PRS Guitars announces more new models and an upgrade to all its pickups for 2020

The new PRS 35th Anniversary Custom 24 (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

We thought we’d seen it all from PRS and its 2020 plans after the company's previous announcements detailing a strong suite of new SE models, signature guitars and the welcome return of the PRS SE One in Europe. But we were wrong. There’s a whole second wave of new models and exciting updates coming too:

• New 35th Anniversary Custom 24 available in SE/S2/Core series 

• Refreshed McCarty models

• New TCI-tuned pickups for 2020 models 

• New S2 Satin finishes

• New nitro over cellulose finish feature

PRS 35th Anniversary Custom 24 model in Aquamarine

PRS 35th Anniversary Custom 24 model in Aquamarine (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

Three 35th Anniversary Custom 24 guitars join the roster in the Core, S2 and SE Series to suit different budgets. PRS fans will know this model is the daddy; the Paul Reed Smith design that started the company’s incredible run. 

These 35th Anniversary models take influence from the popular Paul’s Guitar offering dual humbuckers paired with two mini-toggle switches that allow players to switch to a single-coil mode for serious versatility. 

(Image credit: PRS Guitars)

The man himself had this to say on the new Custom 24: “35’s special what is going on at PRS right now,” marvels Paul Reed Smith, “and we wanted to capture that by celebrating the guitar that helped put us on the map: the Custom 24. 

“These models have new special pickups and switching system, and they sound and play great. The humbuckers are balanced, and the single coils are musical and full.” 

The new 2020 PRS McCarty

The new 2020 PRS McCarty (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

In typical PRS-style, it’s not stopping there. Another iconic model for the Maryland makers is also getting attention. 

Its McCarty model was first introduced in 1994, and as part of the company’s 35th Anniversary updates, the McCarty product family is going back to its roots. Along with TCI pickup and finish updates (see below), the McCarty will once again feature a one-piece stoptail bridge (an adjustable stoptail bridge will remain an option) and vintage-style tuners. There’s also the premium touch of a bone nut too.

The 2020 PRS McCarty 594 Singlecut 

The 2020 PRS McCarty 594 Singlecut  (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

So what’s this TCI pickup and finish talk all about? TCI was a process PRS introduced last year to tune the capacitance and inductance pickups on the Paul’s Guitar. It’s now being applied to all PRS pickups for 2020 because the company were so impressed with the results.

“We’ve gone through every pickup we are currently offering in our line up and used the TCI process to fine tune every model to sound exactly as we want it to,” says Paul Reed Smith. “To our ears, the results are very musical. We are very proud of how far we’ve come in the understanding and making of pickups. It’s been a fun process.”

The 2020 PRS McCarty 594 model in Yellow Tiger finish

The 2020 PRS McCarty 594 model in Yellow Tiger finish (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

PRS is also updating the finish system in its Maryland factory. Its new nitro finish is a variation of PRS’s Private Stock high-gloss nitro with a cellulose CAB basecoat. The resulting finish is ‘thin, hard, and clear’ to aide resonance as well as looks.

The other McCarty instruments in the line – including the McCarty 594, McCarty 594 Singlecut and McCarty 594 Hollowbody II –  will also be updated to the vintage-style tuners (they already come standard with two- piece bridges and bone nuts). 

“One of my sayings is that everything that touches the string is God – well, that’s really the bridge, the nut, and the tuners,” adds Paul Reed Smith. “So when we went after the McCarty model, that’s where we looked. These updates make a huge difference in the tone. The guitar sustains longer and the tone has more character.

“The puzzle pieces all fit together, and there is no compromise to the integrity of the instrument. We’re very happy.”

PRS Vela model in the new Satin Charcoal option 

PRS Vela model in the new Satin Charcoal option  (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

In addition, there’s further debuts in the S2 line after the previous 2020 announcements; the S2 Vela and Vela Semi-Hollow Satin models boats a new finish for the vintage-inspired offset guitar to reel in those put off by gloss. PRS is pitching its Anniversary solid mahogany S2 Standard 22 as ‘a workhorse guitar for gigging musicians, toneful enough to stand up plugged straight into an amplifier and solid enough to serve as a great platform for even the most modern pedal board set up.’ 

The 2020 PRS S2 Standard 22 in Vintage Cherry

The 2020 PRS S2 Standard 22 in Vintage Cherry (Image credit: PRS Guitars)

That sounds to us like something many players can get onboard with. Like the new 2020 S2 Standard 24, the 58/15 ‘S’ pickups are coupled with a push/pull tone control to allows for coil-tapping – there’s that tonal versatility again. 

For more info visit PRS

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.