other makes. Solid guitars, well built, sound great, play great and a perfect vehicle for upgrades as and when you wish - If you feel you need to at all!

As always, it's best to get down to a shop and try as many as you can to see which one speaks to you.

There's a demo of the Bernie Marsden in my Y'tube link if you're interested. I've also owned an SE Soapbar Maple II with P90's which I loved and have played the SE 245 and Custom 24. Pretty much all faultless guitars. Just wound up with the one that felt right for me.

Best of luck.

Boogie
09-29-2012, 08:57 PM
If you are 40+ years of age, you remember the days when there weren't reasonably build and playable low-budget guitars. There were, Kay/Hondo/Harmony/Silvertone etc. Crap. Hell, I just insulted turds. But when I bought my son his first guitar many years ago - an Epi SG - even at $200 it was 1000x better than what we had as kids. In comparison, the SE models we have are better than my first Les Paul in tone, playabiity, and workmanship out of the box. The SE245 is simply awesome. My SE One gets gigged every weekend right next to my Cu24 and I can't be happier. IMO, the SE line is the best value in guitars today.

sergiodeblanc
09-29-2012, 10:23 PM
I have been playing my SE as much or more than my PRS, Gibson, Fender, and Guild guitars.

SE Playa 13
09-30-2012, 12:34 AM
When I had the opportunity to start playing again, I definitely sought out PRS. Not knowing a lot about their SE line, I gave it a try and have not looked back. I could afford a Maryland USA made if I wanted to have one, but since I am not a professional musician of any kind or even a great guitarist it is not logical or practical to have one. I play just for fun and for myself.
As mentioned in the previous posts, the build quality is just awesome. It is a better trade off to get a quality guitar than to get name brand hardware, and that is apparent when you play similar priced guitars from other brands. I simple chose to just upgrade my tuners, nuts & pickups, but depending on your taste you really don't have too. I had my SE guitars for a long time before I decided to modify them. Even now when I go to store and check out brands that I can buy, I never do because there is nothing better than the SE guitars I have and I am already satisfied with that. I just go looking around for used SE guitars instead and if it is a bargain then I am getting it.
I think that a lot of people get too wrapped up about where a guitar or any music product is made, I say get over it-we all live on the same planet! Of course Maryland made is to die for, but 80% of it is in your fingers on the fretboard. I am just fed up with those "purists" that think the most expensive thing you can buy is the only thing worth having. Definitely a bunch of snobs.
Well I am just happy with my SE guitars and I am looking forward to getting a SE Angelus & SE Custom 24-7 string when they become available.
The SE line is a great product and 100% worth the money, especially if you have a budget. I wish I had these guitars many years ago when I was playing in high school.

andy474x
09-30-2012, 12:34 AM
The PRS SE's are worth every penny IMHO!

When I was looking for a twin humbucking guitar late last year I had no brand or model in mind. I had a set budget that I couldn't go past and I knew it had to be twin humbucking. Beyond that anything went. I won't bore you with the whole story but after a false start (Got my fingers seriously burned by another manufacturer) I wound up with the Bernie Marsden which I love to bits!

I tried a lot of other guitars from different manufacturers and I can tell you that no Epi I tried came close. It seemed more on a par with the Gibson Studios which where significantly more expensive! Admittedly this is based on a small sample of guitars but the Epi's didn't compare (They were't the cheapest Epi's either). That's not to say the Epi's I tried where bad guitars, they weren't. But the SE Bernie just seemed better constructed with a perfect setup.

I'll be honest and say I have a MIM Strat which I love as well. A good guitar but it's too different to compare to the SE I feel.

For me, one of the big differences between the SE's and other guitars in the mid priced bracket is that PRS focus on building a solid guitar first whereas others make it look all nice and pretty and put 'big name' hardware on there. But at the price point they are, corners have to be cut. The SE's are incredibly well built guitars with good hardware stock that you can upgrade as time goes by and your budget allows. Some other manufacturers cut corners on the build quality which can wind up costing you a small fortune to put right!!! What use is big name pups on a guitar that has sky high action and poor fretwork?

