SE Santana Guitars vs SE Custom 24 (for versatility)?

Discussion in 'Electric Instruments' started by OldManMark, Jul 31, 2021.

  1. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Is the SE Custom 24 - with its ability to coil tap the pickups - significantly more versatile than the SE Santana Guitars (either the SE Santana Singlecut Trem, which I really like, or the SE Santana)???

    Scenario: I mostly goof around on guitar and serenade my neighbors... against their will. I like classic rock, and 80's alternative, and a lot of the songs "inspired" by African music (like a lot of Paul Simon's Graceland or Talking Heads Nothing But Flowers), and some jangly stuff like REM

    I have an Ibanez AS93 Semi-Hollow body (similar to a Gibson 335) with dual humbuckers that I like a lot. And looking for a second guitar that has humbuckers but can give me a decent approximation of the single coil sound when I need it, and that also has a good tremolo bar.

    I love the humbucker sound of the SE Santana Singlecut Trem, but it doesn't have coil taps. Is that something easy to do just by re-soldering some wires and replacing the tone potentiometer???

    The SE Custom 24 has a coil tap and it SOUNDS more versatile (in the youtube videos I have seen), but then again it seems like EVERYONE says you MUST replace the pickups with Seymour Duncans or Vaughn Skows.

    Are the Santana "S" pickups or the TCI “S” pickups much better than those 85/15 “S” pickups in the SE Custom 24???

    Other people say you REALLY should replace the tuners with replacement locking tuners from PRS. Is that true too?

    Also, I noticed that the SE Santana Singlecut Trem is all mahogany, for both the body and the neck, while the SE Santana is Mahogany / Maple Body with Mahogany neck, and the SE Custom 24 is Mahogany + Maple Body and Maple neck. Does this affect the tones or how likely it is to neck diving?

    Thanks in advance and sorry for all the noob questions.
     
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  2. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    You don’t HAVE to replace the pickups. That’s BS. You do have to live with whatever you get for a while, before you start changing out parts for no gain. The Santana has a shorter(24.5) scale, and will have a darker sound with the hog’ body. Play them both, the necks are different. I personally don’t have any 24.5 right now. I prefer 25 or 25.25 scale lengths for the tighter bass response. I would say Custom 24; and try an anniversary if you can. I like the mini-switches.
     
  3. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Thank you very much for the reply. I appreciate it a lot.

    So I guess the Custom 24 would also be more different from the sounds of my Ibanez AS93 (a 335-type semi-hollow body)???

    I guess I will have to try the neck on the SC Custom 24 because Ibanez necks for there NON-Super-strat guitars are supposed to be more like Gibsons. It says the radius of the neck on my AS93 is 305mmR/ 12", and is 43mm (1.69 inches) wide at the nut and 56.3mm (2.22 inches) wide at the last fret (22nd fret). Plus it is a 24.75 scale. So I guess the fretboard radius is a bit flatter than the PRS guitars.
     
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  4. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Oh, and almost forgot. Do the SE Custom 24s neck dive? Or are they well balanced physically?
     
  5. chicagoslim

    chicagoslim New Member

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    I barely notice the neck length and radius, on the fore mentioned guitars. I notice a big difference between the Wide/Fat neck shape of a Santana and the Wide/Thin of a Custom 24. I've never had neck dive from any PRS guitar. I strongly suggest that you get out and play the guitars before buying. The weight has varied on these guitars that I've tried.

    For what it's worth, I bought a core and S2 this past year and I was very close to buying a Santana SE, double cutaway.

    [​IMG]
     
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  6. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Thanks so much for the input. I will definitely try and check them out.
     
  7. Draconomics

    Draconomics Celebrating 15 years of bad tone

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    All the Santana SE's I ve tried are fantastic, and its on my radar. Would love to find a nice orange specimen. I'll pop in my dos pesos.

    - I dont think the Santana has coil tap. I suppose in that regard the CU 24 is more versatile. Its not the most difficult thing to put in a push-pull pot to split the coils, I imagine the stock pickups on a Santana SE would be four conductor schemes so you should be able to do it. You could also do it like a Pauls SE and pop in mini toggles as your coil splits.

    -As far as the pickups, while I do tend to point the finger at those as on of the weaker aspects of SE guitars, they arent bad at all. You gotta try em first and see if you gel with them. That said, yeah, I have replaced stock SE pickups on all my SE's save for the Paul's Guitar.

