noticeable differences between SE bevel vs shallow violin?


New Member
Dec 9, 2023
been looking at some SE Custom 24 models - noticed that PRS claims that the top carve has changed from bevel to "shallow violin". For those of you who currently own or owned guitars with both carves - are there any major differences? I can't tell from the photos because they all have different angles and lightings. I tried to compare with 2021 models and 2024 (bevel vs shallow violin) with two tabs open side by side, but upon close inspection I realized that they just copied and pasted the same photo on different years.

I am sure they would look much flatter than those photos on the web, so I wonder if they are any different, aesthetic and playing comfort wise.
The "soft bevel" on the pre-2023 SE models is more comfortable, in my opinion.

On any kind of "violin carve," the face of the guitar meets the sides at a 90° angle, sometimes even a slightly acute angle, if there is some "re-carve" on the top. It has no functional purpose on a solid-body guitar, so it's purely aesthetic. Personally, I find that edge in the armrest area to be a little uncomfortable, and prefer guitars with a rounded armrest, a bevel, or a scoop.

The SE models have veneered tops, so they have to be able to bend the veneer to conform to the carved maple top underneath it. Veneer generally doesn't like to bend in two directions at once, so they've kept the carve very gentle and avoiding complex, compound curves. The edge of the pre-2023 SE models is a little more than 90°, making it a bit gentler on the forearm, with a bit more support.

Advances in veneer treatments, glues, and vacuum technology have made it possible to bend veneers around slightly more complex compound curved surfaces, so the "shallow violin carve" was introduced. Personally, I would have rather seen them go the other way, toward a more pronounced bevel like on the S2 models, but that's probably an even harder proposition for veneer.

Some like the way the shallow violin carve looks and feels, some don't. But that's the only way they make them now, so if you want a new SE, that's what you get.
This has piqued my curiosity in the past as well, and my searches never yielded any discernable results.

Hoping somebody here can post some pictures showing differences between the two!
Comfort wise, it’s night and day for me, but I’m a classical position player, which puts more contact on the forearm. The violin carve isn’t as bad for outside leg playing, but I still prefer bevels even there. It’s why I am in the S2 and CE camp. SE Silver Skys, Miras, and Santanas have typically had the classic or bevel carves.
Also, if you get the violin carve and it bothers you, you could buy an Abel or mandolin Armrest. Make sure you measure.
.lI am sure they would look much flatter than those photos on the web, so I wonder if they are any different, aesthetic and playing comfort wise.

I prefer the old carve in looks and feel. IRL the shallow violin carve on the se is more shallow than carve. More of a buzzword to include for marketing than an actual improvement. It's not the carve of core or even the ce. The new ce is what I'd consider a shallow violin carve. Rather the se veneer is a factor or not I don't know? But more than likely is. Cost is definitely a factor too, more carve equals more wood and time.
I asked a very similar question just a few weeks ago. There may be some useful info in there too. I dont think I can put a link since I'm still new here, but if you go to my profile, its the only other thread I've commented on. I was trying to decide between the 2022 and 2023 SE Custom 24 Quilt and was mostly interested in the carve. In ended up going with the 2023 but I haven't sat down with a 2022 to be able to compare them.