I'm not a big fan of buying guitars online - regardless of name or cost. However i'd sleep a lot easier knowing i'd ordered an SE than other makes. Solid guitars, well built, sound great, play great and a perfect vehicle for upgrades as and when you wish - If you feel you need to at all!

As always, it's best to get down to a shop and try as many as you can to see which one speaks to you.

There's a demo of the Bernie Marsden in my Y'tube link if you're interested. I've also owned an SE Soapbar Maple II with P90's which I loved and have played the SE 245 and Custom 24. Pretty much all faultless guitars. Just wound up with the one that felt right for me.

Best of luck.

I have to agree with everything Mike says... I too have a MIM strat, which I love, but PRS puts so much into the SE's, they're worth well more than you pay. And take it from Hans, a guy that has one of the most bad-ass American PRS collections you'll ever see, these SE guitars are made to perform.

ExpatGirl
09-30-2012, 01:13 AM
They are really worth the money. I have two SEs, a SE Custom 24 and a SE Custom Semi-hollow. The quality is very good and I'm really happy with both of them. I may change the pickups at some point but that's all I'd change.

I'm planning on getting a US made guitar but I'll keep and keep playing my SEs.

CoreyT
09-30-2012, 05:43 AM
The only thing I have changed out on all of the SE guitars including my son's (and my Gibson SG) was the stock tuners for some Planet Waves Autotrim tuners and Schaller Strap Locks.
The SEs seem to be holding in tune very well with the stock nut, and I think the Zebra pickups are fairly nice too.
They are not as quiet as the 57 PAFS in my Gibson SG though, a little hum comes from them, but not bad.

JMintzer
09-30-2012, 07:04 AM
I bought a SE SingleCut SoapBar when they first came out. I bought it to be a "house guitar", that my middle daughter's band friends could play, so I wouldn't have to kill them if they dared touch my good stuff!

Turns out it was an exceptional guitar that absolutely killed thru my Fender '65 DRRI! The fit and finish was top notch and it intonated and played great!

The only reason I sold it was I bought a McKorina SoapBar that was just that much better. Plus, my daughter's friends all graduated HS and I no longer have "those boys" hanging around the house...


Jamie

james
09-30-2012, 08:13 AM
I bought a SE SingleCut SoapBar when they first came out. I bout it to be a "house guitar", that my middle daughter's band friends could play, so I wouldn't have to kill them if they dared touch my good stuff!

Turns out it was an exceptional guitar that absolutely killed thru my Fender '65 DRRI! The fit and finish was top notch and it intonatd and played great!

The only reason I sold it was I bought a McKorina SoapBar that was just that much better. Plus, my daughter's friends all graduated HS and I no longer have "those boys" hanging around the house...


Jamie

I also have a SE SC Soapbar, a McKorina Soapbar and a DRRI. You're right...something about that combination is perfect.

I've been planning on picking up a SE One because I like my other SE so much.

slinky005
09-30-2012, 09:46 AM
Thanks alot guys, definitely sounds like they worth checking out. Out of curiosity, how do the p-ups compare between the American and Korean?

Mikegarveyblues
09-30-2012, 11:22 AM
Thanks alot guys, definitely sounds like they worth checking out. Out of curiosity, how do the p-ups compare between the American and Korean?

Someone better informed will be able to do a better comparison between the pups. What I can say is that the pups used in the SE line are built to a cost (Daft thing to say given everythiong is built to a cost! :rolleyes:) so they're not going to be of the same high quality as the US PRS pups or many of the aftermarket ones you can buy.

That said, I feel the SE 245 pickups used in some of the guitars are actually very good pickups. I did like the neck one in my Bernie and I was going to keep it in there and swap the bridge but decided to try out a set of Bare Knuckles and decided I liked the neck BK Mule - If not quite the bridge.

I've still got the SE 245 pups in a drawer and I won't hesitate to use them again if I can.

It's worth saying that my decision to swap the pups had absolutely nothing to do with perceived quality but more to do with a certain tone I wanted - and partly aesthetics. Changing the pups gave me the opportunity to get a good look at the guts of the guitar and I can tell you that attention to detail and quality of craftmanship goes right into the parts you don't normally see!

