Custom 24 vs Custom 24 (SE vs S2)

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by Screamingdaisy, Jan 13, 2016.

  1. Screamingdaisy

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    When I bought my first PRS it was because I was looking for something different. I played Les Pauls and I wanted a Custom 24. What I walked out with is a McCarty. I've since sold 3 out of 5 Gibsons and will likely be putting number 4 up on the block as well (#5 I'm keeping).

    So.... now I play a McCarty and I'm still looking for something different to fill a gap that I never filled the first time around. Basically, high output with a trem. Hot, fat, screams would be an adequate description of what I'm after.

    I have enough money for one of these two options:

    1) S2 Custom 24, or

    2) SE Custom 24 and SE Custom 24-7.

    I'm currently on the fence. I like and dislike aspects of both options. Option 1 gets me a higher quality guitar, but so far as I understand it has the same trem as the SE. Option 2 gets me two guitars, but so far as I understand the SE has smaller frets. Then there's the mahogany vs maple neck aspect. Maple seems like it might actually be a superior option on what is to be a shredder guitar, while the small frets are a negative. Additionally, I think mahogany might produce a fatter, smoother lead sound (I like fat and smooth), but I already have fat and smooth with the McCarty (although the McCarty is vintage output).

    How do the S2 HFS/Vintage compare to the SE HFS/Vintage?

    Thoughts/opinions?
     
  2. CantankerousCarl

    CantankerousCarl Occasionally Onery Member

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    FWIW I had an S2 Standard Satin for about a week, and that guitar spanked all of the SE CU24s I ever owned sound-wise. The splits were more authentic-sounding, and the guitar just had a better voice.

    SEs are great, but unless you are dying for 2 guitars, check out one of the S2 Standard 24s, satin or not.
     
  3. mezzio

    mezzio The Force is weak in ^^

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    Well, I can't help on everything, but I can try with a couple of your concerns.

    I don't have an S2 CU24, but I do have an S4 Vela (why even bring up the Vela, it's still in their S2 line which doesn't change much between models when it comes to necks and materials), SE CU24 and a Core CU24....

    From what I can tell, the fret wire is the same size on all 3 guitars... the differences come in how they're finished. My SE feels good, dressed nice, but did have an issue with a fret lifting, the S2 feels a little better, and the core feels a lot better. They're all done really nice, but run your hand along the edges, and you'll feel the difference between the 3 levels.

    All 3 guitars have mahogany necks, I don't know if there's a Maple neck option on the S2 or SE, probably is, I personally don't like maple necks so I've never looked. The neck carves are the same between S2's and SE's, pattern regular, with no options if I'm not mistaken.

    The S2 and SE pickups are both made out of country, probably both with similar specs. I can't give you an honest opinion since I haven't played an S2 CU24, I'd venture to say they're probably similar, neither as good as the US HFS/Vintage (which I found out I actually REALLY like recently, lol).

    I'm sure wherever I'm wrong, other's will be right and you'll get your info :)
     
  4. Reactorcritical

    Reactorcritical New Member

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    If it were me, I'd buy a used S2 for $1000 or less, then replace the trem and pickups.

    SE's are great guitars but they don't feel quite as nice as the S2's.

    Check out Rob Chapman's video with the Captain which compares the SE Standard, SE Custom, S2, and American core versions of the Custom 24. Very informative.
     
    Mattden likes this.
  5. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    So the newer SE Custom 24s actually have a Maple neck with a hog body and RW fretboard. Not sure how long it's been that way though. The earlier ones may have had a hog neck. The S2 and Core models have hog neck unless artist pack/special run/etc.

    To answer OP, I have an S2 Cu24 and I wouldn't trade it for the world. The SE 24s are nice but they just don't have the mojo I get from my S2. The trems are going to be the same but the simple fact is, even the SE trems are great. And the S2 HFS/VB are a pretty significant upgrade over the SE pickups. I agree with Reactorcritical. I would go after a used model now that they are starting to hit the used market and use the extra money for upgrades if you felt they were necessary. Good luck in your search!
     
  6. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    Aren't they both made by G&B? I assume they're the same pickups.

    For the OP: Buy an original used CE. You'll get real HFS/VB pups, a real trem, real abalone dots, a fully carved top, and locking tuners... for like, $900-1000 if you're patient.
     
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  7. drdoom8793

    drdoom8793 THAT guy at Chick-fil-A

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    They're made in the same place, but the S2 ones are made to a different spec than the SE HFS/VB pups.

    Also, this is a viable option
     
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  8. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    Ahh... did not know this.
     
  9. mezzio

    mezzio The Force is weak in ^^

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    I was not aware of the change. My SE is a 2013 model I think, with mahogany neck... Guessing the change came when they changed over to the plain truss rod cover?
     
  10. sergiodeblanc

    sergiodeblanc Rah rah ah ah ah!

