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Thread: Why are SE guitars so good?

  1. #1
    PRS Convert FennRx's Avatar
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    Why are SE guitars so good?

    Seriously. Why are these so good?

    I just got home from Guitar Center. I compared an SE 245 to a Bernie and 2 US made Single Cuts. I cannot believe how awesome the 245 sounded. It sounded more like a Les Paul than the Les Paul Traditional hanging next to it - which I had to try just for comparison sake.

    The US models were nice. And I know I shouldn't compare a PRS to a Gibson- but mahogany neck and body, maple cap, two humbuckers w/ 4 pots and a single cutaway? Yea, I'm gonna compare it to a Les Paul. But the 57/08 ( ?) pickups didn't have much PAF character to them. The cheap SE pickups though provided plenty of PAF honk through the Marshall JTM1h I was plugged into. When I think LP tone, I think of Beano and LZ's SIBLY (happy b-day JP!). The SE sounded much close to those tones than either of the core models.

    Of course, the true winner was the NOS Core Mira. What a fantastic and extremely articulate guitar. If I could choose between the $400 SE 245, the $400 Bernie, the $1800 Mira, the $2300 SC and $3000 SC....I'd take the Mira. But for the money, the SE 245 was the winner.

    Stupid GAS.

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    Narrowfield Pickup Fan HANGAR18's Avatar
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    Because the have to be.
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    Happy Egads's Avatar
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    Great designs and lots of R&D.

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    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    A: Because you have a team of extremely talented and dedicated individuals led by a visionary!

    And Fenn, you can get alot of good used Miras or a new S2 Mira sub $1K, so don't count those out! I had a 245 it was indeed great but I preferred the SE Santana (my favorite SE) same pickups I think but the trem and smaller / lighter body gave it more high end which I preferred - also worth a look.
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    PRS Convert FennRx's Avatar
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    I am really GASing hard for a 245 AND a Mira now. I'm afraid to play a Santana or Tremonti (SE or Core). Good lord, these are fantastic instruments. The only drawback to the Mira imho is the lack of 4 pot controls. If the Mira came with LPs style controls? Forgetaboutit.

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    Not sure why or how they are so good but I am glad that they are. I've only had my SE 245 for a little over a week and I have not been able to put it down. Had the same experience that you did when I bought it - it does the Les Paul thing better than any of the Les Pauls they had in the shop (and, frankly, better than my own) while also having better playability, fit and finish and overall quality. I'm pretty amazed by the guitar really. I thought when I got it that I would be changing out the pickups, tuners, etc. but after putting 10's on it and adjusting the pickup height I am blown away by the tone and I think I am only going to get locking studs for the bridge and a USA nut.

  7. #7
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    I owned a Les Paul for a while and it was a pretty cool guitar. It was a lot of fun to play. The bridge pickup was bright so I put a Zebra DGT pickup into it.

    Then I took my stock Santana SE from 2003, replaced the magnet in the stock pickup with an Unoriented Alnico 5 roughcast magnet, which smoothed out the mids and really opened up the sound.

    Then I played them back to back, and was surprised what I heard. Then I recorded them back to back and asked my friends which was the Les Paul with the super rare ultra awesome DGT pickup and which was the guitar I bought for $325 used and changed out a magnet in the stock pickup. They all got it wrong. The Santana sounded better. I sold the Les Paul.
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    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    PRS really has their act together on the SE line (and everywhere else). I think there a few basic principles that make them great. Design is certainly a big one. There's also a high standard for function, some companies pump out pretty guitars with bad fret jobs and wobbly knobs, PRS makes sure the guitars work even better than they look. I think they also make sure not to compromise for cost on materials, the woods and hardware are robust - they're killer instruments because you pay a little more than an epiphone or similar, but get a lot more. Of course, all of this would be pointless without consistency, but they work with a great manufacturer and hand check every instrument in house to make sure it's up to proper PRS standards.

    Check out the glassdoor reviews of former Gibson employees, and it's not difficult to see why SE's are smoking Gibsons. Everything PRS does in the course of making a guitar is with a focus and direction towards making a quality instrument, and ultimately the experience of its future owner. Gibson is stuck in a sea of corporate stupidity and policies that cause their craftsmen to focus on everything but the end product.
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    Narrowfield Pickup Fan HANGAR18's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FennRx View Post
    I am really GASing hard for a 245 AND a Mira now. I'm afraid to play a Santana or Tremonti (SE or Core). Good lord, these are fantastic instruments. The only drawback to the Mira imho is the lack of 4 pot controls. If the Mira came with LPs style controls? Forgetaboutit.
    I had a Maryland made Mira guitar and it was extremely versatile. Abandon the 4 pot LP control concept and get a Mira!
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    Gibson is not what it used to be.

    Seriously. Why are these so good?

    That is a good question, I think Gibson is riding on the legends they have built in the past. Even Epiphone is making better Les Paul nowadays. The computorized system is making them lazy, the old pen pushers used to rings the wood to see if the end product would sound like a musical instrument or like a table top.

