Prs S2 Standard and Custom 24 experience

Luca Cossu

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Nov 19, 2015
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Hi,
i would like to have some genuine opinions from owners of prs S2 standard or custom 24.
I find reviews on youtube very helpful but i would like some opinion from those who own and know the guitar through and through,
what are the pro, the cons, would you change the pickups in the future, is the trem good enough, are you happy with the tuners,does the guitar suit well with the genre you usually play or it turned out to be not as good as you thought? going back would you have gone for another S2 instead or are you completely happy with your choice? etc etc
I would appreciate your honest opinion!
Thanks :)
 

CVS

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You might want to consider posing this in the Electronic Instruments section.

I have had a Custom 24 for about 10 years. It still has the original VB & HFS treble pick ups on it. In recent years for sure, this model has seen a number of different pickups put on it. Just wanted to make you aware of this as you solicit input from others. I for one am happy with the choice, and if I had a few more $$, I would be out buying a 30th anniversary model right now (new pick ups)
 

garrett

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I'm not sold on the S2 Customs, personally. I'd rather pick up an older used core Custom, or a McCarty if you don't want the trem.

I only have a little experience with the SE/S2 trem, but it's a pretty nice unit. I think the tuners are excellent.

I like the S2 Standards. I think the bevel bodies look better on mahogany. They make more sense to me with dot inlays as plainer tone machines.

The S2 guitars are definitely versatile, with useful coil splits. The only thing I don't like on mine is the volume pots. They're proving to be horrible. They don't feel great and are already noisy at six months of use.

The pickups are pretty good, but I swapped mine out. Pickups are such a personal thing, though, and plenty of people swap them on core guitars too.

In all, I love mine. The feel and playability are what I expect out of PRS. A great value, if that's what you're looking for.
 

drdoom8793

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S2 Custom 24 owner here! I'm extremely happy with my S2. I actually had the choice of a new S2 and an older used core and went for the S2. It doesn't have as nice of a top or the same body carve, but it just felt more alive in my hands. I don't regret it at all. The best advice is to try to get somewhere that you can actually put your hands on one or more models and see what feels best to you.
 

mapleleaf14

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I love my Custom 24 S2 now that I did a few mods (as well as my other S2's)...DiMarzio 36th Ann. PAF's and a second push/pull pot for tapping each pickup individually. I don't like the stock VB/HFS or #7 pickups in the S2's...I've put the DiMarzio's in most of mine, and I have a set of Rio Grande Dirty Harry's in one of them. I don't have the stock pickups in any of my S2's anymore...I definitely don't like the neck position #7 pickups. I too find the tuners to be fantastic.

I tend to take the S2's I have to practice more often because I don't worry about tossing them in the car, banging them around, etc. but I play the Core's more at home and at gigs whenever we get one.
 

LSchefman

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I'm not sold on the S2 Customs, personally. I'd rather pick up an older used core Custom, or a McCarty if you don't want the trem.

I only have a little experience with the SE/S2 trem, but it's a pretty nice unit. I think the tuners are excellent.

I like the S2 Standards. I think the bevel bodies look better on mahogany. They make more sense to me with dot inlays as plainer tone machines.

The S2 guitars are definitely versatile, with useful coil splits. The only thing I don't like on mine is the volume pots. They're proving to be horrible. They don't feel great and are already noisy at six months of use.

The pickups are pretty good, but I swapped mine out. Pickups are such a personal thing, though, and plenty of people swap them on core guitars too.

In all, I love mine. The feel and playability are what I expect out of PRS. A great value, if that's what you're looking for.

PRS doesn't make pots, they buy them, as do all guitar makers. I don't think there is a potentiometer maker that builds a truly high quality guitar volume pot. They're all junk compared to the pots from companies like ALPS that you find on high end studio electronics. Plus guitar pots are prone to failure. Fortunately, replacing one is really easy.

