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Thread: SE Custom 24 vs Epi Les Paul - note bloom...

  1. #1

    SE Custom 24 vs Epi Les Paul - note bloom...

    All,

    I have the chance to get an SE Custom 24 or an Epi Les Paul Custom. Clearly, the PRS is build better than the Epi, no question. What I am after is the "Les Paul" sound, but honestly would prefer to get it from a PRS. I can get this SE Custom 24 at a great price point (discontinued color,) and that is why I am considering it. My budget is $5-600 tops, so a different SE at street prices may not be an option, used is of course.

    When playing the SE vs the LP, what I notice is that on the SE, the notes do not bloom as much or as well as on the LP immediately after the attack. It sounds a little thinner by comparison on the SE. I am thinking this is because of the thicker slab of mahogany on the LP, but it could be pickups too - the Epi has what they call "Alnico Classics" - not mudbuckers, but certainly not as defined as the ones on the SE.

    I love the playability (oh that wide thin neck!!) and the bite/cut that the SE has compared to the Epi LP, but I really want that distinct note bloom that maple capped LPs are known for. Is this possible with the SE?

    Would appreciate any thoughts or suggestions here.

  2. #2
    Senior Member shinksma's Avatar
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    There could be a couple of other factors:

    What strings are on each of the guitars? PRS SEs ship with 9s. If there are 10s on the Epi LP that might make a difference.

    The LP shape may be more inclined to give you the post-impulse "bloom" you hear.

    Is the Cu24 with a tremolo? (Usually it is.) The LP I assume does not have one. That could be the difference.

    The SE Cu24 is a 24-fret guitar, and as you said is a wide-thin neck, whereas the Epi LP I assume has 22 frets (so body/neck joint is at a differnet spot, physically) and I assume the Epi has a typical LP neck profile, similar to the PRS Wide-Fat, which is certainly going to provide a fuller sound.

    Can you try a PRS Cu22, and/or any PRS with a Wide-Fat neck like a PRS SC? Not to try to convince you to buy one of those, but so you can experience the difference and maybe determine what it is you like about the Epi's sound.

    And yes, it could be siginficantly influenced by the pickups, or how they are set-up.

    EDIT: One more thing: the PRS SE 245 might be what you want/need, and they seem to retail for not much more than your price point - or maybe find a used one, they seem to be available for far less than your price point...
    Last edited by shinksma; 06-05-2014 at 08:54 AM. Reason: mention SE 245

  3. #3
    So I am guessing that at the end of the day, the SE Custom 24, while a great guitar, will not get me as close to the LP sound as an Epi LP? This would seem to be the logical conclusion, given the actual technical differences between the two guitars, pickups aside...

  4. #4
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Bluesholyman, I almost hate to suggest this, but if you have a GC nearby, you should check out their stock of SE's. Very often when I go into my local GC, they have SE's on sale or clearance in your price range, and sometimes even cheaper than that.

    I had a similar dilemma about two years ago, I really wanted the LP sound, with the thickness and depth of tone, but I just couldn't find it in the SE range, even in the SE245. Then I happened on an SE Akesson in the shop one day, a guitar that I previously had no interest in, but then I played it, and I was sold. Plus I got it right in your price range, and I frequently see them online for similar prices, new and used. A lot of other members here have had a similar experience with the SE Marsden, both in price and tone.

    One of our fellow forum members, Richard Lainegard, posted a very nice demo of the Akesson online, you should check it out.

    Also, as stated above, do get set up for 10's on any SE!
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

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    Wait, does an Epi LP have an actual LP sound?

  6. #6
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    I don't think the SE Custom will get there. The Bernie Marsden will, better than the Epi. Might have trouble finding the Bernie at your price point but you can find it used. But since you like the W/T neck you will have to stay with the custom.
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Starla Stoptail, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

    PRS SE50, Mesa Single RectoVerb, Mesa Lonestar, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

  7. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    Wait, does an Epi LP have an actual LP sound?
    In my personal experience...only occasionally, but when they do they are spot on. My SE-245 does a 90% version of the LP sound but still has its own character, which is something that I love about it, and it's built better than most LPs I have encountered. But, at the end of the day, when only"that" sound will do, I grab my LP.

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by NomadMike View Post
    Wait, does an Epi LP have an actual LP sound?
    Stock pickups (the Alnico Classics) are the major problem why Epi LPs don't sound LP enough. They are fat and moderately hot and quite frankly, musical, but there's simply no clarity at all, not even the bridge pickup cuts it. Even the cheapo Vintage LP-copies have better (and IMO more authentic-sounding) Wilkinson pickups. If you drop in some real deal pickups, they can work way better.

