Bernie vs. SE 245 - Major Distinctions?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Rockula, Jan 19, 2016.

  1. Rockula

    Rockula New Member

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    Guys,

    I'm looking for a poor man's '59 Les Paul burst sort of guitar. I have a couple of (non-traditional) Gibson LP's already, and I've been using an Epiphone LP to fill my el cheapo burst niche for the last couple of years. But I've kind of fallen out of love with the Epi lately, mostly due to neck shape, and somewhat due to my perception of its fundamental wood tone as being kind of dull and lifeless.

    I bought a Santana SE a while back, and I'm incredibly impressed by it, especially for the price. I love the neck shape, the resonance, and it's general all-one-package goodness. I also played a Bernie a few months back in a guitar store and loved the way that one felt and sounded too.

    So now that the Bernie appears to be out of production, I think maybe I ought to snap one up before they're gone, or perhaps get a 245 SE instead. I like that the 245 has the traditional LP control layout. Other than that, what would be the main feel and tonal differences between the 245 SE and the Bernie? Which would you buy to get closest to the burst vibe?

    I've played some super high end Les Pauls before (like the nearly religious experience of a Wildwood Featherweight R9, for example), so I know neither of these will even be in the same universe as a true burst. But I'm no gear snob either, and since I reach for that Santana before my Gibsons most of the time already, I'm game to try another SE.

    Thanks for your opinions!
     
  2. pac90

    pac90 New Member

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    Pretty similar, I think

    Bernie has 2 Vol and 1 master tone - supposed to be layout from an explorer he had
    The neck is a little chunkier than a wide fat, but not much different to be honest, feels great
    The body is a little thicker, and most of them are about 9lbs from what I've seen, probably because of that

    I have a wide fat soapie SC1 and a bernie and the bernie is more resonant, maybe because of the extra wood or whatever, they have the same upgraded pots and widefat nut, for comparison, different pickups though

    Cant go wrong with either of them, maybe come down to needing 2x tones or not?
     
  3. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Easy choice.

    The Bernie in terms of it being a 2 x se245 HB singlecut is similar to the 245 guitar but it's thicker, has the neck binding and overall vintage vibe, but, most of all...

    That neck shape is based on one of the most famous '59 LP's ever, Bernie's 'Beast' LP.

    Few vids out there now with a direct comparison to his LP and whilst the Beast is the better sounding guitar, the Bernie comes staggeringly close!

    Pimp it up a bit and you won't be thinking of it as a poor mans 59 but as a fantastic guitar in it's own right.

    This is mine after some upgrades:

    [​IMG]PRS SE Bernie Marsden by MikeGBlues, on Flickr

    Own some of the magic before it's too late! ;)
     
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  4. Alan Manning

    Alan Manning Is It A Bird ! Is It A Plane ! Nah It's Only Me!!!

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    That's a tough one. There both very good & will get you about where you wan't to be. Be good to try them side by side, neck comfort certainly is a personal thing.Happy Hunting.
     
  5. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Get the Bernie. Find it before they are all gone.
     
  6. Graham Pye

    Graham Pye New Member

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    Own some of the magic before it's too late! ;)[/QUOTE]
    That looks great with the upgrades you have made,would like to do the same to mine,did you change out the volume and tone pots or fit new knobs on the standard pots? ,apologies if you've already covered this but i only joined this forum today
     
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  7. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Welcome to the forum Graham!

    I did swap out the pots but on reflection I really didn't need too. Although these pots have better values. The ones I have are Bare Knuckle 550k CTS pots and much closer to the advertised 500k compared to the SE pots. But the SE pots felt nicer to turn... Not that that's a big deal!

    The US knobs will fit SE metric pots.
     
  8. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    Quote function broke?

    Had to go back in and edit the quotes....
     
  9. Graham Pye

    Graham Pye New Member

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    Thanks man,have you covered all the mods you've done in another post?,if not what pick ups did you fit and where can i get that bridge cos it looks fantastic
     
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  10. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    This! Mine looks almost identical after mods. The Bernie is truly a beast that you would be pleased to own.

