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Thread: Question: PRS SE Angelus or $999 Taylor?

  1. #1
    Member Johnnyboy94's Avatar
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    Question: PRS SE Angelus or $999 Taylor?

    Since at GC there is only a 20$ difference favoring the PRS, my next acoustic will be one of these guitars. I know Im probably going to get a lot of support for the SE, being that everyone here is a PRS fanatic (an activity I wholly endorse) I want to know which one sounds better, lasts longer, etc. I currently own a Fender T-Bucket 300CE i got for my Birthday last year, but Ive already realized that as my skill musically has enhanced dramatically in the last year, my need for a nicer tool has gone up as well. I have played many Taylors, and adore them beyond belief, but my local Guitar Center does not carry much in the PRS brand, and they only have Solidbody's. SO I have no idea of the diference's between the two. any input would be greatly appreciated.
    PRS SE Angelus Standard w/Piezo
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    Quote Originally Posted by gush View Post
    I'm in the"buy all the prs guitars you can afford" camp.

  2. #2
    Junior Member pickwithaustin's Avatar
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    I have about a dozen Taylor's and they're fantastic. What I have are all higher end ($3000 and up) Taylor's, including build to order's. I also have a PRS acoustic that I paid eight grand for. The PRS is incredible and even though the Taylor's are way above average also, the PRS is shockingly so different (and better in it's own ways/sound). The PRS SE's are contract manufactured by another company (in Korea, I believe). I have not played one but I am certain they are nothing like the PRS Private Stock I got. Taylor's lower end guitars are made by Taylor, though down in Mexico (just below the border). They are real nice, it is sure that Taylor keeps tight quality controls in place there. I'm sure that PRS does as well and has process procedures and audits on the Korean subcontractor. Have you played both side by side? I personally would lean toward the Taylor in that price range. Have you thought about a used Taylor?

    That said, I'm a PRS devotee now. I'm saving my money for another. Takes longer to save for a PRS than a Taylor.

  3. #3
    Almost was a FG22 owner.. WEDGE's Avatar
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    I have a Taylor 410, the older non cutaway or electronics version. Very nice guitar but the PRS's are nice too. I have to spend more time with an SE to see if it is worth the switch.
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  4. #4
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Depends on which model Taylor it is. I assume, based on your pricing, that you're comparing the PRS SE Angelus Custom w/ piezo to the Taylor 214ce. Both have spruce tops, rosewood back/sides, and a grand auditorium cutaway shape.

    The PRS SE Angelus Custom is going to have a narrower neck width at the nut, more similar to an electric guitar neck, and a glossy finish. The Taylor will have a slightly wider nut width, which is often preferred by fingerpicking guitarists, and a satin finish (Side note: a Maryland-made PRS acoustic will have a wider nut width, like the Taylor. For some reason, only the SE necks are narrower).

    The SE Angelus Custom will have a Sitka spruce top, solid rosewood back, rosewood sides, three-piece mahogany neck, and ebony fretboard. I believe the sides are laminated rosewood.
    The Taylor 214ce will have a Sitka spruce top, laminated rosewood back and sides, a three-piece sapele neck, and ebony fretboard. Here is how Taylor describes their laminated rosewood:

    Like sapele laminate, rosewood laminate features a plywood construction, in this case with interior and exterior layers of beautiful Indian rosewood veneer separated by a middle filler layer. Though the tonal properties of a wood laminate arenít as complex as solid wood, the construction method enables us to offer attractive, durable instruments at a more inviting price. A solid spruce top and Taylor craftsmanship ensure a clear, balanced tonal response.
    A little vague: I don't know if the "middle filler layer" is more rosewood or something else entirely. The word "plywood" could still refer to an all-rosewood construction. I also don't know if the sides on the SE Angelus Custom are the same thing, as PRS does not elaborate. But they do specify a solid rosewood back.

    Assuming you're getting the model with electronics, the PRS will include a built-in tuner, and the Taylor will not. The jack on the Taylor will be in the endpin, but on the PRS it will be on the bottom of the body, to better balance against the weight of the eq in the upper bout.

    The upshot: these guitars are way too similar for you to be able to choose without trying each and figuring out which one you like better. For me, personally, the PRS edges out the Taylor with its more familiar neck shape and slightly higher quality tonewood selection, along with the better balance and the bird inlays. But your mileage will vary. Despite their many similarities they could sound very different thanks to bracing patterns and construction methods. I prefer mahogany to rosewood on my acoustics so I'm not as familiar with the tones of the two particular models you're choosing from.
    Last edited by Sage; 07-24-2013 at 12:18 PM.