    - I really like the tci(s) pickups quite a bit. To me, they have more liveliness than anything else in the SE line, but that's my ears. You might hear differently. To me, Santana(s) pickups sound rock solid.

    - Nah. Stock tuners are fine. I replace all mine with lockers because I'm lazy.

    - There will be differences in tone for sure from an all mahogany body to a combo of it and maple, probably minute ones. My 35th was twangier than my PG, but turned out it was just the pickups. Never had an issue with neck dive on a PRS, ever.
     
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  8. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Thanks so much for the input. I really appreciate it.

    I saw a demo online where someone was comparing an SE Custom 24 with an SE Custom 24-08 (which I guess has the TCI "S" pickups, and the 24-08 did seem to have a little more clarity in the upper mids (at least, that's what my ears were telling me).
     
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  9. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    I agree. I was fortunate enough to be gifted this, from some very kind forum members here -

    [​IMG]

    I lived with it in its original state for some time before deciding what changes to make.

    Of course the most necessary mod was a change to lampshade knobs (;))

    I had a new PRS nut installed.

    I swapped to locking tuners and unplated brass bridge posts.

    Also for aesthetics, I installed ebony tuner buttons.

    As far as pickups. They suit the guitar well and there are always adjustments that can be made to make them suit your needs.

    Happy hunting.

    EDIT - I changed the tuners because I liked the idea of quicker changes and also the brass string posts.

    All the changes do make a small noticeable difference acoustically (yes especially the ebony tuner buttons ;)
     
    #9 Alnus Rubra, Aug 1, 2021
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2021
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  10. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Thanks so much for sharing your opinions and thanks for the photo. That is a SE 245 Standard, right?

    It looks very nice!!!

    Actually, the volume and tone knobs look much better than the stock ones in the photo on the website, so that was a good first modification :)

    And the bridge / tailpiece is different from the stock one?

    Thanks again.
     
  11. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    Yes you’re correct.

    The lampshades are nice, well I like them.

    The bridge is standard for the year of manufacture, but I changed the bridge posts.

    Acoustically it’s a bright guitar and the additional brass (tuner/bridge posts) and change of nut make this beauty ring really nicely.

    There was nothing wrong with the guitar out of the gig bag, I just chose to experiment, which worked out very well.

    That’s not to say I won’t change pickups in the future for a different tonal flavour, but at the moment I’m happy with what they’re giving me.
     
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  12. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Ahh... ok. Thanks again. Your photo makes it look nicer than on the PRS Website. Your particular guitar has nice open wood grain.
     
  13. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    Thanks, it is a very bonnie guitar!

    (Disclaimer - Instagram filters used on the photo)

    And PRS won’t have access to a Sheldon (the cat).
     
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  14. aphantomvaper

    aphantomvaper New Member

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    These are all great points! I've done the same to my 245 as Alnus. I've also upgraded to the PRS composite nut on all of my PRS SE, and brass nuts on a couple too :)

    The major difference in feel will be the neck carve...Wide Fat for the Santana and 245 and Wide Thin for the SE CU24. You should try playing before buying one. They feel diff, and personally I didn't like the Wide Thin feel. I'm up to 7 PRSi since I joined here (ya darn enablers) and they are all Wide Fat necks.

    Hope this helps and good luck. I may throw A 2017 SE Santana on Reverb soon and will PM you if I do. It will be a good price.
     
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  15. RevBillyG

    RevBillyG New Member

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    I think "versatility" is the wrong term here. A simple Telecaster has been & can be used in any genre of music.

    What you are asking about is tonal variety & yes, a dual humbucker with coil splits will have more tonal variety than a dual humbucker without.

    However, are those tones going to be useful? I've given up on coil splits. They don't do anything for me.

    But that's me. Just like I have no use for a tone knob on the bridge pickup on any guitar except a single coil strat. Even then I'd be fine with a resistor switched in as I find the sweet spot on that tone knob & leave it there.

    In other words you might gain a bunch of new tones, but may not care for them.

    I'm a pedal guy. Just about every tonal variation I want I do post guitar cable. So yes, ymmv
     
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  16. Axis39

    Axis39 New Member

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    I chased a unicorn for years... coil taps, out-of-phase, singles and humbuckers mixed. Never found the guitar that does it all equally well. Heck, I even tried SD P-Rails. I really wanted to find that one guitar that did it all. Most fo the time I found guitars that did it all, kinda-okay. But, never found one that did it all with aplomb.

