My First PRS? Long rambling request for feedback--THANK YOU!


New Member
Oct 18, 2020
Hey, PRS devotees and fellow guitarists. I am not YET a PRS owner but I am getting closer to it. I could use some perspective, so thanks to anyone who’s willing to slog through this long post (apologies!) and share thoughts here, as I'm being very deliberative about my PRS purchase.

I’m finally getting back into playing some after our child is now 3 ½ years old. Except for these last few years, I’ve played off and on for 20 years, played in a few bands, and enjoyed the improv space in the jamband realm. I’ve never been a great lead player yet consider myself to have a decently good ear for harmony. In the last year, I finally got my wits about me to at least try to learn about music while I’ve not been able to play with any regularity. I’ve been studying some music theory where in my musical life to this point I’ve either sight-read piano and trumpet and played guitar by ear and some tabs. Learning theory has opened me to a vastly expanded musical realm and gotten me excited about playing guitar again and playing guitar regularly. These days I can’t get enough of it, where before I felt plateaued and stuck and would get frustrated and put my guitar down. While I have a long way to go to execute fluently what I’ve recently learned (I actually now have foundational understanding and some application of modes, arpeggios, chord tone soloing, etc.), I’m seeing so much more in my head and hear more when I listen to some of my favorite guitarists, at least in this genre: Trey Anastasio, Jimmy Herring, Derek Trucks, Jerry Garcia, Chuck Garvey, etc. It makes so much more sense to me now where it mostly just sounded really good before. I’m super inspired and plan to get back to playing with others utilizing more knowledge and ability (though admittedly less dexterity than in my 20s) once the pandemic is behind us all….

What I’ve found in actually playing maybe 2-3 hours a week now is that my one electric guitar, a ~1998 G&L ASAT Z-3 that has served me very well for two decades, isn’t overly comfortable to me when I stand up now as it was before. When I stand to play—which is what I try to do most anymore to be kinder to my back—the blockiness of the Tele-style isn’t suiting me that well now. I’m finding, too, that I get some fret slipoff when I try to hammer on and pull off on the high e-string (like on the Spirit of Radio intro) or fret the e-string directly under a b-string bend. I do like the narrower neck it has, but this phenomenon bugs me a bit now on top of the standing discomfort. Granted, I expect that my less-than-perfect technique certainly accounts mostly for it, but it’s still not something I’m enjoying as my skills grow. Do I do these kinds of things a lot in my playing? No, not much, so I’m trying to temper my annoyance here.

I’ve done a fair amount of PRS research (my wife would say more than “a fair amount”) and even played some of them lately. Local stock is limited, yet I’ve been able to try several SE models, a CE24 solid body, a Silver Sky, a Mira, some McCarty 594s, an SE Paul’s Guitar, and most recently two DGTs (a 2014 and a 2019). What I’ve been thinking I’m hoping for is a 22-fret guitar with humbuckers and a Stoptail or 2-piece bridge. I’ve thought that this combination is ripe for tone—for me. Maybe even a semi or full hollowbody, yet I don’t think I want to deal with learning how to control feedback, and I'm not as wild about real fat necks. But what I guess I REALLY NEED is a guitar that’s super comfortable to play standing up and sounds nice with some light to medium overdrive. Looks aren’t as important to me, so I’m not looking for 10-tops, etc.; this said, if it’s good-looking to boot, all the better.

What I’ve noticed thus far is that the DGTs and the CE24 have felt the best, though no angels have sung loudly. I did have some string slipoff with both of the DGTs, though, and it’s got me a little leery. (I tried on purpose to see if it would happen, and it did.) I didn’t have any string slipoff with the CE24. But the DGTs, especially felt really good playing leads higher up on the neck on lower-note strings, and seemingly more so than the CE24. I’m tallish—around 6’—and have a 9.25” thumb to pinky span, FYI, so I'm not short-fingered. (I’d probably end up setting up a DGT with 10s instead of 11s if I bought one. I can’t tell if I do like the DGT really well or if the many great reviews have brainwashed me.) Unfortunately, the DGT and the CE24 were at different stores and on different days, so I couldn’t side-by-side them. The CE24 would be a study in learning a 24-fret guitar after never owning one before. I don’t know that I have a preference for a set neck or bolt-on, as long as I don’t have neck problems.

With so many models out there and limited time (the aforementioned 3 ½ year-old…) and limited local stocks, it’ll take me a long time to try out models that I haven’t yet in the bigger cities that are 2+ hours away from me. I’m super eager to try some Core Customs, 408s, etc., although I will say that I’m getting a little disheartened in trying to find “the one” that’s right for me that will likely be my go-to guitar for the next 20 years. I may have an unrealistic expectation that it's going to hit me hard when it happens.

Here are some main points I’m considering:
-- My #1 preference is something that is comfortable to both hands/arms in playing standing up. Strat-style contours feel good to my body, but the Silver Sky hasn’t stricken me, and neither have top-end Fenders. I had a USA Strat 20 years ago and it was good for me then. I don’t believe so now.
-- I have a strong preference for humbuckers with some interest in split/tap to open up tonal options. This said, once I find the sound I like most, I probably won’t change it often, especially live.
-- I have a preference for 22 frets but am willing to mentally shift to 24.
-- I *think* I’d like a hardtail bridge, but I can always block a trem or just not use it. Most important here is the right-hand/risk position comfort.
-- I think I prefer a non-fat neck. Thus far, the DGT, Pattern Thin, and Pattern Regular necks have felt good to me, noting the DGT e-string slip-off.
-- I’d like to think that the guitar will probably be one I keep and play for the next 20 years
-- My budget is ~$2,500 max, though if I don’t spend as much now, it might mean more pedals and/or an additional guitar in the future.

