PRS SE Disappointment?

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DcotorstewieDcotorstewie Frets: 11
edited July 10 in Guitar
Evening all, new chap here. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar let down: for ages I wanted a PRS SE Semi Hollow - just because the thing looked SO good, and of course PRS's reputation. When my Sisters decided I should have a birthday present, I got one - a 2008 model. 
I've been playing ( VERY BADLY ) for about ten years, and only recently decided to take it seriously ( I am a drummer by trade) I don't have a great deal of experience with anything other than entry level to lower-mid range gear. ( My favourite previous guitar being an Epiphone Nighthawk Reissue - lovely) 
I just can't get my head around this thing: it looks and feels wonderful, but when I play it my already fumbly fingers are all over the place. I've tried two gauges of strings, it's been well set up, it is comfortable playing standing or sitting. 
I just don't like playing it. 
Anyone else had this experience? 
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Comments

  • LegionreturnsLegionreturns Frets: 4962
    I think the issue (and also, virtue) of a PRS, is that they're designed to give you a relatively neutral, but highly customizable sound. 

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  • sweepysweepy Frets: 1817
    Welcome to the search for “the guitar”, I’d try out as many different types as possible, LP, Strats, Teles etc you might find something that feels right to you  
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  • BridgehouseBridgehouse Frets: 15483
    Sounds like it might be Fretboard radius and nut width, and the fret sizes that might be tripping you up. 
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  • darthed1981darthed1981 Frets: 2043
    Sometimes you can sit and think "this is a great guitar" and just not like the thing at all.

    I have this problem with SGs, I tried one not long ago in PMT, sounded great, setup decent, I just really didn't like it.

    You could try playing just simple chords and letting your fingers get used to it if it is very different to your previous gear, I've only played the Epi Bueshawk but it weighed literally nothing and it was teeny, both of those would make it feel different as well.
    Warning: this post may contain overtly affectionate references to Mary Spender
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  • dazzajldazzajl Frets: 306
    I bought the same guitar for the same reasons as you some years back. Really wanted to love it and couldn’t bond with it or ever get excited about it at all. 

    We parted ways again pretty quickly and I’ve mostly felt the same about every PRS I’ve picked up since. Great machines, not for everyone though. 
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  • andypandyp Frets: 188
    I’m not very experienced at all, but I’ve felt like that with the 3 or 4 PRS SEs I’ve tried. I don’t know what was wrong, but I didn’t like them at all. Played different models in different stores and a few months apart but I ended up buying my SG Faded and 3 years later it’s still the best guitar decision I’ve made. Hard to explain, but I just didn’t like the SEs at all. Think I’ve played a Custom 22, a 24 and a couple of 245s.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 861
    Just to contrast what seems to be a trend so far, I've really liked every PRS SE I've played and would definitely consider buying another one if the range has a version of whatever type of instrument I might be looking for at the time!
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  • TA22GTTA22GT Frets: 298
    About ten years or so ago I bought a PRS Se and although it was well made and played great I didn't really bond with it.

    Fast forward to earlier this year and I bought a Bernie Marsden Se that I can't put down! I have a draw full of pickups and all sorts of stuff but every time I think I will upgrade something I play it and think..Why??

    Maybe you just chose the wrong model? Trust me I'm not a big PRS fan but the Bernie blows me away.
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 861
    TA22GT said:
    About ten years or so ago I bought a PRS Se and although it was well made and played great I didn't really bond with it.

    Fast forward to earlier this year and I bought a Bernie Marsden Se that I can't put down! I have a draw full of pickups and all sorts of stuff but every time I think I will upgrade something I play it and think..Why??

    Maybe you just chose the wrong model? Trust me I'm not a big PRS fan but the Bernie blows me away.
    Sitting with my Bernie as I'm reading this and would definitely agree it's a good one for people who don't like "typical PRSs" (i.e. Customs)

    The Custom is very much its own guitar with its own feel just as a Strat, Tele etc. will but the Bernie Marsden model is basically just a Les Paul but with the quality to price ratio that the SE range is famed for.

    Just a note re: mine; if anyone remembers I mentioned that the frets on mine were uneven which was the only negative with its quality. I took it in and had them levelled but the guy who did it said they weren't really that bad at all level-wise to begin with. He did perfectly level them out though. Maybe it's just something I'm picky about but I thought it worth mentioning that in his opinion the stock frets weren't that bad.
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3251
    Sounds like it might be fingerboard radius, nut width and the fret sizes that might be tripping you up. 
    Everything but the scale length. ;)

    The PRS SE has a 25" scale length. If the Epiphone Nighthawk is faithful to the Gibson original, its scale length will be the 25.5" associated with the majority of Fender electric guitars. 

