CE 24 initial impressions

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Ferrinbonn, Jul 10, 2016.

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  1. Ferrinbonn

    Ferrinbonn New Member

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    Hi all. Just got my CE 24 yesterday as detailed here (http://forums.prsguitars.com/threads/the-wait.18771/) and I thought I'd share my early impressions of the guitar.

    I also own a 2000 Gibson Les Paul Classic with Duncan Alnico 2 Pro pickups and a 1996 stock Fender American Standard Strat. So those are my two biggest points of comparison. This is the first PRS I've owned, and although I've played other models in stores, I don't have a ton of hands on experience with the brand. I'm playing through a Blackstar HT Club 40.

    Looks/fit/finish: I had high expectations here and they were fulfilled. The top looks great and the build quality seems flawless. All the little stuff is accounted for. The knobs turn easily and smoothly. The tuners are smooth and accurate, the nut is cut just right, the neck is perfect and so is the intonation. My only issue was that the action was a bit high for me, but that was easily changed. It's a nice touch that PRS includes the allen wrenches (and also the screwdriver/truss tool) to make your adjustments in case you don't have a set of your own.

    Feel: VERY comfortable to play. All of the frets are smooth and the rolled edges on the neck feel great. The guitar is very light (especially compared to my LP) and the thin and contoured body feels good whether you're sitting or standing. My favorite part here though has to be the finish on the neck. The satin finish over the maple neck is awesome. Really smooth and fast, and doesn't get sticky at all like my LP does with the glossy finish. This model has the pattern thin neck which I really like. I don't have huge hands so I've always preferred thinner necks. This one actually feels slightly larger than my other two guitars though (my LP has the 60 slim neck and the neck on my strat is very thin). The width takes a bit of getting used to, but I really like it and the 25 inch scale length is very easy to play.

    Sound: Playing unplugged, you can tell that the wood used in the instrument is great. It's very resonant and you can feel the body vibrate with every note. The sustain is great, and is at least as good as my LP. Plugged in, the biggest thing I can say about the tone is that it is very versatile. The 85/15 pickups are significantly hotter than my other two guitars. Compared to the Alnico 2 Pros, they're hotter and brighter. Not as warm, but still very balanced. All 6 sounds (3 positions and split or unsplit) are very usable both clean and dirty. It has its own sound which I really like overall. I think you could do a great job with basically any style of music on this thing.

    Downsides: I love this thing, so I'll have to nitpick a bit here. Obviously looks are subjective, but as for build quality and playability, I can't see any downside. Sound wise, although it is a great sounding guitar and incredibly versatile, it doesn't sound like a LP or a strat or a tele. Yes, that sounds like an obvious point, but those models especially have such an iconic sound that people want to emulate that I think it's worth noting. You can get great tone from the CE 24, but you can't get those tones (although if you buy one and start swapping out pickups, all bets are off). Also, it is a bolt-on neck. This doesn't bother me a bit and I can't see any downside to the tone or sustain, but some people may have their hearts set on a set neck. Last thing I'd mention is price. I managed to score a great deal on this, but assuming the usual price of $xxxx, I do consider this a very expensive guitar. Yes, the price is awesome for a core line US built PRS. It competes well with Gibsons, but is significantly more than most comparable Fenders. I played a PRS S2 custom 24 in a store and I thought this played and sounded quite a bit better and I think it justifies the price jump over those.

    That's all I've got. Hopefully this is helpful to others who might be considering one of these. Questions are welcome.
     
    #1 Ferrinbonn, Jul 10, 2016
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 10, 2016
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  2. markm

    markm CE Fan

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    Nice review.
    I'll add since I just picked one up this week.

    Today I was able to A/B it with my CU24.
    My CU has the 59/09 pickups.
    So far I love the 85/15s in the CE a bit better. My CE even sustains a bit better than my CU.
    For me it was a great purchase. This guitar is very versatile and I found myself using all the in between sounds a lot.
    It's going to make for a great gigging guitar!
     
  3. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I think that the starting point should always be that PRS sounds like PRS. For someone who is looking for his "own sound", this gets a good start on. While I have always admired others tone and style, I thought the game was to find your own. Sorry, but you gotta pay to play and PRS hits it for me. I think, after a while, you`ll find yourself reaching for the CE more and more, when you realize that it`s kind of like a partially finished sculpture that you get to complete. Enjoy it for what it does, nothing else will bring what this guitar does. And congratulations.
     
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  4. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    Yes, it should be an obvious point. It has different construction, hardware, pickups, scale length, number of frets in the case of the 24 fret designs (not only does this change the fret locations, but also the pickup placement), and so on.

    Anyone expecting a guitar that's made completely differently to sound just like a Fender or LP is barking up the wrong tree. As the OP recognizes.

    However, PRS does make a few models that lean more strongly in the Fender direction, such as the Brent Mason and the 513, and in the LP direction in the 594 and McCarty Singlecut. However, they still retain their PRS-ness because after all, they are PRS designs.

    Thing is, I don't think this difference between the CE24 and these older, more established guitars is somehow a "downside," since anyone trying out the guitar would immediately hear the difference, and understand that they're buying something unique.

    If they're buying online, there are plenty of videos that demonstrate the tone, and it's nothing like either of the OP's iconic examples, so no one should get one of these models having unrealistic expectations.

