PRS Guitars has added three new models to its ‘Student Edition’ SE line, with the Custom 24 Quilt, the CE 24 and Swamp Ash Special presenting some high-end electric guitar pizzazz at a price point for the jobbing pro and beginner alike.
There are some all-new colour options across the electric guitar range, with PRS giving its PRS SE Custom 24, SE Custom 24-08, SE Custom 24 “Lefty,” SE McCarty 594, SE McCarty 594 Singlecut and SE Paul’s Guitar a Turquoise makeover.
You can now get the Custom 24-08 in Blood Orange. And the classy, understated Charcoal finish is now available on the ever-popular SE McCarty 594, SE McCarty 594 Singlecut, and SE Paul’s Guitar.
But we’ve got some all-new models to look at, too, and they are typically easy on the eye, typically three-dimensional when it comes to the transparent finishes and eye-popping wood grain.
The big news here is that the CE 24, originally released in 1988, has finally got its stripes as an SE model, with players now able to get their hands on the classy bolt-on for just £695 street. It has a mahogany body, flame maple veneer top, a 25” scale, and as the name suggests you have a full 24 frets to play with.
There’s no pau ferro or Indian laurel here; PRS has sourced some Indian rosewood which it has used for the 10” radius fingerboard – complete with bird inlays.
There are a pair of 85/15 “S” humbuckers, with push/pull coil splits on the control circuit, PRS-designed tuners, and a PRS Patented tremolo. It is available in Blood Orange [pictured], Vintage Sunburst, Black Cherry, and Turquoise Flame.
Next up is the Swamp Ash Special, and once more it is a super-versatile electric guitar, with an HSH pickup configuration and push/pull on the tone control for even more in-between sounds. Like the PRS SE, it has a pair of 85/15 “S” humbuckers at the neck and bridge positoin while an AS-01 Alnico/Steel single-coil is in the middle. This looks every inch a session player’s guitar – it will handle anything. PRS’s tasting notes read: “tight low-end, bright but mellow high-end, and a welcome twangy tone that can reach ‘hot country,’ blues, and even jazz territory.”
As for the fundamentals, we have here a body of solid swamp ash, with a grain you can see from the finish, a bolt-on maple neck with a contoured heel for enhanced upper-fret access, maple 10” radius fingerboard with 22 frets and bird inlays. It has a 25” scale, too, and you’ve got the same hardware choices with the impressive moulded tremolo unit and PRS-branded tuners used here too.
“When we were designing these guitars, I took an early prototype home and carved the heel by hand,” said Jack Higginbotham, COO, PRS Guitars. “The Engineering team here made some improvements and programmed that shape for our partners at PT Cort. We think players will appreciate the ease of access this design brings.”
Higginbotham references Cor-Tek who makes the SE line in partnership with PRS Guitars, and the two companies’ have collaborated on some superlative builds in recent years as the SE range has grown.
Finish options for the Swamp Ash Special include Charcoal, Iri Blue [pictured], and Vintage Sunburst, and the street price is £979.
Finally, we have the SE Custom 24 Quilt. It is not as though the SE Custom 24 could be considered underdressed but when you have Paul Reed Smith’s initials on the headstock there is no harm in making an effort with the aesthetics.
Like the Mark Holcomb SE signature guitar it brings throws some quilted maple bling over the solid mahogany party.
This is definitely one to leave on the guitar stand when you have guests over; there is also an ebony fingerboard with abalone bird inlay. Elsewhere, there is a Wide Thin mahogany neck that is glued to the mahogany body. The shallow violin top carve – which you will also find on the SE CE – not only catches the light but aids upper-fret access.
Electronics and hardware are as per the SE CE, too, and PRS is offering this in Black Gold Burst [pictured], Turquoise, and Violet. The SE Custom 24 Quilt has a street price of £1,079.