Old vs new SE lines

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by horax, Jul 30, 2018.

  1. horax

    horax New Member

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    I know there's been some changes since they changed country of manufacture, and it seems that occurred about the same time as PRS added the signature to the SE headstock.

    Can anybody comment on the differences in QC or any other differences between the NON siganture headstock SE's and the ones that bear Paul's name?

    Clarification: I'm buying a new PRS but I don't have a bunch of $ to spend right now. Not going to be able to save due to other bills, etc., so trying to maximize what I can do. I"m looking at a new old stock Frederik Akesson SE, a new 2018 245 SE (wiht flame maple cap), or perhaps an SE custom 22/24 standard.
     
  2. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    I believe many SE models are still produced at WMI in Korea, as they’ve always been, my very recent SE ZM was. And, aside from the occasional fluke, I’ve heard good things about the SE’s made by the new factory - CorTek? Not sure on that one.

    Regarding your specific dilemma - I think either would be a fine guitar. If you can’t get both in hand to try, pick by specs. The Akesson is basically a 245, with additions of an ebony fretboard, jumbo frets, special finish and inlay material. I have one, personally I think it’s a masterpiece, it sounded slightly fuller than a normal 245 and I love the feel due to the frets and board. But the sound could’ve been a normal variation between guitars. Either way you can’t go wrong.
     
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  3. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc I like to party, mmm hmm, everybody does.

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    The changes have been incremental. The pickup designs have slowly changed, and the aesthetics have become more luxurious, but they’ve always been solid guitars if you’re just talking about the basic construction. The guitar and year you’re looking at was the beginning of things getting ridiculously nice for the cash IMO.

    The Akesson has some cool features not found on other SE single cuts that make it worth a shot. Ebony fretboard and a modified scoop in the lower cutaway.. plus I think it looks fantastic.

    The one minor bummer about it is the bridge though, the Tonepros isn’t really a great fit on that era of guitars. The radius is off and there isn’t enough down pressure of the strings to keep them from popping outta the saddles on bends, I had a guitar with it and it drove me batty. So much so that I wound up giving the bridge away. Plan on a replacement right away, even a used SE bridge is a huge improvement.

    Good luck! SE’s are a great way to scratch the PRS itch! I have an equal amount of them to my core guitars, and they bring me just about the same (sometimes even more) enjoyment.
     
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  4. Lister

    Lister Playing guitar badly since the 70's...

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    I believe some of the SE production has been shifted from Korea over to Indonesia, but I'm not sure exactly which models were moved.

    If you're looking to maximize value then, in my opinion, you'd be well served with a used SE. Right now it seems to be a buyers market so the original owner takes the depreciation hit and you get a great guitar at a great price.

    While I have no first hand dealings with them, https://davesguitar.com/, always seems to have a decent selection of used SE's as well as Core PRS, and they look like they're priced decent, although it never hurts to ask for a better deal, right? Good luck hunting.
     
  5. 13thSpider

    13thSpider New Member

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    I have a 2011 SE Custom 24, and although I've not played any other PRS's to compare it to, I can't fault it in terms of quality, sound, or playability.
     
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  6. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    Dunno about the specifics of SE production anymore, but Dave's is great!
     
  7. parallyze

    parallyze "What became of subtlety?"

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    As far as I can tell from pictures I've seen at various stores:
    Some stores just have old images from some PRS SE models. But if looking at 2018 PRS SE only it seems to me like the SE Standard gets manufactured in Indonesia while all the other models (Custom, SC) seem to be made by WMI Korea. At least this would explain why there's the biggest price gap in the PRS SE range to me...
    Same seems to be true for the SE Tremonti model. The SE Tremonti Standard 2018 seems to come from Indonesia according to pictures from some stores while the SE Tremonti Custom still comes from Korea. Price gap between those two is also in the range of other Standard vs. Cu22/Cu24 and so on.

    I do own a PRS SE from 2012 (SingleCut, Trem), and one from 2017 (Cu22). Both were made in Korea and I couldn't tell a difference in build quality. Both are absolutely great. The only thing I've noticed:
    Probably around 2016 (when the new headstock came) they switched to slightly bigger scews for the tuners. Noticed this when replacing tuners on both guitars with Schaller M6 135s. The screws that came with the new tuners would fit my 2012 model perfect but just won't grip on the 2017 one. So I've used the ones the original tuners were mounted with and had to screw them carefully "through" the tuners first before going into the wood. Look at some yt-videos you can see people swapping tuners on newer models and all seem to stumble upon how hard the screws are to get in the first few turns... ^^

    If PRS didn't change this current 2018 models sn from WMI should start with "S". S = 2018, R = 2017... Don't know about "IE" as I've seen on Indonesian ones.

