PRS A40E - an evolutionary story

I was always a sucker for a good deal and when idly surfing the net I came across a lot of PRS SE acoustics going cheap at GuitarGuitar (I know they are box shifters but that does not concern me greatly). I did the research and came to the conclusion that A40E would suit me best. So I waited to see what would happen and, finally, one Sunday evening I took the plunge - I think I got the last one at the discounted price.

It arrived in reasonable time and I was duly impressed although I did have to lower the saddle quite a bit - I like a low action if I can get it. It was strung with Elixir strings and it sounded quite good. It improved with time. I changed the strings for Martin PB and it was OK once they lost that initial "zing" but not something I'd die in the ditch over. However, there was a sound like the strings were fouling the top frets.

I took it to my pet luthier and he asked how long I'd had it. He then diagnosed the need for the lower frets to be dressed - quite common he says. Apparently, it took quite a bit longer than he had anticipated, but the result was like magic. The top notes were clear as day.

However, the sound was not what I like so I started a thread on string squeal. Got acres of advice and, to cut a very long story short, I "discovered" Martin Monel strings. Couldn't be happier. The tone is lovely, the instrument is balanced across all 6 strings and I just love playing it - however incompetently.

Mortal, it does take time, effort and money to get the guitar you want. I'm just left with a silly grin.

Thanks for reading. Hope you all have similar success.

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  • Thank you for the review and story. You are right it can take a bit of effort and expense to get the guitar you want. I had a Martin om21 which never did get there - too dark sounding whatever strings - so got sold eventually. Can be so, even when you go try them out. I wasn't even really aware that prs did acoustics. Shame it needed the fret work. I really wasn't aware of the Martin Monal strings. What do they do that pubs don't? Thanks again. This iwhy I joined the forum!
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  • Sorry to take so long to get back to you.

    Can I explain it like this. I found I actually prefer Cedar topped guitars to spruce etc. You can hear comparisons on Youtube. Monel strings on a spruce top gives a similar sound but like all these things, you gotta try it for yourself.

    Hope this helps.
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  • TheMadMickTheMadMick Frets: 245
    Now, the best part of a year since I bought this, it seems to be really opening up. To be honest I was really surprised. It's not an expensive guitar but it is really good value. The laminated back and sides have never given me cause for concern - gypsy jazz Selmer type guitars are made that way and it doesn't seem to adversely affect them.

    The sound I'm getting suits both single notes and chord strumming. I do both. As Mike Smith (Southport luthier) says, if you find one that both strums well and plays single notes well keep hold of it. It's a keeper.

    I have a couple of similar guitars - a Yamaha AC3R which does single notes amazingly well and rings out like a bell and a L'Arrivee that strums well (although I think it's still not fully run in - review to come) and it compares really favourably with both of these.

    The only down side I can find is that the case covering (Tolex?) is quite soft and seems to damage easily. That's not a good thing as I tend to be rather clumsy. I've had to do some running repairs.
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  • guitarjack66guitarjack66 Frets: 1904
    I bought a used Takamine G Series and although it was set up fine it had a very dark sound too. Changed the strings a few times but it just never did it for me either. I'm cautious about Takakines now too. It was Korean made,not Chinese.
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  • TheMadMickTheMadMick Frets: 245
    Came across this review while surfing the net:

    Whilst I don't agree with some of the reviewers comment - especially about the neck - it is rather positive.

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