PRS Mark Holcomb SE Review – An Epic Djent Signature Model

As you begin dabbling in the higher-end of affordable, you’ll see more and more signature electric guitars. Some are little more than an artist simply putting their endorsement on a guitar, while some actually depend on the artist’s input and creativity. With the MHHB2 SE from PRS, it’s certainly the latter. This mid-range metal-focused beauty has been closely developed by PRS alongside prog metal guitarist Mark Holcomb from the band Periphery. It’s a little more affordable than some of the pro-level guitars he plays, and at under $1000, it has to be a good deal… right? Let’s find out.

PRS-Mark-Holcomb-SE-Body

Body & Neck

Whether or not you are familiar with Periphery or Mark Holcomb, most people will be able to tell that this is a PRS SE right off the bat – the familiar well-contoured double-cutaway body shape and the bird fretboard inlays are a good give away. Along with a 25.5” scale length body, the materials go a long way to making this signature model stand out, as PRS use solid mahogany with a delightful quilted maple veneer top, all with an ominous translucent ‘Holcomb Burst’ finish.

The neck is superb. It’s satin-finished maple, with a very generous width and thin feel, although it retains a C shape, making for a fast but comfortable playing experience. This is capped with a bound rosewood fretboard and 24 medium frets, along with PRS signature bird fretboard inlays – it even sports glow in the dark side markers (perfect for dark stages!). This version is Korean-made, but it just feels beautiful to hold and play, with a fit and finish that puts some others to shame.

PRS-Mark-Holcomb-SE-Headstock

Hardware

It’s the electronics where this beautiful guitar really shines and makes this signature model truly worthy of its price tag. It’s fitted with two premium humbuckers – a Seymour Duncan Alpha at the neck with a Seymour Duncan Omega at the bridge. As we’ll discuss in a second, these are exciting pickups for this price. As for controls, PRS keep things streamlined with a three-way selector switch, and a simple master volume and master tone control, with the latter offering push/pull coil-splitting.

Sadly, the biggest problem with this guitar comes with the tuning stability. While the tuners feel nice to use, the guitar slips out of tune more often than you’d expect at this price. This seems to be down to the nut, which feels like the weakest link of an otherwise strong guitar. So, if you’re considering this model, also consider changing the nut! Elsewhere, the MHHB2 SE also features a fixed bridge and comes with a very nice padded gig bag.

Sound

While playability is a huge highlight of this guitar, its beastly tone takes top spot – and this is thanks to the Alpha and Omega pickups. We found an incredibly tight tone at the bridge, which is well-suited for all styles of heavy rock and metal, although the faster the better as this focused pickup can really cope. The neck is equally aggressive, with articulate modern bite whether played clean or dirty. Splitting the coil offers some additional mix-cutting capabilities for solos, and contributes to the overall quality and versatility of the MHHB2 SE.

Conclusion

So, yes – the MHHB2 SE is much, much more than a simple artist endorsement. It appears Mark has made his presence felt when it comes to specifications, which has resulted in an infinitely playable neck, kick-ass aesthetics, and a huge tone. Aside from the poorly produced nut, this is undoubtedly a winner and worthy of the relatively low asking price.

For more info about the PRS Mark Holcomb SE, click here.
For more electric guitars under $1000 you might like, click here.


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Comments

  1. I just bought one of these and I am really impressed. I am a guitar tech/luthier and I work on and buy and sell guitars. I have owned and played around 500 guitars. Most PRS SE guitars are of a good quality. This Mark Holcomb SE model is a step above. Details like a $300 set of Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega humbuckers. A really nice Ebony board (Full Ebony board, not a Ebony infused Rosewood board). A real Maple cap with a gorgeous quilt burst finish. This feels and plays like a core model to me. It sounds incredible for modern metal and regular metal and hard rock. It sounds great in standard tuning but as many reviews say really shines in like drop C.
    What is icing on the cake is how good it sounds clean and also playing some sizzling blues. But that is not what most people will buy this guitar for. I myself find it a great all around guitar. A+++

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