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Thread: Three reasons why SE's beat all the other imports

  1. #61
    Senior Member Raymond's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Yes, in many ways, and yet not so much in others. I've seen a lot of Bob's videos, and of course I still get Wood and Steel, though I haven't bought a Taylor in a while, but I do read it.

    Bob seems obsessed with his processes; not just with getting every last ounce out of his materials, but with his machinery, his business activities, his automation, and so on. He's the Henry Ford of acoustic guitar making. Bob asks, "How can we make our nice guitars faster with less waste?"

    Bob rarely talks about tone any more, or writes about it.

    I'm sure Paul knows all that process stuff, and uses the best of it, but his interests seem to be directed more to sound, tone, etc. When he gives a talk, it's about how his woods, his processes, and so on make the guitar sound better; Paul asks, "How can we make our guitars better guitars?"

    Example:

    When Bob talks finishes, he talks about how his electrostatically applied UV finishes cure quickly and make the process of building faster (though lately he also talks about the environment in connection with this).

    When Paul talks about his finishes, he talks about their affect on the tone of the guitar. Period.

    On Friday I had to stop into GC to pick up a Sennheiser 421 mic for a project. My regular sales guy was on the phone with a customer, and I wanted him to have the sale, so I meandered into the acoustic guitar room.

    They had several high end Martins, Taylors and Gibsons in there (it's a Platinum GC), and while they mostly sounded very good -- both my former production PRS Tonare Grand and my current PS one are very clearly superior instruments for my purposes. Really, heads and shoulders better for me.

    I was a bit surprised by the Martins, as I think they've caught up to the Taylors for playability, and they sounded great; I think I preferred them to the Taylors. The Gibsons were also surprisingly good - for a while they sounded a bit dodgy as far as I was concerned, but I heard improvement up and down the line.

    Still, none held a candle to my PRS. Not even close.

    And that, I think, typifies the difference between Paul and Bob. Bob's pretty happy with where he's at. Paul's constantly outdoing himself.
    I never thought of it that way, the bit about concentrated more on the process than the tone aspect. But now that you mention it, you do have a point.

    But.....the transition to Andy Powers is starting to change things a bit. Bob gave Andy control of the flagship 800 series last year and he has made the most significant changes to it since it started, with a new bracing and even thinner finish which is done for projection and tone.
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  2. #62
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Duffy View Post
    I am with Ruger on this.

    I think it is only right to read the post that you are going to feedback on. Not to do so is "dismissing" the value of the persons post as less than getting your complete attention. It is a sort of insult to state that you just skimmed over it, paying it only cursory attention, and then feeding back on it with a follow up comment.

    It is a small matter that can very simply be accommodated when making reply posts. Give the other person the a break. Read their whole post and evaluate it with a serious mind before commenting on it.

    We can all do this type of thing and it will make the forum stronger.
    I only read your first two sentences, but I agree!
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  3. #63
    Name Manglin' Putz alantig's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I've seen a lot of Bob's videos, and of course I still get Wood and Steal, though I haven't bought a Taylor in a while
    Okay, one - stop stealing. You're costing Bob money.

    As for the other, well, congrats, I guess, but really - a bit much on the information side.
    Alan

    "I watched approximately 45 seconds of 'Rock Of Ages'. It was like getting punched in the soul." - Abby Krizner

  4. #64
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I watched the whole thing, and I'm kind of sorry I did!

    Like watching sausages get made, as far as I'm concerned. Which I once did, and afterward swore off meat for two years.

    Please allow me to pretend that there are artisans tapping wood for tone and combining just the right stuff in the right way, to make a great instrument. Yes I know that doesn't really happen any more!
    ^^^ this

    I'm still learning. I just don't have the time I want to commit to practice. Because electrics are so much easier to play, my acoustics don't get the time they deserve.

    I have several high end Taylor's and I really like them. But I still consider myself a beginning player. I would wager that almost everyone on the Forum would play circles around me.

    But that doesn't mean I have a tin ear. I have intentionally not played a PRS acoustic yet because it would GAS me, I'm sure of it. I keep telling myself that the GAS fund is not there and I'm not ready to sell some Taylors to fuel a PRS acoustic.

