An impressive model that should appeal to many players well beyond the Zach Myers fan base, and a great value at this price
A beautiful and well-made guitar at this price (or virtually any), with versatile rock leanings but a voice all its own
A great value that has plenty to offer players beyond Myers’ fan base
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For all the big-name players who have been drawn to Paul Reed Smith guitars, Zach Myers’ dedication to the brand is hard to beat. A faithful devotee since acquiring his first Custom 22 at the age of 14, the Shinedown lead guitarist was honored with his first SE signature model – a triple-humbucker single-cut – in 2010.
The recently released SE Zach Myers is the third PRS model to bear his name, and it does so while adding a new degree of elegance. In addition to his incendiary chops, Myers’ guitar-tech experience made him well primed to spec out an impressive new signature model, and the SE Zach Myers displays several thoughtful design touches as a result.
Based on the PRS single-cut shape and construction, it sports a chambered mahogany body with maple cap and flame-maple veneer. The top is bound in single-ply white plastic – rather than the traditional PRS “maple reveal” edge – other than within the cutaway, which displays the depth of the maple cap.
The top is finished in what PRS has dubbed Myers Blue, complemented by the clear knobs from his previous signature model, with a matching flame-maple veneer on the headstock face (the first time such a feature has adorned an SE model) and “Zach Myers” engraved on the truss-rod cover.
Like a lot of players, I tend to find the familiar PRS wide-fat neck profile one of those just-right shapes. This one doesn’t disappoint, and it’s arguably all the more comfortable thanks to its satin finish. It’s carved into a glued-in neck of solid mahogany, which is capped by a bound rosewood fretboard with bird inlays. It’s 1 11 /16 inches wide at the nut, which is the usual black synthetic affair, and the top end carries Kluson-esque vintage-style tuners with black buttons.
Scale length is the slightly shorter 24.5 inches that PRS has used when chasing a more traditional single-cut vibe.
The bridge is the guitar maker’s adjustable wraparound with brass saddles and studs – which Myers calls his favorite bridge of all time – and pickups are 245 “S” humbuckers wired to individual volume and tone knobs and a three-way selector.
Tested through a Princeton 1x10 combo, a 65amps London tube amp head and 2x12 cab, and several high-gain presets on the Neural DSP Quad Cortex, the SE Zach Myers proved to be an able-bodied rocker with plenty of nuanced character of its own.
With clean settings on the amp, the chambered mahogany lent a certain roundness and airiness to the clear, articulate pickups, which enhanced the depth and body of the guitar’s tone. I was impressed with how well the overall sound held together when shown some more drive, however, which enabled very tight, aggressive heavy-rock voicings without slurring the guitar’s inherent character.
Through a louder amp with overdrive, the guitar allowed easy feedback when desired, and excellent sustain, but it remained impressively controllable throughout, short of any foolish close-proximity high jinks with the 2x12 cab pumping hard in my studio.
Using the 245 “S” humbuckers with more vintage PAF- leaning winds (at 7.94k ohm neck and 8.72k ohm bridge) seems a wise move here, and they help the guitar stay clear and bright for rhythm chordal or arpeggio work, yet still chunky and well defined when pushing, say, a Boogie Mark IIC+ preset on the Quad Cortex – which, I have to add, was a lot of fun on this guitar.
All together, it makes for a versatile package that isn’t limited by any overly pigeonholing design choices.
All in all, this signature SE is an impressive model that should appeal to many players well beyond the Zach Myers fan base, and a great value at this price, earning it an Editors’ Pick Award.
- NUT: Synthetic self-lubricating, 1 11/16” wide
- NECK: Mahogany, wide-fat profile
- FRETBOARD: Rosewood, 24.5” scale, 10” radius
- FRETS: 22 medium-jumbo
- TUNERS: Vintage style
- BODY: Chambered mahogany with maple top and flame-maple veneer
- BRIDGE: PRS Adjustable Wraparound
- PICKUPS: Two PRS 245 “S” humbuckers
- CONTROLS: Two volume, two tone, three-way toggle switch
- FACTORY STRINGS: PRS Classic .010–.046
- WEIGHT: 7.4 lbs (as tested)
- BUILT: Indonesia
Visit PRS Guitars for more information.
Dave Hunter is a writer and consulting editor for Guitar Player magazine. His prolific output as author includes Fender 75 Years, The Guitar Amp Handbook, The British Amp Invasion, Ultimate Star Guitars, Guitar Effects Pedals, The Guitar Pickup Handbook, The Fender Telecaster and several other titles. Hunter is a former editor of The Guitar Magazine (UK), and a contributor to Vintage Guitar, Premier Guitar, The Connoisseur and other publications. A contributing essayist to the United States Library of Congress National Recording Preservation Board’s Permanent Archive, he lives in Kittery, ME, with his wife and their two children and fronts the bands A Different Engine and The Stereo Field.