SE Custom 24 review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Sound: 10
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 10
  • Features: 10
  • Reviewer's score: 9.6 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (99 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Custom 24

Price paid: £ 625

Purchased from: Guitar village

Sound — 10
I actually own a couple of the PRS SE Custom 24's and I've tried them next to the US made 24's. Each instrument sounds different, based on the wood and the pickup set up. I've one SE that overdrives naturally when turned up full and this one - the spalted maple is clean all the way. The flexibility comes from the ability to use the three way switch and also flick from humbucker to single coil. So it's hard to find something this guitar won't do. The action is easy and the neck suits me to a tee. It's wide and thin, with good clearance at the edges for bends and vibrato with the fretting hand. If you like the rounded Fender D necks this isn't for you, but if you like the Fender C shape or the Gibson '60s slim neck this is great. The sound is clean and sweet and the tone control doesn't mess with the bass/treble mix as it does on some guitars. The electronics are silent - even with the coil tap. An awesome guitar for the money. The US 24's have a bit more clarity and sustain, but that comes for an extra 2k.

Overall Impression — 9
For a "student" guitar this is awesome. The versatility is amazing, and the build quality epic. PRS make and license their partners to make beautiful guitars - but that is not at the expense of the sound. The Custom 24 is made to be versatile and it is. If it was stolen - well I've already got another so that must tell you something. The only extra I'd want is the ability to coil tap each humbucker individually - but the Gibsons and PRS that allow that are way more expensive. I'd definitely recommend trying a few side by side, this one is clean an sweet, my other overdrives earlier and has a warm tone that really suites heavier rock. I play them through Mesa Boogie and Fender amps - and they stack up well against my other more expensive guitars. You will regret not trying one.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Like all PRS a solid piece of guitar. It is sturdy and takes the knocks well. It doesn't have locking tuners so when it's moved in the gig bag you just need to check the tuning before you play. It keeps tune well even when you really go for it and it doesn't detune even when you are really vicious with the tremolo. The switches have a good positive action, not as stiff as fenders, but stiff enough that you feel the click so you can easily switch during a song. Everything about this guitar is quality - for the price I cannot quiet believe they can make this, particularly when I compare it to other guitars at this price. I actually bought this over a Les Paul at 4 times the price for looks, sound and the attention to detail that screams from the electronics.

Action, Fit & Finish — 10
The SE's I've had were all set up to perfection. I notice after a weeks play I've had to adjust one string at the bridge but after that it is incredibly stable. The action is light and allows the full range of techniques with no strain or effort. Beautiful to play. The bookmatching was perfect - there are minute variations across each individual guitar so it's worth a close look - but that's just as true of any guitar I've ever looked at. Build quality is excellent. Nothing else to say on that.

Features — 10
PRS made in Korea, 24 fret, two PRS SE humbuckers with a coil tap on each. "4 frets, mahogany body and neck. Nitro finish and clear on top to show off the spalted Maple which is an awesome example with perfect book-matching. A three way switch modelled on the Fender 5-way and a single volume and tone control. The body has a contoured top and a cut away with an additional scoop to aide access to the upper frets. A PRS tremolo with a push in bar. Comes with the PRS gig bag which is high quality with a good sized front pocket for extras. Case candy includes tools for adjustment, and set up is with .10's

4 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Just bought one off eBay. Can't wait for it to come in!
    Great! Share a word about her when it comes, so the rest could share your joy I'm planning to buy one myself.
    I've been researching these for ages, watched all the review videos, read up on it, etc. I'm getting one in Saphire soon. Bear in mind, they come with .09 strings so if you replace them with thicker strings without filing the nut slots first, you WILL get tuning problems. That's your fault, not the guitar's. Just file them bigger and lube them with a pencil, and you'll be fine. And the thing with the Custom 24, especially the american ones, is that they make the most amazing sounds on the planet but only if you adjust your amp settings and effects JUST RIGHT. For best results, use with H&K, Mesa Boogie, or Engl amps. No other amps REALLY bring out their full potential. Replacing the bridge pickup with a Seymour Duncan Custom will make it more compatible with more common amps, but you'll lose a bit of that special PRS sound.
    I recently bought one and I have no intonation issues at all - even using the trem. I can dive bomb and it won't go out of tune