SE vs Older US Model


New Member
Jun 2, 2013
Hi I've always wanted a prs and have finally decided to take the plunge. I'm selling all my guitars and spare amps to raise some money. I expect to maybe have around £1000. I've been looking on eBay and SE models are the obvious choice but what about older US models. I've seen US guitars from the mid 90s within my budget. But how do the two compare? Any advice would be greatly appreciated. Many thanks.
Hi Liam, I think it's worth looking at what you're after in a guitar, are you looking for single coil tones at all? Dual humbuckers? Trem? Fixed bridge?

What style/s of music do you play?

Any preference for neck carve?

Cheers, Justin
Hi justin.

I play all different types of rock, single coil and trem are not essential. I'm just wondering how the build and sound quality of older models compare to the new se models
You're comparing Apple to Oranges......Don't get me wrong as the SE's are good guitars.....but they pale in comparison to the US models in all aspects.
I would tend to agree with the above, the SE's are great guitars but the US models are amazing. (I have a couple of both).

As always, it comes down to budget. I'm of the opinion that the best value for money these days are the latest PRSes on the market, those with the newer pickups (57/08s, 59/09s. 53/10s etc), the V12 finish and the Phase III tuners. I'm not sure how the market is in the UK(?), but you might be able to find a 2nd hand Stripped 58 that's around your budget.
Thanks for the comments. I've seen the NF3 around at a decent price but I worry about the power in the pickups
What.....even one thats like 17 years old

Actually a lot of guitarists prefer the older models.... The woods used in the SE line are good, but the tops are laminated vs. almost a 1/2" maple cap on the US models. Like I sais....Apples vs. Oranges.
Lol thanks. I've seen some older McCarty and CE22 models within budget so it loojs like that might be the way to go
Lol thanks. I've seen some older McCarty and CE22 models within budget so it loojs like that might be the way to go

I'd say a CE or a McCarty would be much better than a SE. I myself want a CE24, and I've sworn off anymore SEs until I can get one (unless it's a SE7 :) )
Don't forget about the Mira, too. It's an LP Special/SG killer, with added versatility. Used prices are in that range, too.
You should definitely shop for a Maryland Made instrument in your budget.

I have a 1996 Custom 22 and I would opine it is one of the best guitars I've ever played. Definite keeper!!!

Happy shopping and can't wait for your NGD...
I picked up an '06 CE22 with 5-way rotary switch Dragon IIs earlier this year from the UK, you can find a few for just under your top end. I actually traded a virtually new American Deluxe Strat for it and haven't looked back. Really versatile, the parallel split ones aren't at all bad and the three 'bucker tones are killer. I sold my US Les Paul Studio afterwards as that was redundant too.
Thank you all for the replys, I think a US is the way for me. Ive just stuck a few of my guitars in ebay so should have the money soon hopefully.
A lot of the SE's are a figured maple veneer on a plain maple cap. Gives the aesthetics of a figured maple cap but is cheaper than the thick, figured maple caps on US guitars. My Bernie is a pretty nice figured maple veneer on a nice slab of maple.

I'd get to the shop and play a few SE's if you can. If there's something there that really grabs you then think about whether you could use the spare cash to upgrade any parts that you think may be lacking.

Of course, if you see a used US PRS in your price range and it has the features you think you'll like go for it!!!

The only thing to watch for is that you buy a used US PRS simply because it's a US one. Sure, it'll be a good, high quality guitar but that alone doesn't guarantee you'll bond with it or it'll tick all the boxes.

Don't rush into it and play the field! :)
Despite my wonderful PRS experiences, I'm still a believer in the individual guitar over the make/model. Find the guitar that speaks to you without regard to color or features. And don't worry about pickup output because if the guitar is that good, you'll have to re-EQ your rig, regardless. And if it's bright pink and yellow with sequins, who cares? (OK, that might actually be a deal-breaker for me)

Search out the right guitar for YOU. If that ends up being a PRS SE model, so be it. But if all other factors are the same, the Maryland-made models are masterpieces of human craftsmanship. Maybe you just need to find your first PRS but keep your eye out for #2? :biggrin: Good luck.
I agree with Mike and I would add that if you decide to go used on The Bay, make sure it's a reputable seller and triple check the "return policy". I am always leary of spending that much money on something used and sight unseen. Be careful.

I agree with Boogie too.

So much great advice on this forum
Y'all are awesome.
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