Question about upgrading from my SE Standard 24

mixmkr

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Jan 3, 2024
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KY
The SE24 Standard, my first PRS. It was exactly the features I was looking for... and Dave's had an impulse buy price on them....so I jumped...

...but it looks like I drank the koolaid. There are enough credible posts that have me looking to upgrade and at least experience the next level up of PRS, but doing so in my lap, in my own studio. Please don't suggest to try them out in a music store, because #1, that's not an option where I live and #2, I can't tell in a store. I need to set it up myself and hear it in my own studio.

I like every feature about my Standard 24... the 24 frets, just the simple volume/tone and NO mini toggles, the whammy, and I like the pickups on the "hotter" side. I also like the double cut (and much more than the Santana). I'd like to very much not veer away from those features. That seems to leave me with the S2 Customs or the 10th anniversary models. PLEASE jump in if I'm missing other models. Lastly, the flame tops are nice, but if I had a choice, I'd just assume not...another reason I like my "plain" SE24 Standard.

So....the difference I'm seeing between that guitar and my SE, is obviously US build, better mahogany(?), the US version of the pickups, and locking tuners. But I'm also seeing the same whammy used, and I presume pots, switches etc. Also, the finish difference of nitro vs poly.
Am I completely missing the boat, buying another SE24, and upgrading the parts, which would save me a couple happy meals....or would I actually not... and the improvement fall noticeably short of an actual S2 (or a core... good used one?). The SE "stunned me' over my USA Gibsons and Fenders....like a taste of a good drug...and I want more and better.

Apologies for asking what must be a repeatable, SE owner question...or potential hot topic.
 
Are you planning on keeping the se24 or sell it? Since you like the standard, the simple answer is get a s2 standard24. In either satin or gloss. Excellent guitar that if I was to start my PRS journey over.. that's where I'd begin. Smokin deals can be had on the secondary market.

The s2 shares the S pickups and trem on the se, but that's about where it stops. If you want to swap the trem, then John Mann (MannMade) is where it's at. You can always get his kit that gives you the block and saddles. The two weak links of the se trem, and I personally dig the warmth brass adds to a guitar. John Mann designed the original PRS trem. He's the OG Trem Mann.

Next answer, staying with the standard, is get a core standard, but used is the only way to go and they stopped making them for the US in 2009. This is honestly where I would have started my PRS journey, but the s2 is easier to source and cheaper. The standards are falling in price (like most guitars) and patience will find you a deal.

Another fantastic option is look out for an older CE24. These use to be built to core specs. It's a bolt on, but man they are sweet guitars that can be had for a steal! They have a maple top and hog only body versions, with one year all alder. Also, early early ones had alder bodies and maple tops.The older ce24 is also one of the routes I would have started my PRS journey if I was to do it over..

I'd still have both and some more.. :)
 
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I should add if you want to take your se24 the distance.. It's fun and almost a right of passage if you're into that sort of thing. A good guitar becomes a great guitar! If you sell, you'll never get your cash back, but if you keep and enjoy, who cares?

I took my first PRS the distance and still have it today. Doubt I'll ever sell it. I thought I would for a DW Ce24, but truthfully I prefer my 30th. Mostly because of the warmer tone, and I dig rosewood with anniversary birds.

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