    For me feel is very important. I also need a thicker neck (I get arm cramps on long gigs with skinny necks... bad technique, I'm sure). So, a wide thin neck would never work for me. I love the Wide Fat on my '17 Santana SE!

    Like others, I kinda liked the stock pickups. They were ok. But, not great. I liked the guitar enough that I wanted great, so I swapped in some custom wound P-90's. Now, it's easily one of my favorite guitars of all time.

    It ticks a lotta boxes, for me... Double cut, great upper fret access, good trem with a nice, smooth action. The fuller neck I prefer.

    But, also, I like the shape of the Santana better than the Custom 24's. LOL.
     
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  17. Alnus Rubra

    Alnus Rubra Loving nature’s wonders

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    I think I’m with you. A humbucker guitar for those sounds and a single coil guitar for s/c sounds.

    After all you don’t buy a trombone to get saxophone sounds!
     
  18. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    If I still had a 245, I would have done exactly what you did. Noyce, Reuben!
     
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  19. dogrocketp

    dogrocketp I drank the PRS kool aid, and it was tasty!

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    I do everything based on guitar feel and sound. That’s why I have something in each category. One guitar can feel very different from the same model different guitar. This is your first PRS. There is no wrong answer, only different flavors of great. Enjoy the hunt for the first, then the second, then down the rabbit hole with the rest of us.
     
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  20. OldManMark

    OldManMark New Member

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    Firstly, I would like to say a big Thank You to everyone who has replied.

    Some general thoughts and reactions before replying specifically to everyone.

    - I agree that neck shape (and other ergonomics) are important - probably more important than tone out of the box. As Cheap Trick guitarist Rick Nielsen once said, "I can make any guitar sound bad."

    - I like the neck of my Ibanez AS93 (a semi-hollow body similar to a Gibson 335) a lot, which most players describe being like a Gibson neck but thinner (but not like an Ibanez strat). So the Santana necks sound like they would be a better fit

    - Yes, I will definitely try before I buy. (I just feel bad going in to a guitar store and trying out guitars when I know I am either going to buy off of Reverb or locally off craigslist).

    - As for versatility... I guess what I really mean is that since I have my AS93 and it is great for jazz / blues / classic rock, I am looking for a second guitar that does the things the AS93 doesn't do so well... Like it doesn't have a whammy bar, nor does it do single coil sounds at all. It would be nice to get some "out of phase" sounds to better play some funk rhythm sound (like the "chimey" rhythm guitar chords in Brick in the Wall, or Nothing But Flowers, or Graceland)


    Thanks for the well wishes :) However, I need to downsize a LOT of things in my life, so I am really looking to only own three guitars total... for now, anyway. So two electrics and an acoustic. And my Boss Katana 50.

    I agree about feel and since I need all the practice I can get, I definitely want a guitar that is going to make me want to practice more... or at least be less discouraging to practicing.

    As for shape, my FAVORITE electric shape(from a visual standpoint) is the old Yamaha SG (Santana Guitar) or the very similar looking Ibanez AR series (like the AR300). I actually have a second Ibanez (a beautiful looking AR325 with a figured Bubinga top) and it sounds GREAT and is lighter (about 7.3 pounds compared to my as93 at 8.6 pounds), but it has a tendency to neck dive and the body seems a bit small(ish) for me (I am a big guy at 6 foot 3). When practicing sitting down I tend to hunch over more than when playing my as93.

    Well... most of the single coil guitars I know of are 25.5 necks. I have a cheap Squier bullet and I don't really like the neck size so much. Maybe it is because of the 25.5" neck, or maybe it is because it is just a cheap squier bullet :)

    I understand what you mean by versatility. I have come to the accepting the fact that dual humbuckers on a mahogany + maple guitar are not going to sound like a strat, even with the coil splitting. But I guess I am hoping that with coil tapping / splitting I could get something that I could get "close enough" to a single coil guitar sound (since I anticipate the only place I am going to be playing live is down at the Bingo Hall on Wednesday nights in front of a bunch of elderly people drunk on Merlot.

    But it seems that you think the coil splits / tapping aren't really usable, is that right?
     

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