If you find an SE you like the look and feel of but aren't quite certain about the tone just remember you can easily swap out the pups down the line. The guitars are of such high quality you feel reassured that it's worthwhile investing in any mods.

Out of curiosity... What are the guitars you've got now? I know you said LP, Strat and Tele but are they Epis, MIM's, Squiers or US? Are you looking for something different from them in terms of tone and looks or an upgrade in quality?

slinky005
09-30-2012, 11:45 AM
My Paul is the Gary Moore model (Limited Edition); Strat is 1977 (American) modded the p-ups to Seymour Duncans; Tele (American) I bought this year and has extremely great tone. And lastly I have a Hamer Steve Stevens model.
My reason actually for the interest in PRS is because I bought another Strat a few months ago (American 2011) but I'm really not impressed with the sound so the store will take it back and credit me full price ($1000). With that grand I'm looking to diversify my collection. In my limited knowledge of PRS I assume with the SE at around $650 , there's nothing else after that unless I pay a minimun of $2000 for an American. Am I misinformed?

Jhenri
10-01-2012, 05:54 AM
The Mira and Starla models tend to run less than $2000 but more than $1000. Guitar Center actually have some for about $1200 right now. The DC3 and NF3 might also run under 2k.

LindseyP
10-08-2012, 08:17 AM
... Would you compare it to a MIM Strat vs and American? Or Epiphone vs a Gibson?
Would love to hear your thoughts and opinions.

No, having owned one I would call the SE its own line with FANTASTIC pricing. I owned the SE Semi-hollow, I highly, highly, HIGHLY recommend trying that model. You can't beat the price for the sound and feel you get; if you want to change a pickup or both pickups you'll STILL come out ahead in pricing. Also recommend trying the SE Korina Singlecut. Just sayin' :/

Brewer
10-09-2012, 02:35 PM
While the SEs are quite nice and a great value, if you are going to spend $1,000 I would suggest that you might be able to find a US-made PRS for not that much more. It will be used, but 4 out of 6 PRSi I have purchased were used and I am very happy with them. Tell the dealer what you have in mind and perhaps they can help you find a used US model, maybe something taken on a trade, etc. They are simply wonderful guitars.

rocguitar
10-09-2012, 07:51 PM
Currently have 4 guitars in the SE line.........ABSOLUTELY worth every penny!

IMHO.......Best Bang for the Buck!

captdg
10-18-2012, 09:50 PM
If one is wondering about the Bernie SE, my barber's(she) Husband has been making custom banjo's for 30 plus years. He has an impressive list of clients, i.e. Ricky Skaggs. I took my BM SE to him to get the bridge and neck adjusted..He asked How much? Told him,"Around 700 U.S." he was very impressed with the wood and especially the beefy neck. Didnt need very much adjusting, he offered to buy it for 900. Told him no, but he said if I wanted to upgrade the hardware, he would do it for very little if I brought the parts.. ever since I bought this guitar, the news just gets better and better. There isnt an an amendment yet that says a man cant marry his guitar, is there?? hehehehe...........

RafRey
12-14-2012, 01:15 PM
Yes the SE line is worth every penny you will pay, and if you happen to score a lightly used one, even more so!! And you will have $$$ left over to get a nice amp!

These reviews on the PRS forum may be slightly biased, but every independent review on the SE line (written or youtube) has nothing but good things to say about the PRS import line.

As far as import guitar building goes, Korea is the new Japan!

neauone
02-23-2013, 07:01 PM
Just purchased a PRS SE 245 in antique white from Guitar Center who matched the price on line. Final cost with free shipping was $XXX

auriemma
02-24-2013, 11:42 AM
I got a used SE Singlecut and was blown away by the build quality, playability and sound. It looks great too. Worth every cent and then some. Try one... You won't be disappointed.

frankb56
02-24-2013, 11:56 AM
I recently purchased a Custom 24. The bottom line is you are not going to find a USA made brand new guitar of this quality. So basically, your choices are Korea, Mexico or China.

