PRS Custom 22 vs Gibson Les Paul Custom


New Member
Jul 16, 2019
As you may know, there are a lot of discussions regarding which guitar is better, Gibson Les Paul or PRS custom 22. I happened to have both, so I made short video comparing them side by side, unplugged and straight to the amp. To my taste PRS sounded a bit better here, but this PRS is really good one, the other I had wasn't as good, some not even close and I owned around 10 of them. Regarding Les Paul Custom, I wouldn't call it the best Les Paul Custom I had, I saw some that were really magical, and I saw the ones that wasn't as good as this one. So please take this video with grain of salt. it's more about hands, rather than guitars.

I own a SCT equipped with Dragon 2 (+ à CE 22 with dragon 1), and a Les Paul Custom Navigator (with ri 68 specs), and other LP. For me it's not a question to know which one is the best. They have their own respective feeling. And the pickups have a huge impact on the way they sound (for example the sct is almost not the same guitar with D2 OR #6) .

To me the biggest difference are:
  • obviously the scale are different so each guitar has it's own feeling (more sharpe for prs, more comfy for LP).
  • neck profile wide fat vs LP custom big neck. PRS is faster but if you like big neck the Navigator is nice.
  • woods. More wood gives again a different feeling, it's difficult to put words on it. Ok the LP weight 4.5 kg... The ebony fretboard makes a big diiference, it adds bites and smoothness. One days I will own a PRS with ebony board.
  • The electronic 1V+1T+3W+split vs 2V+2T+3W I don't think one configuration is better than the other, it's just different. And the rotary switch of the CE22 is also an other story.
  • The pickups well I already talk about it, swap them and you can completely change a guitar. So in my case SH55/SH4 doesn't compete with D1 D2 or #6, they have all their own voice. PRS PU trend to have always a good precision with premium split sounds. I also find PRS PU more versatile. On the other hand SH4 in the LP custom is amazing in drop D tuning (for TOOL songs for example), this LP custom would be a totally different beast with the original SH55 bridge PU => Mr woody spirit.

So for me to conclude I like them both. The guitar I choose will depend of my mood and, hat I want the play.

Pictures of the beasts

Micky, I had Exactly the same PRS(except flame maple), single cut, cherry burst, from 2009 I guess.
I think we all know that these two instruments have quite a bit in common from a tonal perspective but have little in common from a playing perspective. Most, if not all, Gibson Les Pauls (especially the ones that haven't been weight relieved) weigh more which can get uncomfortable if stood up playing for a while. They are thicker bodied and have a shorter scale length, different necks too. The Custom 22's now only come with a trem bridge, different carve and better high fret access. You get a better designed headstock too with straight string pull and a better angle that is less susceptible to breakage. I think its a more modern instrument from a playing perspective. Neither is too far from the other sonically and both can perfectly functional for that 'double humbucker' sound that Les Pauls have built. Both can be interchangeable - for example you could use the LP seated at home but take the Custom 22 for a gig as its not as heavy and can offer a bit more with some in between sounds (Positions 2 and 4 of the 5 way) and the trem (if you have one).

They are also different enough that you don't have to get rid of one because you have no need of it. The LP with its independent tone and volume can lead to some more varied options when in the middle position - like having the bridge tone rolled down whilst keeping the neck tone rolled up, blending the two together using the volume pots. I understand why some may think the Cu22 is an alternative, trying to decide which is 'better' but whilst they can sound alike in some situations, both can also do things the other can't - more so if you have a trem bridge Cu22. I think that there are other PRS guitars that can be much closer to the LP.

Tonally, each can be 'better' as that comes down too personal preference as does playability and the different features, placement of knobs/switches etc can suit some people better too. The one thing that most can agree as better on a PRS is the string pull at the headstock but everything else is just preference. Between my 594 (vintage sounding) and Special 22 (more classic), both of which can offer a wider tonal palette thanks to independent coil splitting/tapping and the Narrowfield on my Special, I don't feel I need a Gibson Les Paul but I also would own the right one if the right circumstances allow.

In my opinion, comparisons like this are somewhat redundant as the guitars are quite different in enough areas that owning both isn't like owning 2 of the same instrument. Comparing a Gibson LP to a Eastman equivalent makes sense because both are incredibly similar and therefore does make sense to me to try and find which is the 'best' LP to buy where as deciding between a LP and Cu22 could come down more to the differences that each have, different body thickness and shape, different knobs/switches and layout of these, different Pick-up selection options, different scale length, different bridge etc etc rather than just the tonal differences.

Still I enjoy watching these....
Nice skills and tone!

Neither one is going to suck. They are both quality instruments. I hear a slight difference but also a lot of similarity. I don't make this a competition. I play the one I want whenever I want. Usually it's the PRS.
I think we all know here where my heart is at.....And of the two where I would go every time. But I gotta say, that LP does sound nice. The pick attack at higher gain sounds really crisp.
LPs and CU22s are awfully different guitars!

“Would you rather be a pencil or a Q-Tip?”

“What kind of choice is that?”

“I dunno. It’s a choice. You have to choose.”

“What if I don’t choose?”

“You’ll be asked if you’d rather be a popsicle stick or a piece of Kleenex.”

“OK, that one I can answer.”