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Thread: The Traveling SE-7 !

  1. #1
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    The Traveling SE-7 !

    OK so we know everyone on here loves PRS and believes in what they do. Other messageboards? Eh, not so much. So our beloved admin James and I set out to prove the naysayers wrong and seek unbiased answers for the curious! I compiled a list of respected members of other forums and arranged to let them demo the SE7. The results surprised everybody but James and I
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  2. #2
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Randy

    Construction: Very good balance, medium weight guitar. Just heavy enough to give you the feeling you're playing a solid guitar but not "weight you down". The carve definitely felt more substantial than the early PRS SEs I remember playing. The extra width of the neck gives the guitar a "beefier" look against that normal PRS double cut body.


    Finish: Really impressive, deep blue finish. Very consistent color, medium-thick feeling clear with no visibile flaws (sag, sanding marks, etc). The color is REALLY deep and dark, which looks sexy, but hides the flamed maple top a little. When the light hits it just right, the grain does popout though... so if you like subtlety, that might suit you well.


    Neck/Fretboard: Probably my biggest surprise about this guitar. The guitar got here with the action REALLY low, but still setup well enough that it didn't "fret out" anywhere on the neck. The neck and fretboard were both thinner and flatter than I was expecting, and I mean that in a good way. If you're used to the flatter Ibanez profile (I have a 1527 and 7420 at home as my main guitars), the profile on this guitar is surprisingly similar, with only a slight more pronounced "rounded" center. I actually really, really dug the neck on this thing (reminded my of my N7 Virgin) because the flatter profile feels really "shreddy" but the slightly rounded bit gave it a hint of a more traditional, LP kinda shape. Probably my favorite part about the guitar.

    Fretwork was immaculate, as has been stated by others already. The inlays were really clean with no visible filler. The rosewood was nothing special as far as grain is concerned, but still had a nice deep hue to it.

    I'll also mention that I use really light strings on all my guitars at home, and I was really concerned about the gauge of the strings that came on this but was surprised by how easy it was to play. Despite not feeling overly tight, the low string did NOT feel floppy or "BWOW" at all, like a lot of you baritone guys probably would've expected. The 25" scale definitely does this guitar well.


    Electronics: Possibly the most controversial part about the guitar...? When I got it, I wasn't a huge fan of how the pickups sounded against my presets. Most of my pickups have a little more presence naturally, whereas these felt a little... flatter. HOWEVER, after some minor EQ adjustments, I was happy with the sound I got out of them. The middle position and neck were definitely my favorite.

    Since this guitar was a loaner, I wasn't going to fiddle with anything but I'd say raising the bridge a couple mm would help overall. With a couple little adjustments like that, I'd say I'd be happy with leaving them in there (and that's saying a lot because I haven't played a stock pair of SE humbuckers that I liked, up until now).

    Truth be told, I totally forgot about the coil tap feature before I boxed it up, so I can't comment on that. I don't use that very much on my guitars anyway, unless it's split between the humbuckers and a middle pickup. YMMV

    Overall, I really dug this guitar. For a guitar with some traditional feel and aesthetics, it really covers the whole range of sounds really well. I don't think there's a spec on this guitar I would change if given the chance.



    All that said, on with the usual pictures from my point-and-shoot:

    [img]http://www.techvalleyguide.com/SSO/PRSSE7/100_0424.JPG/img]







    Then a couple shots we took at my brother's studio (Matt Becker Photography):














    I don't usually post clips but I figured it'd probably be most helpful to people if I included at least a little about how this thing sounds. It's just some impromptu noodling and whatnot but you get the idea.



    As I mentioned earlier, I forgot about the coil-tapping, so there's none of that in here. Sorry.



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    Last edited by themike; 03-20-2013 at 10:19 AM.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  3. #3
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zach (engage757)
    So, my thoughts...

    I was mildy hungover when this guitar arrived, and could not for the life of me remember what it was! Of course, my sleep deprived mind didn't think to read the label, I get a lot of guitars, and so I figured it must be right. I opened it and was blown away!


    At first glance, the PRS SE7 is pretty impressive. I won't bore you with the list of specs that are readily available and the previous fellas already listed them. BEAUTIFUL wood grain on the back, and the Flamed maple top is very nice for the price you pay for one of these. Upon picking it up, I realized this baby is really fairly light, definitely more so than you would expect. Unplugged, it is very resonant and fairly loud! I was very impressed by the fit and finish of the guitar, no visible flaws, nice top, nice neck and body woods, finish was very well applied, with no flaws that I could see.



    The neck is a very comfortable one, flatter on the back, and thinner than say a Carvin DC727/747, but still thicker than an Ibanez (obviously). I was honestly worried I wouldn't like it when I first started hearing about these guitars, but I can tell you it is VERY comfortable and fast. The PRS neck heel is not one of my favorites typically, but this was very manageable and didn't make me stretch or reach around it much at all.



    Fretboard is very nice, and the fretwork is definitely on point, a pleasant surprise as many guitars in this price range I have played have been less than memorable. No dead spots on the neck, and despite the rather cheap-looking nut, it stayed in tune well. THe new PRS SE7 bridge is actually pretty comfortable as well! And hey, who doesn't love birds?














