Are PRS Acoustic Guitars Good?

PRS Guitars, established in 1985, has been renowned for its high-quality electric guitars. However, it wasn’t until 2009 that PRS introduced its first acoustic guitar model, the Angelus Cutaway. It was until much later in 2018 that PRS released the first SE acoustic model, the Angelus SE. This raises the question: are PRS acoustic guitars good? In this detailed evaluation, we will delve into the various aspects that contribute to the quality of PRS acoustic guitars, including materials, build quality, hardware, and price. By examining specific models and features, we aim to provide a well-rounded understanding of what makes PRS acoustic guitars stand out. Lets dive in.

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Materials Used for PRS SE Acoustic Guitars:

Similar to their electric counterparts, PRS SE acoustic guitars are known for their use of premium materials, which contribute to their excellent sound and durability. The company selects high-quality tonewoods for their guitar bodies and necks. For example, the SE A55E model features a mahogany body with a striking flamed maple top, while the SE A60E offers an all-solid construction with a Sitka spruce top and rosewood back and sides. The necks are typically made of ebony or rosewood, offering a smooth playing experience and contributing to the guitar’s overall tone. Check out our comparison of the two fretboard tonewoods in our FAQ section below.

Many PRS SE acoustic guitars feature solid tops, which provide a richer and more resonant sound compared to laminate tops. The use of solid wood for the guitar top, such as the solid Sitka spruce top found on the SE T50E model, allows the wood to vibrate more freely, resulting in enhanced projection and tonal depth. We will do a deep dive into the model specifics and materials in a later section. First, lets look more into the build quality and hardware.

Build Quality that Makes PRS SE Acoustics Good:

PRS SE acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars are known for their excellent build quality. They are manufactured in partnership with overseas factories in Indonesia. Each guitar undergoes thorough quality control, ensuring every instrument meets the company’s high standards. This ensures, that these instruments maintain high standards of craftsmanship and materials at an affordable price point.

The construction uses traditional techniques, such as dovetail neck joints and X-bracing, for stability and resonance. Attention to detail is evident in these guitars, with features like binding, rosettes, and inlays showcasing PRS’s commitment to quality aesthetics. Lets look more at the hardware specifics.

PRS SE acoustic parlor acoustic guitar in mahogany
PRS SE P20E Acoustic

A Word on the Hardware:

PRS SE acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars feature top-notch hardware components that ensure excellent playability and performance. Key hardware elements include:

  1. Tuning Machines: High-quality tuners for precise and stable tuning.
  2. Bridge & Saddle: Quality materials like bone or synthetic bone for better tone and sustain.
  3. Nut: Bone or synthetic bone nut for consistent string spacing and optimal vibration transfer.
  4. Truss Rod: Adjustable for optimal playability and neck stability.
  5. Electronics (Acoustic-Electric Models): Natural-sounding pickup systems like Fishman GT1, Fishman Sonitone, or LR Baggs. (more on this later in great detail, read on)
  6. Output Jack & Battery Compartment (Acoustic-Electric Models): Easy access for battery replacement and secure amplifier connection.

These hardware components ensure a seamless playing experience, making PRS SE acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars a popular choice among players seeking quality instruments. Below is a YouTube video showcasing the most recent guitar models. For a more in-depth look at each model, continue reading.

PRS SE Acoustic Guitar Models

PRS SE offers various acoustic models of guitars. Although, in recent years they have shifted focus to acoustic-electric guitars. In this section, we’ll discuss some popular PRS SE non-electric acoustic models and their respective specifications, along with a brief overview of their tonal characteristics and pickups. You can still find these beautiful guitars in stores, as well as on the used market!

1. PRS SE Tonare T20

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Tonal Characteristics: Warm and balanced tone with a strong midrange presence, suitable for fingerpicking and strumming styles.

2. PRS SE Tonare T35

  • Top: Solid Cedar
  • Back and Sides: Rosewood
  • Tonal Characteristics: Smooth and warm sound with excellent response to fingerstyle techniques, great for a wide range of playing styles.

3. PRS SE Tonare T30

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Rosewood
  • Tonal Characteristics: Rich and complex tone with deep bass and sparkling treble frequencies, well-suited for a wide range of playing styles.

4. PRS SE Angelus A20

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Mahogany
  • Tonal Characteristics: Versatile and warm tone, ideal for singer-songwriters and fingerstyle players looking for an intimate sound.

5. PRS SE Angelus A30

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Rosewood
  • Tonal Characteristics: Powerful projection with a balanced tonal spectrum, offering a responsive and expressive playing experience.

6. PRS SE Angelus A45

  • Top: Solid Redwood
  • Back and Sides: Rosewood
  • Tonal Characteristics: Strong projection and rich overtones, offering a responsive and expressive playing experience, suitable for various music genres.

Each of these acoustic guitars is designed with a specific combination of tonewoods and construction techniques that contribute to their unique tonal characteristics. By understanding the differences in combinations of these tonewoods you can figure out which one suits your needs.

PRS SE T40 Tonare Acoustic-Electric
PRS SE T40 Tonare

Acoustic-Electric Options for PRS SE:

Today, PRS SE offers a much wider range of commercially available acoustic-electric guitars. These guitars feature the signature PRS quality and tonewoods with the addition of state of the art pickup systems. In this section, we will list some popular PRS SE models and their respective specifications.

