#1
Basically I'm very seriously planning on buying a second electric guitar later this year (if everything goes as planned), and the PRS SE Custom 24 has always been my #1 choice to consider - besides my general adoration for how lovely PRS guitars are, the specs seem to be perfect for what I'm looking for, and frankly I haven't found a fixed bridge guitar so far that would fit the needs I have so well. Quite obviously I'd make the final decision after actually playing it myself, but we're talking about basic research for now.

Now, the problem is, I've never really had a chance to play a guitar with a non-fixed bridge or trem of any kind for a longer time, and this is the thing that worries me the most. I've heard horror stories of bridges with trems detuning, taking ages to change tuning and things like that, and I don't know what to make of this. I know I'd make good use of a trem if I had one (particularly for my more ambient-ish things), but I can easily live without it. And since those are different in guitars of different companies, I decided to just ask for this one specifically.

So, the whole point of this post:
1) Does the SE Custom 24 hold tune well? (Doesn't have to be "won't go 1/20 semitone out of tune after 10 hours of heavy riffing" well, but just fairly solid) Note that I'm not planning to do massive divebombs or something with the trem, rather for subtle vibrato and maybe occasional larger bends.
2) Is it significantly more difficult to change tunings on the PRS trem than on a fixed bridge? I'm not taking some crazy E standard to drop A changes, I'll probably stay within the E standard to D standard area, nevertheless for the purposes of experimenting and learning songs, this is an important issue for me.

Sorry if these questions seem dumb, but I really haven't had much experience in this department and I'm kind of confused by what I've read, and this will help me make the choice.
#2
I have a 2013 PRS SE Custom 24.

It is hard question to answer. It all depends on who is using it. Some players to things you didn't think was possible with a vintage style trem, and others complain they can't even touch theirs before the guitar goes horribly out of tune. I don't personally use the trem at all (not even on my FR-equipped guitars).

Like all guitars with a trem, it will need a good setup to stay in tune with use.

When it comes to changing tunings? Since the bridge is balancing between the tension of the strings and the springs in the tremelo cavity, changing one will mean that the bridge will be misaligned and the guitar needs to be setup to play really well. It isn't something you want to do twice a day. You could probably change the tuning and play if we're talking about E-Eb or the like, but the guitar will probably not be in optimal shape.

So in the end, it comes down to what you want to achieve. Is it hard to change tuning? Just turn the tuning pegs!
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

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#3
The prs guitars are always pretty solid. The se custom 24s are no exception, and they will handle minor tuning changes well, at least as well as the strings. Changing strings is pretty close to strat style with feeding from the back over the saddles and so on. Now if this is a FR that changes the game a little but the standard vintage style trem works pretty good. And just BTW's i love the neck on those guitars, it just feels "right".
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#4
Quote by HomerSGR
I have a 2013 PRS SE Custom 24.

It is hard question to answer. It all depends on who is using it. Some players to things you didn't think was possible with a vintage style trem, and others complain they can't even touch theirs before the guitar goes horribly out of tune. I don't personally use the trem at all (not even on my FR-equipped guitars).

Like all guitars with a trem, it will need a good setup to stay in tune with use.

When it comes to changing tunings? Since the bridge is balancing between the tension of the strings and the springs in the tremelo cavity, changing one will mean that the bridge will be misaligned and the guitar needs to be setup to play really well. It isn't something you want to do twice a day. You could probably change the tuning and play if we're talking about E-Eb or the like, but the guitar will probably not be in optimal shape.

So in the end, it comes down to what you want to achieve. Is it hard to change tuning? Just turn the tuning pegs!

That's pretty much what I'm asking for - I know it's going to vary depending on the user, and I think I'm rather on the "delicate" side most of the time (maybe except when I get into heavier riffing, but hybrid string sets with heavier bottom kind of solve that), but just wondering what the consensus is.