  5. #5
    My lead singer plays a Taylor 214CE and I play an SE Angelus Standard. I've played both and can honestly say I prefer the SE. Better sound, better neck (for me) and that built-in tuner is just a brilliant addition.
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    Member Johnnyboy94's Avatar
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    Thanks for all the feedback. Austin, my local store doesn't have any PRS acoustics for me to try out, so i have never lain eyes on an angelus in the flesh. Ill keep checking if they have one, and i would never buy a Taylor without playing both first.

    Sage, thanks a bunch. That was a ton of what I was wondering. I am leaning a bit more towards the Taylor now because of he wider nut, being a fingerpicker myself.


    One final question: if i cant get a pick guard for the angelus from PRS, would it be wrong to get a Taylor PG for it? That seems to be the only brand that would fit.

  7. #7
    I'm a big fan of the PRS construction and tone, at least on the US acoustics (I had a cocobolo one, and now a PS maple), but as I understand it, the construction techniques on the SEs are pretty much the same (incidentally, my cocobolo Tonare had a narrower neck and it was just fine for finger style as well as strumming; they may have recently changed the spec).

    I briefly played an SE and liked it, but the store was pretty noisy, so it wasn't a very good test.

    I don't care for the lower end plywood Taylors; I've been disappointed in their tone. I do like the higher end ones.

    Just my two cents. Obviously, playing both is a good idea as you know.
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    Senior Member themike's Avatar
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    I could talk to you until I'm blue in the face but here - just listen.

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    One thing to consider is the pickup system. In my opinion Taylor's es system is absolutely the best acoustic pickup system available. The Taylors really shine on stage. However I've never played an SE acoustic. My angelus custom sounds very natural plugged in but the low end is kind of "boomy". Nothing that cant be adjusted though. That said, unplugged my angelus custom outshines any acoustic I've ever owned and has a unique voice that I haven't heard from any other builder. The overtones and sustain that deliver a sonic fullness with bell like clarity and separation are the mark of a true masterpiece. I would imagine the SE line carries some of these attributes as well but you should certainly find one to play.

    All of that to say...either guitar is probably a fine choice, but you should certainly play them side by side to see which one whispers "you need me" while taking the pickup system difference into account.

    If I were looking for a guitar in the $1000 price range I might start looking at used higher end taylors or at a new blueridge. There is a local dread here with a solid adirondack top and solid mahogany sides for less than $800. I would also definitely check out the prs SE line too.

  10. #10
    Save a few bucks, get the PRS, and be happier in the end. 2 cents...

  11. #11
    SuperD Boogie's Avatar
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    This is an acoustic guitar...listen to them acoustically and, IMHO, forget the electronics. The "Taylor sound" is apparent instantly, which is a good thing, but the PRS Angelus sounds different. Good different. But ultimately it's your ear that must evaluate the difference. Don't let the masses sway such an important decision. If money isn't the factor, let tone and playability guide your decision.

    Good luck man.
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    Senior Member veinbuster's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    This is an acoustic guitar...listen to them acoustically and, IMHO, forget the electronics. The "Taylor sound" is apparent instantly, which is a good thing, but the PRS Angelus sounds different. Good different. But ultimately it's your ear that must evaluate the difference. Don't let the masses sway such an important decision. If money isn't the factor, let tone and playability guide your decision.
    Exactly.

    I really like Taylor guitars. I really like PRS acoustics.
    I think the 'right' acoustic sound is very personal.
    I wouldn't buy one I couldn't hear.

    And while I don't thing electronics should weight into the decision very much, my US Tonare has exceptional electronics that are truly invisible (a tiny dial inside the sound hole).

  13. #13
    Quote Originally Posted by Boogie View Post
    This is an acoustic guitar...listen to them acoustically and, IMHO, forget the electronics. The "Taylor sound" is apparent instantly, which is a good thing, but the PRS Angelus sounds different. Good different. But ultimately it's your ear that must evaluate the difference. Don't let the masses sway such an important decision. If money isn't the factor, let tone and playability guide your decision.

    Good luck man.
    +1.

    As for electronics, I'm not a huge fan of the electronics on ANY acoustic guitar, but IMHO the Taylor's electronics are not better, just different.

