With up to 8 pickup combinations and stunning finishes, PRS adds a truly versatile guitar to their affordable SE line.
Overview & Final Score: 8.6 out of 10
That’s right, this review is going live the same day this guitar was unveiled to the world thanks to the wonderful people at PRS guitars. They absolutely started 2021 off with a bang, packing 8 distinct pickup configurations into this dual humbucking SE Custom 24. You get a Maple body with a Flame Maple veneer in this gorgeous Eriza Verde (a new finish for 2021) alongside their beloved Vintage Sunburst finish as well. It’s a 25″ scale length guitar, in typical PRS tradition, with 24 frets on the Maple “wide-thin” neck with a Rosewood fingerboard. The body carve is their gorgeous and comfortable shallow violin carve design, that lets some gorgeous Maple peak through the cut outs. A PRS-designed tremolo system is paired with their TCI “S” pickups to power this new SE Custom 24-09. So where does the -08 come from in the name? Thanks to individual coil splits switches for each pickup, you have 8 pickup configurations when using the 3-way selector switch. It’s an impressive amount of features packed into a stunning guitar.
Obviously, you’re going to love the versatility of this PRS SE Custom 24-08. I mean, it has 8 pickup combinations, with coil split and full humbucker tones. But don’t let the sheer volume of tones distract you from how good the pickups actually sound on their own. This isn’t a guitar that does a little bit of everything well but nothing great. It does great things, especially when hit with a little bit of drive and put through my Vox tube amp. The neck pickup never gets muddy, giving you some awesome lead tones to mess around with. My personal favorite, the bridge pickup, is all sorts of warm and rich while staying pretty clear through chords and aggressive picking. No, you’re not getting perfect pickups, they certainly aren’t the loudest or most touch sensitive, but they’re really good for the price of the guitar and the tonal flexability. The coil split is also a big winner here because it isn’t just some lazy volume cut that thins out your tone. It actually adds some spank and sparkle, which contrasts the bigger sounds of the humbuckers nicely.
PRS’s “wide-thin” neck did not disappoint at all, providing a fluid and fast experience up and down all 24 frets. I’m not much of a shredder, so I’m not best equipped to take advantage of the extra few frets. However, it was way more comfortable and easy to reach those frets than it is to reach the 22nd fret on some guitars, so props to them again. The SE Custom 24-08 was really ready to go out of the box, with good action, a properly cut nut, and solid tuning performance. It needs a tweak every now and then if you really work that tremolo but otherwise it’s pretty impressive. Most importantly, it’s not a glaring issue that would keep this guitar off the stage. PRS seems to have a stock, higher end overseas tuner that they use here and on other nice SE’s I’ve played. They work well, don’t slip often, and shouldn’t need to be replaced unless you require true 24/7 locking tuner stability. Overall, it’s a joy to play this guitar from the minute you pick it up!
Finish & Construction: 9
Hard to not give them a perfect score here, but the Flamed Maple veneer is just a bit too thin for me to dub this a 10/10. However, this new Eriza Verde finish option is stunning and matches up wonderful with the flaming of the Maple and the natural beauty of the back body wood. The way the natural finish pokes out of the carve at the cutaways really gets me. Attention to detail is evident up and down this guitar, with the hardware well installed, killer fretwork, and a straight neck that is well set up. When you look over the guitar with a fine tooth comb, you’re not really going to find anything else to complain about either. Finish work was practically flawless, and I am not excited to take this down from hanging on my wall. It’s like a work of art, except it’s also a cutting edge instrument that is highly user friendly.
Not hard to figure out, this guitar is a great value through and through. At this price point, this is basically the PRS for someone who wants all these features but knows that they can’t afford what would likely be double or triple the cost of this for a USA-made variant. It’s a great way to get an ultra playable, versatile, and sweet looking instrument without selling an arm and a leg. Furthermore, PRS did such a good job with this SE Custom 24-08 I do think it would prevent me from ever buying a more expensive model in the future. This could literally do everything I want from a PRS guitar and I wish I could have this long term for some serious gigs and recording sessions. With guitar prices generally rising across the market, I think you get a lot of guitar for the price with this newest addition to the SE line.
Good for: Classic Rock, Pop, Jazz, Studio Musicians, Gigging Musicians, Versatile/Genre-bending Players, PRS Fans On A Budget, R&B