What is a PRS? Some might say it’s all the guitar you’ll ever need – a ‘best of both worlds’ option for players who find Strats too spiky and Les Pauls too bloomy. Others might say it’s hard to describe the sound of a PRS even when you’ve just been playing one, but there’s no denying that quality and solidity have served them well down the years, and there appears to be plenty of both in this Korean-built SE 245 – with a stylish ‘purple burst’ finish that’s one of six limited-edition Quilt Top options for 2012.
With its eponymous 24.5in (62cm) scale and single-cutaway shape, this model is right at the Gibson end of the line. In fact, ditch the wildfowl, add a separate tailpiece and you might confuse the late Lester himself – no wonder this design ended up in court (PRS won). Its overall feel is one of reassuring weight, from the chunky wraparound bridge to the fat but perfectly playable neck. And the deep purple top is nicely done.
We all know what a classic set-neck mahogany/maple solidbody is supposed to sound like and this guitar does what’s expected, at least on the neck pickup, which offers enjoyably warm and beefy tones with no shortage of clarity. The bridge humbucker is quite a contrast, though, with a sharp-edged bark that you may find too abrasive for clean chord work. The middle setting seems to contain more neck than bridge, and is sweet enough without really providing the chiming, phasey character of a good Gibson in this position.
All three sounds respond well to overdrive, and you’ll be glad of that bridge pup’s fiery aggression if your amp has a channel marked ‘Unleash the slavering dogs of hell’. So that’s jazz and metal covered… the SE 245 may not be all the guitar you’ll ever need, but it comes closer than most.
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