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    Not likely. I have a 2013 SE CU24 and it's a maple neck. You may have liked maple necks all along without knowing it.
     
  11. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    The SE CU24 has always had a maple neck. And it is a fairly bright axe. I've not had a chance to compare any of the same model of SE pickups, but I like the pickups in my S2 (#7's) more than I've ever liked a set of SE pickups.

    Having owned both, I would say that I love my SE's but when it comes to a choice of identical models, I'll take the S2 every time.
     
  12. xjbebop

    xjbebop Yippy ki yay!

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    Sounds to me like you are the perfect customer for the new CE 24....
     
  13. garrett

    garrett Not a New Member

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    I think if you're into details, the S2 is the way to go. On the surface, the specs don't look a whole lot different than the SE, but the execution of the S2 is at a higher level.

    Like Sergio said, don't discount a CE. There are always '00's CE24s out there, so you'll get the real deal HFS/VB, Phase II tuners, and the brass bridge. Those are total rock machines.
     
  14. Jimi D

    Jimi D New Member

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    OP, I don't own an S2 of any stripe (yet - I want a Vela pretty bad) but my experience with my SEs (three of them) and my Cores (8 of them) is that although there's certainly quality differences, a great guitar's a great guitar... so my advice (such as it is) would be to play the guitars you're interested in and buy the one that feels and sounds the best to you...

    Wait... so you're saying that although the pickups are made in the same factory by the same people, PRS has spec'd the SE ones to sound worse than the S2 ones? I think I'd like a citation for this; where is this documented?
     
    #14 Jimi D, Jan 14, 2016
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2016
  15. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    I don't think anyone actually knows if the specs are different on, say, the SE HFS/VB vs. the S2 HFS/VB, but I wouldn't say the SE would be spec'd to sound worse by any means. It's just possible that at the higher price point, PRS can afford to do some things on the S2 pickups that they couldn't on the SE's.
     
  16. Jimi D

    Jimi D New Member

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    Actually, the quote I grabbed above has someone saying specifically that these same pickups are made to a different spec for the S2 and SE lines. It's not ambiguous or presented as a maybe. I'd like to know what the differences are; different wire? different magnets? different winds?

    Until I see some documentation you can colour me skeptical. I personally don't believe the HFS/VB pups in the S2s are in any way different than the HFS/VB pups in the SEs (Occam's razor).
     
  17. rugerpc

    rugerpc A♥ hoards guitars ♥A
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    Perception is an interesting thing.

    Because I appreciate the brand, have talked with Paul, have listened to his goals for the company and the products he sells, I can categorically state that PRS never specs anything to "sound worse" than something else.

    The attitude is to spec a minimum acceptable floor for quality and materials. That is, it has to be at least this good to be a PRS of any kind. Then add tweaks and improvements in materials and methods that make more expensive offerings better and better.

    Maybe you're just a glass half empty kind of guy, where Paul is definitely a glass half full kind of guy.
     
  18. mezzio

    mezzio The Force is weak in ^^

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    You're right, I got my components mixed up, I don't like maple fretboards... It was a long day yesterday, lol

    As far as the neck on SE, I was just wrong (but I did state there was a chance of that in my first post in this thread )
     
  19. andy474x

    andy474x Knows the Drill

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    I think what I should have said, is that Ive not heard anything definite about whether the specs are different. Personally, I think they probably are, but do not quote me on it. Anyone saying they are, please correct me if there's been confirmation of that.

    When it comes to the HFS/VB set, I think the better question is "Will I like the character of these pickups?" rather than "Will I like the S2 pickups more than the SE?" Although one may like the S2 more if they're upgraded spec, the bigger issue is usually if someone likes them at all. For example, I have an SE CU24, and didn't like the HFS/VB set so much. Not because they were poorly executed, just because they weren't my flavor. The bridge pickup was ok but not mind blowing, pretty bright, the neck pickup in comparison was too weak in output to be a good match, and also had a scooped out midrange that just didn't cut through the way I wanted. IMO, YMMV, etc.

    If I were in the market for anything 24 frets with a ripping set of pickups, I would look for a used S2 and put a set of PRS "M" pickups in it.
     
  20. IRG

    IRG New Member

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    I have the SE HFS/VB pickups in my SE Clint Lowery model. I actually quite like them, especially for the heavier, downtuned stuff I do with this guitar. The switch and pots could be better, but otherwise, this is a pretty killer guitar for the money, although I know you want a trem (I didn't).

    I also have an S2 Standard 22. The #7 pickups are definitely warmer, fuller, boomier, but not better than the HFS/VB, just different. I've thought about changing those pickups more often than I have my SE, if that says anything (and it probably doesn't). I even have the S2 listed for sale locally, but I only get scam replies for it. Great guitar, but I haven't bonded with it. So I might be the lone wolf here, that says for the $, get two SE's, and then mod them to the way you want - if you even need to mod them, you might not. The frets I don't think will be an issue for you.
     

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