PRS Gets It Right (with some minor tweaks)
The latest PRS SE Tremonti Custom is perhaps the finest Korean-made instrument I've played (and I've owned several, including a PRS SE Singlecut). Of course, everyone is raving about the headstock update (which really does help the overall aesthetic of the guitar), but I'm most impressed with the pickups in this new model. Not so keen on the Alpha volume/tone pots or the minuscule ceramic caps used, so those have been replaced with CTS short-shaft 525k (5% tolerance) pots and Russian-made K40Y .022/400 (bridge) and .015/400 (neck) capacitors ... This is a moderately low cost improvement to make on any two-humbucker/four-pot instrument that comes stock with inferior electronics, in my experience.
Back to the pickups ... The clean tone coming from these redesigned Tremonti pickups is simply unique to my ears. Not exactly certain what PRS has done here, but the clean sound is remarkable, particularly in the middle position where there is a great deal of tonal variability and control. When cranked into a dirty or lead sound, these pups really shine with plenty of harmonic overtones and sustain while remaining defined—rare to find in my experience. They clean up nicely when pulling the volume down, as well. For comparison purposes, I’m fortunate to have plenty of other guitars with a broad spectrum of pickups including Gibson stock 57s, SD 59s, Rio Grande Texas/BBQ, SD Signature Joe Bonamassa 59s, Duesenberg Cat-6, etc.), and these Tremonti pickups hold their own against all of these options.
I really like the feel of this instrument—a thicker beefy body, without being a 10-pound beast; superb neck-feel (maple used here was a wise choice). The well-machined tremolo is solid, but easy to adjust (I changed string gauge to 10s); it works great. Other notable aesthetics include a beautiful Vintage Sunburst maple veneer top and the meticulously finished fretboard. I did need to adjust the neck relief, which is common for recently shipped instruments. The adjustment was easy and effective. The overall fit and finish is flawless.
Overall, this guitar is well worth the money (actually, given the price point, it’s worth more than the asking $$$ in my opinion). NOTE: I purchased a PRS vintage-style case for this guitar, which PRS states is a good fit with the SE Tremonti. The lower bout of the body sits well in the case cavity, but it sits too low. This does not allow the neck to sit properly in the neck support, so the case lid does not close all the way. The only way to correct this is to add a soft folded cloth under the body bout so the neck fits firmly into the neck rest. So, unless you want to make modifications to the case or use approach I’ve used, you may want to consider other case options.