Doesn’t time fly by – Up until around five years ago I was a major dealer for new PRS Guitars, so I’ve sold my fair share of the best selling Custom 24 models – As such I never have any issues taking them back into stock, as and when they become available, especially when you consider how well a full blown USA Custom 24, stacks up against the current S2 PRS models – Today, for around £1000 to £1400, you can buy a new PRS S2 Guitar – Whilst the S2 models originate in the USA, they are built as a far more affordable alternative to the ‘core range’ of classic USA models – As such they do not utilise many of the traditional USA PRS ingredients, hence no case (gig bag only), far eastern pick-ups and hardware, including tuners and trem assembly, 3 piece neck with ‘scarf joints’ at the headstock and heal – Whilst the S2 models still utilise some form of mahogany for the body and neck, PRS hide behind its source, adopting the ‘same species different genus’ approach, which effectively means that a killer shark and a pet gold fish are related – You certainly won’t find a set of genuine abalone inlays on the S2 models or indeed a carved figured maple top – Whilst the PRS S2 models are a well put together package within the price range, you can’t fail to notice that an original used USA model, for under £1700, is its biggest competitor – On that basis I see it is as a ‘no contest’ with regards to the playing performance, tonal character and indeed any depreciation or long term appreciation in value, between an S2 model and this genuine USA 1997 PRS Custom 24 bird inlays
A cherry sunburst gloss finish sits on a figured carved maple top – The one piece mahogany body and neck, both receive a translucent heritage cherry finish, as does the headstock facia, which is simply embellished with the gold PRS signature logo – The whole guitar weighs a very commendable 7lbs and 11oz – The neck has the popular regular profile, whilst the 24 fret dark, smooth and even grained rosewood fingerboard is embellished with a set of colourful abalone shell bird inlays – Fitted with nickel hardware including a set of the original PRS tuners with locking wing collar, along with the PRS patented modern fulcrum tremelo system, complete with 6 individual machined brass bridge saddles, plus a separate brass tremelo block – A pair of PRS humbuckers sit at the heart of the tone department with a Vintage Bass in the neck position and a HFS (Hot! Fat! and Screams!) in the bridge position, controlled via the 5 way toggle switch – Neck pick up measures a vintage flavoured 7.9K, whilst the HFS in the bridge position is hotter at 14K – more on the playing and tonal performance is listed below
With a 1997 date of birth, this Custom 24 is now around 20 years old, yet the overall condition is highly commendable – Sure it has been played, but equally it has been well cared for – You’ll find the usual light pick mark haze around the top E string area, between the two humbuckers, yet otherwise the figured maple top is very clean – Look more closely and you’ll find a small nick on the rim, around the jack socket area – A touch of the usual oxidization haze to the nickel plated hardware, mainly on the bridge saddles and trem casing, where you’d rest your palm – So overall clean without acquiring any ‘as new’ tags, yet no issues either – Frets are fine – I’ve polished them and lemon oiled the rosewood fingerboard – Fitted a new set of 10’s and checked the set-up to ensure the slick and legendary PRS playing action is present and correct – Includes the deluxe PRS deluxe case, which again is in good condition – In the case you’ll find the appropriate swing tag, case key, manual for the Mk1 tuners as well as an accessories catalogue
Great pride is taken regarding the build quality of any PRS guitar, to deliver the ultimate playing experience – It’s all about the finest materials, a well set-up instrument, a slick playing performance, plus a musical and flexible tonal palette – This Custom 24 is fitted with a regular neck profile to allow for a fast and fluid, easy playing action throughout the length of the rosewood fingerboard, coupled with effortless string bending, thanks to the 24 impeccably fitted, profiled and polished medium jumbo frets – The regular neck profile will please many Fender based players as it possesses similar dimensions and character – You’ll feel a sensible amount of girth, which will aid sustain, tone and stability, yet with a slightly narrower nut width, so it instantly feels familiar and comfortable – Some guitar necks can be a challenge to play, whilst on a PRS you’ll find that the more intricate passages of play from your favourite licks simply flow from your fingertips – If you are into using a tremelo system, the PRS package has great tuning stability for all but the most excessive of playing styles – The trem arm itself has a nice and positive, smooth feel about it that allows for both up or down movement
Tonal Character – In conjunction with the right amp, the Custom 24 has the ability to provide the warm, rich and clean tones that are required for jazz/blues/fusion playing styles. or a clean and crisp voice for those funky disco chops, through to a hotter voice from the bridge pick-up – Yet click on to subtle overdriven amp settings for classic rock tones, or dial in some hi-gain filth from your amp, for the tones adored by today’s contemporary guitarist – Due to the taper of both the volume and tone pots on a PRS Custom 24, you’ll find out that these controls do actually work smoothly and effectively across the 1-10 range, allowing you to control the volume, gain and tonal expression that you may require from your amp, direct from the guitar – As you roll off the volume pot, you’ll notice that the tone does not go mushy, thin or weedy on you – As such it retains good articulation and character – On subtle overdriven settings, this approach will allow you to clean up the amp for more soul and emotion – On overdriven amp settings the neck pick-up delivers rich smooth and warm vintage flavoured tones with excellent articulation – Again on overdriven amp settings, the bridge pick-up is hot fat and screams, with big tight lows, clear highs and just enough mids to punch but not over power – On 10 the bridge pick-up can scream and bite as required, so if you require a slightly softer melodic voice, remember that a subtle tweak on the volume pot will ‘tame the beast’
The main strength of the guitar is undoubtedly to provide 3 humbucking voices via the 5 way selector switch, but increased tonal flexibility is possible with 2 excellent and very useful single coil Fender-esq flavoured tones, making them ideal for your favourite funky rhythm chops – Sure you can own 2, 3, 4, or more different guitars, each capable of doing a specific job, yet the Custom 24, as one stand alone instrument, is maybe all that you require – It is not meant to be a ‘tone clone’ of either a Les Paul or a Strat, rather just a great playing instrument with versatile tonal options and just as original in its own right – Some companies spend all there time promoting and delivering vintage copies of guitar they made from a golden era years, whereas PRS just move the boundaries, delivering a new classic guitar
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Every guitar in stock at Guitars4You has been personally selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention paid to the set-up and playing performance – Every sale, phone call, mail order transaction or e-mail is handled my me – Mark Hopkin, the owner, Managing Director, cleaner and coffee maker (Jo, my wife helps with the coffee) – A journey, now in excess of 40 years, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars – This reflects in every aspect of our business.
I have no desire to run an Amazon style 'click to buy' guitar shop, that lacks any soul or passion, or indeed to fill a showroom with a selection of dirty, shop soiled or dusty guitars that are in need of a set-up.
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