PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Overview and Best Prices

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Review
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  • 4 Prices - New from $1,519.05 >
  • From PRS's 2019 S2 series
  • Made in United States
  • 6 strings
  • 25"'' scale
  • 10" Fretboard Radius
  • Mahogany body
  • Mahogany neck
  • Rosewood fretboard
  • Bridge pickup: PRS-Designed DS-01 (Humbucker/Passive)
  • Neck pickup: PRS Type-D Singlecoil (Single Coil/Passive)
  • 1 volume and 1 tone Speed knobs
  • 3-way Switch
  • PRS Plate Style bridge
  • Pattern Regular Set neck
  • 22 Medium Jumbo frets
  • PRS Phase III Locking tuners
  • See all specs and compare >

Our Scores and Tone Evaluation

Playability 73
Sound 75
Build quality 69
Value for money 67
Overall Score 72
Tone Evaluation
  • Heavy Metal
  • Hard Rock
  • Jazz
  • Blues
  • Funk
  • Country
Strengths & Weaknesses
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow
  • Locking Tuners
  • Made in United States
  • Expensive Wood
  • PRS Propietary Nut
  • Top Brand Pickups
  • Coil Split Pickups
  • Cheap Fret Wire (NS)
  • No Neck-Through Build
  • No Luminescent Inlay
  • No Tremolo
  • No Compound Radius Fretboard
  • No 21:1 Tuner Ratio
  • No Strap Lock

Price Overview

Its average competitor's price is $3900, which means that the PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow is around 52% cheaper than the competition. This takes into account all instruments of the same category in our database with 6 strings and Fixed bridge that are made in United States.

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User Feedback

Not all instruments are created equally. That's why it's important to have different opinions. Here's what our users who have played this instrument say. If you've played it before, help others by voting below!

Weight

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Neck access to high frets

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Neck profile shape

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Fret edges

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Pickups noise

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Videos

The S2 Vela Semi-hollow Satin | PRS Guitars
The S2 Vela Semi-hollow | PRS Guitars
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Satin - In-Depth Review!
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Guitar Demo & Sounds
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Review
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Playability

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow meets 6 out of our 8 criteria items for beginner friendliness, which means that it's a good guitar to start with as a complete beginner. This takes into account the type of frets, scale length, nut width, bridge type, fretboard radius, and neck profile to determine the easiest combination for new players to get used to.

New Player Friendliness

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow
  • Comfortable shape
  • Easy-to-use bridge
  • Locking tuners
  • Tall frets
  • Narrow nut
  • Comfortable neck
  • Comfortable fretboard
  • Short scale

Hand Size Comfortability

After taking into account the neck profile, scale size, fretboard radius, and nut width, we can conclude that the PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's construction favors people with relatively small hands.

Nevertheless, this comes down in the end to personal preference. Make sure you test this guitar—or another one with similar characteristics—before buying.

Big Hands
Small Hands

Scale Length

Scale length is the distance the strings will span between the bridge and the nut. It can tell you a lot about the overall playability and tone of the instrument. A longer scale length means longer distance between frets, brighter tone and more string tension—which means lower action, but more difficult bending of the strings.

Here's the PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's 25" scale length compared to other common sizes:

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Scale Length Comparison
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's scale length (at the top) compared to other popular sizes

This is the scale found in most PRS guitars, and it's right between the length of most Stratocasters and Les Pauls.

The scale length will affect the separation of the frets, the string tension, and even the tone of the guitar. The longer the scale, the more separated the frets are, which makes it a bit harder to move fast on the fretboard. Also, the higher tension of the strings will make them feel stiffer, so bending will require more strength. However, a longer scale also allows you to lower the action of the strings and make them closer to the fretboard, which makes them easier to press. Finally, the tone will also sound brighter with a longer scale.

A 25'' scale makes all of this feel right between a Stratocaster (longer scale) and a Les Paul (shorter scale).

Don't forget that you can also affect the tension of the strings by changing your string gauge.

More with the same scale length:

Neck Profile

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Neck Profile
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's neck profile

The neck profile tells you the thickness (neck depth) and shape in cross section. Every difference will completely change the feeling and comfortability of the neck. This is a highly subjective thing, but most players indeed prefer certain types of necks (like Cs and Ds) because they feel nice in most hands.

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's neck thickness is approximately 0.84'' (21.3mm) at the first fret, and 0.94'' (23.9mm) at the twelfth.

These measurements were taken either from the official PRS website, or, in case this information wasn't provided, by researching multiple online marketplaces and forums where owners of this model have posted their measurements.

It has a C type neck. C-shaped necks like this have been the most popular for the last years. The reason is that they feel good in most hands. It's generally a thin neck that doesn't get in your way when playing fast, but that also has enough mass to give your hands a comfortable grip for chords if they aren't too big.

