Paul Reed Smith 2001 Santana III 10 Top Reviews 5

Purchased used from Ebay for $2199.00

The guitar came ready to play. It was still in A440 tune when it arrived. The 10 top is visually stunning but the attention to all the details is what sets this guitar apart. I compared it to my Art and Historic Gibson '57 Leas Paul Gold Top. The fretwork is better on the PRS. It is a 1/4" shorter scale at 24.5" than a Gibson which makes it easier to bend the strings for blues work. The graphite nut is superior to bone for sustain and string movement during tuning. The tuners are a bit different than anything I've ever seen before but after reading the manual, (I hate reading manuals)they were easy to string and use. I like the tremelo arm because it doesn't have any threads. it simply pushes into the hole with a pressure fit. Stays where you leave it which may not be what some people like but will never strip and there is no spring to loose. The pickups on this model can have a sound that is close to a Les Paul if the volume and tone knobs are set just right but then it is not a Les Paul. Some settings almost sound like a wah wah pedal is connected as there is an "effect" sound. It's very fun to play with all the tonal possibilities. I've played it through a 808 modded tube screamer into a 5 watt Tweed Champ clone I built with a Fender tube reverb in front and the tone was just amazing. Made my fingers sore I played so long. Through the 1987X Plexi or Soldano HR 50, the sonic possibilities are endless. With only 1 volume and 1 tone knob with a single 3 way switch, it's hard to believe you can get so many different tone combinations. The finish is the highest gloss I've ever seen on a guitar. Reminds me of French Polish on a piece of furniture in a museum. The mahogany looks like a better grade than what is used on the Les Paul and it weighs about the same although it is a little thinner. Jack input plate is metal, not plastic like on the les paul. This is my main guitar now with the Les paul as a backup. I never thought I'd be saying that as I wouldn't even consider a PRS when I bought the Les paul. This guitar plays smooth as butter and has sustain for days!

This model has a very large heel at the base of the set neck. The body is cut out at an angle on the bottom horn so that access to the upper frets is no problem unless you have a specific playing style the the neck interferes with. It doesn't bother me but I wanted to make sure the huge neck heel was mentioned. Tone and sustain are gained from this "feature". When playing in a sitting position, the guitar feels a bit tail heavy when resting on my leg.

The construction is the absolute finest I've ever seen on a guitar. Everything is fitted and finished like a piece of fine art. The fretwork is magnifigant and the high gloss polyurethane finish is deep and flawless. The tuning keys, tremolo unit and bridge are top of the line hardware.

I wanted to buy a Santana II but the used prices are around $4,000.00 which makes it a collectors guitar. The Santana III is affordable as a players guitar and has the nicer pickups Santana is currently using. I'd immediately purchase another one if this one were lost or stolen and i can't say that about any of the other 9 high end guitars I own.

Spunky99 rated this unit 5 on 2004-04-08.

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