PRS SE Custom 24 mini-review

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by OneEng, May 15, 2017.

  1. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    Hi All,

    First post, and my first PRS.

    I normally play on a Fender Strat with Frailin pickups and have a Kemper guitar system.

    I was looking for a decent guitar that had humbuckers and a little more depth and bite than one can achieve through single coils. In the sub $1500 catagory, PRS SE Custom 24 came up over and over again as the best value in the industry at this time.


    Accessories

    First, while the gig bag is of high quality for a gig bag, I will be getting a hard case for it. This for me is not optional as I like to keep my gear well protected when I gig.

    The extra spring is a nice add (especially since I intend to put 10's on the guitar). Truss rod adjuster .... check.

    Not sure why a guitar cable is included. Perhaps not everyone has a really good guitar plug already. I suppose this may be the case for some since the price of this guitar is quite low.

    Fit and finish

    Very nice. The new SE for 2017 is a very nice looking guitar (mine is whale blue). It is a bit darker than one might think from the picture on PRS, but is still quite beautiful.... especially for a $700.00 guitar.

    Setup out of box

    Intonation was pretty good (not perfect). The string height was a little high (I haven't done a proper setup yet), but was acceptable. The strings only buzz slightly if banged to heavily.... I believe that part of this is just how 9's are, and to some degree, this will happen on any guitar.

    Tone

    Ok, really, this is where the rubber hits the road. Again, mind you that I have yet to setup this guitar to my own taste, so the pickup heights, strings, and adjustments are all stock.

    I certainly have more complex harmonic make-up than with the Strat! I spent a few hours working up a few Kemper rigs setup especially for the PRS. The pickups are both a little bright (b and high E), and unfortunately, a little flubby on the E string to my ears. For the most part, I am able to eq around this. Additionally, keep in mind that my ears may not be accustomed to a higher gain pickup having spent the last 30 years playing strats.

    The high notes really sing high up on the neck. Some of the best sounding stuff I have ever heard up there. The sustain is a little weak IMO. It is better than any of my strats, but I was hoping for a bit more. Furthermore, I seem to get a microphonic feedback on many notes. Not sure what causes this, but again, I haven't done any setup on this guitar yet.

    Loading up a good Dual Rectifier rig into the Kemper and eq'ing it to my PRS, I must say that this is the nicest sounding crunch I have ever had. Songs like Green Day "Basket Case" and Three Doors Down "Love me when I'm Gone" sound fantastic with this setup. I am beginning to get a good JPM and JTM rig going to see if I can get some AC DC out of this guitar.

    The clean stuff is a mixed bag. The guitar is certainly not a Strat, but then again, the cleans it gets, the Strat can't do. I guess there really isn't any single guitar that can get every tone ;) Having said this, I was able to get some very compelling clean tones .... really classic humbucking cleans that shine beautifully.

    I worked the blade switch and push/pull knob around. I found some cleans I liked on the middle position and neck position, but the only thing that sounded right for heavy rigs was the bridge. Could be just me though.

    I haven't worked on getting a good coil split sound yet, but so far, I have not liked anything coil split. Perhaps with some work I can get some good sounds from that setup.

    It is my intention to replace the nut (I already have a Tusq sitting here ready), add an extra spring, and put 10's on the guitar. After that I will do a proper setup and see how things sound again.

    Playability

    This is a very fast guitar. The neck is very playable all around the fretboard. The neck style is so good that after a few hours of playing, my Strat feels like a telephone pole in comparison ;) I really love the way this guitar plays.

    Overall Impressions

    I would have paid up to $1500 for my new guitar to get what I wanted. After reading around, it seems that there really isn't anything out there that can touch the SE for value, tone and play-ability. I still have some way to go with this guitar to get it into that comfort range for me, but it feels so good when played, and has such nice visuals, I think it is a winner. It is silly inexpensive and sounds very good as well. I am not a big dive bomber, but I heard such great things about the SE CU 24 that I had to get one.

    I have around 20 hours of jamming on the guitar at this time. I'll give this little gem a little TLC, and I believe it is going to be my go-to guitar for good crunch for quite some time. I may even find that more and more of my songs get done with the PRS and the Strats are left sitting instead. Time will tell.
     