Sorry for the very long ramble, but I’d love to hear from seasoned PRS owners and your advice/best practices/lessons learned, etc. I know—playing and trying them out is the best way to settle on what’s right for me. I’ve done a good amount of that and will keep doing it, but my ability to test drive a lot is limited, and, man, I’m ready to find the PRS I want to get old with.

Thanks so much for listening!
Custom 22. A little thinner body than the DGT, can come with stoptail or trem and can also come in wide thin or regular. Maybe an older used one could be a good solution, since if you do not like it you wouldn't lose much when reselling it.
I think a Vela might suit your needs.. incredibly light, very comfortable.. quite Strat like in its feel...pattern regular neck.. 22 frets... hard tail...great build.. I have the satin finish which is aging nicely... will easily keep you happy for 20 years plus
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Scale length is an important decision. Does a scale length under 25” feel okay or foreign?
Good question, Tim. If I’ve played a PRS with a shorter than 25”scale, it hasn’t seemed awkward. Pretty sure my ASAT Z-3 is 25 1/2”. I notice differences with a Les Paul, for example, but it’s more about the weight, body, cut, etc.
My standard answer is play them until you find one that likes you. Only you can decide if the drive into the city is worth it(I'm assuming you would call ahead and verify what's vin stock).

That being said there is huge value in the S2 line. Pick a shape and features you like and go for it. Go through a reputable dealer with a decent return policy, so you don't get hosed should you not vibe with your new axe. Just make sure it's blue;)
Try the S2 594 DC as others have said.

There are on line sites that will take the guitar back no questions asked and no cost to return. The S2 594 is a sweet axe and ticks off most everything on your list.

Sorry to say though that even if looks aren't a big deal you will be blown away by the deep lustre of the finish
Used core Mira. It's 24 frets, but besides that it's the Regular neck (pattern Regular for the later ones), 2 hum buckers with coil splits, and stoptail. It's light weight and back friendly with arm-friendly contours.
Sounds like a CU22 is just what you need , they can easily be had in your price range and are killer guitars.
Also look at the 408
Happy Hunting
My dos pesos: S2 Custom 24 35th Anniversary. That's the guitar I was looking at myself for next year, but considering your budget this is well within that range, being around $1650, and probably the best value at that price range. I agree the S2 594 is probably closer to what you're looking for, but from the research I've done the 35th Ani is the more versatile instrument. Take a look at these, they're pretty cool.
Definitely try the S2's. The 594, and the 594 thinline are fantastic guitars, and extremely comfortable to play. If you're going to use the trem, the S2 custom 24 30th Anni is a great guitar. Every guitar in the S2 line is a keeper. I have an S2 Studio that I'll never part with, along with a couple of others.
S2 if you are looking for new, but I agree with Aahzz and Bodia that an used Core Mira sounds like a good fit. The Anni version has a 24.5" scale, 22 frets, but P-90s, the regular core Mira has a 25" scale and 24 frets. The pups are great and the tap is very usable (assuming you are comfortable with a volume drop/adjustments to the volume knob). It feels great, it's light, and can rock those Derek Trucks tones!
That's a great budget if you're savvy with the used market. I'm not, so it reduces the possibilities.

You have clearly liked the CE24. Maybe the angels haven't sang because you need to spend a bit more time with it (it happens when you go on a hiatus and want a totally different guitar than what you were used to). How well setup were the ones you tried?

Whatever you do, don't buy anything without trying a Vela once (unless you hate how it looks). You'll save a lot of money that will go towards diapers (specially the satin ones, which turn out to look better to me than the regular ones).
That's a great budget if you're savvy with the used market. I'm not, so it reduces the possibilities.

You have clearly liked the CE24. Maybe the angels haven't sang because you need to spend a bit more time with it (it happens when you go on a hiatus and want a totally different guitar than what you were used to). How well setup were the ones you tried?

Whatever you do, don't buy anything without trying a Vela once (unless you hate how it looks). You'll save a lot of money that will go towards diapers (specially the satin ones, which turn out to look better to me than the regular ones).
Mirror: I'd say the setups have been a bit across the spectrum, with nothing really bad at all. Just some old strings at the big box stores. Everything I've tried to date has been at a store, and all but three were new. I'm likely to not try a personally owned guitar in someone's house yet until I narrow the field down to 2-3 models. You know, risk and all. Also, fortunately, our son started wearing underwear just after his second birthday, so we got off easier with diapers than many, to be sure.

All: Thanks to everyone thus far for your suggestions--I'm taking them all to heart. And, holy wow, those PRS Family collections! I'll be lucky to get more than one in my lifetime....
Custom 22 guy over here. And my current one has the "Wide Thin" neck on it. I am 5' 5" tall and my hands match my body size. To be honest, I LOVED the "Wide Fat", even with my little hands, but am now completely comfortable with the "Wide Thin". I am also a stop bar guy, but my current one has the trem.....never used it....not once....and it isn't blocked as the tuning is stable on it. My wiring is the three way toggle with push/pull for coil splitting. So, I get great humbucker and really decent single coil tones. The customs have the thinner body (comparative, to say, the McCarty line), and the body carves on any core fit like a glove.

All that being said......I can buy a CU22 blind and know, that as long as it is in good shape, it will work for me as I have owned several and know how they feel and sound. But, you may want to play one just to see what it is like.

Here is an old video & picsof what I am playing now when I first got it in. Just for interest. :cool:


Not a seasoned PRS guy but I just picked up a CE24 and love it so far. The neck is the stand out feature for me. It’s pretty lightweight. The 85/15 pickups sound great, even when split. It’s my first 24 fret guitar. For the price it was about getting what I felt like was the most for my $$, apart from buying used maybe. Anyway, can’t wait to play it tomorrow, and the day after that, and so on.