My PRS Core models reviewed (2015 McCarty & 2006 CE-24 Mahogany)

Fullmoon 1971

Werewolf, there wolf, there castle
Jun 24, 2015
United Kingdon
Back at the end of august my wife treated me to a 2015 PRS McCarty, as soon as I played I knew there would be more Core models coming my way. here for your approval are my current offerings.

This was my first PRS CORE guitar and I'm over the moon with it. It's a brand new NOS 2015 McCarty model. It weighs just under 8 lbs. Wide fat neck carve that's very nice but neither really wide or fat.

I know a lot of people out there rave over PRS's “10” Tops or Gibson's super rich “Flame” tops but to me if a guitars top looks to perfect then it can end up looking like a veneer or worse a photo flame decal. I like my tops to have a bit of personality to them.

On the McCarty the Black Gold Burst finish reveals stunning golden highlights in the figured maple top, while the ivoroid bound fretboard wears nine “birds in flight” inlays of pearl and abalone. The rosewood faced headstock sports “McCarty” on its trussrod cover and on the flip side are a set nickel-plated Phase III locking tuners with exposed brass gears and aluminium keys.

This machine is a real dream, she almost plays herself, the fit and finish is way beyond anything the other 2 major firms put out. I received it and have pretty much played it solid none stop for about 5 weeks - my fingers were actually bleeding cause of the lack of playing previous to getting this beauty. Playability is out of this world, the neck feels like it was shaped for my hand alone, and everything just feels "right"

She is the most acoustically lively guitar I've had my mits on, vibrates like crazy and has a very bright and airy tone, the 58/15's sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream...handles gain like nobody's business. and I really cannot find a fault with her. (her name is maria after the most beautifull and caring woman I have ever known)

The McCarty sparked not so much GAS as a raging fire to obtain more Core models. While I was visiting my tech he showed me his 2016 Core CE-24 Satin. while I sat there I realized that I had been strumming it for about 1 hour without a break, it played so well. The only thing I wasn't keen on was the satin finish.

So home I go - over the next few days I scearched the net for bargains (like we do :)) when I stumbled upon a 2006 CE-24 Mahogany in what looked like virtually mint condition for £1000, well it took me all of about 10 seconds to make her mine (It's better to ask forgiveness than permission). The next day she arrives and I'm sorry to say she wasn't virtually mint - She was MINT, 11 years old and not a mark on her. It weighs just under 9 lbs. Wide thin neck carve that again is a misnomer as it's neither really wide or thin and feels like it was shaped for my hand alone, everything just feels "right"

The CE-24 features a 1 piece mahogany body (are you paying attention gibson?) the slight orange mahogany has a perfect finish. The Maple neck is one piece with 2 wings making up the unpainted headstock, On the flip side are a set nickel-plated Phase II locking tuners with exposed brass gears. while the unbound rosewood fretboard wears eleven MOP dot inlays.

Someone on another forum made a comment about the guitar being very midrange focused, tonally. I have to agree with the caveat that using the tone/volume controls and amp settings alleviates this. the HFS/VB Combination sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream...handles gain like nobody's business.. Twist up/down the tone/volume pots and the guitar can go from lead screamer to powerful rhythm in a second. I can get the guitar to go from dark and dirty to bright, smooth and silky depending on what I do with the vol/tone pots. The 5-way pickup selector gives some nice single-coil options, on top of the those excellent HBs, Lots of natural sustain on this beauty, which comes just as much from the quality of woods, design and finish, as from those tasty pickups.

I'd never call the CE a poor-man's anything - it's an excellent guitar in its own right, and for me, the CE is a steal of a guitar. It's been called a sleeper, a bargain, more bang for the buck and I agree.

Do I prefer one over the other? From a sentimental point of the view the McCarty wins because of the connection to my wife

From a playing point of view? The two guitars are different and yet the same - with only the electrics marking them apart.

I compare them to my Gibson's.
The McCarty sounds very vintage with its 58/15's, very similar to my 2014 Gibson Les Paul Traditional with 59 tributes in it.
The CE-24 doesn't sound quite as vintage with the HFS/VB pickups but it doesn't sound modern either, very similar to my 2012 Gibson Les Paul Classic Custom with 57 classics in it.
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She is the most acoustically lively guitar I've had my mits on, vibrates like crazy and has a very bright and airy tone, the 58/15's sound amazing, sweet to spanky clean, mean to scream

My 2016 weighs under 7lbs. And yes, you can sit on the couch and strum and riff on this guitar and it is loud and clear and you can hear every mistake/clam in your articulation too.
One of the most amazing guitar sounds I was privy to hearing was a mahogany CE at an open mike. It just had all the guts, top to bottom, especially with overdrive. You, Sir, are a lucky man with a great wife and 2 great guitars.
Awesome guitars! Excellent review! I liked everything you said, except the part about 10 tops. I dig a nice flamed or quilted top more often than not.