SE Paul's Guitar - What's the opinion?

Eldar Vox

New Member
Dec 30, 2023
Hi All,

I am new to the forum and received my first PRS Silver Sky SE in Stone Blue a few days ago. I love it and am very impressed with the build quality and the shape and feel of the neck and frets. The main criticism is the controls that don't fit properly and I have ordered some copper sleeves hoping they will fix them. For the price I paid in the New Year sale, I am happy.

I am thinking of buying another SE and have been looking at the 'SE Paul's Guitar '. I have some questions, please.

1. What's the general view on these guitars? Good, indifferent etc Are the other SE stoptail guitars considered to be better? i.e. 594 or 245.
Is the build quality better than the other SE's as it's Paul's Guitar?

2. Is the stop tail bridge the same as the core model, or is it a copy? Some of the blurb seems to equate it with the original design, but is it an import like the s pickups made in Indonesia?
'The SE Paul's Guitar also features a PRS stoptail bridge that is engineered with curved string slots and brass inserts, designed to take full advantage of the resonant properties of the guitar. This bridge is the same machined stoptail with brass inserts as spec'd on the Core Paul's Guitar, making it the perfect choice for players who demand the ultimate in performance and tone.'
If it is an import stop tail, would it make any difference to 'upgrade' to the core version?

3. The neck is a wide fat profile, and mahogany rather than maple. What difference does this make having a mahogany neck in place of a maple neck? What sort of profile is the wide fat neck?

'Crafted from the finest materials available, the SE Paul's Guitar features a solid mahogany body with a flame maple veneer, topped with a maple top wood that is finished with a shallow violin carve. The neck is also made from mahogany and features a multi-ply construction with a wide-fat shape that is both comfortable and fast. The rosewood fretboard is adorned with classic bird inlays, while the vintage-style tuners are engineered to promote resonance and sustain.'

Finally, I would rather have nickel-covered pickups, can covers be fitted to the stock pickups or will it mean swapping them and which pickups?

The general view is that these are very good guitars. There is no better, other than what you like in a guitar. The stoptail change is also subjective, based on how the guitar sounds. Change and upgrade are not the same. Many of us have SE’s with little or no changes and are perfectly happy with them. The cardinal rule for me is “don’t change anything if you like the sound.” The mahogany neck will help the guitar sound different from your SS SE, to my ears it is more mid focused and certainly not as bright. I don’t have any idea if the pickups will accept standard covers. Just remember, you change the sound slightly when you put them on. Live with the guitar for a month or two before you re-invent the wheel. Remember, everything affects the sound.
OK, get ready for my twenty-five cents...

1. I would consider the Paul's SE a flagship SE. Fantastic guitar, especially for the price, I cant really do much better at a grand. Maybe back in the day when US made LP Studios were only $800, but otherwise this is as good as you'll get at that price for what I've seen. I would say compared to the other SE stoptails I've played, especially those from World Music, this is better. Not by much, cause WMI PRS guitars were pretty great, but this feels "premium" if that makes any sense. The TCI(s) pickups are the finest SE pickups ever made IMO, and the switching system is really useful.

2. Yes, same bridge as the core. Not a copy, its the same core bridge. Aluminum with brass inserts. The ONLY reason I'd swap it out is if you have intonation issues and thus need an adjustable saddle stoptail. As it is though, its a remarkable piece of engineering that is stupid simple and elegant. The only gripe I have is the bridge tends to lean ever so slightly under tension, as in the bridge can tilt just a tiny bit so string tension pulls it into a slight angle, and the posts are ever so slightly thinner than the inserts. A pair of mylar washers and teflon tape fixes this.

3. Mahoghany necks tend to sound a bit darker than their maple counterparts. Its not that much of a difference, and really its only something you might pick up acoustically. The wide-fat profile reminds me of 60's era LP's. If you are familiar with those neck shapes, this will feel comfortable. Also, the birds are real abalone, not plastic.

BTW, the 35th Anniversary is basically the same thing but with a maple neck in wide-this, but it has the same pickups and 24-08 style switching system. I have both guitars and the 35th is faster feeling but brighter.

4. Any pickup can be fitted with a cover. I've done it myself, just a little solder job is all. The TCI(s) pickups are the same size as any humbucker, however...if memory serves the pickup rings wont accept a cover. They are too tight. You'd have to modify them or replace em.

This all said, upgrades I recommend:

1. The nut is not my favorite. I recommend a Tusq or bone replacement.

2. Tuners are ok, but you can do better. I feel like the PG should have lockers at that price point. Gotoh SD90 MG-T or some Phase 3's would be great.

3. Switchcraft jack. Its a cheap and quick thing to change out, and well worth it. Rest of the electronics are fine.

4. Strap locks. Just do it.
Thanks for the replies, they are really helpful. I will go ahead and buy one. Just need to decide on the colour.
The only reason not to buy one is if it just feels off to you in your hands. Sometimes the thicker neck can be a deal breaker for some. But I'd echo the sentiments above, I think along with the SE SAS, it is the best the SE line has to offer. I personally don't like how they went with the natural back and headstock for this last year though as the 3 pc back can looks pretty unflattering. I much prefer the black (or painted) back and headstock from yesteryear.