    If you are playing guitar from muscle memory, the scale length difference is going to throw some of your habitual moves out. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • TA22GTTA22GT Frets: 298
    thegummy said:
    TA22GT said:
    About ten years or so ago I bought a PRS Se and although it was well made and played great I didn't really bond with it.

    Fast forward to earlier this year and I bought a Bernie Marsden Se that I can't put down! I have a draw full of pickups and all sorts of stuff but every time I think I will upgrade something I play it and think..Why??

    Maybe you just chose the wrong model? Trust me I'm not a big PRS fan but the Bernie blows me away.
    Sitting with my Bernie as I'm reading this and would definitely agree it's a good one for people who don't like "typical PRSs" (i.e. Customs)

    The Custom is very much its own guitar with its own feel just as a Strat, Tele etc. will but the Bernie Marsden model is basically just a Les Paul but with the quality to price ratio that the SE range is famed for.

    Just a note re: mine; if anyone remembers I mentioned that the frets on mine were uneven which was the only negative with its quality. I took it in and had them levelled but the guy who did it said they weren't really that bad at all level-wise to begin with. He did perfectly level them out though. Maybe it's just something I'm picky about but I thought it worth mentioning that in his opinion the stock frets weren't that bad.
    It is somehow different. I know there are only little differences here and there but it feels "grown up" for want of a better description.
    Glad yours turned out to be fine after all. Enjoy!
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  • thegummythegummy Frets: 861
    sweepy said:
    Welcome to the search for “the guitar”, I’d try out as many different types as possible, LP, Strats, Teles etc you might find something that feels right to you  
    I'll preface this with the fact that I'm a mediocre player at best and lightyears away from being a great player and that fact might be why I feel this way; I find that, rather than there being a "the guitar" for me that feels perfect for me, I enjoy playing different feeling guitars and find a different feel inspires me to play a bit differently and try out different things. Kind of like when making up tunes in different keys on a keyboard, the different feel each key has inspires me to play differently than if I just transposed.
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  • VibetronicVibetronic Frets: 274
    If you feel like you're fumbling around it, and like you said you're mainly a drummer who's only just starting to take playing guitar seriously, maybe it's worth investing in a few lessons if you haven't already? Not trying to sound like an arse by saying that at all, it just may be that you need to hear yourself improve a bit before writing the guitar off. How long have you had it? 
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  • DcotorstewieDcotorstewie Frets: 11
    Thanks for the comments folks.  Funkfingers: I get what you are saying about muscle memory but I don;t think it's that: I still stare implacably at the fretboard as I play :-) The Gummy: I think you've nailed it there: It's it's own guitar. In the past I have got on with Les Pauls, the Nighthawk and an explorer ( There's a guitar that wrote cheques my hands couldn't cash) and lately, despite hating the looks of the thing, the strat.  I have played our lead guitarists Strat  - a real Fender but which model I couldn't say and loved the pants off it, despite not liking the way it looks- I may have to do the decent thing and change the PRS for a low end Strat. It just felt right, I am sure you know what I mean. 
    Still a surprise and it just goes to show you should try a guitar properly before buying one. 