    Saw an "ID" on another SE 245 from Indonesia. So guessing: I - Indonesia, D/E - year, probably E/2018!?
     
    #7 parallyze, Jul 30, 2018
    Last edited: Jul 30, 2018
  8. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    My Zack Myers has the big SE, and my Custom 22 SH has the big signature with SE underneath. They're both made by WMI. Fit and finish on both is excellent.
     
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  9. parallyze

    parallyze "What became of subtlety?"

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    Watch the serial number. Your ZM probably has one beginning with a letter up to somwhere O/P/Q (2014/2015/2016) while your Cu22 has something starting with P/R(2016/2017)? The big vs. small SE tells roughly (2016) when it was build, not where (as far as I know).
     
  10. Antmax

    Antmax New Member

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    Similar to derFunk

    I bought a 2016 SE Zach Myers last year and a 2018 SE Custom 24 Floyd Rose with signature. Both guitars are made in the same WMI Korea factory. Both have similar build quality and are very well put together. The ZM SE didn't have a pickup change between the years but a lot of SE's did get a pickup upgrade to 85/15 's' My 2018 has the new pickups and they are much nicer than the PU's in an older SE CU24 I tried in a store locally. That guitar was a few years older than my '18 and didn't have the push pull coil tap.

    A bit like Lister above, I bought both of mine from Dave's guitar shop at VERY reasonable prices. He seems to sell a LOT of SE's for less than pretty much anywhere else online.
     
  11. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    I know. The question at the top of the thread was "Can anybody comment on the differences in QC or any other differences between the NON siganture headstock SE's and the ones that bear Paul's name?" He's talking about older vs newer Korean guitars, from what I can tell.

    Both of my SE guitars have the same label on the back:

    Built by World Musical Instrument Co. Ltd. Korea under exclusive license for PRS Guitars

    So my guitars should (for sample size == 2) answer his question. My answer is that they're equally nice because they're made in the same factory by (presumably) the same team with the same standards.
     
  12. Ovibos

    Ovibos Naughty Wood Librarian

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    My understanding is that they've spun up additional (maybe replacement) manufacturing capacity with Cor-Tek (Cort) in Indonesia, and maybe other places.

    It still goes thru the same Maryland quality control team before it reaches you. So, assuming that QC team holds them to same standards regardless of manufacturing location it shouldn't affect us much if at all.
     
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  13. parallyze

    parallyze "What became of subtlety?"

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    And that's what I'm saying: The headstock on the PRS SE Standard from Indonesia has the same logo (Paul's name, small "SE" near b tuner) on it as customs from WMI. The difference between "non signature" and "the ones that bear Paul's name" does tell you if it was built before or after they changed this. But it doesn't tell you where it was made (as in your or my case - both from WMI).

    But if looking at new instruments _now_ you might very well be interested in where it was built and if somebody has some experience with that. And as far as I can tell the 245 does also come from Indonesia.

    Sorry, don't want to be nitpicking here. But as some people tend to differ Indonesian/Korean SE models by the small/big SE and there's nothing on the offical site which helps assigning these somehow I thought it would be good to clarify this. After all he's looking at the 245 which seems to be made in Indonesia but no one could tell anything about them so far? This wasn't meant as an insult or anything to you, sorry if it felt like that ^^
     
  14. derFunk

    derFunk New Member

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    Ok I guess I didn’t realize that. I always distinguished Indonesia vs Korea as Standard vs Custom but I thought the Standard still had the big SE. I see that’s not true now.
     
  15. parallyze

    parallyze "What became of subtlety?"

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    I thought so for a long time also... because many shops didn't take new pictures from the Standard/245. Should visit stores more often so I can take a quick look at the headstock by myself... xD
     
  16. DustinCo

    DustinCo New Member

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    I have a 2018 SE custom 24 and it is built in Indonesia. From what I’ve seen, all the 2019, and some 2018 Custom 24s are built in Indonesia whereas the other SE models seem to switch around. My Indonesian one is top notch, it has the newer Paul signature with small SE under the signature. Unfortunately, PRS hasn’t updated their SN identification on their website to reflect the change to Cor-Tek Indonesia as all the Indonesian Custom 24s don’t show on the SN identification list.
     
  17. NBW

    NBW New Member

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    I have a SE custom 24 and just sold my 2015 SE standard 24 last night. My custom has locking tuners and Bareknuckle Stormy Monday pickups. I took my Custom to the Twin Cities this weekend. I really wanted my friend Joel to try it as he is a working jazz guitarist.

