My Ethical Dilemma
A week later, I received a very nice e-mail from another gentleman at PRS (Doug Shive), who said that he had shipped me a PRS SE Santana model that day, for testing and review. But, there was more. Doug mentioned that they were giving me the guitar to keep.
My inner child said “Yippee, Yippee!” for a good solid 10 minutes after that. My adult brain, however, knew this could cause a problem: What if I found the guitar to be unfit, or if, for any reason, I really didn’t want to play it?
So that same day, I made a determination. If I found the guitar unsuitable in any way, I would: 1) write a truthful review; and 2) send it back to PRS with my thanks for their generosity.
Passing Its Tests With Flying Colors
Exactly one hour before I had to leave for the airport to travel out of town, the UPS man delivered the guitar. Talk about frustrating timing! In that one hour, I tore open the box and got my first look at the instrument.
Appearance wise, it was stunning. Incredibly beautiful tiger grain on the top, light color wood detail around the side, birds for fret markers, color-matched headstock, nickel hardware, etc. I did get a chance to play it (unamplified) for about 15 minutes before I left town. There were a couple of minor problems (fretting out in few spots), but I was pretty sure they could be fixed.
When I returned, I took it into my favorite guitar techs (Eric’s Guitar Shop, in North Hollywood), and included a set of my preferred strings: GHS Boomers. Along with his initial impression of the magnificent look of the instrument, Eric confirmed that the action could easily be adjusted to fix the issues. (He also assured me that this was quite common in many guitars straight from the manufacturer, and nothing to worry about.)
The Experts Weigh In
Besides setting the guitar up, I asked Eric if he’d give me his honest, unvarnished opinion about the instrument. After all, while I can certainly judge the playability and sound of a guitar, I wanted an expert’s view on the technical side. Eric agreed.
Three days later, I picked up the guitar, and had a long conversation with Brent (the fellow who did the actual setup), and Eric. I asked them for the scoop, and here’s what I found out.
Brent delivered me the guitar, and asked me to test it. My verdict? Outstanding! The action was even, the sound was clear and ringing (unamplified), and the neck even more playable than before. What’s more, Brent told me that the quality of construction was impressive.
“This guitar is worth 3 times what they’re charging for it,” Brent affirmed. “The build quality is awesome, the frets are even, it rings great (acoustically). You really can’t say anything bad about this guitar.” Eric added: “The grain in the top, closed back tuning pegs, nice finish on all the hardware; this guitar looks like it was American-made.”