1. PRS SE Tonare Grand T40E

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Ovangkol
  • Pickup System: Fishman GT1

2. PRS SE Tonare Grand T50E

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Figured Maple
  • Pickup System: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance

3. PRS SE Angelus A50E

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Figured Maple
  • Pickup System: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance

4. PRS SE Angelus A60E

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Ziricote
  • Pickup System: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance Narrow

5. PRS SE Angelus A65E

  • Top: Solid Sitka Spruce
  • Back and Sides: Cocobolo
  • Pickup System: Fishman Matrix VT Enhance Narrow
PRS Limited SE Acoustic Guitar
PRS SE Limited Angelus A50E

Pickup System Descriptions:

1. Fishman GT1

The GT1 is an under-saddle pickup and preamp system that provides a natural, dynamic, and articulate tone. It’s designed to maintain the guitar’s inherent tonal characteristics, featuring volume and tone controls for sound shaping.

2. Fishman Matrix VT Enhance

The Matrix VT Enhance system offers a more advanced tonal shaping experience, combining an under-saddle pickup with a bridge plate sensor for greater control over dynamics and tonal nuances. The preamp includes volume, tone, and enhance blend controls for further customization.

3. Fishman Matrix VT Enhance Narrow

A variation of the Matrix VT Enhance specifically designed for narrow string spacing, the Matrix VT Enhance Narrow system delivers the same tonal shaping and dynamic control, ensuring an authentic acoustic sound when amplified.

Hear the Angelus and Tonare models in action below!

PRS SE Acoustic Prices:

The price range for these instruments typically falls between $600 and $1,200, depending on the specific model, features, and finishes.

Entry-level PRS SE acoustics, such as the SE Tonare T40E, can be found in the $600 to $800 range. These guitars still offer impressive tonewoods and solid construction but may have fewer cosmetic embellishments.

Mid-range PRS SE acoustics, including the SE Tonare T50E and SE Angelus A50E, are priced between $800 and $1,000. They offer upgrades such as higher quality tonewoods, improved electronics, and more detailed inlays as we discussed above.

Top-tier PRS SE acoustics, like the SE Angelus A60E and limited edition models, can reach up to $1,200 or more. You can always try to find a deal one of these guitars on the used market or try to snag one during a sale online to save $100-200!

You should now have a good idea of all the various PRS SE acoustic and acoustic electric guitar options available. So whats our final verdict on the PRS SE Acoustic Guitars?

The Verdict: Are PRS SE Acoustic Guitars Good?

The Verdict: Are PRS SE Acoustic Guitars Good?

A Resounding YES

After evaluating various aspects of PRS SE acoustic guitars, such as materials, build quality, hardware, price, and acoustic-electric options, we can definitely say that PRS acoustic and acoustic-electric guitars are indeed good. They are constructed with premium materials, meticulous craftsmanship, and attention to detail, resulting in a high-quality instrument that offers excellent playability, sound, and durability. While their price range may be higher than some other brands, the quality and performance of PRS acoustic guitars justify the investment. Whether you’re considering a purely acoustic or an acoustic-electric option, PRS offers a variety of models that cater to different preferences and budgets, all while maintaining the company’s commitment to quality and performance.

Frequently Asked Questions

1. Ebony vs. Rosewood Guitar Necks: What’s the Difference?

Tone:

  • Ebony: Bright, crisp with excellent sustain.
  • Rosewood: Warm, rich with balanced frequency response.

Playability:

  • Ebony: Fast, sleek, and smooth texture.
  • Rosewood: Comfortable, warm feel due to natural oils.

Durability:

  • Ebony: Highly resistant to wear.
  • Rosewood: Durable but not as hard as ebony.

Aesthetics:

  • Ebony: Dark, uniform color, minimal grain patterns.
  • Rosewood: Rich, varied grain patterns, reddish-brown hue.

In summary, ebony necks deliver a bright, articulate tone and smooth playability, while rosewood necks offer warmth, richness, and a comfortable feel. If we had to choose one over the other we would lean more to the side of the Ebony neck. Read below for a more in-depth answer to why?

2. What is the best wood for a guitar neck?

While it’s difficult to claim a single “best” wood for a guitar neck due to personal preferences and playing styles, many players and luthiers consider ebony to be a top choice. Ebony is often more expensive than other options, as it provides a combination of excellent tonal characteristics, durability, and stability (as we discussed above). Its bright, crisp sound and smooth playability make it a sought-after choice for guitar necks.

Ultimately this question can be answered differently be everyone. It’s essential to remember that individual tastes and requirements will determine the ideal wood for your guitar neck. So choose carefully!

3. What strings come on a PRS SE acoustic?

PRS SE acoustic guitars typically come equipped with premium strings that complement the guitar’s tonewoods and construction. Most PRS SE acoustics come with a set of 12-53 gauge strings, specifically the D’Addario EJ16 Phosphor Bronze Light strings. These strings offer a warm, balanced tone with excellent projection and durability, providing a reliable and consistent playing experience.

4. Where are PRS SE acoustic guitars made?

As we mentioned earlier, PRS SE acoustic guitars are manufactured in Indonesia under the guidance of PRS Guitars’ stringent quality control standards. The SE series is designed to offer players the signature PRS quality and craftsmanship at a more affordable price point. Each PRS SE acoustic guitar undergoes a thorough inspection and setup process, ensuring that the instruments meet the high standards set by PRS Guitars, regardless of their origin.

Thank you for reading!

Where are PRS SE acoustic guitars made?

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