Read our PRS guitars comparison guide to find out the differences between PRS guitars and discover which series is right for you
The team at PRS guitars create a wide range of different guitars to suit all styles and budgets, so we’ve created a complete PRS Comparison guide to help you choose the right one for you.
In this blog, we’ll discuss the differences between each model, the price bracket that they fall into and some of the key features. We’ll also discuss which guitars are made in the USA and which PRS guitars are constructed in Korea.
We’ll start from the most budget-friendly options and work our way up to the custom-made Private Stock guitars.
PRS SE Electric Guitars – Price bracket £475 - £999 rrp
PRS guitars are reassuringly expensive. And just like anything in life, you get what you pay for! However, the team at PRS have created a series of professional-level guitars at budget-friendly prices that prove you don't have to spend a fortune to get an incredible guitar.
What does SE mean on PRS guitars? It simply means Student Edition.
Due to the overwhelming demand for PRS guitars that were more affordable, Paul Reed Smith decided to create a range of electric and acoustic guitars that would sit firmly in the budget-friendly bracket, but still offer the incredible performance and sonic quality that his brand was renowned for.
The PRS SE guitars are built in South Korea and are easily some of the best value guitars on the market today as they fuse pro-quality tonewoods with incredibly reliable hardware and beautiful sounding pickups.
This range of guitars includes a range of affordable signature guitars as well as the Custom 22 and Custom 24 models. As of 2018, the SE range also includes a selection of SE Acoustic guitars.
Don’t be fooled by the price though, as these are not beginner guitars, but affordable versions of the PRS Core series. If your budget is tight and you still want a professional level guitar that you can rely on, the PRS SE series is ideal.
Shop all PRS SE guitars HERE.
PRS S2 Guitars – Price bracket £1090 - £1689 rrp
The PRS S2 series is the most affordable option for those who want an American made PRS guitar. These guitars are put together in the Maryland factory in a production line. They still retain that quality you’ve come to expect from the USA PRS guitars but have a more stripped-down feel to them. These guitars are often finished in solid colours rather than utilising the flame maple tops that the upper-tier options use.
This range is ideal for those who want a workhorse model that they don’t mind throwing around on stage, getting a few scratches here and there and generally love (ab)using their guitar to its full potential on tour and at gigs.
Shop all PRS S2 guitars HERE.
PRS CE24 Guitars – Price Bracket £1,999 + rrp
The difference between the PRS CE24 and PRS Custom 24 comes down to the neck joint. The PRS CE24 utilises a bolt-on style neck rather than a set neck. This means the guitar neck is bolted-on to the body with screws, rather than stuck on to the body with glue.
This style of neck may not be something that you are particularly interested in, but luthiers and players alike feel there is a distinct difference. Luthiers believe a bolt-on neck gives you a snappier, more articulate sound whereas a set neck offers more sustain overall, therefore is warmer and more resonant.
The CE24 guitars, almost always have Maple necks with a Mahogany body, Flamed Maple top and the classic dual humbuckers that have put PRS on the map.
We often get asked, “Are the PRS CE guitars made in the USA. The answer is yes! The PRS and CE guitars are all made in Maryland, USA.
Shop all PRS CE24 Guitars HERE.
PRS Core Guitars – Price Bracket £3,350 + rrp
We’re now talking about the main line of guitars that fans of PRS strive to own. If you like PRS guitars, chances are you’ll always want one of these!
The PRS Core Guitars are produced in Stevensville, Maryland, USA, and the series includes the renowned PRS Custom 24, Custom 22, PRS McCarty, McCarty 594 series, The PRS Hollowbody guitars, 408, 509, as well as a range of signature models including the Santana, DGT ('Dave Grisson Tremolo'), and Mark Tremonti signature guitars.
These guitars are built with meticulous attention to detail and are produced using CNC machines. These machines make sure each guitar is produced to the utmost quality, ensuring consistency across the entire range.
These guitars are then hand-finished by the luthiers in PRS. Each guitar is hand-sanded, then carefully put together by an experienced PRS team member. Finally, the finishing team apply the paint and lacquer by hand ensuring each guitar looks and feels incredible.
Each model utilises the classic contoured body that PRS is known for as well as a carved top and set-neck construction that makes them great guitars for metal, rock and Jazz.
Although the PRS Core Guitar series features an array of different models, the PRS Custom 24 is the most popular option and has led the Core range since 1985. This is the classic PRS guitar adorned with its 24 frets, bird fingerboard inlays, two powerful humbuckers and its carved top.
The features and overall look of the Custom 24 paved the way for a range of different PRS guitars including the Custom 22, which has 22 frets instead of 24. The PRS Core line widely utilises Mahogany for the body as well as a Flamed Maple top for that signature PRS look.
The pickups are one of the key features as the team at PRS wire their own to get that signature PRS sound. The ‘Treble’ and ‘Bass’ humbuckers are their most widely used, however, recently the team have been using 85/15 humbuckers within their Custom 22 and Custom 24 models.
This is the ultimate “off the shelf” option before you start moving into the PRS Private Stock territory, which is the PRS Custom Shop branch
PRS Wood Library Guitars - £3,995+ rrp
Next up in our PRS Guitars comparison guide we have the PRS Wood Library guitars. These guitars offer dealers, such as PMT, a chance to mix up the selections of wood included in a guitar.
Take their Custom 24 models as an example. The Custom 24 comes standard with a Mahogany back, Maple top, Mahogany neck, and Rosewood fingerboard. However, we can special order a Wood Library Custom 24 and swap the Mahogany back for any of the exotic tonewoods that PRS offer. For example, we could swap the back for Korina, or Swamp Ash, or anything else offered inside the wood library. We can even swap a Mahogany neck for Maple or Rosewood.
These combinations will be exclusive to dealers. If you see a Wood Library guitar in a PMT store, chances are no one else in the world has that guitar!
PRS Private Stock Guitars – Price Bracket £4,800+ rrp
Finally, we have the PRS Custom shop guitars which are the most expensive but most coveted in our PRS comparison guide. Otherwise known as the PRS Private Stock, these guitars are either created as a limited run or are the product of custom orders made by our customers.
These guitars are at the pinnacle of PRS engineering and construction standards. If you want a guitar that is not simply an “off the shelf” option, this is the way to go.
The PRS Private Stock branch offers players the highest possible level of customisation. You get to choose the woods, the finish, the pickups – everything!
A member of the PRS team sits with you and helps you design the guitar of your dreams, taking into account your playing style, your preferences when it comes to the look of the guitar and can even facilitate custom inlays or illustrative designs.
The PRS Private Stock line also offers some extremely limited run guitars designed and constructed by PRS’s top luthiers. These guitars are created in small batches and are never to be repeated. The PRS Private Stock guitars mainly include the Custom 24 models and feature world-class appointments such as custom AAA+ tops, intricate designs and inlays as well as upgraded hardware.
You can learn more about PRS Private Stock guitars HERE.
We hope you enjoyed our PRS Guitars comparison guide and found it useful when you’re trying to decide which PRS guitar is right for you and what the differences between each series are.
Shop all PRS guitars over at PMT Online today or call in to your local PMT store to try out a selection for yourself. We also offer a complete PRS custom shop experience should you want to create your very own PRS Private Stock guitar - speak to our experts today for more information.