To call a PRS CE24 Classic Maple Top 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 far more affordable package, compared to the Custom 24 models – When you look at the current price of the new 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 £1549 for an original 1996 CE24 Maple Top, offers significant advantages regarding the playing performance and tonal character
Additional info regarding this 1995 PRS CE24 Maple Top
- Whole guitar weighs 8lbs and 11oz
- Maple top with a natural gloss finish – Maple tops on the CE models are far less flamboyant when compared to the more expensive Custom models – This CE24 has more than enough character to stop it looking like a Plain Jane model – So less of a ‘posh boy’ and more of a working class model
- As this is a 1995 model then it is an early example with a mahogany body – PRS switched from alder to mahogany around 1994/5
- Bolt on maple neck with a dark + smooth grained Indian rosewood fingerboard that is simply embellished with abalone dot inlays
- Wide/thin neck profile – measures .810″ around the top nut end and .855″ 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 the set-up as required
- 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
- Includes the deluxe PRS case
- Still equipped with the original HFS and Vintage Bass humbuckers, as per a Custom 24
- 5 way pick-up selector switch + master volume and tone pots – Treble bleed cap on the volume pot
Condition wise – Taking into account this PRS is now around 27 years old, then the condition is more than fair – You’ll find some light compression ‘buckle wear’ to the top surface of the finish, on the rear of the body, but none of the finish has been pierced/punctured – Mainly on the rim, you’ll find a few scars to the surface of the finish, probably caused from using a poor guitar stand – Nice hint of fade, so a touch of that VOS character as Gibson call it, which is further enhanced with the usual oxidization to the nickel hardware
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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