PRS SE Standard 24 vs SE Custom 24: A Deep Dive

When it comes to the PRS SE lineup, the SE Standard 24 and SE Custom 24 are two of the most popular models. Both guitars share a similar design, but there are subtle differences that set them apart. In this comprehensive comparison, I will delve into the details of these two models, discussing their appearance, build quality, tone differences, price, and model-specific features. I hope that by the end of this article, you should have a clear understanding of the differences between the PRS SE Standard 24 vs SE Custom 24. Let’s dive in!


Standard 24 vs Custom 24: Body Comparison

Both the PRS SE Standard 24 and SE Custom 24 feature a double-cutaway solid-body shape, reminiscent of the iconic PRS design. However, the key difference lies in the finish and top wood.

SE Standard:

  • Mahogany solid body
  • 25-inch scale length
  • Plain maple or mahogany tops
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • PRS patented molded tremolo bridge

SE Custom:

  • Mahogany solid body
  • 25-inch scale length
  • Flame or quilted maple veneer tops
  • Nickel plated hardware
  • PRS patented molded tremolo bridge

The Custom 24 is available in a wider range of beautiful colors and finishes compared to the Standard 24. This is really one of the biggest differences between the models, the Custom 24 simply looks better.

PRS SE Standard 24 Vintage Cherry
Standard 24 Vintage Cherry
PRS SE Custom 24 Vintage Sunburst
Custom 24 Vintage Sunburst

Neck and Fretboard Differences

SE Standard:

  • Rosewood fretboard with bird inlays
  • Maple neck
  • 24 medium jumbo frets
  • “Wide Thin” neck profile
  • Synthetic nut
  • PRS-designed tuners

SE Custom:

  • Rosewood fretboard with bird inlays
  • Maple neck
  • 24 medium jumbo frets
  • “Wide Thin” neck profile
  • Synthetic/Bronze powder blend nut
  • PRS-designed tuners
PRS SE Custom 24 faded blue
PRS SE Custom 24

Pickups: PRS 85/15 “S” Humbuckers

The PRS SE Standard 24 and Custom 24 guitars both come equipped with identical 85/15 “S” humbuckers. Here’s an in-depth look at the characteristics and features of the PRS 85/15 “S” humbuckers:

1. Design and Construction

  • Inspiration: A budget-friendly alternative to the US-made 85/15 humbuckers in PRS’s Core line, capturing the essence of higher-end pickups.
  • Configuration: Dual-coil design reduces noise, interference, and delivers a powerful sound.
  • Pole Pieces: Adjustable pole pieces allow for fine-tuning string-to-string balance and output.
  • Wiring: Four-conductor cable enables versatile wiring options like coil-splitting or coil-tapping for single-coil tones.

2. Tonal Characteristics

  • Clarity: Exceptional clarity and note definition, even with high distortion levels.
  • Balanced Frequency Response: Extended high and low-end frequency response for a versatile tone across styles.
  • Articulation: Designed for string separation and articulation, ensuring clear chords and individual notes.
  • Position: Both models have a humbucker in the bridge and neck positions, providing a range of tonal options.
PRS SE Standard 24 Blue
PRS SE Standard 24

Do They Sound Different: Standard 24 vs Custom 24

So the guitars have the same exact pickups, but do they sound different? There are some minor differences (however minor) that can be attributed to the construction and materials of the guitars themselves:

  • Wood: The Custom 24 uses higher-quality woods for the body and neck, which can contribute to a more resonant and articulate tone.
  • Finish: The Custom 24 features a flamed maple veneer top, which may affect the overall resonance and sustain

These subtle differences may be noticeable to some players. Which leads us to the next section on pricing, are these differences worth it?

Price Differences:

The PRS SE Standard 24 naturally has a lower price point compared to the SE Custom 24. The SE Standard 24 is generally priced around $600, while the SE Custom 24 can be found in the $800-$1000 range, depending on the specific features and finishes. The price difference gets you a nicer looking guitar with subtle tonal differences and the same pickups and hardware. A lot of the decision comes down to budget, but I have to take a side, so whats the verdict?

PRS SE Custom 24 guitar
PRS SE Custom 24

The Verdict: PRS SE Standard 24 vs Custom 24

If I had to pick one, I would lean towards the PRS SE Custom 24. The Custom 24 offers a higher level of craftsmanship, better materials, and a more visually appealing finish, which can justify the increased price.

While the tonal characteristics and playability of both models are quite similar, the upgraded materials and features of the Custom 24 provide a more refined playing experience. The flamed maple veneer top and better quality wood contribute to an overall better resonance and sustain (even if its subtle). If your budget allows, the PRS SE Custom 24 is an excellent choice for a versatile and high-quality instrument.

Famous Musicians Who Play on PRS SE

They sure do! Here is a list of musicians known for playing PRS SE players, note that the Custom 24 is the preferred model here.

  1. Mark Holcomb (Periphery) – PRS SE Custom 24 Mark Holcomb, the guitarist of progressive metal band Periphery, has a signature PRS SE Custom 24 model named the “SE Mark Holcomb.”
  2. Clint Lowery (Sevendust) – PRS SE Custom 24 Clint Lowery, the guitarist of the alternative metal band Sevendust, has been seen using a PRS SE Custom 24.
  3. Zach Myers (Shinedown) – PRS SE Custom 24 Zach Myers, the guitarist of rock band Shinedown, has a signature PRS SE Custom 24 model named the “SE Zach Myers.”
  4. Dustie Waring (Between the Buried and Me) – PRS SE Custom 24 Dustie Waring, the guitarist of progressive metal band Between the Buried and Me, is known to use a PRS SE Custom 24.
  5. Dave Wiener (Steve Vai Band) – PRS SE Custom 24 Dave Wiener, the guitarist in Steve Vai’s band, is known for using a PRS SE Custom 24.

Frequently Asked Questions:

1. Is a PRS SE Custom 24 a good blues guitar?

Yes, the PRS SE Custom 24 is a versatile guitar that can handle various genres, including blues. The 85/15 “S” humbuckers offer a dynamic and expressive tonal range suitable for blues playing styles.

2. How to adjust action on PRS Standard SE 24?

To adjust the action on a PRS SE Standard 24, you’ll need to use the provided allen wrench to turn the bridge posts clockwise to lower the action or counterclockwise to raise it. Make small adjustments and check the string height and playability after each adjustment.

3. What size frets on a PRS SE Standard 24?

PRS SE Standard 24 and the Custom 24 guitars feature medium jumbo frets, as I detailed above.

4. What strings come on PRS SE Custom 24?

PRS SE Custom 24 guitars are equipped with PRS Classic 9-42 gauge strings.

5. What size strings do PRS SE 24 Standard come with?

Similarly to the Custom 24, the PRS SE 24 Standard guitars are strung with 9-42 gauge strings.

6. Where are PRS SE Custom 24 made?

As I mentioned earlier in the article, both the Standard 24 and the PRS SE Custom 24 guitars are made in Indonesia at the PRS-authorized factory. They undergo a rigorous inspection and quality control measures to ensure the utmost quality in the guitars.

For further reading you can check out my article on Acoustic PRS SE guitars.

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