To call a PRS CE22 Maple Top Classic a poor man’s Custom 22 would be most unfair – Granted you don’t get all the fancy bells and whistles that come with the Custom 22 models, but the build quality, the attention to detail, as well as the legendary PRS playing experience, are still present and correct – Using an analogy from the car trade, then remove the colour coded bumpers and wing mirrors, the leather seats, the built in entertainment centre, as well as the sun roof and you are still left with the same GTi, with all the relative performance that goes with it – So with no bird inlays and no 10 top options, this is effectively were we stand when you compare a Custom 22 and a CE Maple Top 22 – Actually thanks to the bolt on maple neck approach of the CE22, then you’ll experience more snap and clarity, coupled with a quicker response, which certain players prefer – So it is not fair to compare directly the tonal character of both guitars, as certain players will prefer one over the other – Without all the bells and whistles, the CE22’s offers a more affordable package, compared to the best selling Custom 22 models
See my notes below regarding all the details of this used PRS CE22 Classic Maple Top from 1998 :-
- Figured maple top with a classic vintage sunburst gloss finish – No shortage of character within the figured maple top, without it looking ‘perfection’
- Natural maple edged body binding
- Mahogany body
- Bolt on maple neck with a smooth and even grained Indian rosewood that is simply embellished with a set of abalone dot inlays
- Wide/fat neck profile – measures .869″ around the top nut end and fills out to .954″ around the 12th fret
- The medium jumbo frets are nice and clean, so along with a new set of strings, plus a check-up/set-up, it is already to go with a slick playing action
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 6oz
- Same hardware as the more expensive Custom models of the day, including the PRS tremelo system , with a solid trem block + a set of the original PRS locking tuners
- PRS Dragon 11 Humbuckers
- Master volume pot with treble bleed cap + master tone pot 5 way selector switch which effectively delivers 3 humbucker voices + 2 single coil flavoured voices
- Stamped serial number on the neck plate
- Includes the deluxe PRS case
- No tags but you can see various data within the humbucker cavities
Condition wise – Taking into account this PRS is now around 25 years old, then the condition is more than acceptable – The frets are clean – You’ll find the usual tarnish to the nickel hardware – So don’t expect it to be as new/mint, but neither does it look like it has spent to many years on the road – Any dings or grazes are more on the lighter side, with a couple of blemishes on the maple edged body binding – Played but not abused is a fair description
Tonal character :- Over the years I have sold quite a few Classic Maple Top models to discerning guitars players, in preference to a Custom 22 – This is down to the lively crisp tone that the Classic Maple Top delivers, thanks to the nature of a bolt on maple neck – I suppose you can look at it as either a lively Strat tone, that is far fuller in depth and body, thanks to a pair of custom wound PRS Dragon 11 humbuckers – Or a Les Paul tone that is far more snappy with shimmering crystal clear highs – So don’t think of it as a poor mans PRS, yet it certainly won’t damage your bank balance quite as much – Just play it and enjoy it – Fitted with a pair of the original PRS Dragon humbuckers – The neck has more of a vintage flavoured output, whilst the bridge humbucker is wound for more output, to drive the amp, without going into that hardcore shred mode – You’ll find a treble bleed cap on the volume pot if you want to have a look inside the control cavity – So as you roll back the volume pot, it will still preserve those crisp highs – Fitted with a 5 way rotary switch, that offers 3 humbucker voices, plus 2 excellent single coil flavoured tones, that are ideal for those funky rhythm chops – The Dragon 11 pick-ups have excellent articulation, so they don’t sound mushy on hi-gain amp settings, especially when you are playing those fancy cascading licks or power chord riffs – Yet played on a clean amp setting, those cool jazz/blues flavoured tones are lush and chilled, which ensures a CE22 is anything but a one trick pony – The volume and tone pot have an excellent taper on them, so you can fully use them across the whole 1-10 range – On an overdriven amp setting, this approach allows you and the guitar to control the amp, to supply you with more soul and expression – Try it with the volume pot around the 7 mark and set this up as base camp – Hence less gain, then wind it back towards 10 as you require more gain, sustain and a hint of attitude – Hence a flexible package
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Guitars4You is not another corporate high street guitar store - My selection of premium grade guitars is about quality not quantity. Every guitar has been selected, inspected and approved by me, with particular attention to the set-up and playing performance. Every sale, phone call, email and mail order transaction is handled by me. A journey that is now over 40 years old, has fuelled my knowledge, experience, love, devotion and passion for exceptionally fine guitars.