And yeah, that's exactly what I'm asking about - basically if I can just tune from E to D and play normally save for some minor intonation issues like on a fixed bridge (so yeah, "just turn the tuning pegs"), or if it's going to result with weird stuff happening. I admit I have literally zero experience in this department, so I may be asking a pretty basic question, but it is kind of important to me.
#5
Quote by TheLiberation
That's pretty much what I'm asking for - I know it's going to vary depending on the user, and I think I'm rather on the "delicate" side most of the time (maybe except when I get into heavier riffing, but hybrid string sets with heavier bottom kind of solve that), but just wondering what the consensus is.

And yeah, that's exactly what I'm asking about - basically if I can just tune from E to D and play normally save for some minor intonation issues like on a fixed bridge (so yeah, "just turn the tuning pegs"), or if it's going to result with weird stuff happening. I admit I have literally zero experience in this department, so I may be asking a pretty basic question, but it is kind of important to me.



The answer to your question:

If you tune the low E string down to drop-D then it'll change the string tension on the bridge. The bridge will then lift up from the body ever so slightly and the other 5 strings will all go a little bit out of tune. All you have to do to fix it is to re-tune.

It's not going to be as simple as a fixed bridge in other words, but the extra tuning practice will be good for you.


I am in the same boat as you. I've got a year and a half of casual learning under my belt and I don't like changing the tuning on my PRS SE (Paul Allender model)
I have an Epi Les Paul that I tuned to drop-D and I'll get that out and play it every now and then.

My PRS was on the wall at the store for a long time and the strings were pretty corroded by then. When I initially brought it home I changed the strings first thing. I had tuning issues that resolved themself within a day or two. Humidity? String tension? I don't know.

I then did as much as I was able to get the guitar set up properly. The bridge has springs that you can add if you'd like, but I like it just fine with 3 springs. You tune the guitar, then get the bridge level, tune again, get intonated, tune again, check that the bridge is level again, tune again.
If you get everything set up properly in the beginning then the tuning stability will be a lot better than if you just do the bare minimum. I don't use the trem at all (yet) but I left it floating and I think that my PRS holds tune every bit as well as the Epi and the tuners feel a little more precise too.

I have read some accounts from others who feel that the PRS SE tremolo system is not good enough for regular use unless you first upgrade to a locking nut. I can't say anything about that myself - but it's what I've heard. There are plenty of other people who say that they use their trem all the time and have no problems. The disagreement seems to be drawn along the "massive divebomb" line. It appears to me that the people who are dissatisfied with SE trems are the divebombers, and the people who use it lightly are generally satisfied.

I hope that helped.
Last edited by paul.housley.7 at Aug 23, 2014,
#6
I have a PRS SE Custom 24 2012 model, switched out the nut with a Graphtech one and switched out the tuners to Grover Locking ones. Holds tuning very well!
Quote by IMTHAMAN01013
I named my guitar after my GF once... It was tempremental, the neck was too fat, and I couldn't turn down the volume, just like her...
#7
Quote by 350EX
I have a PRS SE Custom 24 2012 model, switched out the nut with a Graphtech one and switched out the tuners to Grover Locking ones. Holds tuning very well!

Of course a Grover locking tuner system holds tuning very well; that the damn point of any locking system. But, since TS is asking about how well the stock bridge holds tuning, your comment is irrelevant.

OT:
Yes, that should stay in tune pretty well. It's basically a "Strat style" trem system. Those are quite stable tuning-wise, as long as you're not tuning from E standard to C standard (or something wide like that).
#8
I have a PRS SE custom; the trem holds tuning much better than my MIM strat, and I can be pretty heavy handed with it.
Personally, I don't really change tuning with it(one of the up sides to having way too many guitars), so can't really comment on that aspect.
#9
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Of course a Grover locking tuner system holds tuning very well; that the damn point of any locking system. But, since TS is asking about how well the stock bridge holds tuning, your comment is irrelevant.


TS is asking how the GUITAR holds tune.