    ScottR, BMiller, Ovibos and 1 other person like this.
  2. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Great write up. Congrats on your first, and welcome to the Forum.
     
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  3. Elliot

    Elliot Still a New Member

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    Really good review from an outside source.

    This was my favorite quote.

    I laughed out loud. Not because its silly or anything, I just understand what you mean ;)
     
    OneEng likes this.
  4. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Welcome to the forum. Nice write up. Some of the things you spoke of might be better addressed with the S2 guitars and you had a price point capable of getting an S2. Maybe you should try one before you settle in on the SE. Just a thought.
     
  5. owickerman

    owickerman New Member

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    Ever tried a 513 or 509?
    It cannot get every tone, for sure, but it got a lot of tones ^^
     
  6. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    Hi guys. Thanks for the replies.

    I now have quite a few more hours under my belt, and have had time to tweak my Kemper to be more in-line with the tone of the PRS SE CU24.

    I am learning to love the complex harmonics of the PRS. I have a Mesa rig that sounds absolutely amazing, and a clean rig on a Peavey classic 50 that really spanks.

    I am still predominantly working only with the humbucker sounds without doing any work really on the split coil sound. The rich sound is very cool. This is exactly what I was looking for with the PRS.

    I have never tried the 513 or the 509. I'll have to put those on my list.

    As for the S2, my concern was that nearly everyone that had both, thought there really wasn't much difference between the SE and S2 in sound quality. In fact, I believe they share the same PUPs this year.

    The flabby bottom of the E string I am thinking can be fixed by a combination of thicker strings (10's vs 9's) and potentially adjusting the pickup height. I want to hold off on my alterations of the guitar while I get used to it stock. I will absolutely be getting it professionally setup and getting the nut replaced. I am still thinking about the change from 9's to 10's (and adding the additional spring that came with it).

    Any thoughts on the mods?

    I will post some sounds in a few weeks after I have had a chance to get things tweaked in well. I spent several months getting my strats up to my current level. I have custom PUP's in both and have them professionally setup .... and have had tons of gig time to get perfect tone from them for the songs we do.

    Of course, the purpose of the PRS was that no matter what I do to my strat, it will never bark like a PRS! I really am loving my new guitar. So far, I am very pleased with my purchase. Simply a crazy good deal.
     
  7. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    I think you're on the right track with adjusting the pickup height, and pole pieces. PRS pickups are surprisingly sensitive to minor adjustments. In other words, a small adjustment yields a bigger change than you would expect.
     
  8. owickerman

    owickerman New Member

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    One last thing :
    We need photos of the guitar as soon as possible ;)
     
  9. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?...42998252125.2167401.1206298824&type=3&theater

    I have to say, the guitar looks very impressive in good light. Unreal value. My hat is off to the fine engineers at PRS. At this point in time, I can't imagine recommending any other guitar than the PRS SE line for the sub $1K segment.

    Mind you, if you want a great single coil guitar, a Strat would still be my choice, but for everything else, the PRS is simply unbeatable.
     
    bodia likes this.
  10. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    Sweet!
     
  11. godoy.rafa

    godoy.rafa New Member

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    Same here, I love the guitar, but this drives me crazy!
     
  12. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    Update ....

    Ok, had a bit more time with my PRS and here are my comments:

    1. Setup was way off on the intonation. Not a big deal, but it wasn't initially even close. It was effecting my distorted chords played high on the neck. Did some adjustments and now everything is great
    2. Still LOVE the feel and action on this guitar. It is really a great deal and plays better than any guitar I have ever owned.
    3. The nut is a POS. I have a replacement, but haven't done it yet. It sticks with 9.5's on some strings
    4. As noted above, I put 9.5's on it which gave it a boost in beefiness that made the tone better
    5. Still can't get over the flabby E with the stock pickups. I have adjusted the PUP height and even the poles a bit to try to compensate. It made it better, but still the E is flabby.
    6. The bridge pickup has some good mojo to it. I have several patches dialed in on my Kemper that really work great with this Axe .... but it still has some rough edges to it and sound a bit brittle for my taste. Backing off a little on the tone knob helps.
    7. The neck pup is not working for me. Feels dead and lifeless .... and very muddy.
    8. Single coil on the PRS is a neat trick, but when one has a very well dialed in Strat, it is hard to imagine using the PRS for single coil work. Sure, it would be better than just having a humbucker if that is all you had, but it is no where near a real strat spank, sparkle and quack.
    Both Pup's are going to be replaced this Christmas with a set of Bare Knuckles "Rebel Yell" Pup's. From what I have heard, these take the ice pick out a bit and have greater harmonic content. When I do that, I will also upgrade the nut.