    Any acoustic needs to be run through a direct box and preamplified, and that part of the electronics (i.e., what you plug into) makes a huge difference. I've yet to meet an electrified acoustic that doesn't need a TON of EQ to sound halfway good. That includes Taylors that I've owned and played.

    Ultimately whether miked or plugged in direct, the key is how the guitar sounds unplugged. Go from there, and in the long run, you will be happier.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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    I tried them all for months under $1500, finally found an SE Angelus Custom - played it for about an hour and BOUGHT IT. The tone was noticably superior to all the rest, playability very good and electrics excellent. The problem is finding one to play. I'm not knocking any other brands - the PRS just blew me away. Good Luck!

  15. #15
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnyboy94 View Post
    Austin, my local store doesn't have any PRS acoustics for me to try out, so i have never lain eyes on an angelus in the flesh. Ill keep checking if they have one, and i would never buy a Taylor without playing both first.
    That was the case for me, as well. There are lots of guitar shops around me, even one that specializes in PRS stock, including acoustics... but NOBODY carries the SE acoustic line. I wound up taking a chance and ordering my SE Angelus from Guitar Center online to have it shipped to the store. I'm glad I did, because it's the best acoustic I've ever owned.

    If your GC has a Taylor 214ce in stock, then I would suggest seeing if you can order the SE Angelus Custom and comparing the two in store, with the option of returning the PRS if you prefer the Taylor.

    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnyboy94 View Post
    Sage, thanks a bunch. That was a ton of what I was wondering. I am leaning a bit more towards the Taylor now because of he wider nut, being a fingerpicker myself.
    I apologize; it appears I was mistaken about this. Taylors usually have a 1 3/4" nut width, but the 214ce does not. The specs on Taylor's website say 1 11/16", which is identical to the nut width on the SE Angelus Custom. That doesn't mean the neck shape is exactly the same (the back contour is almost certainly different), but it does mean the necks will be the same width.

  16. #16
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Angelus Ben View Post
    One thing to consider is the pickup system. In my opinion Taylor's es system is absolutely the best acoustic pickup system available. The Taylors really shine on stage. However I've never played an SE acoustic. My angelus custom sounds very natural plugged in but the low end is kind of "boomy".
    Taylor's ES system is not available on the 200 series. The 214ce comes with the ES-T, which is just a plain old undersaddle transducer, same as the SE Angelus.

    These two guitars are even more similar than I originally noted. Same neck widths, similar pickup systems. The biggest difference is going to be the bracing. The 214ce uses Taylor's Forward Shifted Pattern X-bracing. The SE Angelus uses PRS's hybrid X/Fan bracing. That will probably be the biggest determining factor in the difference in tone. The next big difference is that the SE Angelus will have a mahogany neck and a solid rosewood back, whereas the Taylor will have a sapele neck and a laminate rosewood back. Sapele is supposed to be a close relative of mahogany, and Taylor uses it in place of mahogany even on higher-end models because of their views on sustainability. But for my money, the PRS has better wood. The SE Angelus will also have the built-in tuner, which I find tremendously helpful.

  17. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Sage View Post
    Taylor's ES system is not available on the 200 series. The 214ce comes with the ES-T, which is just a plain old undersaddle transducer, same as the SE Angelus.

    These two guitars are even more similar than I originally noted. Same neck widths, similar pickup systems. The biggest difference is going to be the bracing. The 214ce uses Taylor's Forward Shifted Pattern X-bracing. The SE Angelus uses PRS's hybrid X/Fan bracing. That will probably be the biggest determining factor in the difference in tone.
    There are a couple more differences:

    The philosophy behind the PRS is to stiffly brace the back and sides so they don't move, and the top moves, which results in more responsiveness (IMHO) and perhaps a woodier tone. The Taylor philosophy is to have a more lightly built body, and a more traditional body construction. This lets the body more into the act, for better or worse, anyway it's different. But it also means that having a plywood back is an inherent drawback, given the design of the guitar.

    There are also differences in the neck construction. As you know, PRS uses a glued-in neck, and Taylor a bolt-on. People can argue about what's better or worse forever, but they also do sound different to a degree. Also Taylor extends the neck heel into the body of the instrument a lot further, and cuts an area of the soundboard around it instead of gluing the fingerboard to the top. Again, the effect of this on the tone can be argued one way or another in terms of desirability, but it has some effect. The headstock is also glued on instead of one piece, but I'm not sure that's a big deal.

