Are you considering buying the PRS SE Mira?
Launched in 2007, the sleek Mira has since gained a great reputation amongst guitarists.
But is the PRS SE Mira right for you?
Although a true workhorse of a guitar, the right guitar depends on you as a player.
In this PRS SE Mira Review, we’ll explore in detail. By covering build quality, price, performance, and more, you’ll discover whether it’s the guitar for you. If it isn’t for you? Then we’ll reveal the best alternatives to the PRS SE Mira.
About Paul Reed Smith Guitars
Founded by Paul Reed Smith in 1985, PRS has cemented itself as a leading guitar manufacturer.
From their early Annapolis, Maryland base, Paul Reed Smith presented early designs of the PRS Custom to icons such as Carlos Santana and Al Di Meola. With the seal of approval of great guitarists, PRS grew into a world-renowned brand. They now create guitars that cater to different styles and budgets.
PRS guitars have become known as a fusion between Fender and Gibsons. The bodies are ergonomic with double cutaways akin to a Stratocaster. But the headstocks are 3×3 designs like a Gibson. Most PRS guitars feature dual humbuckers with coil-split options for single coil use. So, they’re versatile guitars. PRS guitars are identifiable by the bird inlays.
The PRS SE Mira, first came into their catalog in 2007, so is one of their newer guitars. Part of the SE collection, it’s an affordable guitar sitting in the low-mid price range.
PRS SE Mira Highlights:
Like many PRS guitars, the Mira offers trademark tonal versatility. But this is just one feature we liked. Let’s glance at everything we liked and what we didn’t.
What We Liked
- Versatility – The SE Mira has two humbucker pickups. But with coil-split capabilities, you also have access to single-coil tones. It’s the best of both worlds.
- Playability – PRS guitars are amazing to play and the SE Mira is no different. The wide thin neck is ideal for speedy runs, while the double-cutaway makes high fret access easy.
- Affordability – Made in Indonesia, the SE Mira doesn’t have the cost of a US-built PRS.
What We Didn’t Like
- No US build quality – Made in Indonesia the Mira doesn’t have the hallmarks of a premium US-built PRS. But at this price, it’s not unusual.
- Single Coil Weight – When engaging the single-coil mode, there’s some loss of lower-mid frequencies.
- High Gloss Neck – Some guitarists won’t even notice, but other players find a gloss neck sticky under stage lights.
PRS SE Mira Review: Features & Specifications
- Beveled mahogany body for comfortable playing.
- A wide-thin mahogany neck is pleasant for fast riffing and chords.
- Adjustable stoptail bridge allowing for precise intonation whatever the string gauge.
- Two 85/15 “S” pickups are wound to imitate the tone of PRS’s ’85 pickups. They also enable both humbucker and single-coil tones.
PRS SE Mira Review: Our Insights
From build quality to value, in this next section, we’ll take a deeper look at the PRS SE Mira.
Materials and Build Quality
PRS has a proven track record of creating guitars with great workmanship. True to form, the SE Mira has solid craftsmanship and materials.
Made in Indonesia, the build quality isn’t to the same standard as an American-built PRS. But the difference isn’t huge. The SE Mira has a high gloss finish compared to American-built designs with a satin nitrocellulose lacquer finish. The high gloss looks cheaper than the nitro.
But underneath the gloss, the SE Mira has a mahogany body and on a positive note, the high gloss will improve durability against scratches. The SE Mira will maintain its looks for a long time.
The set neck showcases a high level of craftsmanship. It’s sturdy with the mounting joint cut with precision to connect to the neck joint.
A mahogany neck and rosewood fingerboard is a timeless combination. The wide-thin neck feels robust in the hand, and let’s not forget the classic bird inlays for that unique PRS signature.
On higher grade PRS guitars, you’ll find upgraded hardware like the PRS Phase III Locking tuners. While the hardware won’t live up to such premium models, on the whole, the PRS designed hardware is solid.
Although the PRS SE Mira is one of the more affordable models, it’s a very well-made guitar.
Hardware and Electronics
Made of nickel, the PRS Adjustable Stoptail is both solid and practical. Helping maintain resonance from string vibration, the bridge improves sound quality.
This bridge design is a common feature on PRS guitars, featuring in over half their designs. Helpful for precise intonation, regardless of string gauge, the stoptail is also stable for alternative tunings such as drop d.
The tuners are the same nickel build quality. They do their job. But, an upgrade of locking tuners would go a long way to improving tuning stability. If you’re liking the idea of added tuning security, locking tuners aren’t an expensive upgrade.
A graphite composite nut isn’t as durable as nuts made from genuine bone. But again, this is a cheap upgrade, should you want.
