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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent guitar, January 23, 2013
This review is from: Paul Reed Smith Guitars BMVSPRS SE Bernie Marsden Electric Guitar - Vintage Sunburst (Electronics)
I bought this after many weeks of contemplating what to replace my 2012 Epiphone Standard PRO with. The Epiphone's frets were wearing down within days; the strings (ernie ball slinkys) basically cut grooves in the fret wire. So I returned it and looked around for a different guitar. At first, I was set on getting a cheap(ish) Gibson for around $700-900. After trying out all the Gibsons in that price range, I couldn't justify paying that much cash. The Gibsons were light, poorly made (one of them had a chipped fretboard) and just felt very cheap overall. The 50s tribute looked nice, though.
Anyways, I decided to look around for something non-Gibson/Epiphone. The SE Marsden caught my eye, and as soon as I put it into my hands, I felt like the guitar was made for me. The wide-fat neck was the perfect profile for me and it was intonated and set up perfectly in-store, which is something you normally never get. After about an hour of contemplating PRS vs Gibson, I went with PRS. And I'm glad I did.

The fret work is leagues ahead of the Epiphone. I've been playing it for months now and all I see is a few scuffs on the fret wire. The frets are definitely shallower (shorter) than Gibson's, but I like that. Fret ends were well polished and cut, no razor cuts on my hands. The overall fit and finish is just fantastic. Not a single imperfection, as far as I can tell. Tuning isn't the best, though. I don't know if that is the plastic nut or the tuners. As a side note, the best tuning I've ever experienced is on my 40 year old Sigma acoustic. That thing just never goes out of tune.

As for pickups: The bridge pickup sounded perfect to me -- it's fairly nasal-sounding has a lot of emphasis on mids and mid-highs. Fair amount of bass but not as much as neck (as is expected for a bridge pickup). I have swapped out the neck pickup because I found it a bit weak-sounding. I put in a Lindy Fralin P92 (two single-coils in a humbucker package) and it sounds amazing now. Very ballsy and has a mix of Strat highs with P90 punch, and massive sustain thanks to the mahogany body.

The electronics are decent. All the pots are Alpha (500Ks, I think) and have very good damping. Very pleasant and smooth. The pickup switch, however, is quite flimsy and crackles sometimes when switching.

I gave this guitar 5 stars because tone and sound is very subjective and personal. Obviously, when a pickup is muddy throughout, it's a bad pickup. But the pickups in the Marsden were very good (a bit better than the Probuckers in the Epiphone -- which are meatier but less clear). I am keeping the bridge SE245 pickup as I find it a great dirty-sounding companion to my clean P92 in the neck.

In all aspects that can't be altered/changed by the player, this guitar is flawless. You shouldn't expect amazing electronics out of the box with this guitar. After all, it's only $650. But you can definitely expect great build quality -- something PRS is very well known for and have passed on to their Korean line of guitars.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Quality, SUSTAIN, Brilliant Tone, February 23, 2013
This review is from: Paul Reed Smith Guitars BMVSPRS SE Bernie Marsden Electric Guitar - Vintage Sunburst (Electronics)
My favorite guitar so far (I have had Strats made in USA, Japan and Mexico) and played many Gibsons, Schecters and others.. This is a brief blurb I wrote on another website including the specs and some of the "branding" details:

2012 Made in S Korea = very effing nice. Closely designed with Marsden himself, the SE Bernie Marsden offers classic appeal with today's quality and dependability. Appointments include a Vintage Sunburst maple top with flame maple veneer and crème binding along the body's top edge and a 24.5" scale length, 22 fret wide fat mahogany neck with bound rosewood fretboard. PRS designed SE 245 humbuckers, two volume controls and a single tone control with a 3-way toggle pickup selector round out the offerings.

- Body
- Top Wood Carved Maple with Flame Maple Veneer and Creme Binding
- Back Wood Thick Mahogany
- Neck
- Number of Frets 22
- Scale Length 24.5"
- Neck Wood Mahogany
- Fretboard Wood Rosewood with Creme Binding
- Neck Shape Wide Fat
- Fretboard Inlays Birds
- Hardware/Electronics
- Bridge PRS Designed Stoptail
- Tuners Vintage Grommet Style
- Truss Rod Cover PRS
- Hardware Type Nickel
- Treble Pickup PRS Designed SE 245 Treble
- Bass Pickup PRS Designed SE 245 Bass
- Pickup Switching Two Volume and One Tone Control with 3-Way Toggle Pickup Selector // 9

Sound: Chunky, heavy humbucker bluesy tones from both Pups with the Neck Pup even chunkier than the Bridge. The sustain on this thing is unbelievable... 15-20 seconds plus. This is ideal for Blues, hard rock, anything with sustain cause this puppy has it in troves in all positions. Really great sounding. Rather rich/full sound with the middle switch position (both Pups), a bit lighter and brighter at the bridge and full/rich in the neck position. Great quiet Pups. No hum but when cranked up to volume 10 you get some nice harmonics and overtones with distortion. // 90/100 sound rating

Action, Fit & Finish: Magnificent finish. Really effing perfect. Think Rolls Royce quality and it is really that good. I pulled apart the pups and the bridge etc and looked at the joins, lining etc. Each and all are PERFECT. Very pretty finish and a GREAT looking guitar. Nice veneer top and A heavy BUTT base. Really chunky and high quality. Much like Bernie's 1959 Gibson beast. Think of this as a mini beast. I really love the neck and thick body.. really thick.............

Zero flaws on this thing. Intonation = 100/100 all up and down... Just tuned this thing and started playing. Action is low and ideal. Zero buzz. Great play-ability. Tuners are good not great. The nut - many reviews complain about the nut. Mine for some reason is very good...

Really good. = 95/100. All the hardware is nice, effective and rock solid.

Reliability & Durability: Tough as you can imagine..... I dropped this from a bit of a height and it crushed my little Vox headphone amp........ zero scratches on the Bernie though... very strong, heavy, chunky, reliable. Many people replace the nut and upgrade the Pups but I love it all. You can gig with this and I think the tough ass finish will survive. I am rough on things and this thing is SOLID. Bounced it a few times and zero damage. I mean NADA. Tough big chunk of guitar. The strap buttons are good with my straps but you may want to add lockers etc if you are very active with it. The finish is tough and really pretty. Really ideal and so nice. // 95/100

Impression: I usually play Strats and wanted a Gibson but this thing is WAY > Gibson Studios and guitars 2-3 time the price in terms of quality.

- Fret work is perfect
- Woodwork all ideal
- Intonation spot on
- Tones in all 3 positions is nice
- Tough
- Pretty
- Blokey

Great for rock, blues, anything rhythm. Not for shredding... The neck is one big ass chunky monkey. If you play lead on Frets 15-22 you will need some dexterity as the neck base and body join are HUGE. Really HUGE. Which I think adds to the tonal qualities but not the lead QC. I love this thing. PRS Guitars have the best QC IMHO.

Overall rating = 95/100
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Paul Reed Smith Guitars BMVSPRS SE Bernie Marsden Electric Guitar - Vintage Sunburst
$1,000.00 $549.00
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