PRS Bernie Marsden SE

Price Paid: 
$649.00 CAN + tax
Country of origin: 
Body wood(s): 
Mahogany Back, Maple Cap, Flame Maple Veneer
Neck wood: 
Fretboard Scale: 
Number of frets: 
22 frets on a 24.5" scale neck

Great playing guitar. Frets are finished and polished nicely, no dead spots on neck.
Pickups, for stock pickups sound good. The neck pickup in particular is very nice. The bridge, good for chords, I find it a bit harsh for leads. I am able to get good tones clean or dirty, some hum buckers I have tried in the past, (i.e. my V with the 496/500 set) do not sound good clean (at least, to me)

Tailpiece is wraparound, with limited intonation adjustment. I have not had any problems with the intonation. I changed the string gauge from the factory .009-.042 to a .010-.038 set, which I prefer, with no problems. Action was fine right of of the box, in that it match the PRS specs, I lowered it slightly, so that the bass and treble sides are both at about 3/64" on the 12th fret, no problems fretting out with bends, no amplified buzzing of strings, which is sometimes an issue for me because I use such a light low E.

Two volume and a single tone control. Personally, I rarely adjust the volume or tone while playing, but I have found that they work reasonably well, i.e. it doesn't just turn off, you can adjust them and get a variety of pleasing sounds.

The guitar has a good voice for any type of blues, classic rock/hard rock sound. It would work for any 70s dino music of the hum bucker variety, there is no coil tap, and it would not be a good choice for a Deep Purple cover band, for example.

The neck profile is a bit chunky, apparently designed after Bernie's "Beast" '59 Les Paul. I have no problems with it, I don't really like thin necks. However, if you have small hands, perhaps it might be an issue.

The guitar comes with a rather spiffy looking gig bag, that is kind of a reddish/burgandy colour (I am not good with colours). Personally, I find the gig bag a convenience, as when I take it back and forth to jam, a case can be a bit unwieldy, of course, if you are transporting, you would have to make other arrangements.

Tuners are of the Kluson variety, not real old Klusons (thankfully), but they look it. The guitar holds tune quite well, it is a very stable setup, likely due to the bridge. The nut seems to be fine, I am not sure if you would have problems with heavier strings, that is not an issue for me.

Big strap buttons, this guitar will not fall off the strap, I am sure.
I emailed Bernie Marsden, having gotten his address on his website, to tell him about the guitar, and how much I like it, he emailed me back, and asked for my address, and then sent me a certificate, signed and numbered for the guitar. Apparently I am the 5th person in Canada to get one.

I emailed him again with some questions, about strings, etc. He responded. Seems like a genuinely nice guy. Sort of like a friends cool Dad.


No colour options, if this is a concern for you, it is only available in the burst colour.
Treble pickup is a bit harsh. Nothing 'wrong' with it, but not my ideal sound.


4.5 stars out of 5.
This guitar is a steal for the price. I love it. It is one of the first quality instruments I have found that is under $800 dollars. I would recommend this to anyone who wants to play early dino, classic rock, ZZ Top style blues, etc.

Overall Rating: 
Average: 4 (1 vote)