    Check this clip www.youtube.com/watch?v=rzM9dvV-VJU and specialy starting at 11:30 and you will see that even the Epiphone Les Paul is sometimes better than it's BIG cousins. The big THREE car makers did the same in the 70's and 80's and in the end, they lost the game.

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    Quote Originally Posted by HANGAR18 View Post
    I had a Maryland made Mira guitar and it was extremely versatile. Abandon the 4 pot LP control concept and get a Mira!
    Yes, do it. My Mira is the best playing, best sounding guitar I own and I have found that the 1 vol/1 tone configuration is not a hindrance at all.

  12. #12
    PRS Convert FennRx's Avatar
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    I can't give it up. I see it as major handicap when playing my SE C24- especially since I use a single channel NMV-Marshall. Anyhoo, I'll just put this here:


    I'm not sure I'm gonna keep it though.

  13. #13
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Egads View Post
    Great designs and lots of R&D.
    Yes.

    The original PRS and West St. models are just amazing! Paul is a lot of things, but his design is beyond brilliant! Almost wouldn't matter who made 'em.

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    Quote Originally Posted by FennRx View Post
    I'm not sure I'm gonna keep it though.
    That is a sweet looking 245. Put some 10's on it and you will really be blown away: Transforms them IMO. Actually a bit surprised they ship these with 9's seeing as the scale length is so short.

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    Junior Member ESPImperium's Avatar
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    My take is that they SE line is very QC led and with correct procedures in R&D they are just getting better and better. My SEs smoke all Epiphones and most of the Gibsons up to the Customs and Reissues ive had in my hands, heck, ive got a ESP LTD EC-1000VHB and a Gibson Les Paul Standard Faded and my Tremonti SE Custom is more of a monster. Even the stock SE 245 pickups are killer, however i did change mine for something a little more to my liking, id have the SE 245 pickups on any guitar in a heartbeat, they are much better than the Burstbucker Pros that came in my LPSF.

    The fact that the SE hardware is being used on the S2 line is a massive endorsement to me, it shows that PRS has the conference and trust in it for it to be on those guitars. I am keeping tabs on two of the newer models in the S2 Singlecut and the SE Zach Myers at the moment as i have great trust in PRS at the moment as they seem to be doing everything right. All i want is a SE P22 or a SE with a Piezo bridge and ill be all over that like a dirty little rash.
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    PRS Convert FennRx's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by gball View Post
    That is a sweet looking 245. Put some 10's on it and you will really be blown away: Transforms them IMO. Actually a bit surprised they ship these with 9's seeing as the scale length is so short.
    she definitely is a looker, but I'm not sure I can get along with the neck. It's kinda fat, which is fine as my R8 has a baseball bat neck, but the shoulder is an odd shape. Not sure how to describe it but it makes it kinda uncomfortable the way i rest my thumb. There's no issue on the thin neck on my SE C24, but there definitely is on this one.

    After playing it a bit, I don't care for the neck pickup. It doesn't clean up enough for me and lacks definition and note bloom- especially with the volume pot turned down. After adjusting the bridge, I am able to get some PAF honk out of it. I do have some pickups laying around to try- Gibson ceramics (ick lol), Burstbucker 1/2, and some Zhangbuckers. I might have to bite the bullet and slap some WCR Crossroads or Darkbursts in there, but those pickups run about $300 new.

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    Senior Member Duffy's Avatar
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    That should be a really nice guitar. I have all kinds of neck profiles on my different guitars and I guess I have just adapted to them because they don't bother me.

    I think that if you play it a lot that it will reveal to you some of its not so obvious secrets. You can't just let it sit there or you'll never find out. Try to adapt to it and see if you can make that beautiful guitar work out. Those are very nice guitars.

    In the end you have to do what you want to; but I would give it a fair shake.
    "Now all the things that use to mean so much to me has got me old before my time." G. Allman, "Old Before My Time", Hittin' The Note cd.

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    I agree there, there are a lot of tonal shades in these guitars. I am really loving mine (including the neck PuP) for the Les Paul thing. Compared to my LP, the 245 does the PAF-ish sound in a similar way, but seems a bit more "hi-fi" which is something that I am finding I really like because the sound stays more focused with some gain. Overall, the sound seems more balanced than the Gibsons as well, really really smooth top to bottom.

  19. #19
    Senior Member Duffy's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by FennRx View Post
    Seriously. Why are these so good?

    I just got home from Guitar Center. $400 SE 245.

    Stupid GAS.

    PRS SE 245 for $400? Am I reading this wrong? How are you getting a 245 for $400? Is it used or new? That seems like a very low price for that guitar. I'd be interested to know where you can get one of these for that price.

    That is really awesome.
    "Now all the things that use to mean so much to me has got me old before my time." G. Allman, "Old Before My Time", Hittin' The Note cd.

  20. #20
    Member rubalup's Avatar
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    they´re incredible instruments. I got a used SE Santana (2011) and its my main guitar now... I´m even considering buying an SE245... love the SC looks... would it be redundant? as i think they have the same scale and pickups... it would be just 2 more knobs (i like the LP 4 knob configuration), no-tremolo and beautiful looks...

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