    That bridge is a Mann Made 2300. You can find it at Mann Made USA, or Guitar Vault. They are the bomb!! There are a couple of threads around regarding upgrades. Mike's got a great one outlining all of his upgrades (sorry can't remember the thread title), and I posted about mine in the Modified Monday thread.
     
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  11. Johnhe

    Johnhe New Member

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    I just bought an SE 245 Standard. Like you, I was really looking for a reasonably priced, vintage sounding R9 like guitar. I love the SE245 neck shape, which is big like an R9 type of size. It also has body and neck binding, although no maple top. I've been through several lower end Gibson, Epis and SE models, but none of them had the vintagey look, sound and feel that I was looking for. Some came close, but all lacked the thump and grunt of a full weight, full 2" width mahogany bodied guitar. The closest were a LP Studio faded and a 2015 LP Classic, which was wonderful, but just too heavy for my broken/healing left shoulder.

    I think that the 245's are the same body thickness as the Bernie - both are a full 2" thick. The lack of a separate tone control for bridge and neck pickups on the Bernie was a total deal breaker for me. I like to set the amp sound up so that it is bright enough with the neck pickup and then roll down the tone on the bridge pickup to get a nice fat tone. Thats how I've worked with Gibson guitars for years and I don't really understand how to get the tones I like without setting my bridge and neck pickups up separately to be honest.

    So, other than the maple cap, I think the 245 Standard is a superb alternative to the Bernie. Lovely thick body, nice full neck, great meaty tones and the pickups are outstanding for such an entry level guitar.
     
    #11 Johnhe, Jan 19, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 19, 2016
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  12. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    I detailed all the mods with pics here... I titled it as 'Finally Finished' but I suspect I'll be making some more mods sooner rather than later. Although this is more replacing parts like for like for the most part such as the switch and jack.

    http://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/finally-finished-modding-my-bernie-marsden.16026/
     
  13. Mikegarveyblues

    Mikegarveyblues Cream Crackered

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    The 245 is definitely a good guitar. Mind you... I don't think there is a bad SE. It winds up coming down to certain preferences such as the need for two vol two tone or neck shape, etc....

    I sold a stunning SE C24 because I couldn't gel with that wide thin neck. Brilliant guitar otherwise.
     
  14. Graham Pye

    Graham Pye New Member

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    Thanks again,i'm gonna do mine and i'll put up a picture when it's done,mine looks a bit darker than yours and also has a great flame top
     
  15. Graham Pye

    Graham Pye New Member

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    Thanks man,that sure is a nice looking bridge,can't wait to put one on mine,i'll have a read of your post
     
  16. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Nope. The Bernie is 1/8 thicker than the SE245. It also has a slightly fatter neck shape but only slightly. Both feel great.
     
  17. Johnhe

    Johnhe New Member

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    Are you 100% sure about that? I've played both and I would have bet a lot of money that they were the same body thickness, which is he same thickness as a reissue Les Paul. I've measured my 245 and it is 2". If the Bernie is more than that, that would make the Bernie substantially thicker than the old LP I thought it was supposed to be replicating.

    Edit: please don't take this as a rude question. I'm really interested in making sure of the answer - I don't mean to call you out on your response.
     
    #17 Johnhe, Jan 20, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
  18. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    100% positive that it's thicker. That's one of the reasons I was going to pick up a Bernie over the 245. I went to a shop to compare the SE245, the Bernie, and an S2 Singlecut, but the sudden appearance of a used Zach Myers took me to left field. I would have to check but I think the ZM is thicker than the SE245 as well.

    Love the ZM though! Wouldn't trade it for the world!
     
  19. Johnhe

    Johnhe New Member

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    I totally agree that the ZM is a beautiful guitar. Real stunner.
     
  20. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    No worries, we're nice guys here.

    And I have been known to be wrong a time or two...hundred...thousand..million!

    Since I can't find the specs on the Bernie any more, I can only go by memory, but I'm pretty sure. :)
     

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