The point of a locking tuner system is simply to make stringing easier. It was proven 20+ years ago that the locking mechanism itself has little to do with maintaining tuning. There's no reason to change out the tuners unless you need the extra few seconds they provide on a string change.

The Graphtech nut will have more to do with maintaining tuning; if you can keep your strings from being hung up in the nut, you've moved a giant step toward tuning maintenance.

The tail of the trem will drop if you tune down a whole step (E to D); you might want to aim for balance at Eb if you're going to be doing a lot of that. Overall, however, not much of an issue. This is, however, one of the hassles I avoid by working with a Variax guitar. I can have my Floyd (or strat-style trem) and change my tuning too, pretty much anywhere I want it.
#10
Quote by TheLiberation
That's pretty much what I'm asking for - I know it's going to vary depending on the user, and I think I'm rather on the "delicate" side most of the time (maybe except when I get into heavier riffing, but hybrid string sets with heavier bottom kind of solve that), but just wondering what the consensus is.

And yeah, that's exactly what I'm asking about - basically if I can just tune from E to D and play normally save for some minor intonation issues like on a fixed bridge (so yeah, "just turn the tuning pegs"), or if it's going to result with weird stuff happening. I admit I have literally zero experience in this department, so I may be asking a pretty basic question, but it is kind of important to me.


What I meant with depending on the user is that it can be heavily abused by divebombs and still hold tune if the user knows all the tricks with the system in question, whereas an inexperienced user could experience tuning problems just with a light vibrato. Everything from setup to how you use the trem is going to be important - more often than not, it is the strings catching in the nut after a dive bomb that is going to make the guitar come out of tune. Some players just yank the tremolo arm fast afterwards and it comes back in tune. (Look at Yngwie Malmsteen).

Quote by Silver77
The prs guitars are always pretty solid. The se custom 24s are no exception, and they will handle minor tuning changes well, at least as well as the strings. Changing strings is pretty close to strat style with feeding from the back over the saddles and so on. Now if this is a FR that changes the game a little but the standard vintage style trem works pretty good. And just BTW's i love the neck on those guitars, it just feels "right".


The neck profile is drastically different between my friend's 2012 and my 2013, so I believe they have either changed it recently or they aren't very consistent. Mine is much thinner and has no shoulder - the difference is huge in feel.

I still agree that they are solid guitars but always try them and make sure you like them before you buy. It doesn't matter how good the guitar is if you don't like it.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
Last edited by HomerSGR at Aug 24, 2014,
#11
Quote by dspellman
The point of a locking tuner system is simply to make stringing easier. It was proven 20+ years ago that the locking mechanism itself has little to do with maintaining tuning. There's no reason to change out the tuners unless you need the extra few seconds they provide on a string change.

Since there is less string slippage, a locking tuning peg would contribute to keeping the guitar in tune.
#12
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Since there is less string slippage, a locking tuning peg would contribute to keeping the guitar in tune.


If you have stringed the guitar up correctly the string slippage would be so minimal it would be unnoticeable.
"Your signature can not be longer than 250 characters."

How you know you have too many guitars...

Apparently once also known as PonyFan #834553.
#13
Quote by crazysam23_Atax
Since there is less string slippage, a locking tuning peg would contribute to keeping the guitar in tune.


That was asserted 20+ years ago, and that's what was disproved way back then.

There's virtually zero string slippage with either locking or non-locking tuning pegs.
Locking tuners are not a substitute by any means for either a locking nut or a behind-the nut string lock (ala Kahler). All that said, it's the movement of the string through the nut slots (or, more accurately, the lack of it) that causes most tuning issues.
#14
Quote by dspellman
That was asserted 20+ years ago, and that's what was disproved way back then.

There's virtually zero string slippage with either locking or non-locking tuning pegs.
Locking tuners are not a substitute by any means for either a locking nut or a behind-the nut string lock (ala Kahler). All that said, it's the movement of the string through the nut slots (or, more accurately, the lack of it) that causes most tuning issues.

