NGD: The magic Stealth Holcomb


Ministry of guitar
Apr 13, 2017
So this is going to be the first of several NGDs. I've been doing some shuffling of late in the last 3 months (Sold a couple of Gibsons and a Custom 22 Piezo, but the new stuff is very exciting)

Let's start here. With storytime. And yes, for those who know, I broke the 365 day no new guitar rule in day 7. Ah well. Restart the clock!

The PRS SE Stealth series, which came out in 2017 or so as a Europe Limited Run, was in my mind, the epitome of PRS SE. Quilt (veneer of course) tops, Ebony fretboards and a satin grey stealth finish ticked all my boxes. Made in Korea before they shifted the factories, which is a huge plus

There was a full range of them, but me being a metal-ish guy, there were three that stood out, the SVN, the SE 277 Baritone and the Holcomb.

Over the last couple of years, I have acquired the SE 277 and the SVN, but have never been able to find the Holcomb. And I have been searching, scouring obscure european websites in languages I don't stand. I once thought I located one but the listing was not updated. Bummer!

In any case yesterday evening, after selling my Les Paul Dark Knight to a local guy, I went into the local classifieds app to give him a rating (as he did for me. It's a good system). I had just about finished rating when I spotted a grey guitar in the ad on the side. It simply said Used PRS SE Holcomb but nothing more. And was marked at the very reasonable price of about USD 700. Clearly the dealer knew less about PRS SE's and limited runs than I did.

I pinged him and found out he was one of the shops in the great guitar complex of Singapore, Peninsula Plaza, just a couple miles of my place. Needless to say, two minutes later, I was in my car. And thirty minutes later, I returned with the prize. I don't think I have ever gone from online listing to guitar in hand as fast as this guitar.

Anyway, without further ado, here we go with the pictures

Look at that Quilt

Look at it again

As much as I love natural wood, I love Black Backs

A family shot with my Core. Watch this space. Probably the most complete PRS Holcomb family shot is coming this way soon ( I have said too much)

And now for the playing impressions.
Honestly, I am a little stunned!
Let's be clear. I am a late convert to the Holcomb. Specs like 20 inch fretboard radius , Wide Thin neck and Seymour Duncans (I really don't like the SH4 which used to be my impression of the brand) put me off for many years.
But recently my 8 String Private Stock showed me that the Alpha Omegas were actually great. And with my downtuning adventures, I am favouring 25.5 inch scales more and more. And since starting to play 7 and 8 string, I have found myself more open to the Wide Thin neck.

The Core was a great guitar but since I got it a year ago, I have been handling it very gingerly as it is a mint example of a very limited run and given the exceptional top it has compared to most of the run, it makes it even a bit more special. Periphery is to some extent to my generation what Dream Theater is to folks 20 years older and Rush to folks 30 years older than me so I've felt it's my responsibility to take good care of this amazing example of this original guitar which has since sprouted an incredibly popular run of its copies (the SE's). Being satin, it would gloss very quickly if I played it with abandon. So I've never really enjoyed that guitar too much with this in mind.

Which brings me to the Stealth SE which is just magic. If I am honest, maybe because of the freedom, I like it even more than the core. It balances extremely well, sounds equally as good and it has the best palm muting feeling of any guitar I have. Something about the combination of the scale length and the pickups. I could not be happier. And I am really liking the 20 inch radius and Wide thin combination.

Some guitars exceed your expectations. Some don't meet it. Ironically the guitar I just sold, the Dark Knight Les Paul was a great example of something that looked amazing and great on paper (even had Bare Knuckle Juggernauts in it) but I never connected with the guitar, even after a year of trying. This Stealth however, has already become a keeper.

Alright that's it for today. More NGDs coming up.
Nice score! Clearly meant to be given the tale.