    But back to the OP. While dazco and I have very different reasons, I do agreed with him that the SE line is something very special. I do still have other mid-range guitars, but they just stay in their cases. It is sad that they don't have enough value to bother turning them into a GAS fund.
    Last edited by rugerpc; 05-17-2014 at 06:47 PM. Reason: dak
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  5. #65
    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    I have intentionally not played a PRS acoustic yet because it would GAS me, I'm sure of it. I keep telling myself that the GAS fund is not there and I'm not ready to sell some Taylors to fuel a PRS acoustic.
    Then you must avoid listening to Tony McManus' Mysterious Boundaries album at all costs, even though it is available on iTunes, and even though you might be oh so curious, do not download it no matter how tempted you are!

    Because it is a beautiful recording that very accurately represents the sound of a PRS acoustic in every detail!

    Do not, I repeat, do not listen to this recording! If you do, the next thing you know, you will be putting every guitar you own other than your PRSes up for sale, and be at the PRS dealer the very first thing the next day to place your order.

    Do not, repeat, do not listen to this recording!

    OK, listen to it because your Taylors will never sound that good no matter who plays them.
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  6. #66
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    Then you must avoid listening to Tony McManus' Mysterious Boundaries album at all costs, even though it is available on iTunes, and even though you might be oh so curious, do not download it no matter how tempted you are!

    Because it is a beautiful recording that very accurately represents the sound of a PRS acoustic in every detail!

    Do not, I repeat, do not listen to this recording! If you do, the next thing you know, you will be putting every guitar you own other than your PRSes up for sale, and be at the PRS dealer the very first thing the next day to place your order.

    Do not, repeat, do not listen to this recording!

    OK, listen to it because your Taylors will never sound that good no matter who plays them.
    Tony may indeed be my downfall. I love his stuff. When I listen to him, I lie to myself that it is all Tony and he would sound the same on my old Fender 6 string.

    It has mostly worked so far...
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  7. #67
    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    Tony may indeed be my downfall. I love his stuff. When I listen to him, I lie to myself that it is all Tony and he would sound the same on my old Fender 6 string.

    It has mostly worked so far...
    Well, no doubt he's a fabulous player and could make most any guitar sound its best. But the PRS acoustics really have an identifiable sound.

    But why do I have a PRS acoustic? After all, I'm no Tony McManus. Here's why:

    I get lots of calls for acoustic guitar tracks for projects, though they seem to come in spurts. The PRS acoustics sustain like crazy. That means I can get away with my relatively limited skills, play quarter notes or half notes instead of sixteenths, and yet the tracks still sound full and well-played.

    The guitar makes my simpler playing sound better than it is!

    I've learned over the years that it isn't how many notes, or how fast you play, it's the feeling, intention, note selection, and the overall arrangement that can make a composition engaging to the listener.

    And when the sound of the instrument is gorgeous to start with, I'm in bizniz!

    A great guitar doesn't make me a better player, of course. It just makes me seem like a better player.
    Last edited by LSchefman; 05-18-2014 at 08:57 AM.
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  8. #68
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazco View Post
    I know about the wings, but still thats not IMO the same thing. Were talking about a separate head piece which IMO, and it is just my opinion, but i don't think thats a good thing at all for tone. It separates the head from the neck with a bridge of glue. For one, i'm a huge believer thru experience building strats that the neck is the biggest contributor to a guitar's tone. And you don't see it on anything but cheaper imports. If they did that with the SC's then to me thats disappointing. Does it make a difference? Put it this way, there are lots of people that swear up and down that plywood sides on an acoustic make no difference in tone at all. But will you accept plywood sides on a $3000-5000 martin? And do they use plywood sides on those ? So to me at least thats a big + on the SE line. It's cheaper and easier to do it like that but they don't on quality guitars. Think about that. Chances are the SC line must be done like that to keep costs down due to the fact labor costs in the USA are much much higher than korea. He can afford to spec things like that in the korean line because the costs are so low. But you don't see it in the core guitars so i think it's pretty obvious that a one piece is considered the superior way to make a neck.
    Actually, many of the higher end ($7k+) custom acoustic builders use "plywood" construction. Or as its properly called...laminate.
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  9. #69
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LSchefman View Post
    I get lots of calls for acoustic guitar tracks for projects, though they seem to come in spurts. The PRS acoustics sustain like crazy. That means I can get away with my relatively limited skills, play quarter notes or half notes instead of sixteenths, and yet the tracks still sound full and well-played.