The heartbeat to the tone of the PRS SE Mira comes from a pair of 85/15 “S” humbuckers. Designed by PRS to emulate the ’85 pickups, they deliver a translucent tone with a vintage spirit.
There’s a 3-blade switch. The first position engages the bridge alone, the second position both bridge and neck, while the third position engages the neck alone.
When using the bridge pickup on its own, there’s a prominence in the upper-midrange. Its tone has a snarl but is clear, so perfect for big riffs. The full frequency range shines through with the neck pickup.
You won’t need another guitar for a single-coil tone. Pull the master tone dial and away you go. You’ll lose some lower-mids with the coil-split engaged. While it won’t 100% replicate a Strat, the single-coil setting offers that Strat-like quack.
PRS’s unique tone is obvious with the SE Mira. With vintage tinges, it’s an expressive tone. Rolling back the volume dial will create a sweet clear tone, but you can get a little more bite by cranking the pots.
The PRS SE Mira is versatile, but where it really thrives is creating a classic rock tone.
The PRS SE Mira is easy to play. Weighing 6.4lbs, it’s one of the more lightweight guitars, so for extended use it won’t cause back and shoulder fatigue.
A wide thin neck and 10-inch radius fingerboard is a combination designed for slick playability. High gloss necks may not be to your preference, but if you’re used to this finish, it’s great.
Many affordable guitars suffer from poor fretwork. Sharp edges and unlevel frets make for poor playability. But the fretwork is tidy throughout and combined with the silky rosewood fingerboard, it’s luxurious to bend notes and play chords.
The body features ergonomic beveled smooth edges. The guitar rests against the guitarist without digging in causing discomfort. A double-cutaway allows your arm to reach high frets without inhibition.
The factory setup is low. So all in all, it’s a great guitar to play.
Where could there be improvements? Being though the SE Mira is a rock machine, a whammy bar would’ve been a delightful addition to extend the playability.
That said, the stoptail bridge goes a long way to protect tuning stability. So the lack of whammy does have benefits.
Priced a touch above $700, the PRS SE Mira is in the low to mid-price bracket. With an intermediate price tag, you won’t be able to buy an American-built guitar.
But even though the Mira isn’t built in America, the craftsmanship is fantastic. It’s a guitar with plenty of tonal options and excellent playability. So all things considered, this guitar offers great value for money. At the under $1,000 price point, the PRS SE Mira is a leading choice.
The main cost-cutting measures come from the hardware. You’ll find more expensive PRS guitars have improved tuners, nuts, and bridges. But, not only are these easy to upgrade, the hardware is still to a good standard and reflective of the price.
PRS SE Mira Review: Buying Experience
If you’ve confirmed your desire to own the PRS SE Mira. The next step is where to buy it from. If you’re going into your local store, remember to discuss their policies. Every store varies. My experience of buying the PRS SE Mira was through Sweetwater. The information below relates to my experiences.
A big factor in musicians choosing Sweetwater is the free shipping to the contiguous United States. There’s no minimum price, so whatever the gear, the free shipping ensures you get bang for your buck.
Furthermore, every purchase over $299 goes through a 55-point inspection. This involves a careful examination, including a playtest by trained technicians. So, if there are any issues in production, chances are they’ll catch it before posting.
The PRS SE Mira comes in a gig bag. While not the most sturdy, it’s well packaged. Should you want a hardshell case if you buy from Sweetwater they’ll put the guitar in the case before shipping.
PRS has an in-house limited warranty. I know you’re eager to shred, but the first thing you should do is register your guitar on the PRS website. This entitles you to a limited lifetime warranty. The warranty has terms and conditions but in general, protects against defects in materials and workmanship.
The PRS SE Mira has the build quality to last a lifetime. But by registering your product, it’ll protect you in case any issues arise from manufacturing defects. Sweetwater also had a free 2-year warranty. So, there are two ways to protect your guitar.
Sweetwater has a favorable return policy. If the PRS SE Mira arrives and it isn’t for you, you can return it.
The reason for a return doesn’t matter. For example, the Wide Thin neck is awesome, but some guitarists might not find it to their liking. If so, you can send it back as long as it’s within 30 days of shipping.
Upon return, you can either opt for a refund or credit in your Sweetwater account to try out another guitar.
Should You Buy the PRS SE Mira?
Obviously, this decision is all down to your and your preferences. But here are some pointers for who should consider the PRS SE Mira.
The PRS SE Mira is a workhorse of a guitar and is capable of extensive gigging. So if you’re looking for a pro-level guitar for studio and live performance on a budget. Priced under $800, it should be on your radar.