Sollophonic
03-09-2013, 01:40 PM
Never looked at PRS guitars until recently, as I have always been e Tele and lower end Gibson player (as well as resonators).

Then I got this battered and worn SE Singlecut for a great price, and was blown away by how nice it was to play and what a great sound it had

http://i84.photobucket.com/albums/k7/andys_01/PRSSEandReso1_zps2c7540a8.jpg

Soild, reliable, dependable and not too heavy too. 2 hour sets are a breeeze.

joseph
11-17-2013, 06:02 PM
prs se all the way!got a tremonti 2009 model and love it!the stock pick ups are really nice,was really surprised with it,but had change it for a pair of passive emgs hza hz4..got a jackson rhodes flying v and a fender strat deluxe with seymour duncan invaders on the bridge,but prefer the prs se all the way big time. the feeling and quality of the guitar is bloody amazing for the price..i play it through a peavey bandit 112 transtube 80w and a mxr fullbore metal distortion pedal,great guitar very happy with it..

Howlingmine
11-17-2013, 09:27 PM
I own both a 2102 SE CU24 and a 2013 SE245 Soapy with plans of getting another SE as soon as I can find an old SE EG at a decent price. You will not be disappointed in the quality or playability of the SE models. They are well worth the price.

taliababa
11-18-2013, 07:45 PM
I'm looking for some feedback concerning the Torero guitars. Specifically, how well do they play and sound? Prior to acquiring 3 PRS', I primarily owned ESP (not LTD) and EVH USA guitars. All were equipped with Floyd Rose trems, so I'm pretty discerning when it comes to guitars that come with a Floyd. How satisfied will I be with a Torero. I'm also used to the tonal qualities for EMG's. Any input will be appreciated.

markie
11-19-2013, 09:55 AM
Korean line (PRS) are the best value on the Planet for the cost .......................... IMHO

11top
11-19-2013, 10:26 AM
Absolutely

CantankerousCarl
11-19-2013, 12:40 PM
SEs are indeed best band for the buck...S2s are more expensive, but you can get some of them for around a grand street, and they are worth more than every penny sound-wise.

richardmac
12-07-2013, 10:35 AM
Ancient Thread, but I have no doubt that people continue to read it, so I'll add my two bits. I bought a PRS SE Custom 24 from Sam Ash for$XXX[i/] a week ago, complete with gig bag. It was a Black Friday special. It is stunningly good for that amount of money. I'm not going to pretend that it's as good as the real Custom 24 - it's not - but it's as good as any guitar I've played for under a grand. And at[i]$XXX it was an absolute steal. I own an Epiphone Les Paul and two Partscasters made from MIM and American parts, and I like them all. But my favorite guitar is my PRS.

FennRx
12-07-2013, 09:36 PM
I also purchased a SE C24 from Sam Ash last week for $XXX. I am absolutely floored by awesome this guitar is- and I am a Gibson Historic Les Paul guy. The frets are perfect- completely level and none jutting out the end of the board (unlike many unbound USA made LPs). The biggest strength of this guitar is it's versatility. The coil tap is among the best I've heard; it actually sounds pretty close to a strat. And the humbuckers are very good at handling gain- when I engage my Bad Monkey into my YJM100, I get a sweet, sweet RR like tone. My LPs get a similar sound, but the PAF clones tend to get a bit fizzy with gain.

So how does it compare to a USA-made PRS? Last Wed my buddy and I headed down to Sam Ash and checked out an S2 C24 priced at $XXXX. After we both played it and listened to it, we both agreed there was little discernible difference between my SE and the S2. The necks were similar, the sound was similar, the fit and finish was similar. The S2 had a nicer top, but I certainly couldn't detect anything that would make me pay an extra $1000 for it.

I've been playing since 1995 and I have never been so impressed by an Asian made, budget guitar. I think Gibson needs to be taking notes.

http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh19/fennrx/Mobile%20Uploads/2013-12-02124016_zpsf2ff6e5b.jpg (http://s252.photobucket.com/user/fennrx/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2013-12-02124016_zpsf2ff6e5b.jpg.html)
http://i252.photobucket.com/albums/hh19/fennrx/Mobile%20Uploads/2013-12-02124000_zps74fb9355.jpg (http://s252.photobucket.com/user/fennrx/media/Mobile%20Uploads/2013-12-02124000_zps74fb9355.jpg.html)

JMintzer
12-08-2013, 09:57 AM
Guys, let's leave the pricing out of the discussions. Thanks!


