To call a PRS CE24 Maple Top Classic a poor man’s Custom 24 would be most unfair – Granted you don’t get all the bells and whistles that come with the Custom 24 models – Yet the build quality, the attention to detail, as well as the legendary PRS playing experience, are all present and correct – Remove the colour coded bumpers and wing mirrors, the leather seats, the built in entertainment centre complete with sat nav, as well as the sun roof and you are still left with the same GTi and all the relative performance that goes with it – That is effectively were we stand when you compare a Custom 24 and a CE Maple Top 24 – Actually thanks to the bolt on maple neck approach of the CE24, you’ll experience more snap and clarity, coupled with a quicker response, which certain players prefer – So 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 CE24’s offers a more affordable package, compared to the Custom 24 models – The CE24 Maple Top has now been re-introduced into the PRS line up, but with a price tag that is well in excess of £2000 – As such, £1439 for an original model, from 2000, represents outstanding value for the level of performance that it delivers – Furthermore, when you look at the price of the current PRS S2 models, complete with far eastern hardware and pick-ups, along with various ‘cost cutting woods’ as well as a host of features that produce a far quicker production time, then £1439, again for an original 2000 CE24 Maple Top, offers significant advantages regarding the playing performance and tonal character
Additional info regarding this 2000 PRS CE24 Maple Top
Figured maple top with a vibrant and distinctive Royal Blue finish, that still shows the natural maple edge body binding
Bolt on maple neck with a dark, smooth and even grained Indian rosewood that is simply embellished with abalone dot inlays
Wide/thin neck profile – measures .808″ around the top nut end and .894″ around the 12th fret
The medium jumbo frets have been polished, so along with a new set of 9-42 gauge strings, it has been set-up with a slick playing action, that will respond to a light touch – I can edit set-up as required
Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 6oz
Same hardware as the more expensive Custom 24 models, including the PRS tremelo system, that incorporates a solid/milled brass trem block, plus solid /milled brass bridge saddles (nickel plated)
Original Phase 1 locking machine heads with locking wing nut – note the ‘ebony tuning buttons on this CE24 – Hard to know if these are original, or have been added at a later date – I’ve seen examples of both ‘ebony’ + nickel and both can be easily interchanged as required
Includes the deluxe PRS case , as well as the original warranty card, that shows it was originally purchased from Machine Head Music, the original eagle tag with a date of 2-17-00 marked on it, as well as the original 1991 accessories catalogue
Still equipped with the original HFS and Vintage Bass humbuckers, as per a Custom 24 – Yet sometime in the past, the previous owner had Kent Armstrong ( professional pick up builder/repairer) wax dip the pick-ups and add the appropriate humbucker covers – I have to assume they preferred this option, as against the open coils you generally see on most PRS 24 fret models – Repair note, from Kent Armstrong, to indicate this work has been professionally carried out
5 way pick-up selector switch + master volume and tone pots
Condition wise – Taking into account it is now over 20 years old, then the condition is more than fair – It has been played on a fairly regular basis, yet it certainly has not been abused – A nick on the top surface of the finish, on the belly of the guitar, otherwise very little in the way of grazes or dings, that can be considered a negative, so the overall vibe is of a PRS that is lightly aged with superficial marks to the top surface of the gloss finish – Hence played in character, with no issues – Clean frets so no issue on that score
Tonal character :- Over the years I have sold quite a few CE/Classic Maple Top models to discerning guitars players, in preference to a Custom 24 – This is down to a more lively and crisp tone that the Classic Maple Top delivers, thanks to the nature of a bolt on maple neck – I suppose other builders, including Music Man and Ibanez, have utilised a pair of humbuckers on a guitar, that has been spec’d with a bolt -on maple neck – More snap and attack than an all mahogany, glued in neck model, like a Custom 24 – Yet with a far bigger tone than a traditional bolt on neck model with single coil pick-ups – 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 PRS humbuckers with a Vintage Bass model in the neck position and the HFS (Hot Fat and Screams) model in the bridge position – 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 PRS pick-ups possess 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 CE24 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, so wind it back towards 10 as and when you require more gain, sustain and a hint of attitude – Hence a very flexible package, that can cover many different musical genres
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