PRS Special Semi-Hollow VS Super Eagle (Comparison)
Our pick: The Special Semi-Hollowbody
The Super Eagle is the John Mayer Signature model that Mayer designed with PRS after he left Fender. As such, it's part of the PRS Private Stock which are all hard to find on the open retail market. You can get them secondhand on sites like Reverb and eBay, but the Special Semi-Hollow is a dramatically better value, as the Super Eagle is simply priced too high to make sense for most buyers.
The PRS Special Semi-Hollow and the Super Eagle look similar. However, there's a massive difference in price separating the two. In fact, this price is so staggering that we seriously doubt most buyers would even consider the Super Eagle, which retails at roughly $15,000.
By comparison, the Special is about $4300 - still expensive, but manageable for someone looking for a serious, professional-level instrument.
We'll look at differences between the two guitars in this comparison, but we can't emphasize enough, the price of a private stock PRS guitar is almost always going to be extremely high. All of these guitars are built by hand, usually for well known artists, and have a high degree of customization and personal attention to detail.
There's absolutely nothing recycled or "factory" about the private stock.
Every single one has a uniqueness and personalization to it. That's ultimately what you're paying for if you go with a guitar like the Super Eagle.
PRS Special Semi Hollow VS Super Eagle (comparison section)
In this section we have a simple comparison table that allows you to see pricing and basic specs for each guitar. Yes, there are some differences on the spec sheet, but keep in mind it's the customization and the personal attention to detail that you're paying for in the Super Eagle.
PRS Special Semi-Hollow
PRS Super Eagle (John Mayer Signature)
Listening to the two audio demos, there isn't a ton of tone difference between the guitars. Yes, the Super Eagle is more specific - tweaked to John Mayer's preferences - but it's not necessarily better. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder so you be the judge.
Side by Side Specs
The "JM" tag on the Super Eagle pickup combination just means they were built to John Mayer's specifications. This means that other than some tweaking, they're essentially the same pickup you get in the Special. Like we already mentioned, you won't really find the price difference in the spec sheet. It's the attention to detail and the customization that you're paying for.
PRS Gen III Tremolo
PRS Patented Tremolo, Gen III
PRS 58/15 LT Humbucker
Specially-wound 58/15 JM bass
PRS Narrowfield Single-coil
Specially-wound Narrowfield JM pickup
PRS 58/15 LT Humbucker
Specially-wound 58/15 JM treble
1 x master volume, 1 x master tone, 2 x mini toggle coil-tap switches, 5-way blade pickup switch
Volume & Tone w/ 5-Way Blade Switch; 3 Mini Switches For Individual Coil Taps; 2 Mini Switches (On/Off and Treble Boost) for JCF
What are the biggest differences?
There are a ton of small differences between these two guitars (controls, body carving, back cover piece, electronics, pickup tweaks), but none of it really seems to cover or justify the added expense of the Super Eagle.
When the dust settles, you're paying for prestige and for the specifics set forth by John Mayer.
We would argue that the Special is a far better value and will almost always make more sense to purchase between the two.
Unless you're a collector or intensely enthusiastic about John Mayer's tone, go with the Special and save enough money to buy a small car.
Questions and Comments
Do you have questions or other thoughts about the PRS Special Semi-Hollow or the Super Eagle?
Is there something in your mind that justifies the price of the Super Eagle? Is John Mayer overrated?
For thoughts or questions, leave them in the comments section below and we can chat about it.
We'll talk then.