PRS SE Mark Holcomb (MHHB2)
PRS MHHB2 Specifications:
The MHHB2 is a fantastic addition to PRS’s more affordable SE series. You could consider it a sibling of the SE Custom 24 when comparing the two on paper, though some slight alterations give it a unique playing experience. For anyone familiar with the band Periphery, you’ll recognize Mark Holcomb’s name and have some high expectations for this guitar.
PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature vs SE Custom 24
PRS generally doesn’t have a ton of different body shapes, unlike ESP or Fender. So one double-cut PRS model is bound to draw comparisons to another. It’s all about the details with this company.
The MHHB2 has a darker aesthetic than the SE Custom 24 models – black hardware, black pickup covers, satin neck, and an ebony fretboard. Other than that, they’re essentially the same in appearance.
Scale & Tuning
PRS are careful to maintain a familiar standard of playability across their instruments, so a few changes are necessary to accommodate Periphery’s lower tuning. The Mark Holcomb model’s scale size jumps up to 25.5″, compared to PRS’s regular 25″. The guitar is shipped with a set of 10-48 strings and tuned to drop C. The thicker strings and lengthened scale help keep the string tension and action closer to that of a 25″ scale in standard tuning.
A Sharper Tone
The pickups in the MHHB2 are a definite sales point if you’re comparing to the SE Custom 24. The latter’s stock “S” series pickup set has had a divisive review history, with a fairly even spread of fans and critics. Fortunately, the Mark Holcomb Signature pickups from Seymour Duncan improve on some of the shortcomings of the “S” series pickups.
The most notable improvement here is the sharper note definition and improved attack on the Omega bridge pickup. There’s also a stronger presence of treble frequencies that the “S” series was lacking. All in all, the bridge tone is very favorable for metal-minded players (as demonstrated in the video).
In some respects, you might go so far as to compare the Seymour Duncan Omega to an EMG 81. This is high praise for a passive pickup meant for extreme metal. It’s worth noting that the demonstrations in the video have the gain turned to a tame level to let the pickup character shape the sound. An active pickup will handle higher gain settings much better by default, so don’t expect these passives to compete on that front.
The Alpha pickup at the neck compliments nicely with an added punchy bass tone that doesn’t stray too far away from the bridge tone. The second promotional video gives a better idea of the Alpha’s solo tones.
The PRS Mark Holcomb Signature guitar does a fantastic job of catering to the high gain market. The tonal differences in extreme metal are more dependent on amp settings than other genres, but the Alpha/Omega pickups seem to retain all of their note clarity and cut through the mix very nicely.
The voicing is on the trebly side, never bass heavy – this is perfect for fast, complex, high-gain metal. With 24 pickups, a 20″ radius, and a satin neck, you can be certain that this is exactly what PRS were going for.
If you play any variation of death metal, the MHHB2 is sure to please.
For anyone more interested in double-locking bridges and active pickups, the Kramer SM-1 is in the same price range.