Comparing two different brands of the same product can be tricky – which is truly the best? Reviewing the similarities and differences is possible. In fact, it’s what most reviews do. Here’s what you need to know about Reverend Guitars vs. PRS SE.

Musical instruments are comparable in terms of the materials and electronics used to make them. However, there’s something to be said for preference as well. The way an instrument feels, the way it delivers a certain type of tonality – sometimes this is subject, and one type of guitar or another just feels right to certain players.

But what about when comparing the brands themselves? Good guitars require good guitar makers. What do these makers do? They create, yes – but more importantly, they listen. They find out what musicians care about in an instrument. This means adding new features over time and creating a steady supply of new models. But it also involves staying true to the features that have gained favor over time.

Reverend Guitars: A Brand of an Instrument

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Take, for example, a brand of an instrument like reverend guitars. From a garage project in Detroit over two decades ago, they’ve come a long way. Now they’re one of the most exciting budding electric guitar brands out there, with basses, acoustic guitars, and plenty of other items also filing their inventory.

Reverend guitars have also been used by the likes of Pete Anderson, Jenn Wasner, and Billy Corgan. That’s a lot of star power associated with a single brand – and combined with their solid non-artist-specific line of electric guitars, this gives the brand a great selection.

Then take into account PRS SE – the special line from Paul Reed Smith packed with value. Offering a consistent body type, variety of styles, and a full array of high-end components, the PRS SE line is great for nearly any style.

But how do the two compare?

PROS

  • Unique shape and style 
  • Great quality built
  • Great sound

CONS

  • They are constantly changing their entire line of guitars

Reverend Guitars: The Story, the Sound, the Signatures

When people think about guitar makers, they usually have a certain image in mind. The sprawling studios, racks of high-end instruments, and comprehensive teams of expert luthiers. But while that may be the case now, it wasn’t always that way with Reverend. And they completed their journey to premiere status in a relatively short time.

Right before the turn of the millennium in Detroit, one skilled guitar maker put immense detail into his creation. That creation turned out to be the first ever Reverend guitar. While Joe Naylor may have put the first one out in 1997, it would certainly not be the last. The unique shape and style of the instrument made it an instant success – it wasn’t long until many different artists were using this brand.

Naylor

Naylor, who holds a bachelor’s degree in industrial design, is still with the company. He’s joined by CEO Ken Haas, COO Penny Haas, and a number of other team members. Together, they make some of the most unique and eye-catching guitars in the world.

From set necks to bolt-on necks, there are plenty of options in Reverend’s lineup. Whether a person wants a signature to look and sound like an artist, or they prefer an original guitars model to make their own, there is something for everyone.

PRS SE: Great Craftsmanship with a More Manageable Price

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For many people, finding the right guitar is a balancing act. It involves finding all the right features (looks, playability, longevity) with the right price tag. It’s true that higher-quality instruments almost always come with a higher price tag. This is simply unavoidable, considering how much more attention is given to the workmanship and the materials’ selection.

But great guitar manufacturers know that not everyone is a gigging musician or studio recording artist who can and should drop thousands in an instrument – no matter how exquisite it is. Therefore, many guitar makers release a special line of instruments that cater to beginner and intermediate musicians, or anyone who wants to save money.

PROS

  • Perfectly set up from the factory
  • Great craftmanship
  • Gorgeous gloss finishes and elegant bird inlays

CONS

  • the gloss finishes and elegant bird is not to everyone’s taste

Manufacturers

For Fender, there is Squire. For Gibson, there is Epiphone. ESP and LTD, Ovation and Applause, the list goes on. Each brand that is successful knows they must appeal to a wide range of players – players of all skill levels and all budgets. And packing the same approach to workmanship into a newly priced package is a challenge these manufacturers strive to master.

Advertised as delivering playability and feeling beyond the price, SE is Paul Reed Smith’s special line of instruments. Though not as decked out as a regular PRS, they carry the same seal of approval and come from the same shops. Therefore, a person can expect the same level of quality relative to the new price.

Features

PRS SE guitars have a distinct shape and come with twin humbuckers, dive-style vibrato bars, and gorgeous finishes. Even in the SE line, there are distinct variations in including standards, customs, and signatures. From Carlos Santana to Mark Tremonti, many famous artists have played PRS SE guitars.

From f-holes to baritones to seven strings, there are plenty of SE styles out there. It’s a type within itself, but it’s also representative of PRS design and quality standards.

How Do Reverend Guitars Compare to PRS SE Guitars?

It’s easy to see how these two guitar types are unique – though they also have many similarities. For this section, we’ll focus on the similarities between PRS SE guitars and Reverend guitars in several key areas. These areas are the basic ones most people consider when shopping for a guitar.

Contrasting and discussing differences will come later – for now, here are the areas of interest and how Reverend guitars stack up to PRS SE guitars.

