Custom 22 Piezo review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Features: 10
  • Sound: 10
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Reliability & Durability: 10
  • Overall Impression: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 10 Gem
  • Users' score: 9.7 (3 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: Custom 22 Piezo

Price paid: $ 3000

Purchased from: Local Music Store in South Louisiana

Features — 10

  • I'm unsure of the year (2012-2014) but it was made in the USA.
  • The guitar has 22 frets and the neck is classified as "Pattern" which i find to be much thinner than my Les Paul and even a little thinner than my Fender Strat. Frets are medium/jumbo size. I'm sure there is a classification for it but my Schecter C-1 Classic is Jumbo and these are slightly smaller than those.
  • Solid flamed maple 10 top with natural binding.
  • body and neck are both mahogany
  • Finish - V12 flamed maple top. Beautiful finish and sounds spectacular
  • Body Style - the classic double cutaway PRS body
  • Bridge Style - Hardtail with integrated Piezo system
  • Passive Electronics aside from the Piezo system which is powered by a 9v battery (side note, always unplug the 1/4" cable or it will run the battery down very quickly)
  • 3 Knobs: 1 volume, 1 tone, 1 piezo blend and a 5-way selector
  • Pickup configuration: 2 humbuckers
  • Tuners: PRS Phase III Locking tuners
  • Accessories: guitar came with hard case and all case candy included (polish, allen wrench, cleaning cloth, itemized order tag)

Sound — 10
This guitar suits my music style very well. I play everything from blues, to country, to hard rock and this guitar handles it all like a champ. The beauty of the Piezo system is that I can handle songs with electric and acoustic segments (i.e. Crossfade - Cold) without requiring 2 guitarists or an instrument change. Swapping between the "acoustic guitar" and electric guitar really brings new versatility to your music. Sure the piezo sound is not going to sound like a dreadnought martin or full bodied Gibson, but it certainly brings a new dimension to the table if you're looking for it.

I play the guitar through a POD xt (yeah it's dated but still gets the job done) and a set of decent computer speakers in my home office. When played out I would look into getting a nice PA system for it.

The guitar itself is not noisy in the least, in fact it's virtually silent when on clean just sitting there. The sound is a whole section by itself:
Pickup Switching Positions

  • Position One: Bridge humbucker
  • Position Two: Bridge humbucker with neck singlecoil, in parallel
  • Position Three: Bridge and neck humbuckers
  • Position Four: Neck singlecoil with bridge singlecoil, in parallel
  • Position Five: Neck humbucker
Now each and every one of these positions can be accompanied by the Piezo system. Allow me to elaborate, the Piezo comes in a secondary 3-way switch. This allows for:
  • Position 1 - Piezo off with complete electric
  • Position 2 - Mixes Piezo with electric, the level of mixture is controlled by a 3rd knob and can be anywere from 100% peizo/0% electric to 0% piezo/100% electric.
Needless to say, the guitar is so versatile you will spend hours tweaking to find what sounds you're looking for at what pickup positions.
To be honest one of my favorite acoustic sounds is found at 50% mix with the 5 way blade in position 5. I have found this to provide the most full sounding acoustic sound.

The guitar is only limited by your ability and imagination, if there's a sound you're looking for - it's in this guitar. This portion of the review gets a 10 only because I can't rate the guitar any higher.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The action was perfect right out of the box. I'm sure it was adjusted by the store before hitting the floor. Spotless set-up for 10's (which thankfully is what I play, others might need an additional set up). The top is beautifully bookmatched, it is a 10 top and while there is a flame that is slightly larger and darker than it's bookmatched brother, it is certainly nothing to be upset about. In the end it's a PRS and even some of their non 10-tops can be mistaken. The guitar has no flaws. As with anything from PRS the quality control department is on a whole new level. This was a wedding gift from my wife and I have gone through the guitar with extreme scrutiny, all while finding nothing wrong with the guitar in the least.

Reliability & Durability — 10
This guitar will most definitely stand up to live playing, I upgraded all my other guitars to locking strap buttons but have yet to do so on thing one. That's not to say I won't do it in the future but for now the strap holds on very well and is actually quite a pain to remove. The finish seems like it will last a lifetime, which is great since I think a Fender Strat or Tele looks great a little beat up, but in my opinion a PRS is made to look great and needs to stay that way. The entire guitar is of highest quality, right down to the natural binding. It has a ton of hours played on it and there's not even any rust appearing on the bridge.

Overall Impression — 10
In closing: I play everything: blues, country, hard rock, metal, jazz... The list goes on, and this little beauty will handle it all. A few tweaks on my POD xt and the sound just fills the room. I have been playing for 16 years and have been in everything from small church bands, garage bands, open mic nights, large church bands and more. While I've never played professionally I have spent a ton of time on stage, sitting around a campfire, or jamming in a friend's man cave/garage. I own 12 guitars and this is the one that I reach for every time.

I own a POD xt which is all I've found I ever need and other electrics. I play this one over: American Standard Fender Strat with Gold Lace sensors, Epiphone Les Paul, Schecter C-1 classic, LTD EC-1000, Ibanez hollowbody, and a few other cheaper toy projects. Each of the other guitars have their place, but there's just nothing like playing the P22 and getting all you need. I also play the P22 through a tube amp and it's so warm you can practically feel it in your chest. If you're even on the fence, go buy it. You won't be sorry.

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2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Just my thoughts on this guitar, since I was considering buying one but decided on a EBMM Majesty artisan instead. I don't like the control layout, and I also don't like how it has two output jacks instead of just one that functions as both mono or stereo depending on what kind of cable you're using. IMHO EBMM does the Piezo system just right and has the perfect amount of controls on the top of the guitar and the back, and they are in the right places, for me personally. I also don't like the fact that PRS doesn't use stainless frets (EBMM does) and that they use a 10" continuous radius for their fingerboards -- EBMM fingerboards are much flatter, usually 15" or so. It's more suitable to my playing style, and I vowed a long time ago to never buy another guitar that comes with Nickel frets -- tired of paying to have the frets leveled and re-crowned and all that -- with stainless frets they will last 10+ years. Also the neck profile itself is much nicer for me personally on an EBMM; although the "pattern thin" profile from PRS is one of my favorites; it's a little bit thicker than EBMM's but its just very comfortable for me. The EBMM tremolo system is also more to my liking than the PRS -- it has a little bit more range to it, both upwards and downwards in pitch, and fluttering is also a LOT better, since it is recess mounted, and not top-mounted like the PRS trem. Also another thing that's kinda a bummer with the PRS trem is having to keep those six knife edges lubricated -- if even one of them runs dry or gets dull you have to deal with the trem not coming back to zero point like it should. The game changer system also that comes with the Majesty (I believe it comes with all the diff Majesty models but I'm not sure) is amazing -- all the switching is accomplished digitally and you can change the controls via software to your liking, including changing which pickup coils respond to which switch positions. Also the Majesty Artisan is not as expensive, so that was another huge plus for me. These are just my opinions and what was right *FOR ME* -- I'm not pushing my personal styles and preferences on anyone else, and I still think the P22 and P24 series from PRS are great guitars -- I just thought I would post this since I did all these research for a few weeks before I made my buying decision and maybe it would help others considering both guitars.