PRS guitars have long been considered the gold standard by which all other guitars are judged by guitar enthusiast. PRS makes some of the best electric guitars in the world, and they’re coveted for their very versatile tone, first-class quality, and exquisite good aesthetics. With their ever-expanding catalog, Paul Reed Smith now provides guitars built in a variety of factories – and nations – ranging from entry-level, beginner-friendly guitars to top-of-the-range private-stock instruments. The sheer number of options can be overwhelming, but don’t worry: Guitar Player has you covered with this comprehensive guide of the greatest PRS guitars currently available.
You’ll find your next guitar among this collection of versatile beauties, regardless of your playing style or musical leanings. Modern classics to rock your world, semi-hollow guitars to cure the blues, and signature guitars to help you achieve the tone of living legends are all available.
Table of Contents
PRS Custom 24 Electric Guitar with Pattern Thin Neck
- Solidbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body Neck
- 2 Humbucking Pickups - Yellow Tiger
- Rosewood Fingerboard
The PRS Custom 24 is the first PRS, and it’s the one that started it all. The original design, which had innovative technology and an eye-catching design, is still their most successful and famous product. The PRS Custom 24 is also a highly adaptable guitar that can be used to play a wide range of genres, including rock, blues, pop, and jazz. This instrument can be found in the hands of world-renowned guitarists such as John Mayer, Orianthi, and Al Di Meola. Professional and advanced guitarists looking for a high-end touring and recording guitar would love this guitar with volume and push pull.
When it comes to the flame maple top body of acoustic guitar brands, the PRS Custom 24 boasts an incredibly ergonomic body shape that is both lightweight and resonant. Many people compare this body to a hybrid of a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Stratocaster, and it’s easy to see how Paul Reed Smith combined the best features of each. The body and neck are both composed of mahogany, while the top is carved with figured maple. The PRS Custom 24’s fretboard is made of rosewood and has a scale length of 25 inches. The guitar’s top-of-the-line bridge and locking tuners are another plus. The tuner is a PRS Phase III Locking tuner, and the bridge is PRS’s own PRS Gen III Tremolo bar. Both the bridge and the tuner are quite useful and simple to use. You may easily install a whammy bar and avoid going out of tune as a result of wild whammy bar bends.
The PRS Custom 24 is outfitted with PRS 58/15 pickups, which are relatively new. The number 58 refers to the year 1958, therefore they were attempting to duplicate humbuckers from that year while also improving and making their own adjustments. These pickups have a lot of clarity in the high midrange and less in the low midrange, and they have a lot of bass frequencies. This makes each note of the guitar sing, and the instrument’s sound cuts through the mix easily.
The PRS Custom 24 has five different pickup locations. The bridge humbucker is the first position; the second is bridge humbucker with neck single coil (in parallel); the third is bridge & neck humbucker; the fourth is neck single coil with bridge single-coil (in parallel); and the fifth position is neck humbucker. These settings were created by PRS to provide guitarists with a nice single-coil guitar tone as well as an excellent humbucker guitar sound. The second and fourth pickup positions are unique in that they let you to hear a full single coil sound (neck single + bridge single) as well as a combination of single-coil and humbucker sounds. You can get a considerably wider range of guitar tones with these combos than you can with a standard Gibson Les Paul or Fender Stratocaster.
The PRS Custom 24 is an electric guitar that is “almost perfect” in terms of tonewood quality, ergonomic body form, diverse guitar sound, and extremely durable and reliable hardware. The negative is that it costs well over $3000, but this instrument is definitely worth the money. Professional guitarists and skilled guitarists should consider purchasing this guitar. It’s without a doubt the best PRS guitar in 2023.
PRS CE 24 Semi-Hollow Electric Guitar
- Semi-hollowbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body
- 2 Humbucking Pickups - Eriza Verde
- Rosewood Fingerboard
The new PRS CE24 was first released in 1988, and it was billed as the first “cheap” PRS guitar. Although this instrument may not have been “cheap” for most guitar players at the time, the PRS CE24’s versatility and exceptional build quality made it well worth the money. The guitar was made in Maryland, and you can anticipate top-notch craftsmanship throughout, from the body to the neck to the nuts and frets. The CE24 (classic electric with 24 frets) has become a PRS classic throughout the years, and many guitar players are major fans of the guitar.
The PRS CE24 has many characteristics with a Fender Strat and a Gibson Les Paul, but adds a slew of additional functions. The bolt-on maple neck is the standout feature, and the body is made up of three sections. The PRS CE24 sports a mahogany body and a stunning maple top with several possibilities for attractive treatments, similar to a Gibson guitar. The black gold burst is shaped like a traditional PRS ergonomic body, and it will fit snugly against the player’s body.