    The guitar makes my simpler playing sound better than it is!

    I've learned over the years that it isn't how many notes, or how fast you play, it's the feeling, intention, note selection, and the overall arrangement that can make a composition engaging to the listener.
    http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=dCud8H7z7vU
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  10. #70
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    Quote Originally Posted by Faded View Post
    Actually, many of the higher end ($7k+) custom acoustic builders use "plywood" construction. Or as its properly called...laminate.

    I could be wrong, and if so, could you show me some examples, but I do not think any of what are considered the finest acoustic guitars use plywood for construction anywhere.

  11. #71
    Quote Originally Posted by rugerpc View Post
    One of my favorite movie quotes ever!
    I saw ten thousand talkers whose tongues were all broken...

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  12. #72
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    Well said Les... I agree. I could listen to Paul talk for a looooong time about stuff. It's obvious he's still very passionate about what he does and he doesn't get into a comfort zone and settle. I admire that.

    As far as SEs - mine was my first PRS guitar. It's an 06 SE Custom 22 I believe. It did have to have quite a bit of work done - new nut and new locking tuners. Tuning was problematic. I think that problem has pretty much been solved in most of the new ones though. I changed the pickups as I didn't dig the stock ones. I put Duncan Jazz/JB in there. Still plan on installing a push pull for coil split soon.

  13. #73
    Senior Member IRG's Avatar
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    I didn't feel that way at all. I've had 3 SE's, the most recent the SE 245. At the same time I had (and still have) the Epi Tribute - a 2010 model that has the asymmetrical neck (which I think they only made that year). I liked both, but the SE was not miles ahead. In fact, it had a number of shortcomings to the Tribute. It wouldn't stay in tune very well at all. I could have replaced the nut, but I did a fair amount with the stock nut, still no better. Epi stays in tune quite well. But that is something ultimately I could have fixed on the SE for not a lot of money. Pickups - the Epi has a pair of split coil Gibson '57's in it. They just sound better than the SE. The SE aren't bad, not at all. But generic sounding. Now you could replace them, but now you're starting to add up the price. And from what I hear, the new Epi ProBuckers are a lot better than their older pickups. The Epi comes with a HSC, the SE doesn't. Again, additional money spent...

    But at the end of the day, I just liked the feel and tone of the Tribute more, and the traditional shape helps as well. The Tribute does have a solid 1/2" maple cap (not veneer) and the tone was deeper and fuller than the SE245. Maybe it was the build, maybe the pickups, who knows. The SE is nice though, no denying that. And if I had to do it over again with the SE245, I would have tried the Marsden instead, not that they are much different from one another, but I might have liked it more.

    I recently got a vintage Gibson LP Studio Custom ' '85. An unusual guitar in that it has dots instead of inlays, but it has binding like a Custom. Pretty cool guitar, but the Epi still holds its own. And I picked up a used Epi Sheraton recently. It came with a pair of DiMarzio 36th PAFs in it, an upgraded nut (always a good upgrade for imports I'm finding), an upgraded Graphtech NVS-2 bridge (might get this bridge for the Tribute too), and then I bought a matching nickel Gotoh tailpiece. Great guitar, will hold it's own easily to anything from Gibson or Ibanez at this price point.

    With all that said, I'm not a PRS hater, and I want to get another PRS at some point, just not a SE. I might try the S2 line soon, maybe a Custom 22. I can't find a thread yet dedicated to the S2 line, I'm sure there are many, I'll just look some more. But the verdict on this model is what?


    Quote Originally Posted by Desperado View Post
    The Epi LP tribute plus is probably the best of the regular line and whilst it's a nice guitar, the SE range are still miles ahead.

    The thing that surprised me the most was how solid they feel. Most lower end guitars have a cheap feel but not in the case of the SE, these feel like 'real' instruments and not the cheap import guitars like many out there.

    I'm yet to play a guitar around the SE's price point that is better than the SE, this includes USA made Gibsons.

  14. #74
    Mostly Normal AP515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by IRG View Post
    ...But at the end of the day, I just liked the feel and tone of the Tribute more, and the traditional shape helps as well. The Tribute does have a solid 1/2" maple cap (not veneer) and the tone was deeper and fuller than the SE245. Maybe it was the build, maybe the pickups, who knows. The SE is nice though, no denying that. And if I had to do it over again with the SE245, I would have tried the Marsden instead, not that they are much different from one another, but I might have liked it more.