Even USA-made Switchcraft parts like the toggle switches and input jacks that come on Private Stocks and Core are the bane of my existence, fail regularly, and get noisy. I guess it's all part of the joy of being a guitar player...

However, the custom stuff PRS has made like the tuning machines on the Core line, bridges, and the other hardware, is top-notch product.
 

andy474x

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My S2 volume pot got scratchy after 6 months or so. A little contact cleaner and I've not had a problem since. Maybe something in the manufacturing process introduces dust into the casing, as I've heard it's a common issue with S2 electronics.
 

garrett

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PRS doesn't make pots, they buy them, as do all guitar makers. I don't think there is a potentiometer maker that builds a truly high quality guitar volume pot. They're all junk compared to the pots from companies like ALPS that you find on high end studio electronics. Plus guitar pots are prone to failure. Fortunately, replacing one is really easy.

Even USA-made Switchcraft parts like the toggle switches and input jacks that come on Private Stocks and Core are the bane of my existence, fail regularly, and get noisy. I guess it's all part of the joy of being a guitar player...

However, the custom stuff PRS has made like the tuning machines on the Core line, bridges, and the other hardware, is top-notch product.

There are certainly varying degrees of quality in potentiometers and the type used in the S2 are not a brand I've seen before, apparently for good reason. My experience with the Alpha pots in several SE guitars was better. The higher quality CTS pots are just fine with me. The PRS spec volume pots are my favorite.

Funnily enough, the only switch failure I've had was the Switchcraft right angle toggle on my HBII. Replaced it with a generic Allparts short straight toggle that had previously served time in a CU24 and a Telecaster.
 

G-Man

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All pots get scratchy. There is a very cool tool where you take the knob off and screw a small pipe into the end of the pot, allowing the contact cleaner to be jetted into the pot. really nice job cleaning without a mess. Trying to find the name.
 

Whitecat

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The best pots I'ver used are those in Nik Huber's guitars. Dunno what make they are but they are so very linear and useable at almost any setting, there's no fiddling to find a sweet spot.

Back on topic - OP, I also don't really feel the S2 Customs, but the Standards are very much stunning instruments that are perfect for that lineup, so if you were interested in an all-mahogany 24 fret guitar, that would serve you well and be a great choice.

The Core line Custom 24 on the other hand is special, but I only really truly love the ones with 85/15s, which is to say the 2015 30th Anniversary models and the current 2016 models. Your taste may vary of course but I just feel like they finally perfected the tone. Lots more cash though, obviously!
 

LSchefman

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The best pots I'ver used are those in Nik Huber's guitars. Dunno what make they are but they are so very linear and useable at almost any setting, there's no fiddling to find a sweet spot.

Huber uses CTS pots, lots of makers use them, and they're widely available.

I don't know for 100% sure what PRS uses, but if memory serves, they may use Bourns pots, which are very good products given the application. I like the way they respond all the way through their range. I still get usable tones down to very low settings. I know Seymour Duncan (the man) recommends this maker's pots as well.

PRSh has often said in relation to hardware that he'll use a less expensive component if he thinks it sounds better than the more expensive one. But in any case, volume pots will fail in the field because that's what they do. And the CTS and Bourns are comparably priced.

One of the volume pots on my McCarty Singlecut had to be replaced, but it was done under warranty (in fact, my dealer replaced it very quickly) and was not a big deal. Things happen with these parts. I've had this happen with all brands.

I'd say with regard to the OP's inquiry, get the guitar you want, pickups, pots and even some hardware are not difficult swaps. The S2s use the same quality wood as Core models, and that's really what's most important. Hardware and electronics can always be upgraded.

I'm more or less addicted to the Core and Private Stock offerings, but I'd buy an S2 in a heartbeat, and I have a strong interest in the Vela, which is a really awesome guitar in my estimation.
 
