And this is a counter opinion to the one you posted. You 'opinions' at some points where dressed up as facts. A case in point is that you say your CE will sound better, play better and last longer than ANY SE. Have you played every SE? have you listened to every SE? Can you prove your CE will last longer? The insinuation is that an SE will not last and will at some point fall apart in your hands. You also mention 'properly dried woods'. How could you possibly know if the factory that makes the SE's properly dry the wood or not? You seem to be taking the view that because the guitar is 'cheaper' and made abroad then they couldn't possibly be doing a 'proper' job of building these things! But in truth (Unless you worked there) you have NO idea!
The dude was asking for opinions, was he not?
But you haven't owned them all. Again... If we're talking in general terms I don't doubt the US PRS's are better guitars overall. I will at some point own one I'm sure. The notion that US PRS's are of higher quality pretty much all round is not under any doubt and I will be happy to part with my cash for one when the time comes. This will not stop me loving my SE's and knowing I have great guitars. However, I will not be buying a US PRS simply because it's a US one or that it's higher quality. There has to be more to it. It will have to tick EVERY box. In short, it will have to be exactly what I want. This is the issue I have given the OP's budget. The argument is to get a US PRS simply because it's a US one and all that implies. That leaves out a lot of things that may or may not decide whether the OP truly loves it.
I've owned both SE's and USA Made Paul Reed Smiths.
The insinuation here is that SE's are purely for beginners. Nonsense!!! Student Edition is a misnomer. Yes, many people (including myself I dare say) thought it stood for Student Edition. This appears not to be the case. Nobody knows what SE really stands for (If anything at all) and indeed there's a video out there in which PRSh pulls up an interviewer who mentions it.
I've suggested SE's to people who are starting out with playing guitar (Hence SE = Student Edition)
The SE's are a perfectly good instrument to start on so I'm not knocking you for suggesting them. However these are musical instruments just as much as US PRS. The quality levels may indeed be different but that does not stop the SE being a perfectly good musical instrument. There is no reason why you can't go into a studio and record with one. There is no reason why you couldn't walk out onto a stage in front of thousands with one. And let's not forget the audience couldn't give a sh*t!!! There are plenty of pro musicians that have recorded and played on major stages the world over with SE's. Indeed, I saw Bernie Marsden himself play to tens of thousands with a stock version of his guitar just a few weeks ago. Sounded great!!! The guy owns one of the 'Holy Grails' of guitar but has used his sig (Both stock and with US pups) relentlessly for the past year and a half. Sure, he want's people to buy it but many, many artists who have cheaper sig guitars - never actually or rarely use them. Bernie does. He clearly believes in it!
Snap! About the amount of time I've been playing too. I'm also particular about feel, tone and quality. I play an SE because it ticks those boxes. If my budget was larger I would also play a US PRS and a US Fender, etc... I've been playing long enough to know the difference between a good guitar and a stinker. The SE's are good guitars. Period.
I've been playing for 19 years now and I'm very particular about the Feel, Tone, and Longevity of my guitars... I've earned that right!!
You have! As I said, this is a counter opinion. I'm not knocking your overall message of 'look at the US guitars in your budget' but some of the points you made regarding SE's.
I've also earned the right to respond to a question of SE vs US Made
Ou said they are great guitars but in the same sentence said "I wouldn't waste my time on one, personally". Bit of a conflicting view is it not?
I absolutely respect anyones choice to purchase and play SE's.... they are great guitars
If the dude would have said "I played an SE and a US Made and I like the SE better. am I wrong?" it would have been a totally different answer
He has got opinions. But we should stick with facts not supposition.
But an opinion was what the dude was looking for...