Thin necks like this make it easier to move your hand across the neck and it helps when playing fast solos, especially if you like to leave your thumb free while playing high on the fretboard. However, thinner necks are also weaker and will need adjustment more often than a thicker neck.

More for different hand sizes

Fretboard Radius

When it comes to fingerboard radius, personal preference will dictate which one is better for you. However, most people seem to agree that a more curved (lower) radius will make it easier to play chords while a less curved (higher) radius is better for soloing and bending.

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow has a 10" fingerboard radius.

Here's an image comparing this fretboard radius to other popular choices:

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Fretboard Radius Comparison with Fender Stratocaster and Gibson Les Paul
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's fretboard radius compared to others

This is slightly flatter than the typical modern Stratocaster, but not by a lot. This radius will make it comfortable to play chords without muting strings accidentally. However, when compared to Strats, the extra .5 inches radius will make it slightly more comfortable to play solos without sacrificing too much chord playability.

Compound radius fingerboards give the best of both worlds. Unfortunately, the PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow has the same radius across the board.

More with the same fretboard radius:

Playability compared to main competitors

25'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.656'' Nut Width
10'' Fretboard Radius
24.5'' Scale Length
Vintage Neck Profile
1.656'' Nut Width
11.5'' Fretboard Radius
25'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.656'' Nut Width
10'' Fretboard Radius
25'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
10'' Fretboard Radius
25'' Scale Length
C Neck Profile
1.688'' Nut Width
10'' Fretboard Radius

Nut Width

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Nut Width
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Nut Width

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow has a nut width of 42.1mm (1.656''). This is considered a narrow width for a 6-string guitar. This means that this guitar will have a narrower string separation at the nut, which will affect your fretting hand.

If you are a player with big hands, you might find it difficult to play chords without muting strings. However, this is good for players who have smaller hands, as it will allow them to reach each string more easily at the nut.

Frets

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow has 22 frets. Even though 24 frets has become really popular, there's still a good reason to get fewer frets; the pickup at the neck position will be further away from the bridge. This makes the neck pickup achieve a warmer tone. You might want this if you're playing Jazz or similar genres.

However, if you don't care about the warmer neck pickup, more frets will always be better. It's always nice to have the option to play higher notes if you want to.

It comes with nickel silver frets, so they won't last as long as stainless steel frets. If you use your instrument a lot, you might need to replace the frets after a few years. But this is unlikely as most people change instruments before this happens.

More with the same amount of frets:

Fret Size

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow Fret Size Comparison
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's fret size (in orange) compared to other popular sizes

Finally, let's talk about fret size. Some people prefer tall frets because it's easier to press the strings and perform bends since there's less friction against the fretboard. On the other hand, some people like shorter frets because they like to touch the fretboard when playing, or because they got heavy hands and tend to press too much on the string and alter the of the note pitch accidently.

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's frets are Medium Jumbo size. These sit somewhere between a Jumbo and a Medium fret. They're not quite as tall as a full Jumbo, so you'll still feel the fretboard, but you won't feel it as much as with medium frets. This is a good size if you want to make it easy to press the strings but would also like a little bit of ''feedback'' to know when to stop pressing so the notes don't go out of pitch.

More with the same type of frets:

Playability Score

Bending & Vibrato Ease 75
Chord Playability 80
Solo Playability 65
Playability 73

Tone

Wood will have little influence in the final tone of an electric guitar or bass. Instead, the hardware, especially the pickups, will be the most important thing to look at. Bur first, let's see the quality of the wood.

Wood

Mahogany wood pattern used for guitar building
Mahogany Body, Neck
Rosewood wood pattern used for guitar building
Rosewood Fretboard

Mahogany Body and Neck: This is the type of wood found in many top-of-the-line guitars, so that's a positive point for the build quality. This red-looking wood Mahogany is found in Africa and Central America and has great sustain and a warm tone due to its high density. The downside about this type of wood is that it's relatively heavy.

Rosewood Fretboard: Since the ban of Brazillian Rosewood, this has become a rare and expensive wood. It's not usually used for guitar bodies because of this, and also because it's heavy. Instead, it's used mainly for fretboards. Sometimes it's also used for necks because it's an extremely hard wood (even harder than maple). Its tonality tends to favor warm tones.

More made with the same wood:

Pickups

This guitar comes with pickups from one of the top brands: PRS. So you can expect well built pickups with great sound that shouldn't need an upgrade anytime soon.

These are passive pickups, so you can expect a rounder sound and a moderade level of output.

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's configuration is HS. One humbucker at the bridge will give you a lot of output, but you'll also have the bright sound of a Tele or Strat neck pickup for your clean tones.