    For those that read this, please note that I am a tone fanatic. I am willing to work for years to achieve great tone all the way around. My Strat with Lindy Fralin PUP's is simply delicious now. The PRS is a completely different beast and has taken some getting used to, but I can now see how it will be a fantastic guitar for decades to come.
     
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  13. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    If tone is that much a driver for you, instead of investing in expensive pups and tweaking that SE, why not find a used Core Cu24 or Cu22 and get on the upside of tone with one move? SE's are great, but if you are going to be really particular about tone, start with the best foundation.
     
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  14. bodia

    bodia Authorities said.....best leave it.....unsolved

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    This is very, very solid advice!
     
  15. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    There does not appear to be anything wrong with the playability of the SE. Are you suggesting that a Core Cu24 has PUPs that sound better than a set of Bareknuckles?

    I could A/B this for you in a couple of months since I know a couple of people who have Core Cu24's.
     
  16. Elliot

    Elliot Still a New Member

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    Expensive pups on a perfectly playable SE is still much much cheaper than a core PRS. OP digs his SE and wants to go on a toneventure for the best possible pups. I don't think getting a new guitar is the answer.
     
  17. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    I agree with both of you. The SE is a fine model to mod and great pickups will make it...well...great. But I am also reading that:
    1. The nut is going to go.
    2. The high E and B are weak
    3. Sustain could be better
    4. Intonation was off
    5. Other things, I'm not going to re-read all of it.

    Seems like you will need to do a lot of tweaking and some of those may never improve. Don't get me wrong, SE's are great mod platforms, but if I were a tone aficionado, I would want to start with the best possible foundation and that would be a core. I might still mod it. I've had Fralins in one of mine. I put 57/08's in a Standard and I love them there. I've got an SE (Bernie) with Seth Lovers in it. If you know this is the direction you want to go, then sure, do it. I was only saying that if complete and serious tone is your goal, IMO, a core is a better foundation. It's thicker, it has a mahogany neck, it has a thicker maple top, it has better quality hardware, it's got locking tuners, it has better electronics, it will have better resale if you decide to flip it later (if you find it used).

    Please understand, I'm not dissing SE's. I own 4 of them. The op just mentioned he was a tone fanatic. Depending on how fanatical, he may want to move to the best foundation on which to build.
     
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  18. OneEng

    OneEng New Member

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    I have Fralin's in my Strat .... absolutely lovely tone. I will re-neck that guitar until I am too old to play ;)

    The intonation was fixable just by adjusting the bridge. It is fine now. As I said, not a big deal, but I had read many people say that their guitar was perfect out of the box (mine was not).

    The flabby E (I am guessing) is a product of the pickup. I may even have a faulty pickup which is leading to this issue at that end of the guitar.

    Fixing a nut is also not that big a deal IME. This is certainly not a fatal flaw to the guitar.

    FWIW, I don't own a guitar that I haven't modified. I take great care to setup my guitars perfectly (as perfect as is possible) and to get the best mods for my guitars, then I use them until I turn to dust :)

    As for the sustain, no floating bridge axe is going to have the sustain of a fixed bridge ..... and a PRS is no where near as heavy as a Les Paul (I have owned a few, but can't stand to hold that big piece of lumber for over 4 hours a night ;) ).

    No guitar has perfect characteristics for every situation. The PRS appears to have a fantastic mix of features, play ability, and tone that appeal to me. I am thinking that some nice PUPs and a nut will bring me what I am missing.
     

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