PRS SE TX20E

Look­ing for an elec­tro-acous­tic that plays like a solid­body? This one’s for you...

Total Guitar - - CONTENTS -

The only vis­ual ev­i­dence that the new SE TX20E elec­tro-acous­tic is a Paul Reed Smith gui­tar at all is the clas­sic PRS head­stock shape, as well, of course, as that recog­nis­able and fa­mous flock of fly­ing bird in­lays on the fin­ger­board. That said, the beauty of this gui­tar is far more than just skin deep here with its J-200es­que Tonare Grand-shaped body play­ing host to a solid Sitka spruce top, lam­i­nate ma­hogany back and sides, a ma­hogany neck, glued in place, and an ebony fin­ger­board and bridge.

You’re ba­si­cally get­ting all the tasty stuff a wood­worm on death row would choose as its last meal.

The bone bridge sad­dle and per­fectly-cut top nut are qual­ity ap­point­ments, and at­ten­tion to de­tail is also ev­i­dent in the 20 medium frets, all beau­ti­fully seated and crowned. The playa­bil­ity here is pretty spe­cial too. The ac­tion is low, and the ‘Wide Fat’ neck pro­file copied from PRS electrics cer­tainly makes this one of the eas­i­est-to-nav­i­gate acous­tics we’ve ever played. The fact that the TX20E also comes with a hard case makes this deal look like a no-brainer. Although, of course, the thing has to sound good too...

The whole point of buy­ing a solid spruce top acous­tic is the tone should mel­low and ma­ture as it’s played. The down­side of that wait­ing game is that a brand-new acous­tic can feel that its balls are yet to drop, metaphor­i­cally speak­ing, of course. You might get a load of squeaky top end and brash midrange and very lit­tle depth in the bot­tom-end. The good news here is our TX20E’S voice has al­ready be­gun to break with bags of siz­zle and punch from the top and midrange, and we love the pi­ano-like sus­tain and depth from the bot­tom strings. Of course, you can tweak the sound to ex­actly where you want it to be via the on­board Fish­man GT-1 pickup. The preamp fea­tures a vol­ume and tone con­trol hid­den just in­side the TX20E’S sound­hole.

What we have here is a sorted mid-priced elec­tro-acous­tic with great build qual­ity and a pleas­ing tone straight off the peg. The im­por­tant thing to note here is that you could say that about a fair

bags of siz­zle and punch from the top and midrange

few gui­tars out there – and all avail­able at a sim­i­lar price. What we need is the SE TX20E’S unique sell­ing point. The easy an­swer is that clas­sic PRS ‘Wide Fat’ neck pro­file. If you’re an SE elec­tric fan then you al­ready know this neck, and the switch from your solid­body to this elec­tro-acous­tic should be pretty much seam­less. If, on the other hand, you’re new to the brand you might be sur­prised as to just how ap­proach­able that neck shape is. It se­cures this bird-dec­o­rated beauty a lofty perch in the af­ford­able elec­tro-acous­tic peck­ing or­der.

Ed Mitchell

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