If you’re hoping for a versatile tonal palate, then the SE Mira offers scope. Not only for hot-driven tones, it cleans up nicely and also has the benefit of the coil-split for single-coil nuances.
Many guitarists find PRS the perfect middle ground if you’re torn between a Strat and a Les Paul. The PRS SE Mira is the best of both worlds, humbucker and single coil.
While versatile, if it’s a killer classic rock tone you’re after, this is where the PRS Se Mira excels.
PRS SE Mira Alternatives
Not convinced with the PRS SE Mira? Here are some SE Mira alternatives worth considering.
PRS SE Mira Vs PRS SE 245
The PRS SE 245 is an affordable version of Paul Reed Smith's Core SC 245 model. If you're someone who loves the traditional feel of a Les Paul, but want some upgrades to make it more modern, then the PRS SE 245 could be a great fit for you.
Both the PRS SE 245 and PRS SE Mira are in the SE Series. So, they’re similarly priced.
If the price can’t divide these guitars what does? Well, they’re two different guitars in many ways.
The PRS SE 245 offers a different playing experience to the SE Mira. For starters, the 245 is heavier. Both necks feel different to play, with a Wide Fat profile the 245 feels bulkier than the Wide Thin on the Mira.
Which is best? This is down to you as a guitarist. The 245 feels more vintage whereas the Mira is more modern to play. While both have the same 10″ finger radius and rosewood material fingerboard, the carve will make the playing experience different.
A PRS SE 245 has 245S pickups. These are wound hotter, so can achieve hard rock distortion easier. The 85/15 “S” pickups are cleaner, they still break into distortion albeit later than the 245S pickups.
For versatility, it’s hard to beat the SE Mira with the coil-split option. But, for heavier genres, the SE 245 has similar look and tonal qualities to a Les Paul.
PRS SE Mira Vs PRS SE Standard 24
The PRS Custom 24 was the first PRS guitar released. Problem is, an American-built Custom 24 can cost thousands of bucks.
An SE Standard 24 offers similar looks and tones for a much more affordable price. If you’ve always wanted to own the flagship 24 model, then this is your chance to get one on a budget.
Like the SE Mira, the SE Standard 24 is an Indonesian-built guitar. But with the classic PRS build, the 24 has many similarities to the more expensive classic.
It may not have the same body curves as the USA-made Core line, but the beveled body is comfortable all the same.
It’s a superb choice if you want a traditional PRS guitar. Whereas, having only released the SE Mira in 2007, it’s a newer product in their collection.
Both guitars are an upgrade from a beginner guitar and offer tonal versatility from the same 85/15 “S” pickups. Same scale length and trademark PRS excellent playability make them both great to play.
The SE Standard 24 has a whammy bar, whereas the Mira doesn’t. But looks alone will be a big factor in this. If you want a guitar that screams PRS, then it’s the Standard SE 24.
PRS SE Mira Vs Epiphone SG Custom
You may have some flexibility with the brand of your guitar. If you do, there’s no better alternative than an Epiphone. They mimic classic Gibson designs but at more affordable prices.
The SG is an iconic guitar. You’ll have seen it played by rock and rollers like Angus Young of AC/DC and Tony Iommi of Black Sabbath.
The guitarists who use the SG will give you a good idea who it’s for… it’s a rock-and-roll machine.
A warm and punchy tone resounds from the Alnico Custom PRO humbuckers. They’re powerful pickups for rhythm or cutting solos.
The double-horned body looks cool and also allows for high fret access. Lightweight, it’s easy to handle on stage.
Both the Epiphone SG Custom and SE Mira are more than capable of delivering top live performance. They both have two powerful humbucker pickups and great tones.
The SE Mira is much more flexible with a variety of tones at your fingertips, but for heavy rock riffs, the Epiphone SG Custom is one of the best in this price category. Still undecided? Let the visuals guide you on this one, they’re both great guitars.
The Bottom Line
The PRS SE Mira is of solid construction. In many ways, it’s a pro-level guitar at an intermediate price.
Fitted with 85/15 “S” pickups it’s a versatile guitar. The coil-split option enables both humbucker and single-coil tones. This feature gives you single-coil twang and fat humbucker tones on one guitar.
The Wide Thin neck has a comfort to it, the carve is neither delicate nor too bulky. With the signature bird inlays, it’s identifiable as a PRS.
While the body isn’t one of PRS’s more famous designs. Its mahogany beveled body is stylish, lightweight, and snug.
Which one is down to you. But whichever way you go, these are top guitars to provide great tone, craftsmanship and most of all, they’re fun to play.