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  • meltedbuzzboxmeltedbuzzbox Frets: 7576
    I imagine it feels completely different to what you are used to. 
    Give it some more time
    The Bigsby was the first successful design of what is now called a whammy bar or tremolo arm, although vibrato is the technically correct term for the musical effect it produces. In standard usage, tremolo is a rapid fluctuation of the volume of a note, while vibrato is a fluctuation in pitch. The origin of this nonstandard usage of the term by electric guitarists is attributed to Leo Fender, who also used the term “vibrato” to refer to what is really a tremolo effect.
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  • HeldByWireHeldByWire Frets: 5
    I have actually just posted a thread because I played a PRS SE this evening for the first time ever and I was totally blown away!
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  • FunkfingersFunkfingers Frets: 3251
    The revised versions seem to have better stock pickups than the earlier models. 
    "It's no wonder the Pacific Ocean is blue."
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  • DcotorstewieDcotorstewie Frets: 11
    Melted :I think you may have a point. I have just spent some more time with it and I really can't tell if I am starting to like it, or if I think I SHOULD like it. More time, I think. :-) Held: objectively this guitar is bloomin wonderful, it's just not something my hands can get used to. Yet. We'll see :-) 
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  • ToneControlToneControl Frets: 4120
    Evening all, new chap here. I wonder if anyone else has had a similar let down: for ages I wanted a PRS SE Semi Hollow - just because the thing looked SO good, and of course PRS's reputation. When my Sisters decided I should have a birthday present, I got one - a 2008 model. 
    I've been playing ( VERY BADLY ) for about ten years, and only recently decided to take it seriously ( I am a drummer by trade) I don't have a great deal of experience with anything other than entry level to lower-mid range gear. ( My favourite previous guitar being an Epiphone Nighthawk Reissue - lovely) 
    I just can't get my head around this thing: it looks and feels wonderful, but when I play it my already fumbly fingers are all over the place. I've tried two gauges of strings, it's been well set up, it is comfortable playing standing or sitting. 
    I just don't like playing it. 
    Anyone else had this experience? 
    I've loved the look of Les Pauls, bought 2, got pro setups, just could not get on with them (been playing for decades)
    It's an instrument, try others - you need the right instrument for you, not the one for someone else
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  • gusman2xgusman2x Frets: 568
    I think the issue (and also, virtue) of a PRS, is that they're designed to give you a relatively neutral, but highly customizable sound. 

    This sounds about right to me, and was pretty much my experience when I played an expensive USA model.
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  • guitarfishbayguitarfishbay Frets: 6982
    edited July 11
    When changing neck shape/scale length I often find it beneficial to practice scales and arpeggios for a bit to help get accustomed to the different feel and dimensions.

    Just picking up different guitars and noodling on them doesn’t work for me if I’m trying to be accurate. Muscle memory kind of has to be re-dialed in a little 
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1630
    I took delivery of an SE Custom 22 Hollowbody yesterday.  It's a bit different to a 24 fret neck at first but I've got used to that but the string gauge - 10s I think - makes it feel like I'm fighting it too much, despite a low setup.  But the thing for me is the neck pickup which is sooooooooooooo dull in contrast to the bridge.

    I'll play it again later but I can see it going back.
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • rossirossi Frets: 435
    I had an SE  Semi hollowbody.Solid maple cap .p90s .i just didnt bond with it .I changed the p90's for Toneriders which  vastly improved its sound but that neck just felt odd .I believe its called a flat  and wide and seemingly thats just what it is .I gave  up and sold it ..It was fine guitar though
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  • 57Deluxe57Deluxe Frets: 5732
    my SE Soapbar is THE best guitar I own for sound, playability, feel and overall no-fussiness of use.

    no, hangon, maybe my LP DC Jr is more angry and as nice but the PRS does more than just shout rude words at you...

    Play it through a Tweed amp - then come back to us!
    <Vintage BOSS Upgrades>
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1630
    rlw said:
    I took delivery of an SE Custom 22 Hollowbody yesterday.  It's a bit different to a 24 fret neck at first but I've got used to that but the string gauge - 10s I think - makes it feel like I'm fighting it too much, despite a low setup.  But the thing for me is the neck pickup which is sooooooooooooo dull in contrast to the bridge.

    I'll play it again later but I can see it going back.
    It’s going back.  I can’t be arsed with changing things in the pursuit of making it sound more like I imagine it could.   Shame as it’s a lovely thing but so bland.
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • Andyjr1515Andyjr1515 Frets: 1803
    edited July 11
    I find that it takes me quite a long time to get used to a new make - whatever it is.  In my earlier days of playing much more so than now.

    There are subtle changes your fingers need to make due to differences in fretboard radius, neck profile, neck width, neck thickness and taper and it takes a while for your hand to adapt without having to think about it. 

    There are some guitars that I can't get on with, but I would never describe them as 'comfortable' for me to play.  The fact that you say yours IS comfortable, tells me this is not one of those cases

    DO make sure the nut is set right, ditto the truss rod, and the action is not too high ( because those little and easily sortable things being wrong can wreck the playing experience) and persevere...I doubt you will regret it
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  • rlwrlw Frets: 1630
    My decision to return it is based on a direct comparison with my CE24 with the same neck.  
    Save a cow.  Eat a vegetarian.
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  • tralfamadantralfamadan Frets: 14
    edited July 11
    I really like those SE Semi-Hollows but I find the string tension in the longer scale-length Fenders (and your Epiphone) to be way more satisfying to play.
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