My PRS Private Stock Journey...

RAM Engineer

New Member
Feb 1, 2021
So after months of researching the details (as best as I can) of Alex Lifeson's recently auctioned Black CE-24, I approached John Mann's Guitar Vault about building a "tribute" model to it. I say tribute, because it was going to be STRUCTURALLY like the Blackie, but with some hardware and electronics updates. And a fancier finish.

Anyway, Mr. Mann was very excited to work on this with me and helped me out filling out a spec sheet, with some back and forth discussion. I picked him specifically due to his past association with PRS during the timeframe (1991) when Blackie was built. My spec-sheet was finally submitted and last week I braced myself to find out the damage (dollar-wise).

Unfortunately, the response I got back was:

"...Bad news… unfortunately PRS will NOT build a CE 24. They can build you a Custom 24 in Private Stock."

And here ends my Private Stock journey...

I don't fault Mann's Guitar Vault, as they did everything in their power to make this happen and were very helpful. I don't even fault PRS. I'm sure they have run the math and from a dollar/labor hour perspective, they feel that CE-24s are a loss to them. But it just sucks. Guess I'm back to searching out a very good era correct CE and restoring it.
Sorry to hear it. I thought they’d pretty much build anything in their catalog as a PS guitar. Live and learn… Having never attempted to make a PS order, I guess I just assumed. But that seems an awfully simple ask to me. As John has contacts there, I wonder if he can get an explanation for you, even if it’s one you can’t share here.

Well, life is like that but don’t let it stop you from getting that dream guitar put together. I did a similar thing with David Gilmour’s “Black Strat” though it is, admittedly, a lot easier to find a black Stratocaster than a ‘91 CE. Good luck!
I wonder if they no longer have the tooling to make the neck with the old bolt-on joint?
They did put limitations on PS either last last year or early this year. Basically nothing out of the norm until they catch up, so you can't do some of the more unique things. For now, at least.
Sounds like PS is turning into the Henry Ford version of builds! "You can have it in any color you want, as long as it is black"!! Reminds me of when I ordered my 100th anniversary Harley from their "Custom Vehicle Operations" unit!!! Told them I wanted different wheels than stock, and they said, sure, go ahead and buy them and have them installed after the bike is delivered!!!! How custom is that????
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