Fair enough.
#15
Ok, thanks a lot for answers, particularly paul.housley.7 and HomerSGR for the detailed post, this does answer most of my doubts.

The decision is still definitely not happening right now, but this will help me a lot in deciding when the time comes, so... The PRS is still very high on the list
#16
Quote by paul.housley.7
The disagreement seems to be drawn along the "massive divebomb" line. It appears to me that the people who are dissatisfied with SE trems are the divebombers, and the people who use it lightly are generally satisfied.

I hope that helped.


Yeah, that's pretty much it. On mine, though, you can dive-bomb, and it'll go out of tune, but if you wait a minute and dive-bomb again, it goes back in tune. It's weird...
#17
Quote by TheLiberation

So, the whole point of this post:
1) Does the SE Custom 24 hold tune well? (Doesn't have to be "won't go 1/20 semitone out of tune after 10 hours of heavy riffing" well, but just fairly solid) Note that I'm not planning to do massive divebombs or something with the trem, rather for subtle vibrato and maybe occasional larger bends.
2) Is it significantly more difficult to change tunings on the PRS trem than on a fixed bridge? I'm not taking some crazy E standard to drop A changes, I'll probably stay within the E standard to D standard area, nevertheless for the purposes of experimenting and learning songs, this is an important issue for me.

Sorry if these questions seem dumb, but I really haven't had much experience in this department and I'm kind of confused by what I've read, and this will help me make the choice.


A lot of people in the thread below are saying things like

'it will hold tune very well as long as you don't tune to something silly like C standard'

The tremolo on any guitar balances the tension of the strings with the tension of springs in the cavity on the back of the guitar. This means if you alter the pitch of one string, all of them are affected. If you're planning not float the tremolo, you might be able to get away with tuning to drop D without affecting the others strings a whole lot. If you block off the tremolo, then you will have no tuning issues and it will function like any other hardtail guitar.

If you're planning to float the tremolo, you'll have some fun in store for you. Each change of tuning will require a re-setup of the bridge in terms of getting the tensions right so the bridge sits parallel to the body. If you want to do subtle vibrato and stuff (which is a great use for the trem on that guitar), I suggest floating it.

Also, look into the tremolo-no. Feel free to ask questions if I didn't make sense. I'm not the best at explaining things
#18
Well, I mostly had tuning changes between standard tunings (EADGBE/DGCFAD) in mind, not drops mainly, not sure if that makes a difference.

But this is what I've been asking for, indeed. I see no point in blocking the trem because if I want to do that I'll just look for a guitar with a fixed bridge instead.
#19
Quote by TheLiberation
Well, I mostly had tuning changes between standard tunings (EADGBE/DGCFAD) in mind, not drops mainly, not sure if that makes a difference.

But this is what I've been asking for, indeed. I see no point in blocking the trem because if I want to do that I'll just look for a guitar with a fixed bridge instead.


Tuning to D standard would not be a lot of fun at all on a floating tremolo.
#20
Yeah, that's the impression I'm getting. It seems that going for a fixed bridge will be a smarter option this time, and I'll consider something with a trem for my third one, and that one will probably just stay in standard permanently, for my less metul stuff.
#21
I think boss makes a pedal that "auto" tunes your guitar to any tuning you want up or down.
#22
I was'nt keen on the trem on my SE.I banged some Grovers on and blocked the trem and now it plays like dream.
#23
Quote by bchampion96
Tuning to D standard would not be a lot of fun at all on a floating tremolo.

Actually, it's not that bad. Provided you plan to stay in D standard awhile and are willing (and knowledgeable enough) to do a full setup. You can't just slap new strings on, tune to D standard, and call it good.

Quote by EyeballPaul
I was'nt keen on the trem on my SE.I banged some Grovers on and blocked the trem and now it plays like dream.

This kind of ruins the whole point of a trem...