    In the PRS camp, any SE singlecut-shape models will do the LP job, not 100% spot on, but it gets you in the ballpark. Maybe throw in some aftermarket PAFs or get the PRS 57/08s or 59/09s. They'll get you most of the LP characteristics, with a touch of PRS in there.

    Just in case you need model names to start with...
    SE Bernie Marsden
    SE 245
    SE Fredrik Akesson

    These are all 24.5 inch scales with the Wide Fat neck (which isn't as big as it sounds...), for that slightly warmer tonality of the LP.


  9. #9
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    Hate to say something you already know but...a PRS just aint a Les Paul..or a strat or a tele.
    You might want to try a SC SE. I would recommend the Tremonti SE Custom. It has a thicker body than the normal PRSs and it has that WT neck carve than you and I love so much.
    But...that aint gonna sound 100% Les Paul either. An epi LP will sound closer I'd imagine. And if you have to swap pups on the SE, well an epi is also a great candidate for a pup upgrade and it will get you closer to the LP tone you want. And try more Epis. You'll find one with a thin '60s style neck profile that will be real close to the PRS WT.

    I think though that your answer might be...why not look at some new or used Gibsons? Like you can easily find a Les Paul (USA..a REAL Gibson) '60s Tribute that will have that nice '60s Slim Taper Gibby neck profile and it's going to sound just like a REAL Gibson Les Paul...well cause it IS one. Or, look at a Les Paul Studio. Even BRAND NEW theyre like $799 shipped at MF for the satin ones in either red, brown or black..with gigbag not hardshell case. If the S2s were made in America and if they were priced close to the American made Gibby Studios and Tributes, they still wouldn't sound like a Les Paul.

    I'm sure PRSh would be flattered that youre trying so hard to love and buy an SE but...he will survive if you go with a Gibson. It seems like a Les Paul is what you really want and if you get anything other than one of those, you're still gonna want one. So...I don't think anyone's feelers would be too bruised if you did whats best for YOU and went with a real Gibson...or even an Epiphone but when the Studios and Tributes are so affordable...don't even give the Epis (or SEs for that matter) another look.
    Good luck with the hunt.

  10. #10
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    If you want that LP sound you will need to buy an
    LP. I came close with my Stripped 58 with 57/08 pickups but thats out of your price range. I've played many
    LP's and my friend has an epiphone that comes stock with 57 USA gibson pickups for $599 and boy is it close to the real thing. Also has the thinner 60's profile neck which is close to my wide thin neck on my 408.

  11. #11
    Quote Originally Posted by blaren View Post
    I'm sure PRSh would be flattered that youre trying so hard to love and buy an SE but...he will survive if you go with a Gibson. It seems like a Les Paul is what you really want and if you get anything other than one of those, you're still gonna want one. So...I don't think anyone's feelers would be too bruised if you did whats best for YOU and went with a real Gibson...or even an Epiphone but when the Studios and Tributes are so affordable...don't even give the Epis (or SEs for that matter) another look.
    Good luck with the hunt.
    I appreciate the honesty. The thing about a PRS is that if I play model XYZ at a big box store, and order the same thing online, I am going to get effectively the same guitar. If I do that with an Epi, or even a full fledge Gibson, its really hit or miss. This is the main reason I want the LP sound from something other than an LP

    I did get a chance to play an SE245 today and it wasn't exactly what I was after - the LP character wasn't there. They also had a, I think, an Akesson on clearance in the price range, but I thought it was just another SE245, so I didn't bother.

    Why is that one and/or the Marsden so different? Is it just more wood, different pickups, fairy dust?

  12. #12
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesholyman View Post
    Why is that one and/or the Marsden so different? Is it just more wood, different pickups, fairy dust?
    Bernie Marsden took his authentic 59 Burst (called the Beast) and modeled his SE after it. So it has a thicker hog body with a maple cap (and a maple veneer for looks), and a larger neck than the W/F. It has the SE245 pups but they are Zebra's. Mine came used and unloaded so I put Seth's in it and they are very PAF. The biggest difference between the Bernie and an original 59 LP is he took away one tone control (a la Grissom). With the Seth Lover's in it, I am hard pressed to find another non LP guitar that sounds as close to a LP as this thing. I've heard many Gibson studios and even traditionals that don't get as close to what people think when they hear the words "LP tone" as this does. It is the perfect LP and it comes from PRS (with a nod to Seymour Duncan).
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Starla Stoptail, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

