Two simple mods for any Paul Reed Smith SE guitar

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The Paul Reed Smith SE line of guitars are some of my favorite guitars made. As a matter of fact, I own two Paul Reed Smith SE electrics. One of them is the Custom 24 in tobacco burst, while the other is the SE Santana with a beautiful yellow flame maple top.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes

I love guitars from all guitar makers, but Paul Reed Smith has really been my go-to when purchasing something for myself. I also own two models of the company’s Angelus line of acoustics, and they are equally amazing.

If you know anything about the company, you know that the Paul Reed Smith SE line is the company’s more affordable line. They also make higher-end models that run from the S2 and CE lines all the way to the Core and Private Stock lines. On the low-end (SE models), you’re looking at an average US$450 starting price and the high-end (S2 and above) an average starting price of US$1200. Private Stock can start at US$4500 and go over US$10K.

So you see why many of us choose to purchase the Paul Reed Smith SE line over the higher-end offerings. They’re just really affordable. But affordability doesn’t mean bad quality. The company has the SE line made overseas, but every instrument is sent directly to PRS for quality control. So that means it is touched and set up by PRS here in the United States.

That all being said, because they are more affordable, you don’t get some of the luxuries of higher-end models. These are two simple mods you can do to your Paul Reed Smith SE that make it more functional and look good.

Two Simple Paul Reed Smith SE Mods

Upgraded PRS SE Locking Tuners

PRS locking tuners were only coming on higher-end PRS guitars for the longest time, and we SE users were forced to turn to other manufacturers. Due to Paul Reed Smith SE locking tuners’ high demand, the company finally made them, although they’re not installed on SE guitars.

While they don’t come pre-installed on the guitars, they can be easily installed on SE guitars, and they only cost between US$90 and US$100, depending on where you find them. Phil McKnight has an amazing video where he shows you how to install the Paul Reed Smith SE locking tuners; check that out below. You can find these tuners on Amazon, Reverb, and many other guitar outlets.

Adding these locking tuners really gives the SE line more of that Core aesthetic, and it also helps tuning stability. I’m not convinced it also helps sustain, but due to the brass posts, they could help the sustain. This is really a great mod and not at all expensive and super easy to do.

Replace Your PRS SE Knobs With Lampshade Knobs

This Paul Reed Smith SE mod is dead simple. Just replace your SE volume and tone knobs with lampshade knobs. I can’t say for certain that this will work for all SE models, but it did work for my SE Santana model.

While the SE knobs are nice, the lampshade knobs are just much nicer looking and feeling. They really complete the overall aesthetic of the guitar.

Replacing knobs is really easy. Using a plastic pry tool wrapped in a cloth, you can slide that under each knob and carefully pry up around the perimeter of the knob. It will come up, and then you slip the lampshades on the post.

These knobs cost about US$20 and can be found on Amazon, Reverb and other guitar stores.

Wrap Up

These two Paul Reed Smith SE mods will set you back just over US$100 and are really two great ways to make your SE looking different from the rest. The locking tuners improve aesthetics and help the tuning stability, and may improve sustain due to the brass posts. I’d recommend both of these mods to anyone who wants to give their SE a little more character.

What Paul Reed Smith SE mods have you done? Please share your thoughts on any of our social media pages. You can also comment on our MeWe page by joining the MeWe social network.

Last Updated on August 22, 2021.

Paul Reed Smith SE Santana Yellow Techaeris
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