This signature guitar has the PRS Pattern Thin neck, which is substantially thinner than the PRS Pattern neck found on the Custom 22. The Pattern Thin is described by many guitarists as having just the correct amount of thickness and being easy to move up and down the guitar neck. The PRS CE24’s bridge and tremolo system are also very good. The tremolo system built by PRS has a sensitivity that falls between that of a Fender Strat and a Bigsby tremolo, making it suitable for both heavy and light tremolo play.
The PRS CE24 features PRS 85/15 pickups and a three-way toggle switch in the Gibson manner. The 85/15 pickups are 2015 updated versions of the original 1985 PRS humbucker pickups, with a classic humbucker sound, distinct lows, and crisp high-midrange tones. Because they are both incredibly responsive and “hot” pickups, they respond nicely to distortion and overdrive. The coil-split feature is another fantastic feature of these pickups. The PRS pickups are known for their high-quality coil-split tones, and these will give your guitar a real single-coil tone, making it sound like a Fender Stratocaster.
If you want a PRS guitar built in the United States but don’t want to spend more than $3000 for progressive metal guitar, the PRS CE24 stock pickups is the next best thing. This new creation is a beauty of a guitar, combining the best elements of a Gibson Les Paul and a Fender Stratocaster into one guitar. I strongly advise intermediate and advanced guitarists, as well as professional guitarists, to get this guitar. This is the best PRS semi-hollow electric guitar in 2023.
PRS Silver Sky Maple John Mayer Tungsten
- Solidbody Electric Guitar with Alder Body
- Vintage Tremolo - Tungsten
- 3 Single-Coil Pickups
Fender Strats are, as we all know, one of the most iconic guitars ever made. The Strat’s shape will very certainly be instantly recognizable all around the world. It’s also possibly one of the most copied and changed guitars since its initial release in 1954. Many people were suspicious of the concept when modern guitar icon John Mayer and Paul Reed Smith began working on a new instrument together. It took them about two and a half years to complete this contentious project, and the response from the guitar community was mixed when it was released. Some guitarists felt it was simply another Strat among thousands of others, while others thought it was something special. However, the PRS John Mayer Silver Sky is a unique instrument that sticks out among the various modern interpretations of the Fender Strat.
On an prs signature guitar, John Mayer and PRS worked and paid close attention to every last detail. All of the little features, from the headstock to the bridge, have been carefully considered and chosen for a reason. Their initial intention was to build a modern version on their favorite vintage Strat, the Fender Strat from 1963 to 1964. It has a unique combination of elements from both a vintage Fender Strat and a PRS guitar from the 1960s and 1970s.
The pickups are 635JM Single Coil PRS Single Coil pickups, which are John Mayer’s signature pickups. These pickups provide a broad and round tone, as well as a musical high that stands out in the mix while being extremely pleasing to the ear. As with every Strat, the PRS Silversky has a 5-way blade switch. In terms of tone, each of the five pickup positions has its own individual sound — the neck pickup has a lovely full sound with a lot of low ends, while the bridge pickup has just enough “honk” with plenty of biting. The middle, second, and fourth strings each have their own characteristic color and offer a wide range of tones.
Although the body of Silver Sky resembles that of a Fender Stratocaster, you may notice that something is somewhat different like acoustic guitars. To begin with, the treble side of the body isn’t as deep as the original Stratocaster, although the bass side is deeper and has a sharper nose. The body is made of Alder and has a Gloss finish, while the neck is made of bolt-on Maple and has a 25.5-inch scale length. The headstock of this Strat is plainly different, since it sports a customized PRS headstock that John Mayer adjusted to meet his playing style. For my part, it took me a time to adjust to the PRS headstock on a Fender Strat body, but I now find it surprisingly appealing and sumptuous.
The playing feel and neck profile of this guitar are two of its best features. The neck profile is based on the 1963-4 Strat, and guitarists will immediately notice how comfortable this guitar is to play. The PRS Tremolo Bar and Gen III Knife-edge screws are among the guitar’s other characteristics. The bridge likewise only moves down in pitch, resulting in an acoustically louder guitar. A bone nut and molded metal jack plate are two further characteristics that make plugging in considerably easier.
PRS McCarty 594
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Simply told, the PRS McCarty 594 is one of the most flawless commercial electric guitars available anywhere. It’s a vintage-inspired modern masterpiece. Ted McCarty, the president of Gibson from 1950 to 1966, is honored with this instrument. Ted is a true legend in the industry, having pioneered technologies such as humbuckers, the Flying V, and the SG. Ted was also instrumental in PRS’s development, thus Paul Reed Smith named their most high-end instrument after him. The McCarty model was released in 2015, and following its release, PRS began building an even more boutique and unique instrument, the McCarty 594.
The name McCarty 594 originates from the instrument’s 24.594-inch scale length, and it’s a vintage-sounding guitar with the best of modern guitar technology. The idea behind this guitar is that instead of spending thousands of dollars on a pre-existing vintage guitar, you can have a brand new instrument with modern technologies for around the same price as a high-quality vintage guitar. The guitar was created by PRS’s elite Private Stock team to commemorate the program’s 20th anniversary.