    Pickups. I feel as if a disclaimer is necessary here. I have never been all that impressed by PRS SE pickups, and these were not an exception. For the price point of the instrument, they are very nice, but I personally would swap something else into it. This would be something VERY easy to do as the pickups and rings are standard sized and it really would be a breeze to do so. Again, I hate to harp on price point so much, but get over it. It is under $750 for this guitar. One thing I did appreciate was the push/pull coil split. adds a whole other range of sounds. Bottom-line? Pickups, not the best but in this range of guitar, definitely among the better I have played. Very Mid-range heavy. I may expand on this as I play it more, but so far, it has been played through ; Orange Rockerverb 100, Orange DUal Terror, Laney GH50L, Peavey VK, KPA and an Axe Ultra through either a H&K 412 or a Mesa 212 Recto cab. It cleans up very nicely, and when I flipped on the Maxon OD808, it was able to crunch, chug and scream through high gain work with ease.

    The main thing I was interested in on this axe was the 25" scale. I can tell you after playing it, the Low B is NOT floppy, and holds tension well. Not sure what strings are on it, but I am guessing a ten lower.

    Overall, I know I said it, but price point. PRS hit a home run with this one. In this market of more inexpensive sevens, this one is definitely a game changer. If you are looking for a solid seven in this range, look no further. If you are looking for a solid mod platform, (as I will be buying this for) then this may be the one for you.
    .
    Last edited by themike; 03-20-2013 at 08:21 AM.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  4. #4
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Steve (technomancer)
    My turn. I was next up on the list after Matt. I was originally hoping to get some nice outdoor pics, but weather and work didn't cooperate with me.



    The PRS SE Custom 24 7 is a very solid guitar, and I would say like most of the other stuff from the SE line I've played a great guitar for the money. It's got good fretwork and a comfortable neck profile, sort of a medium C. The setup was good, and surprisingly the guitar was mostly in-tune out of the box. Tuning stability was good with the stock tuners.

    The stock pickups are serviceable with decent tone and clarity, and the neck can get some really nice clean tones going. If I was keeping it I'd probably swap them out eventually, but they're usable and wouldn't need changed immediately.

    I'll put this one by itself so it's not easily missed since this is a big deal for some guys on here: The 25" scale for the low B doesn't present any issues and sounds really nice on the higher strings.

    Cosmetically the guitar is pretty sweet as well, the inlays are well-done without a lot of filler and the finish is nice (or it was after I wiped it down... damn guys get a towel and some cleaner, will ya? ).

    Poor-lighting indoor pics. Since Matt got it from every angle known to man I figured I could keep it simple






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    Last edited by themike; 03-20-2013 at 08:20 AM.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  5. #5
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Matt (HighGain510)
    So the first stop on the tour for the traveling SE-7 royal blue prototype was my house (shipped directly from Emil Werstler's place way up north). Yes, I am prettier than you. The first thing I noticed was the guitar was still in tune right out of the box and the setup was also very much in tact with fairly low action and zero buzz on the low B! Good stuff! The PTC had set this up for Emil (or Mike? not sure who received it from PRS first?) so I was fortunate enough to get to play it right afterwards while the tweaks were still fresh and even going from the change in weather of MD to OH to VA wasn't enough to move the neck very much at all which is great to see.



    Neck Carve: Speaking of necks, this thing has one of the more comfortable necks I've found on a 7-string! I'm very picky about 7-string necks because the uber skinny Ibanez stuff messes with my arthritis pretty badly, so finding a comfortable 7-string neck can be somewhat of a big chore for me these days. I'm happy to say the neck carve on this is definitely on the thinner side (thinner than a Carvin 727 neck for reference, if that helps anyone) but due to the width of the neck it actually feels incredibly comfortable. Mike said Paul and another gent at PRS received this proto with a rather large neck and they were tasked with trimming it down to their preferred specs so they could send a copy of the neck back to the factory that is producing the SE line so all of the production guitars should have the same neck as this one. The neck was a 3-piece neck on this one, I assume the production ones will be the same and if so that should definitely help the stability on the production necks match the prototype.



    25" Scale: This is the first production 7-string that has been built with 25" scale so I was definitely curious to see how it handles the low B. Without having elevator cable strings or ridiculously high action, I'm pleased to say this guitar is definitely able to handle the low B without any issues. Emil actually had it detuned to A and didn't have any problems with it so that should speak for itself as well! The low B still had plenty of definition and since I prefer thinner strings it was great hearing decent clarity on this guitar with the stock string gauges (I'm assuming they were 10-59's as they didn't feel huge at all...? Mike, any help there?). Also for the guys who constantly talk about how terrible the neck heel is on PRS guitars, the heel on the SE-7 was pretty minimal and doesn't make access to the upper frets any more difficult that you might imagine (took a picture of that specifically below as well).