    I recently got a vintage Gibson LP Studio Custom ' '85. An unusual guitar in that it has dots instead of inlays, but it has binding like a Custom. Pretty cool guitar, but the Epi still holds its own. And I picked up a used Epi Sheraton recently. It came with a pair of DiMarzio 36th PAFs in it, an upgraded nut (always a good upgrade for imports I'm finding), an upgraded Graphtech NVS-2 bridge (might get this bridge for the Tribute too), and then I bought a matching nickel Gotoh tailpiece. Great guitar, will hold it's own easily to anything from Gibson or Ibanez at this price point....
    Your experience isn't surprising at all. I've seen some very good guitars from Epiphone. It is also true that the SE pups were just "ho hum" until 2010 when they got a very good upgrade. I think overall however, the quality of the SE is better than the quality of the Epi. I've taught a lot of kids to play guitar and the ones that came in with Epi's had more issues than the ones that brought in SE's or played mine. Looking at the overall picture I see, there isn't really any comparison. The SE's are better guitars.
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  15. #75
    Senior Member IRG's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AP515 View Post
    Your experience isn't surprising at all. I've seen some very good guitars from Epiphone. It is also true that the SE pups were just "ho hum" until 2010 when they got a very good upgrade. I think overall however, the quality of the SE is better than the quality of the Epi. I've taught a lot of kids to play guitar and the ones that came in with Epi's had more issues than the ones that brought in SE's or played mine. Looking at the overall picture I see, there isn't really any comparison. The SE's are better guitars.

    Well the SE245 I had was a very recent one. The pickups on Epi have gotten quite a bit better as well. If the SE models would use a better nut (common complaint I'm aware of) they would seldom have the tuning issues they're somewhat notorious having. A poorly setup Epi will be a poorly setup guitar, no question about it. Properly set up, they're fine (unless we're talking their really low budget models). I would expect being a PRS forum most will take the SE models. Go to the MyLesPaul forum and most will take the Tribute+ models over a SE245. Neither surprising. All in all, it's a great time to buy nicely made affordable guitars. Seldom a loser in the bunch anymore.

  16. #76
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    I agree that the SE line is superior to the rest. Granted, the nut is the weak link in my opinion, but I play with 10's, so I replace the nut with a graphtech and all is well! I think the pickups sound good for the price of the guitar. I play through a Line 6 Pod XT Live and both the Singlecut and my Santana sound great through it. I know I can't compare sound to my Strat, but as far as playability goes, I'll pick up both my SE's over the Strat any day of the week.
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  17. #77
    Senior Member IRG's Avatar
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    I think out of the box the SE series is one of the best, although a few models price wise are starting to compete with some USA offerings, but that's a different topic. I guess in my experience (of which is only 3 models, versus maybe 8 Epiphone models) the SE may be the better built of the two. But I found in every case, the SE models lack character, a soul if you will. The Epi's with their warts and all, seemed to me to have more character, and are made even better with some decent mods. That said, I'd still like to try the new S2 line. Seems like a great compromise between the SE and the core line, at a reasonable price.

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  19. #79
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    I guess Paul was wrong back in 1990 and has evolved in his thinking. It happens to the best.
    Last edited by NomadMike; 06-05-2014 at 09:37 AM.

  20. #80
    A♥ hoards guitars ♥A rugerpc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dazco View Post
    Ah, the second to post this kind of nonsense.

    PRS no longer uses duplicarvers. Many, many of the individual components have changed (for the better) over the years as Paul and company found better and still musical, or most often, more musical materials and processes.

    The answer to your question comes from Captain Obvious, "Paul obviously found a way to use a scarf joint on the S2 guitars in a way that does not compromise the guitar musically."

    My questions for you, sir are, "Have you actually played an S2? If you have, could you, personally, hear the scarf joint in the neck? Did it adversely affect the tone of the guitar?"

    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    I guess Paul was wrong back in 1990 and has evolved in his thinking. It happens to the best.
    Actually, only the best are good enough to find ways to evolve. Paul does this on a regular basis. While other manufacturers are looking backward and trying to duplicate 'classic' instruments, PRS is moving forward with their major considerations being improvements in tone and playability.
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