    I went to his gig on Saturday and he used my SE Custom for half the set. He really liked its playability and the clarity of the pickups.

    The guy who bought my SE standard wanted to use it to lay down some tracks. He was really impressed by the fit and finish and the setup of the guitar. He though the stock pickups sounded great.

    I think the QC hasn’t changed noticeably and the SE line is an exceptional value. I honestly don’t think you gain a ton going to the S2 line.
     
  18. shimmilou

    shimmilou Established in 1963

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    SN identification is the same for all SEs, regardless of where made, Korea or Indonesia. My SE Custom 24, as well as my SE Paul’s, both made in Indonesia, use the same letter/year S/N scheme as before.

    There is zero difference in quality between Korea and Indonesia, as far as PRS guitars, and I have several of each for comparison. If anything, the SE Paul’s is the best of them all, and it is made in Indonesia. :cool:
     
    #18 shimmilou, Aug 26, 2019
    Last edited: Aug 27, 2019
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  19. Mozzi

    Mozzi https://imgur.com/user/BAMozzy

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    Arguably, the newer guitars are better as they have now reached a stage that Paul is happy to have his signature on the headstock. That of course could be complete BS and that adding the 'PRS' signature was more of a business decision.

    Whether the guitars are made by WMI or Cortek though is absolutely immaterial in terms of 'quality'. At the end of the day, PRS have trusted either to make the guitars at a price point to sell without treading on the same market as the S2 price point. PRS themselves have their name on the headstock regardless of whether the guitar was made in Korea or Indonesia. Indonesian factories are also making guitars for Ibanez, Schecter, G&L, Chapman etc so they are not completely useless. One of the biggest bonuses for PRS is that Cort hasa department dedicated to making PRS SE's and only PRS SE's. Its possible that a few 'teething' problems may of cropped up as PRS were teaching them and instructing them as to what is acceptable quality and what isn't. By having their own department with its own staff team solely concentrating on making PRS SE's, the long term benefits must be obvious for all to see.

    At the end of the day though - everyone is the final Quality Control point. If you are unhappy with the quality, the playability, the tone and/or build quality, you ALL have the choice to decide whether the guitar is worth the asking price, worth negotiating a better deal or moving on to a different guitar. If you are ordering online, you would expect the store to have looked over the guitar and done their own 'quality inspection' after all, they buy the stock off the distributor just like you buying a guitar from them. If the guitar doesn't meet the expectation, then the store should be talking to PRS/Distributor - not you.

    Anyway, if the store has failed to check the guitar before dispatching, you still have the opportunity to inspect the guitar and see if it meets your standards. If not, then you send it back either for a refund or alternative.

    That goes for ANY guitar at ANY price. I know that for some. $500-$1000 is a LOT of money and they expect perfection and I have seen Custom shop Les Pauls (which retail at over £5000 in the UK) with far more obvious issues than I see highlighted here on SE's. A lot of people seem to be overly picky, inspecting it far more closely and less forgivingly because its an Indonesian PRS and heard they are somehow worse. They are expecting issues because its Indonesian and not even playing it, seeing how well it plays, how good it feels and sounds. Its Indonesian so must be worse, let me scrutinise and try and see where they made a mistake to reinforce the belief that they are 'worse' instead of playing and seeing if they actually made a great instrument for 'little' money (little compared to the US made guitars they are modelled on). If you are that concerned, go to a shop and try it. inspect it and if you like it, buy and if not, walk away or look at other choices....
     
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  20. DustinCo

    DustinCo New Member

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    Really? My SN is, depending how you look at it, one of the following:
    1) A03695 - would make it a 2000 model year
    2) CTIA03695 which would make it a 2002
    3) CTI A03695 - CTI and A03695 separated, which is how it appears and could mean either 2000 or 2002

    Only way it would hold true is if the C isn’t included even though the SN on mine reads like this CTI A03695. If you take the C off it would be TIA03695 which would make it a 2019, but I’m almost 99% sure its a 2018.

    So I’m not sure they do hold to the same letter codes listed for SE models? Maybe the Cor-Tek Indonesian Customs 22/24s started new SNs in 2018 and the A in CTI A03695 denotes 2018? The SNs on Sweetwater made in Indonesia mostly are CTI BXXXXX, which would make sense that B would denote 2019 and they are new. C would denote 2020, so on and so forth. Would also make sense because they are on T with the old SN system, which would only give them 6 more years using that system? Also, all the Korean made SEs on Sweetwater have TXXXXX SNs, so.... wish PRS would just definitively explain it!!

    Not trying to argue, just trying to make sense of it, any input definitely welcome!!
     
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