    Pickups: The pickups in this guitar are the SE HFS 7 and SE Vintage Bass 7. I've played and owned a lot of SE models and find that generally the pickups typically fall into the "good, not great" category. I'm pleased to say that these pickups are about the same if not a little better. Definitely better sounding than say the stock Ibanez 7620/7420 pickups, but if you're used to boutique pickups that are uber tight or really blow your skirt up every time you play the guitar, you might not find that here. That being said, since these guitars come with standard-sized passives and pickup rings, a pickup swap is one of the simplest things you can do to alter or personalize the tone of your guitar, so swap in your favorite BKP/Duncan/DiMarzio etc. and you're on your way if you don't dig the stock pickups. To my ears the higher 6 strings all sound great, lots of mids going on. The 7th string is clear but again being that I'm pretty picky about things, I'd say that it isn't AS tight on the low B as I prefer the tone of my 7-string pickups to be normally, but that's a minor quibble and definitely something that's more personal preference than anything else. I'm sure most guys would be just fine with the stock pickups if they had no plans of swapping/upgrading to their favorites as they did sound very good for cleans, mid-gain and high gain applications. The tone pot is wired for a push-pull coil split and I found the split tones (especially on clean stuff) sounded excellent which is in part to these pickups being moderate output no doubt.



    Fit and finish: I've always been a huge fan of the SE line, they have come a long way from the original Santana SE models that first debuted as PRS overseas lineup! I find that the fit and finish on almost every SE I've played in the past couple years has been fantastic, the only gripes I have are typically the nut being made out of a cheap material (IMO) and since that's a key component of the guitar staying in tune and being set up properly, I still wish they would change that as it's not a very expensive upgrade yet it makes a pretty big difference in the quality of the guitar and the setup. That being said, I didn't notice any issues with the nut on this guitar in particular and if you were really picky about it like I am, that's not a very expensive fix at any rate. The finish was perfect just as all my other recent SE guitars have been. Frets were fantastic (again not sure how much the PTC played with this one vs what the production models will ship out like from the factory in Korea) and no dead spots on the neck. The guitar came to me set up for fairly low action and zero buzz whatsoever so assuming the production guitars will be leaving the factory in the same manner, folks will be very happy there (especially the guys who prefer uber low action, I'm sure you could have adjusted it even further although it was pretty much the perfect height for me where it was). The guitar wasn't overly heavy either and the mahogany used for the body looked pretty decent so that is a definite plus for most folks I'm sure. I have a few shots below so you can compare the body size and neck width to a PRS 6'er (my Mushok SE).


    On to the pics for those who didn't really care to read the review portion!














    .
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  6. #6
    Still a Junior Member Albrecht Smuten's Avatar
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    3-Mike-7 for the win!
    Love for all human beings is like listening to any kind of music. You just don't care.
    The 3-Mike-7 devotee.

  7. #7
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Nice read. Well done.
    Plank Owner

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    Senior Member aduayer's Avatar
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    Mike, I have a Mike Mushok guitar and the 7 string never meant much to me. But after your "Storm trooper" and now this video it starts to grow on me.
    thank you for the GAS

  9. #9
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    Thanks for doing this Mike. That was very cool to read the reviews from other non-biased people. Thanks!

  10. #10
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Excellent Mike, thanks for spreading the word. These guys have written some very detailed an informative reviews, thanks to them as well.

  11. #11
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Thanks guys, James deserves a lot of credit as well! There are still more reviews scheduled, but I wanted to start including some of the information here for everyone to enjoy.
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  12. #12
    Senior Member garrett's Avatar
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    Man, I want in on that club!
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    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Very cool,.... Hey, how come nobody wants me to review their blue guitars?

  14. #14
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Very cool,.... Hey, how come nobody wants me to review their blue guitars?
    It would be funny if Mike's blue guitar was returned to him white!

  15. #15
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    It would be funny if Mike's blue guitar was returned to him white!
    Oh the fun I could have if I were a rich man instead of good looking.

  16. #16
    Senior Member jfb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Oh the fun I could have if I were a rich man instead of good looking.
    Sounds like you should be using your looks more to your advantage. Get that money Serg.
    Plank Owner

  17. #17
    Senior Member Michael B's Avatar
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    That's awesome....great to see folks come around and realize who does it right!! PRS BABY!!
    2010 Black cherry 10 Top Tremonti-signed by Tremonti Modded by PTC DGT frets/signed by PRS
    2012 FBJB 10 top Tremonti-signed by Tremonti
    2012 Tremonti CustomSE Grey/Black heavily modded, DGT frets and nut at PTC
    2014 ARCHON

  18. #18
    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shawn@PRS View Post
    It would be funny if Mike's blue guitar was returned to him white!
    Wouldn't be the first time AM I RIGHT, Shawn? hahah
    Paul Reed Smith 7 - S t r i n g A c t i v i s t | Fueled by P T C

  19. #19
    Recovering Bass Player ]-[ @ n $ 0 |v| a T ! ©'s Avatar
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    Nicely done, 3-Mike.
    One Life

  20. #20
    chief Shawn@PRS's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by themike View Post
    Wouldn't be the first time AM I RIGHT, Shawn? hahah
    Hahaha- touché!

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