Think ‘PRS’ and you’ll doubtless think of bird-shaped fret inlays, humbuckers and wallet-melting prices - all notable by their absence on the SE Soapbar. Can the world’s poshest luthier really get down and dirty?
Paul Reed Smith doesn’t need a marketing campaign to shift the Soapbar; it’s been flying off the shelves since 2003 thanks to a reputation for streamlined genius. You’ll find not an ounce of fat on this spec sheet, with the singlecut mahogany body meeting a wide-fat mahogany neck, and twin soapbars governed by master volume and tone dials.
It’s positively arrogant in its simplicity.
Most of the axes on test let you tamper with the pickups. The SE doesn’t need to: the bite and bark of these P90s is the sound we set out to find, with gutsy distorted riffs punching through as they should and the inherent warmth of the mahogany meaning you don’t need a bassist to sound huge.
It’s easy to forget that SE is an ‘entry-level’ range when rocking the Soapbar.
PRS can’t help but make its cheap guitars play like their expensive ones, with this model managing to be both light and satisfying, with a neck that fits your palm snugly and works with the 25-inch scale to make shifting chord shapes, arpeggios and more ambitious techniques roll off your fingers. Best of all, the ‘street price’ slices the £499 RRP, leaving you no excuses not to get this killer axe into your gigbag.
Pros: It’s a class act across the board.
Cons: Can’t think of anything.
Buy: PRS SE Soapbar is currently available from PMT Online.