Am I wrong for wanting to step down from a Core to an SE model?

Whatever guitar works for you is what you should own.
That said I would have no problem putting any of my core PRS in a Gig bag and taking them out , hell I have a friend that plays his 86 CU24 out and it still looks new.
That's another sweeping overgeneralization. It's not about playing the notes; it's about what helps you play and sound like the best version of yourself. It's also about what inspires the best work.

Different situations call for different requirements.

If your job is to play bar gigs, or dazzle your mom with your recording chops, I won't bother arguing that the following comments apply, because in all probability no one's listening all that intensely to what you're doing.

Things are different in the professional recording world, where every tiny little detail is under a microscope, and where the producer is analyzing and evaluating what's on tape in every take, over and over, often for days at a time.

As a player, we want to be the best versions of ourselves, not to see what we can get away with. In fact, it's a requirement.

I've done thousands of sessions, both on my own tracks and on other producer's tracks. I've brought lots of dazzling, incredible players into my studio and studios I've booked both here and in Europe, to record every kind of instrument, from orchestral instruments, to ethnic instruments, to rock and hip hop.

The thing all of these great musicians have in common is that they bring their best gear to every session. They drag along the gear that helps them achieve their unique voice. They want the inspiration. They want the tone to best represent what they do. That's why people hire them, not to have a certain guitar used, but to have the player's best voice.

I once rented a Warwick bass, a very good German instrument, for some sessions in Paris. After we got back, the client sent me to LA to re-record the bass parts because comparing the final sessions to my demos, he thought the Modulus bass I used for the demos sounded sweeter. They probably spent ten grand for me to play the same damn parts, the exact same way, with a different instrument, and didn't bat an eye. In other words, he thought my best voice was on the other instrument.

BTW, the reason I rented a bass for those sessions in France was that I had a ton of gear and there were duties that had to be paid. I figured I'd be OK with any good bass. Wasn't true.

It's interesting:

I've never told my session folks that the gear they prefer, regardless of price, can't be used in my sessions. If musicians bring the ear candy, and if it sounds good, I'm happy.

Yet, not one single guitar player I've done a session with in 33 years has brought in an SE, an Epiphone, a Mexican Fender, an offshore acoustic or amp, or anything of the sort into a session. Never! Drummers will bring their full Sonor Hi Life kits instead of use what the studio has already set up.

Coincidence? I doubt it.

I also bring my best gear to my sessions. Why wouldn't I?

And by 'my best gear' I mean the gear that maximizes my musical intentions, whether that's from tone, from playing feel, or from its ability to inspire my best work.

Orchestral musicians bring instruments they carry mortgages on in order to buy them. Jazz musicians bring incredible stuff. Drummers will specify the studio put up a certain type of kit, or bring their own.

Do clients who attend sessions notice? Yes. They do.

My first year in the business, the creative director of a large ad agency was in a session, and said to me, "You play well, but you need to up your tone to finish this project." It's not like I was playing junk; I was playing a '65 SG Special and a '67 black panel Fender Bassman.

That was the day I bought my first PRS. He came back the next day and left happy. Listening back to the tracks, he was right. It was a better tone, for the style I was playing. Horses for courses.

I get lots of compliments on my tone. That's a good thing. It means my tracks stay on the session. Which means I get paid for the session and the broadcast royalties and re-use fees that add up.

Here's a thing that's also true: If I don't care for the tone on a track I've hired someone to do, I'll thank them, pay them for the session, and then bring in someone else to do the final tracks. If I don't like MY playing, tone or inspiration on a particular track, I'll hire someone who can do it better. I can't recall hiring someone a second time whose tracks I haven't used, and of course, they miss out on the back end fees on the session they get paid for.

Can a given player do his or her best work with an SE? I'll be there are those who can. But they're not in the majority in pro-recording-land.

My two cents.
Well said, you make total sense (as usual).

With that said, I prefer the Les that is from the other camp, who enjoys buying expensive guitars to show off. :p;):D
Guy's, thanks for your posts and advice. I started this thread last Friday before I started a 12hr trip home. Well, I've been sick since I got back home, hence while I've been "non-existent." Hopefully I will be feeling better in the next couple of days and I'll reply back
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