PRS 58/15 LT pickups are used on this guitar, and the LT stands for Low Turns. This indicates that the pickups have a nice lower output tone. The pickups are distinctive in that they are identical in both the bridge and treble positions, which is unusual for an electric guitar. In any event, you can count on these pickups to roar with some overdrive and give you the feel of playing a ’59 Les Paul. The pickups’ clarity and sensitivity are likewise remarkable, and their adaptability is unrivaled.
The McCarty 594 sports a three-way pickup switch, two volume controls, and two push/pull tone controls, all in the Gibson tradition. The pickup switch and controls are strategically positioned in the most easily accessible areas of the instrument, and the high-quality coil-split feature on the tone knobs will provide you with a plethora of tones to choose from.
The PRS McCarty 594 has a lot of unique upgrades and changes, but let’s start with the characteristics that are identical to those found on other PRS guitars. The McCarty 594 has a PRS double cutaway solid body with African Mahogany as the primary material. Curly Maple is used for the top, and Mahogany is used for the neck. The bridge and tremolo are the PRS designed tremolo bar with PRS Phase III Locking tuning machinery, same like the other PRS guitars.
Moving on to the additional features, the McCarty 594 has a scale length of 24.594 inches, which is somewhat rare. Paul Reed Smith attempted to emulate the tone of the iconic 1959 Gibson. The perfect spot for getting that vintage Gibson sound was discovered by Les Paul and Paul. The neck shape is also updated, with the new PRS Pattern Vintage neck carve on this instrument. The neck shape is similar to the PRS Pattern neck, but it is slightly thicker from front to back and has an asymmetrical curve on the lower half of the neck. This neck is designed for guitarists who are used to playing a thick vintage guitar neck, but the new asymmetrical shape will make the transition for guitarists who are used to modern thin necks much easier.
PRS SE Custom 24
- Solidbody Electric Guitar with Mahogany Body
- Tremolo - Charcoal Burst
- 2 Humbucking Pickups
For everyone who has always wanted a PRS Custom 24 but couldn’t afford one, now is their chance to have a cheaper version of the same model. You can purchase a similar-looking guitar with many of the same features as the original model for approximately a fifth of the price. Despite the fact that it is built in South Korea rather than the United States, the quality is outstanding and quite dependable.
PRS modified the headstock and incorporated a freshly updated signature headstock emblem to give this model a more current look. Because of its exquisite look, it’s hard to believe this guitar costs under $1000. The body is based on the PRS Santana Signature model’s iconic PRS mahogany body form. The PRS SE Custom 24 includes a 25-inch scale length, traditional PRS bird inlays, 24 frets, and a Wide Thin neck profile, among other things. The Wide Thin neck shape provides guitarists with an excellent grip for bends and vibratos, as well as the right amount of thickness for quick playing. If you’re used to playing Fender Strats or Telecasters, the neck may seem familiar, but the 24 frets may make the neck feel longer.
The PRS SE Custom 24 features a 3-way pickup switch between the master volume and tone knobs, as well as one master volume and one tone knob. The 3-way pickup switch is placed in a way that is evocative of Fender guitars. The pickups are PRS 85/15s from Korea, which are 2015 updates to the original PRS pickup from 1985. The tones produced by this instrument are varied, covering genres such as funk, classic rock, blues, pop, and more. It’s a fantastic all-around guitar that can cover a wide range of styles and tones. The tones are weaker and have less force behind the notes when compared to PRS McCarty or PRS Custom 24 models from the United States. The single coil tones from the coil split feature are a little more treble-y than comparable PRS guitars built in the United States. Regardless, the guitar’s tones are beautiful and varied for the price. This is one of the best PRS guitars in 2023.
PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Mark Holcomb Electric Guitar with Gig Bag
- Top Wood: Beveled Maple with Quilted Maple Veneer
- Back Wood: Mahogany
- Neck Wood: Maple with Satin Finish
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb Signature is based on the PRS SE Custom 24, but it features a few improvements tailored to metal players. The addition of Mark Holcomb’s custom Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups is a significant enhancement over the PRS SE Custom 24. These pickups offer a lot of output and clarity, so they’re great for music with a lot of gain. If you’ve ever seen Mark Holcomb play, you know these pickups are made for hard chugs and face-melting guitar solos.
The Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups are worth $250 each, so the fact that they were able to pack them into a guitar at his price range means you’re getting a great deal on this guitar brand. The ebony fretboard with white binding, rather than the normal rosewood, is another feature of this instrument. When coupled with the Holcomb Burst finish, the guitar has a stunning aesthetic. Furthermore, the 20″ fretboard radius allows you to set the action exceptionally low for soloing. Furthermore, it has a greater scale length of 25.5″ rather than the standard 25″ on PRS guitars, allowing you to play in drop tunings without floppy strings. Overall, this guitar is a fantastic deal and one of the best metal electric guitars available.