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Aesthetic Design

A guitar shouldn’t just sound great – it should look great. What that means is subjective to the player, but PRS SE certainly has a beautiful look. Gorgeous gloss finishes and elegant bird inlays are just a couple qualities players can expect in the SE lineup.

But what about Reverend guitars? Remember, this brand gained notoriety in part to the instruments’ unique shapes and designs. For reference, many of their guitars look like unique combinations of say, a Jazzmaster, and a Telecaster. Or maybe an ES-335 and a Strat. It’s a unique look, and if that’s what you’re interested in then they win out.

Hardware and Features

Certain combinations have become enduringly popular to guitarists. Take the simplicity of a string-through-body bridge with covered humbuckers. It looks great and provides great sound quality. But how about the triple coil setup with a vintage Bigsby? These are all designs you can find in Reverend guitars’ lineup.

SE guitars all share a similar design for the most part. You get a humbucker in both the neck and bridge position, and several of the guitars have dive-style vibrato bars. Aside from the occasional f-hole or change to a Tune-O-Matic bridge, most of the guitars have the same features aesthetically. Pickup types will vary depending on each class, as can the associated hardware like volume nobs and toggle switches.

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Price and Value

Here’s where things can differ a bit. Many of Reverend guitars are sold on the merits of their unique design, both aesthetically and functionally. This makes them a great find for any guitarist – but it can also lead to their price being inflated. Their additional rarity also drives up costs, leading some models to hover around the $1,000 range. This isn’t even counting signatures, though models of that type usually come with a higher price anyway.

PRS SE guitars are marketed based on their value. While some can go for around $700-$800, others are comfortably around the $400 range. Their simple but elegant style is also enough to satisfy nearly any players’ tastes. These guitars look natural in almost any environment, be it a rock jam or a blues recording.

Value for Money

These are the main areas where two types of guitars can be compared. While Reverend guitars are a bit more unique and can offer a rarer find, PRS SE guitars are a cost-efficient choice from a trusted manufacturer of great all-purpose instruments.

But when contrasting these two, which type of player or shopper would prefer either brand? And are there any instances where both Reverend guitars and PRS SE guitars could suffice for an owner’s need?

Comparing Reverend Guitars with PRS SE

Which type of player would like a PRS SE guitar? The obvious answer is anyone who has an interest in the PRS brand as a whole but wants to save money. But this also means a beginner, who hasn’t even heard of PRS, may pick up an SE because of the solid design and reasonable price.

As for Reverend, their guitars could appeal to anyone thanks to the large array of styles, many of which are reminiscent of other popular guitars from other makers. But the real type of buyer these guitars attract are those who seek a unique instrument – one that doesn’t seem to come from any conventional “well known” guitar maker but sounds just as well.

Appeal

Collectors may find Reverend guitars more appealing, where musicians from all walks of life with cost-efficiency in mind could see the PRS SE as the right choice. What about the better guitar for gigging? Or recording in the studio? That depends on two things – the type of instrument used and the type of musician playing it. But either of these brands could easily be used to produce good results in any musical setting, and both could potentially see use across a wide variety of genres.

Of course, each brand has its own signature models. A person who is a fan of one artist may gravitate to the brand that offers that artist’s guitars. Even if the other brand appeals to them more in terms of style, appearance, setup, or price, they may be tempted to take their money toward a brand that sponsors their favorite guitar heroes.

Comparison

It could be said that this comparison is the classic example of apples vs. oranges. A person who is trying to choose between these two brands can be swayed by preference and opinion. A great way of comparing the two would be this: PRS SE is the safe bet, whereas Reverend is the better-kept secret.

So for a person who has enough money to afford either model, what should they consider before they make a buy? Obviously, there should be some type of preestablished list of features a player looks for. But for the money, how does Reverend’s inventory hold up to that of PRS SE?

The Final Verdict: Which Brand is Better to Buy?

One thing that could be said about Reverend guitars and not about a PRS SE, is that it will become substantially more valuable over time. Unless Reverend guitars suddenly find their designs being replicated by competitors or they decide to mass produce some of their rarer offerings, the value is bound to increase.

For the money, this is the telling factor that could make the Reverend guitars more valuable. And while some may compare pickups and bridge types, there lies one simple solution to this – they can be changed. Technically, all of the guitars can be changed. But the rarer body type of Reverend guitars can be the part most sought-after while a person could install their own preferred pickup combination or bridge type.

Attention to Detail

The same could be said with the SE. A person could even put pickups from a standard PRS in them, and though it wouldn’t have the same type of attention to detail in other areas, it would be one step closer to being like its parent model.

Either brand can produce value for buyers. But for anyone who is thinking about the long-term, the Reverend wins out. Even if a musician loses their will or ability to play the guitar someday, a rarer brand can make a nice collector’s item. And if they ever want to sell or swap, the return could be bigger.

Reverend guitars are a very interesting brand with a great story. The PRS SE line is no different – a little more common and straightforward, but solid all around.

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