Jamie

andy474x
12-08-2013, 01:30 PM
I also purchased a SE C24 from Sam Ash last week for $XXX. I am absolutely floored by awesome this guitar is- and I am a Gibson Historic Les Paul guy. The frets are perfect- completely level and none jutting out the end of the board (unlike many unbound USA made LPs). The biggest strength of this guitar is it's versatility. The coil tap is among the best I've heard; it actually sounds pretty close to a strat. And the humbuckers are very good at handling gain- when I engage my Bad Monkey into my YJM100, I get a sweet, sweet RR like tone. My LPs get a similar sound, but the PAF clones tend to get a bit fizzy with gain.

So how does it compare to a USA-made PRS? Last Wed my buddy and I headed down to Sam Ash and checked out an S2 C24 priced at $XXXX. After we both played it and listened to it, we both agreed there was little discernible difference between my SE and the S2. The necks were similar, the sound was similar, the fit and finish was similar. The S2 had a nicer top, but I certainly couldn't detect anything that would make me pay an extra $1000 for it.

I've been playing since 1995 and I have never been so impressed by an Asian made, budget guitar. I think Gibson needs to be taking notes.

Wow, isn't that last line the truth. Lucky for Gibson they have a lot of brand recognition, if not I think their poor craftsmanship would've run that company into the ground by now. At best, I would say they have QC problems, but the more Gibsons I get my hands on, the more I think it's almost a mistake when they make a good one rather than when they make a bad one. The action on most that I try is awful, and the fret ends nothing to write home about. Especially the thing they have going with the "nibs" on the bound necks, where the frets don't extend over the binding... I mean c'mon, that just sucks. Every time I see one, the first thing I think is that it looks like total sh**. They look totally inconsistent fret to fret (see below), not to mention the functional problems that they can cause.
http://farm8.staticflickr.com/7316/11275217954_1a48d23d5d_z.jpg
And yet, almost every new SE I've tried has played and felt consistently good, with the very few exceptions being those that have been on the sales floor too long without any TLC. How people are actually buying the sub-$1000 Gibsons, and the question is even being asked as to whether the PRS SE guitars are worth the money, just blows my mind.

End rant.

FennRx
12-08-2013, 01:59 PM
Gibson has 2 things going for them: brand recognition and the fact that when they DO get it right, they really get it right. But it's outrageous the number of guitars they produce that I would reject outright. And I'm just one guy who goes to Sam Ash.

And the asian made stuff? Ick. I played a number of epi lps while I was there...terrible. all terrible.

vchizzle
12-09-2013, 09:49 AM
Yes, well worth the money. Great guitars. That said, in your price range, I'd look at a used Mira or McCarty. Can definitely get one of those in that range. Maybe one of the new S2's if you stretch your budget a bit.

USGOLD
12-21-2013, 08:16 AM
I'm biased, but I'd put my SE EG HSS against any MIM strat out there for play-ability and tone.

Bach5G
12-25-2013, 09:36 PM
I played an MIM Strat for years, went through a cheap guitar phase, and, after coming into a bit of money, bought a Sadowsky archtop and an ES 335. But I wanted a basic LP-style guitar. I jumped on a Black Friday special and bought a SE 245 on the strength of the reviews and the basic specs. I couldn't be happier. Solid, well-built guitar that plays and sounds great. No issues at all and much better quality than similarly priced Epis.

ibis
12-26-2013, 09:50 AM
Having bought my Bernie from the local shop, I would now say that PRS SE is one brand I would be happy to buy sight unseen, its that good in terms of timber, fit, action etc.

I've upgraded the electrics, but I do that in all my guitars that I gig (Gibsons, US PRS included). For the money? Its the best 580 worth of value I've ever had from a new guitar.