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markintime

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Even USA-made Switchcraft parts like the toggle switches and input jacks that come on Private Stocks and Core are the bane of my existence, fail regularly, and get noisy. I guess it's all part of the joy of being a guitar player...
And...
I'm more or less addicted to the Core and Private Stock offerings, but I'd buy an S2 in a heartbeat, and I have a strong interest in the Vela, which is a really awesome guitar in my estimation.
Thanks, Les.

I understand a little more now. I was about to blame my Mogami cable for the noise that my Vela is making, but now I realize that it's the input jack. I have the angle head plug going into it and sitting on the edge of the bed when it turns as I shift position this static bursts out. I pulled the jack out and sprayed electrical contact cleaner and carefully re-inserted it, but it is still doing it. The same cable is quiet as a mouse on my other guitars. Going hunting for a replacement jack. Recommendations, anyone?

And I love my S2 Vela! Not meaning to hijack the thread, just taking advantage of it to ask the question and share. Apologies, if necessary.
 

CantankerousCarl

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S2s are an incredibly good value. I think it depends on how sensitive your ears are, and whether you are a tinkerer or not.

The S2s I have A/Bd against Cores stack up very well. That being said, I have yet to hear an S2 that sounds as "interesting" as a Core. The Cores, to my ears, are more harmonically rich out of the box. This applies to older used Cores as well.

As it has been suggested, although its hard these days, try to find someplace that has a few of what you are considering and play them I you can. Worst case, take advantage of today's megachains with liberal return policies, and have some come to you. Try them at home, at the same time if you can, and keep the one that you love best.
 

Grizzlee

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And...

Thanks, Les.

I understand a little more now. I was about to blame my Mogami cable for the noise that my Vela is making, but now I realize that it's the input jack. I have the angle head plug going into it and sitting on the edge of the bed when it turns as I shift position this static bursts out. I pulled the jack out and sprayed electrical contact cleaner and carefully re-inserted it, but it is still doing it. The same cable is quiet as a mouse on my other guitars. Going hunting for a replacement jack. Recommendations, anyone?

And I love my S2 Vela! Not meaning to hijack the thread, just taking advantage of it to ask the question and share. Apologies, if necessary.

Before you go as far as replacing a jack on a nearly new guitar, just check that the contact cleaner you used is not just pure alcohol as some are. The connect is best with a little lube on it say something like WD40, pots often have a silicon based lube in them for this reason and get noisy when this dries out.
 

Whitecat

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Huber uses CTS pots, lots of makers use them, and they're widely available.

Interesting, if they are nothing magical/rare then there must be something else about his circuit or the Haussel pickups that just makes them taper really perfectly.

PRS are a close second, mind you, but I've always felt my (sole) Nik Huber is just slightly more exact on the pots.

Fender, with the exception of the "no-load" tone control they put on some instruments which is decent, tend to be the weakest in this department for me.

Anyway, back on topic... :)
 

markintime

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Before you go as far as replacing a jack on a nearly new guitar, just check that the contact cleaner you used is not just pure alcohol as some are. The connect is best with a little lube on it say something like WD40, pots often have a silicon based lube in them for this reason and get noisy when this dries out.

Hey Grizlee, man, I've gotta say that you just taught this old dog a new trick! Right on the money with the WD40 suggestion. Not only did the noise go away with the Mogami cable, but also with the El Cheapo 6' cable I use on my little Blackstar Fly 3 watt amp. After a shot of that stuff, I spun the cables around a full 360 and back while powered up with not a peep of static.

The contact cleaner I was using is CRC QD Contact Cleaner. While it does contain some isopropyl alcohol, it also has some hexane isomers and other ingredients as well. It is touted as quick drying, no residue, and plastic safe. I've used it to clean out memory sticks and slots on computers for that very reason, but apparently it was too dry a martini for my Vela. Funny though, my other PRSi didn't show any signs of that issue.

Anyway, just wanted to let you know, "You done good, man!" Mucho thanks!
 
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