While both the Sterling JP50 and Ibanez EGEN8 (shown below) look like guitars that were designed from the ground up, the PRS SE Mikael Åkerfeldt is a variation on a familiar theme. The Opeth man’s guitar is basically a PRS SE Singlecut with a few custom touches that include a pretty Tortoise Shell finish, gold hardware and a flock of beautiful fingerboard inlays.
One of the greatest features of this SE model is the way that the glossy finish has been sanded flat from the neck heel to the top nut area. This is a brilliantly simple idea that prevents your hand from sticking to the neck when it gets a bit sweaty. From there, if you’ve ever played an SE model you’ll know what to expect.
This guitar will suit most players. The wide fat neck profile will work for jazzers, blues hounds and shredders alike, and the tuning stability means this guitar is unlikely to let you down at a gig or rehearsal. The only thing that might put people off is that gold ‘doodle’.
It’s a shame that PRS and Mikael have limited this guitar’s appeal with that Opeth logo. As we said in our recent review of the PRS SE Nick Catanese, would it not make better sense to supply the logo as a sticker? Then it’s left up to you to decide whether you can live with the design or not. If you can live with it, though, you’re gonna get the classic PRS recipe of great tone and playability and, in this case, a silky smooth ‘wide fat’ neck to boot.
Pros: Pickups, the sanded neck.
Cons: That bleedin’ logo!