    PRS SE50, Mesa Single RectoVerb, Mesa Lonestar, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by bluesholyman View Post
    The thing about a PRS is that if I play model XYZ at a big box store, and order the same thing online, I am going to get effectively the same guitar. If I do that with an Epi, or even a full fledge Gibson, its really hit or miss. This is the main reason I want the LP sound from something other than an LP
    Fair enough and well said. You sir have a very valid point there and have listed yet another reason it's PRS for me always. Well uless I NEEDED a Les Paul sound ;-)

  14. #14
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AP515 View Post
    B With the Seth Lover's in it, I am hard pressed to find another non LP guitar that sounds as close to a LP as this thing. I've heard many Gibson studios and even traditionals that don't get as close to what people think when they hear the words "LP tone" as this does. It is the perfect LP and it comes from PRS (with a nod to Seymour Duncan).
    I have a Hamer Artist Custom with the original Seth Lovers in it, and it stands equal to or better than anything in my collection, PRS or not. Not sure what it is, maybe because they are unpotted, but whatever the case, they sound amazing. Not to take away anything from the Hamer itself...it's a fantastic, comfortable and impeccably-made instrument - but I have to figure that the Seths have the most to do with it. There is alot of bite with the roundness on them.

    AP do you have any sound clips of the Bernie with the Seths? Would love to hear that.
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2003 & 04 SE EG SSS | 2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar
    2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited | 2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar
    2013 Hollowbody II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow
    2013 S2 Mira | 2013 CU24 | 2014 CU24 Semi-Hollow

  15. #15
    So I found it...the sound I was looking for...at a great price...and yes, it was one of those rare Epi's that just cooks...

    Epiphone 50th Anniversary 1960 Les Paul - comes with Burstbucker 1 and 2 and a hard case - got it NOS for six bones. I am thrilled. The best way to characterize the sound of this one is the guitar riff used during the verses in Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion" - just pure, grinding awesome.

    While I think PRS's are great guitars, I have never heard one of them do what a Les Paul like this can do. Now, If I put burstbuckers in a PRS, it would be close, but there is still that something that only LPs have....

    Here is a video demo done by Andertons Music (UK) back in 2010 when these came out. These two are absolutely entertaining - a great way to waste some time on you tube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BHOz69qIX_w

    BTW, these two guys are know as "Chappers and the Captain" - Chappers is on the right, wearing that thing on his head and the Captain is one of the owners of Andertons. Bucket List item: meet these two in person.
    Last edited by bluesholyman; 06-05-2014 at 05:10 PM.

  16. #16
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    Good luck and enjoy your new guitar!

  17. #17
    Cream Crackered Mikegarveyblues's Avatar
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    You'd have got that sound with a Marsden and some PAF-ish pups installed but I appreciate that would have been over your budget by quite a bit.

    The sound was great with the SE 245 pups but the Bare Knuckle Mule and the Suhr Doug Aldrich I installed give this guitar some sweet tones and balls when it needs it!!!

    The main thing is you got what you where looking for without breaking the bank.

    Congrats on the new guitar!
    Last edited by Mikegarveyblues; 06-05-2014 at 06:50 PM.
    Modified SE Bernie Marsden, Fender Strat
    Laney Lionheart L5T-112, Fender Mustang 1
    Wishing for a Blue Bernie!
    Click here for SE Bernie Marsden demo!
    Lessons, covers, backing tracks, etc...www.youtube.com/mikegarveyblues

  18. #18
    Senior Member stratcpo's Avatar
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    Yep, when you want the sound of a LP only a LP will do. Congrats. ENJOY!!!

  19. #19
    Senior Member AP515's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by CantankerousCarl View Post
    AP do you have any sound clips of the Bernie with the Seths? Would love to hear that.
    Never recorded anything. How do I get started?

    Oh, congratulations on the Epi. Hope you have many happy hours playing her!
    1988 CE24, 1995 CE22, 2000 SC, 2003 Standard 22, 2003 Cu24 AP, 2006 Cu24 AP, 2006 SC AP, 2007 CuRo22, 2010 Starla Stoptail, 2010 Mira
    2007 SE Soapy 2, 2010 SE 25th Anni Cu24, 2012 SE Bernie, 2013 SE Angelus Custom

    PRS SE50, Mesa Single RectoVerb, Mesa Lonestar, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe

  20. #20
    Thanks everyone. One day, there will be a full fledge PRS in the herd...until then...

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