PRS SE Custom 24
PRS SE Custom 24 Specifications:
PRS guitars are world-renowned for their build quality and playability. In a world of mass-made guitars, good quality control is a huge plus. The PRS SE Custom 24 is part of a more affordable series (that’d be the SE part) from the company, but you’d never know comparing them side by side. With a price difference of about $2500, you may be wondering exactly what the differences are.
Comparing PRS’s SE series guitars to standard models
The SE Custom 24 has a slightly different PRS patented tremolo system – SE 24 is a molded version, while the standard 24 has a Gen III bridge and locking tuners. The company assures us that the function for all variations of their tremolo remains exactly the same apart from the Gen III having “a few notable updates that further support the fidelity of the guitar’s tone and maximize sustain”.
So far, the SE is looking more and more like the only logical buy between the two when you consider the huge price bump.
How do the SE Custom 24’s “S” pickups sound?
The pickups in the PRS SE Custom 24 have a pretty even love/hate split across the review boards. The SE 24 is stocked with an “S” series of the 85/15 pickups that the standard 24 carries.
There are few companies that ever get their stock pickups right due to their attempts to cater to a wide array of preferences. That means you’re going to get a set of balanced pickups that don’t lean too heavily one way or another. Of course that doesn’t necessarily mean they have to be bad, but it often translates to sterility. It just so happens that the stock pickups in the PRS SE Custom 24 have been described exactly so.
Even so, while the pickups can generally be seen as the weak link in PRS’s guitars, you’ll likely find many more players who prefer not to switch them out then if you were to compare to other companies who insist on providing their own branded pickups.
Watching this video, you can see that the stock pickups in the SE series instruments do have a wide range of tones – the breakup is a little soft though, so if you’re looking for something crunchier, you’ll probably want to switch them out.
The rolled back tones are on the warmer side and fairly expressive, but there’s a creaminess that doesn’t translate well when the gain goes up. You’re left wanting a little more bite and note definition.
Again, you can’t do everything at once with a single pickup, so as far as company-branded stock pickups go, these are a success. Definitely more suited to progressive rock than metal though.
Some further comparisons to consider
There are two more key points to consider when comparing the PRS SE Custom 24 to its more expensive counterpart – the neck and the electronics.
The SE foregoes the fancy coil tapping / parallel pickup options and carries a standard 3-way switch (bridge, neck, both). A push-pull tone knob conveniently allows you to dial in both of your pickups individually.
Regarding the neck, the PRS SE Custom 24 has a wide-thin shape and is made from maple (the standard model is made from mahogany). Other than that, you’re still getting the same 25” scale length, same set-in neck joint, and the same cool bird inlays on a rosewood fretboard. If you have a particular preference for maple necks, you may even find the SE series to be preferable in every scenario.
All in all, the PRS SE Custom 24 is an absolute steal at its current list price. The 25” scale plays noticeably easier than the standard Fender 25.5” due to the lightened string tension. When you take into account the 24 medium-jumbo frets and high cutaways that allow you perfect access to the upper fretboard, it’s hard not to call this a shredder’s guitar. And you’ll be hard-pressed to find better build quality at this price.
If you’re looking for a PRS guitar in the same price range that’s geared slightly more toward metal, you’ll definitely want to check out the Mark Holcomb signature.