    Speaking only for myself, one of my preferences is for the "PRS Tone," but in addition I do still love the LP tone (I've never been able to manage making a Fender sound good, they simply don't work for me, though they sound great in others' hands).
     
    #4 LSchefman, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  5. Ferrinbonn

    Ferrinbonn New Member

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    I understand that the comparison to LP and Strat may ruffle some feathers around here, but I thought it needed to be mentioned, especially for anybody that casually finds this thread and isn't a PRS junkie. Sounding like a particular artist is important to a lot of players, and PRS has long has a reputation among people who haven't had much experience with them of being a cross between a LP and Strat. I think a lot of people that are looking for a single workhorse guitar might be looking for something that bridges that divide.

    The marketing copy on the PRS site for the CE 24 also has a pretty obvious Fender reference. "Since the dawn of rock and roll, the snap and response that comes from a bolt-on neck guitar has been an essential part of the mix. These attributes have, in turn, become essential to many players trying to tell their story through music."

    So that's why I decided to mention it. I love the tone, and it's absolutely perfect for a huge variety of genres. It definitely has its own voice and stands on its own. If I was playing a gig of covers, I'd feel great using it as my lone guitar. That being said, it doesn't replace either my Strat or my LP for doing what they do best. I'm happy to have all 3 in the lineup.
     
  6. bodia

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

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    I think you guys should chill. The OP wrote up a great review for a first time buyer. His points are valid, especially for those in a similar situation. No need to pounce.
     
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  7. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    I was playing my CE24 last night that is freshly back from the PTC. I also had my Strat on a stand. I was playing unplugged while the computer was loading up (I ended up playing so long the computer went back to sleep).

    What was interesting to me was how different the two sounded unplugged. I wouldn't say one was better or worse, I loved both. Playing unplugged I thought there wouldn't be that much difference but I was wrong. Big difference! The CE's notes were clearer and tighter. Louder too, but the Strat did fine. I'll play the CE more, but the Strat is staying.
     
  8. CantankerousCarl

    CantankerousCarl Occasionally Onery Member

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    Nice write-up Ferrinbon, and congrats on the new CE. I think PRS did a really spectacular redux of the original Classic Electric formula.
     
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  9. LSchefman

    LSchefman Hears Tones

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    I have no real problem with what you said; I was reinforcing the idea that PRS are a different animal, as one would expect from a guitar with a mahogany body, a maple top, and whose two humbucker pickups aren't three single coils mounted on a plastic plate -- things that very definitely affect the tone and response of the guitar.

    So my point is that it would be unrealistic to expect very much similarity between a CE24 and a Strat simply by virtue of the bolt on maple neck. And I made that point for the very reason you made yours - those who haven't tried one before buying need to be aware of this stuff.

    However, I'll also mention that the bolt on neck you have is indeed snappier than the mahogany necks on many PRSes, and there's certainly nothing wrong or misleading in PRS' mention of that attribute. It's simply a fact.

    Again, I mention this because no one should think that PRS is somehow trying to pull the wool over anyone's eyes in saying what they said. It's the truth.

    I had a maple neck McCarty that sounded significantly different from my current mahogany neck McCarty, for example, for that very reason, same with my former Swamp Ash Special, and CU22 Soapbars, all of which had maple necks. And all of which had a unique tone that was quite different from a Strat but very responsive and snappy all the same.

    So it's worth repeating and underlining some of this stuff, because unfortunately, people tend to buy guitars on the internet using their eyeballs instead of their ears, and it's a good idea to use all of one's senses.

    EDIT: These things also apply to the differences between the CE and a Les Paul. The guitars are built differently, use different neck materials, have different hardware, and different pickups. So again, anyone expecting that a CE24 would somehow imitate a Les Paul is missing the point.

    Yes, the Customs originally were thought to be a cross between a Strat and a Les Paul, but of course, even a cross between those models would necessarily be something different from either one of them.
     
    #9 LSchefman, Jul 11, 2016
    Last edited: Jul 11, 2016
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  10. Artjr

    Artjr My wife's a Lawyer

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    Nice review. Sounds like you're happy. I haven't played a new CE .
     
  11. vchizzle

    vchizzle Zomb!e Nine, DFZ

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    Interesting you bring up the action being high upon arrival. A new CE came into a local store and I picked it up and immediately thought the same thing. Action felt really high, I didn't even want to play the guitar, I wanted to go get my tools and set the guitar up. I'm very familiar with the set up guide measurements on the PRS site and use it as my base when setting up my guitars and this CE seemed pretty far off from that. Since the guitar just arrived at the store, I can't imagine anyone at the store adjusted anything but who knows. I feel bad for anyone who doesn't know anything about setups that goes in and plays that guitar because I don't think it represents typical PRS playability. :(

    Anyway, glad you're happy with the new guitar!
     
  12. AP515

    AP515 Mostly Normal

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    Maybe I shouldn't derail this thread with a discussion of action adjustment, but since it's slowed down a little, let's go for it. I agree that a high action is not fun to play, and I also agree that everyone is different. I came from acoustics, and I think the action on acoustics is generally a little higher than electrics, but I like my action just a touch higher than the PRS spec. Partly for my style of bending, and also because I think the tone is richer. To my ear it thins out as the action gets lower.
     

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