SE Custom 24 review by Paul Reed Smith

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  • Features: 9
  • Sound: 8
  • Action, Fit & Finish: 7
  • Reliability & Durability: 9
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 8.2 Superb
  • Users' score: 8.4 (98 votes)
Paul Reed Smith: SE Custom 24

Purchased from: eBay

Features — 9
I got this piece of wonder a few months ago, right around Christmas(an appropriate gift to myself, I'd say). From my research, it was made in 2010 in Korea. Although this means it's a 25th anniversary edition, I'm not really sure how it's different from the other models. Oh well. Anyway, it's pretty good-looking, with a blood-red quilted maple top over a mahogany body. It's got the normal PRS body shape, kinda Stratty and Les Paul-esque at the same time. The neck is of the wide-thin variety, which I have to come to enjoy quite a bit. The bridge is PRS' tremolo system, which is kinda like the Strat's, but it stays in tune a bit better. The pickups are both PRS' own design, I believe the neck is an SE Vintage Bass and the bridge is a SE HFS Vintage Treble. These are controlled via a humble setup; a three-way toggle, one master volume, and one master tone. Unfortunately, I think the newer models have coil-tap and a bit of a carve to the top, but, hey, I'm happy!

Sound — 8
I play mostly '80s rock and metal (Van Halen, Def Leppard, Iron Maiden) and newer stuff (Shinedown, Foo Fighters). For my purposes, this guitar does quite well. I use it with a Peavey Ultra 112, no pedals or anything else. I like the bridge pickup a lot, since it has a good deal of bite to it, great for nice leads. Together, they sound nice and full. The neck pickup is nice, a bit beefier than the bridge, but it can get a bit muddy. On clean, they also sound quite impressive. My favorite is rolling the tone down to about half in the middle position, and I can get almost an acoustic sound. However, if you use the bridge pickup by itself on clean, it can get a little shrieky. Overall, though, it has a nice blend of tones which are easily accessed through the master knobs.

Action, Fit & Finish — 7
Well, since I got the guitar second-hand, I can't really say anything on how it came from the factory. How I got it was in a pretty well-set-up condition. The action was nice and low, but I decided to raise the pickups a bit. The top is pretty well bookmatched. The trem system was all routed correctly, no problems there. However, the problems appear up at the headstock. It'll go out of tune with just regular playing, not to mention using the tremolo or bending. This is probably due to the tuners, which aren't of great quality, and the nut, which is a common issue. However, aside from those problems, it's put together pretty well, everything feels pretty solid.

Reliability & Durability — 9
Although I have yet to gig with it live, I think it would handle pretty well, aside from the tuning issues. The strap buttons are pretty wide, and I don't think they'll fail me anytime soon (although I've had to fix one of the holes). The finish also seems pretty thick and well-applied, so I'd be surprised if it wore off anytime soon. As to gigging without a backup, I wouldn't, just due to the fact that I like being prepared for the worst, which usually happens(probably just my bad luck). But I wouldn't be all that scared if this was the only guitar I had on hand.

Overall Impression — 8
For hard rock/borderline metal, this axe will put on a good show. It's pretty reliable, and it's very comfortable to play. It's got a nice contour for when you're standing, so it doesn't dig in. The wide-flat neck also scores comfort points, at least in my opinion. My favorite feature about this guitar is probably the neck. It's very comfortable. By far however, my least favorite aspect is the tuning issues. They can be a real hassle, and they are often frequent. If it were stolen or was damaged beyond repair, I would buy another PRS at least. I'd probably go for a newer edition, since they have the coil-tapping. Overall, though, I'm pretty impressed with this guitar. It's a solid all-around intermediate instrument.

2 comments sorted by best / new / date

    The Custom 24, if pulled off, will eclipse the others and drive them farther into darkness than you can imagine. Good luck with the spectacular SE Custom 24, a totally awesome guitar.
    I'm working towards one now. As a matter of fact I just tried out one today. It was an SE custom 24 with a foyd on it. With the many comments that I have read that had complaints about the tuning , I will be looking for a floyd on my purchase. This is my first post. I currently own a Squire affinity strat, Squire affinity tele, and a Epiphone sg g310. Just looking for a little more sum sum.