    To my ears, the 200 Taylor sounded like an inexpensive guitar, though a decent guitar for the money. I felt that the PRS SE I played was significantly more bang for the buck. And of course, it all comes down to the individual instrument, too.

    I've had several upper end Taylors I liked, and one inexpensive one I didn't bond with at all. It was impressive in the store, less so in the studio.

    But then, that's why I sold off the higher end ones I had over the years, too, even though I liked playing them. So it could be that I simply don't bond with Taylor's type of guitar sound.

    I know this is going to sound weird, but I'd describe it as "stringy" as opposed to "woody" in the sense that you're hearing more string than guitar with it. If that makes sense at all...I like a woodier sound. But I know a lot of players who really dig Taylors.

    Forgive my blah blah blah blah blah. Seems I love to go over the finer points of this stuff over and over...
    Last edited by LSchefman; 07-25-2013 at 02:41 PM.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    There are a couple more differences:

    The philosophy behind the PRS is to stiffly brace the back and sides so they don't move, and the top moves, which results in more responsiveness (IMHO) and perhaps a woodier tone. The Taylor philosophy is to have a more lightly built body, and a more traditional body construction. This lets the body more into the act, for better or worse, anyway it's different. But it also means that having a plywood back is an inherent drawback, given the design of the guitar.
    While this is true of the maryland-made acoustics, I don't know how much this applies to the SE acoustics. There is bracing on the back, but I don't see any bracing on the sides of my own.

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    There are also differences in the neck construction. As you know, PRS uses a glued-in neck, and Taylor a bolt-on. People can argue about what's better or worse forever, but they also do sound different to a degree. Also Taylor extends the neck heel into the body of the instrument a lot further, and cuts an area of the soundboard around it instead of gluing the fingerboard to the top. Again, the effect of this on the tone can be argued one way or another in terms of desirability, but it has some effect.
    I was not aware of this.

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    The headstock is also glued on instead of one piece, but I'm not sure that's a big deal.
    Note, again, that unlike the maryland-made PRS acoustics, the SE Angelus has a 3-piece neck, including a scarfed headstock and a spliced heel, just like the Taylor.

    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    To my ears, the 200 Taylor sounded like an inexpensive guitar, though a decent guitar for the money. I felt that the PRS SE I played was significantly more bang for the buck. And of course, it all comes down to the individual instrument, too.
    For me, it was easy, because I wanted a mahogany back and sides with a spruce top, and Taylor doesn't make that until you get up to the 516ce, which is several times more expensive. So the SE Angelus Standard was a no-brainer. With rosewood, you have a few more options.

  19. #19
    Member Johnnyboy94's Avatar
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    ok wow. Im kind of on info overload here lol. a couple things i need to specify:

    My church youth band is where I primarily play my acoustic. I am a rocker, and prefer electric, and would be quite content with my fender except that my youth band does not have an acoustic amp. just goes from the direct box to the sound board. And that doesnt look like it will change anytime soon and Im only buying a new acoustic because a couple people in supervision have complained about my tone so Im kind of needing to buy an acoustic in the next 12 months. I might be able to grab one at xmas, but we'll see.

    WHen Im ready to buy one I'll be having an SE angelusshipped to my GC since they do that for free. I will play both for an hour or so each before my decision.
    PRS SE Angelus Standard w/Piezo
    PRS Santana SE (Custom 22 w/Santana Headstock Inlay)
    Fender T-Bucket 300CE Acoustic-ElectricFender Mustang I
    Quote Originally Posted by gush View Post
    I'm in the"buy all the prs guitars you can afford" camp.

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by Johnnyboy94 View Post
    ok wow. Im kind of on info overload here lol. a couple things i need to specify:

    My church youth band is where I primarily play my acoustic. I am a rocker, and prefer electric, and would be quite content with my fender except that my youth band does not have an acoustic amp. just goes from the direct box to the sound board. And that doesnt look like it will change anytime soon and Im only buying a new acoustic because a couple people in supervision have complained about my tone so Im kind of needing to buy an acoustic in the next 12 months. I might be able to grab one at xmas, but we'll see.

    WHen Im ready to buy one I'll be having an SE angelusshipped to my GC since they do that for free. I will play both for an hour or so each before my decision.
    There ya go, good plan.

    Of course, it's still fun to banter back and forth about the relative merits of each guitar.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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