PRS have just announced their Chris Robertson SE Signature model. It’s a regular PRS SE Made in Korea although this one has some high spec American-made hardware upgrades and a higher price than normal for PRS SE instruments.
Black Stone Cherry Burst
The apt name for this exclusive new finish is a reference to the name of his band. The guitar has the usual PR SE mahogany body with a slightly bevelled maple cap and then a thin flame veneer applied to this to give it the faux luxurious vibe at a reduced price point. Tonally, flame maple doesn’t do anything to the guitar, so it is purely a cosmetic thing and so no big deal, unless you are a purist. I like that it keeps costs down, and saves on wasting big chunks of flame maple, so a win-win there. The neck is a Wide Fat PRS profile mahogany neck and has the 24.5″ scale length, with a rosewood board and 22 medium frets.
I mentioned earlier that this Chris Roberston SE model has some American-made hardware and this is where it differs from the regular SE range. The model has a unique combination of a US PRS 57/08 humbucker in the bridge position and then a regular Korean-made SE Soapbar in the neck. There’s one pickup selector toggle switch, two volume controls and two tone knobs in a classic layout, making for a guitar that’s easy to operate.
The guitar also features a PRS adjustable bridge, which again is an upgrade and usually retails in the UK for £270 just by itself. As you can tell by now, this is no regular SE model. Chris has had a few major upgrades built into his signature guitar all of which push the price up quite a bit.
In summary, it is a nice looking guitar and I like the upgrades, however, it is dangerously close to the US-made guitars at the suggested RRP. I myself have bought a few PRS guitars including signature SE models for under £400 new, as well as a US-made guitar for around £1000 new, all within the last 12 months or so. I think the price will put a lot of buyers off in the UK and I don’t understand why it is exclusive to the UK either.
Limited 2016 Edition run
Oddly, you have to order one by 31st December 2016 as PRS are only making them up until that date. The model is then being discontinued.
RRP GBP £995