Monday, July 10, 2017

PRS S2: Vela Semi (Reclaimed)

PRS recently launched a limited run of instruments featuring reclaimed wood. Both the Vela (S2 series, semi-solid) & CE 24 (semi-solid) in the offerings feature peroba rosa as body tops & brauna preto as fretboards. Both instruments feature a satin finish with no colour coating to conceal flaws, construction scars & attachment holes. These are definitely tell-tale signs of wood being given a second life for a worthy cause. 

Construction, fit, finish
The typical PRS philosophy dictates that every instrument in its USA charge be given that very close scrutiny & this includes the ones from the S2 range. This Vela Reclaimed model is a typical S2 member & speaks for the PRS QC standards in general; excellent from top to bottom. As the body is an unfinished unit, the raw feel is especially pronounced round the F-hole edges. This might be the only point of contention as everything else was well done; very high standards, nothing unusual if you bear the PRS monicker. 

Feel, tone
Peroba rosa is a heavy wood type. The semi-solid routing done here was to facilitate weight-resonance relationship as much as tone. So if you thought it's a tone thing, it's a weight thing as well. This satin finished neck is as addictive as a gloss version on the standard S2 Vela, it's down to the profile. PRS' 'regular' cut means there is no particular emphasis on rounded or flat dynamics. It's comfortable & appeal to many playing styles. Coming to the brauna preto fretboard, feel-wise, it manifests a very ebony-type hardness but those open pores there mean there is a semblance of rosewood in the works. 

The pickups here are exactly the models in the gloss-finished Vela; a Type-D single coil & a Starla bridge. In terms of clarity, the single coil has more to offer in both clean & driven modes. The bridge humbucker in this case, sounded very acceptable at high gain settings. There seems to be no let up in terms of clarity unlike the glossed out Vela where things tend to get wooly with more distortion dialled up. Two considerations to account for this; the satin finish & semi solid construction. These 'breathing' features contribute rather markedly to warmth as well. This isn't a cheesy attempt to rope in the metal posse but there's a good serving of metal here despite the instrument being a little hollow.

I own both the solid body Vela & this semi-solid model. If you ask me now which version I prefer, I'd say this satin finished take plus a hint of emptiness in the body, is it. The clarity on offer was unexpected. I had plans to swap the bridge pickup out after the solid body experience but I'm convinced, after a personal encounter, the Starla humbucker deserves to be there. The thing with uncelebrated wood type is, it makes or breaks the instrument. PRS has a scrupulous set of criteria when it comes to wood considerations & both the peroba rosa & brauna preto make the cut. Regardless of their unknown nature, they didn't de-PRS the instrument in terms of tone & feel. If you have to put your money on people who know what they are doing, the PRS camp would be a fine bet. 

Overall rating: 89%

Product availability: Davis GMC
Price: Quotation upon availability

Note: As this model is a limited run, it is not a standard inventory of Davis GMC. Please talk to the them if you wish to arrange for a purchase. 

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