More with the same pickups

22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
PRS-Designed DS-01 Bridge Pickup
PRS Type-D Singlecoil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
PRS-Designed DS-01 Bridge Pickup
PRS Type-D Singlecoil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
PRS-Designed DS-01 Bridge Pickup
PRS Type-D Singlecoil Neck Pickup
22 Frets
Fixed Bridge
PRS-Designed DS-01 Bridge Pickup
PRS Type-D Singlecoil Neck Pickup

Versatility

It comes with the popular 3-way switch that is present in most guitars. For more versatility, players tend to prefer a 5-way switch, although it all depends on what you want to use your guitar for.

It has a Coil Split option. It allows you to 'split' or turn off pickup coils to get even more tones in combination with the pickup selector. When used with humbucker pickups, it'll reduce the output and increase their clarity, turning them essentially into single-coil pickups.

Diagram

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow pickups switch and push knobs diagram
PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow's switch options

What music genre is it good for?

As a 6 strings, Semi-Hollow guitar with HS configuration and Passive pickups, we'd recommend it for genres like Blues or similar. However, you can use almost any guitar for any genre. This is just the typical type of music for this particular one.

Sound Score

Pickups 90
Sustain 70
Versatility 59
Tuning Stability 80
Sound 75

Build Quality

Country of Origin

Knowing where the instrument is produced is a good way to know how well it's built. Some manufacturing countries are known for having higher quality standards. For example, most expensive instruments are made in the US or Japan, but there are some exceptionally great countries—like South Korea—that are building a good reputation.

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow is made in United States. Guitars made in the USA have the reputation of being the best instruments you can get. This statement isn't as accurate as a few years ago, but you should still expect top-quality from a guitar made in this country.

Bridge

PRS Plate Style: The advantage of fixed bridges is that they don't require any kind of set-up. This makes it extremely easy when changing strings because you don't need to adjust anything besides tuning the guitar. Also, the fact that the bridge is directly attached to the body will help to increase sustain. The disadvantage is the lack of versatility since you can't create the same vibrato effects as with tremolo bridges.

More with the same type of bridge:

Tuners

The PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow comes with locking tuners, which helps with tuning stability and makes changing strings a lot faster and easier. As long as they're high quality, these are the best tuning machines you can have. The only disadvantage is that they are a bit heavier than normal tuners.

Nut Material

Another important thing to analyze is the nut material, as it's one of the most important aspects that can affect the sound and playability of your guitar. A well-cut nut will make sure it stays in tune and will make it more comfortable to play.

In this case, the PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow has a PRS Propietary nut. PRS uses a synthetic material that is self-lubricating and fairly strong. This is good for playability and tuning stability. The tone is not as bright as with TUSQ nuts, and it's also not as resistant, but it's still a good quality nut.

Neck Joint

The neck joint is the part where the neck of the guitar meets the body. There are three main techniques to attach both parts together: Set-In, Bolt-On and Neck-Through. The latter two provide different advantages, although neck-throughs are the most expensive.

This guitar has a Set neck joint. This type of neck joint consists of using different pieces of wood for the neck and the body of the guitar. Both pieces are then glued together. This is more expensive to make than a bolt-on neck, but it's cheaper than a neck-through guitar. Some people believe that this gives more sustain than a bolt-on neck due to both pieces having a 'better connection' than with bolts. Still, it's something difficult to prove.

However, this type of neck joint does have the disadvantage of not allowing you to easily swap the neck for another. This makes this type of neck joint less mod-friendly.

More with the same build:

Build Quality Score

Quality of materials 46
Features 70
Quality Control 90
Build Quality 69

All Specs

PRS S2 Vela Semi-Hollow
General
Brand: PRS
Year: 2019
Configuration: HS
Strings: 6
Made in: United States
Series: S2
Colors: White, Black, Blue, Green, Red, McCarty Tobacco Sunburst
Left-Handed Version: No
Body
Type: Semi-Hollow
Body Material: Mahogany
Bridge: PRS Plate Style
Neck
Neck Joint: Set
Tuners: PRS Phase III Locking
Fretboard: Rosewood
Neck Material: Mahogany
Decoration: Dots
Scale Size: 25"
Shape: Pattern Regular
Thickness: 1st Fret: 0.84'' (21.3mm) - 12th Fret: 0.94'' (23.9mm)
Frets: 22 Medium Jumbo
Fretboard Radius: 10"
Nut: PRS Propietary
Nut Width: 42.1mm (1.656'')
Electronics
Switch: 3 Way
Knobs: Speed
Pickup Mods: Coil Split
Volume Controls: 1
Tone Controls: 1
Bridge Pickup: PRS-Designed DS-01 (Humbucker / Passive)
Neck Pickup: PRS Type-D Singlecoil (Single Coil / Passive)