PRS SE SeriesBuying Guide

Exploring Paul Reed Smith's Affordable Line of Guitars and Basses

Since its establishment in 1985, Paul Reed Smith has fostered a solid reputation in the guitar world for producing high-quality, high-end, and handmade electric guitars.

Over the years, PRS models have become favorites among players like John Mayer, Carlos Santana, Mark Tremonti, Dave Navarro, and many more. But PRS standard models, as well as private stock guitars, often command hefty price tags and can be unrealistically hard some players' wallets. Enter: the PRS SE Series.

The "SE" stands for "Student Edition," and the line is full of classic Paul Reed Smith models—both of the standard and custom variety—at more budget-friendly price points. These guitars keep costs down by keeping manufacturing overseas, in Indonesia and Korea, and using less-expensive woods and building materials than their American-made counterparts.

All of the models in the expansive SE line retain the vibe and signature playability of the standard PRS line and represent a great value, especially for those looking to get into Paul Reed Smith on a budget. Scroll below to find the right model for you.

Quick Picks

  • PRS SE Zach Myers 2014 - 2017

    The SE Zach Myers is a signature guitar for the Shinedown artist that features a semi-hollow mahogany body and maple top, with flame maple veneer. It features a mahogany neck with rosewood fretboard, 24.5-inch scale length, and SE 245 humbuckers.

  • PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature Electric Guitar 2017 - 2022

    With features like a pair of signature Seymour Duncan Alpha & Omega pickups, a wicked fast three-piece maple neck with satin finish, and the signature "Holcomb Burst" over a quilted maple veneer, the Paul Reed Smith SE Mark Holcomb serves up the searing tones of the up-and-coming prog rocker in a more affordable package. Immensely playable, the 25.5" scale length and 24 ebony frets equate to hours of easy shredding with a no-frills three-way blade pickup selector and volume/tone knobs for total focus on riffage. Whether you're a fan of Holcomb's band Periphery, looking for a serious instrument built for metal, or both, this PRS signature doesn't disappoint.

  • PRS SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar

    The SE Series, also known as the Student Edition Series, allows PRS to offer budget-friendly options for musicians of all kinds, including the Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24. Although these guitars are manufactured in Korea, they mimic the USA-made classic Custom 24 with their double-cutaway body and appointments. These models feature a mahogany body with beveled maple top and flame maple veneer, maple neck with 25-inch scale length rosewood fretboard, tremolo, and 85/15 ’S’ humbuckers. Also available with a maple fretboard and as a left-handed variant.

  • PRS SE 245 Standard

    The PRS SE 245 Standard is a an affordable, recordable, and gig-ready guitar, with a comfortable 24.5-inch scale. It's outfitted with versatile "S" pickups, each with its own volume and tone controls, and a 3-way toggle for switching between them. The SE 245 also features a set Wide Fat mahogany neck with the PRS signature bird inlays, as well as a stoptail bridge and tuners.

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SE Custom Models

Paul Reed Smith Custom Series SE models are the step between a Standard SE and a main-line PRS model. As compared to the Standard SEs, they feature slightly upgraded finishes—like a maple cap and veneer where the Standard SEs feature all-mahogany bodies. The SE Custom 22 features 22 frets, while the Custom 24 features 24.

SE Custom 22 Models

SE Custom 24 Models

Standard Series SE Models

As aforementioned, the SE Standard series of guitars feature all-mahogany bodies and, by comparison, are more affordable than the Custom SE variants without sacrificing tonal quality or playability. The SE Standard 22 features 22 frets, while the Standard 24 features 24.

SE Standard 22 Models

SE Standard 24 Models

SE Signature Models

Being a stalwart of quality in the guitar world, it's no surprise that so many players have been eager to partner with Paul Reed Smith to develop their own artist signature models. Below, we've collected some of our favorites, with include the SE Zach Myers, SE Mark Holcomb, SE Bernie Marsden, and, of course, a whole slew of SE Santanas.

SE Signature Models

SE Santana Signature Models

Specialty SE Series Guitars & Basses

In addition to the classic Standard/Custom 22 and 24 lines and the copious signature models, the PRS SE Series also features a variety of special guitar and bass models as well, like the 7-string SE SVN, the SE 277 baritone models, SE Singlecuts, the SE variant of Paul's Guitar, and more.

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