The PRS SE Custom 24 and Standard 24 are two of the best electric guitars you can get for under $1000, but what is the difference between them? And why is the Custom 24 so much more expensive? In this article I’ll share all the differences between these two guitars so you can decide which is best for you.
In a rush? Here’s the quick answer…
The PRS SE Custom 24 has a mahogany body and maple top whereas the SE Standard 24 just has a mahogany body. The maple top on the SE Custom 24 gives it a nicer appearance and makes it sound slightly brighter and more complex.
The main difference between the PRS SE Custom and Standard 24 guitars is that the Custom has a maple top on the mahogany body, whereas the Standard just has a mahogany body without a maple top.
Aesthetically, the PRS SE Custom 24 looks significantly nicer than the Standard 24 due to the presence of this maple top. On most models, the Custom has a flame maple top, however on some limited edition versions it has a quilted maple top instead.
The Standard 24 looks a lot more basic and “stripped back” as it just has a mahogany body, and although there are a few nice color options available, it just doesn’t have the same visual appeal as the SE Custom.
The good news is that both models have a top-carve to make them look a little bit more premium. The top-carve is identical on both models (shallow-violin carve).
The flame maple tops on the SE Custom 24 are admittedly not as nice as the tops on the USA-made Custom 24’s, but they do still look great especially for a guitar that costs less than $1000.
PRS SE Custom 24 Flame Maple Tops
Do They Sound Different?
Both the PRS SE Custom and Standard 24 use the same humbucker pickups: 85/15 “S”. They also both have a master volume and master tone control with push/ pull coil splitting to get single-coil type tones and a 3-way pickup selector.
The only difference in specifications which slightly affects the tone is the top material.
The maple top on the Custom 24 gives it a slightly brighter and more articulate tone compared to the Standard 24 which sounds slightly warmer and less complex.
I need to stress though that the difference tonally between the Custom 24 and Standard 24 is miniscule and unless you play both back-to-back, you won’t be able to tell which is which.
Check out this YouTube video to hear a tone comparison of these two guitars.
Do They Feel Different?
Both the PRS SE Custom and Standard 24 guitars feel identical to play on. They both:
- Have the same “Wide Thin” neck profile which is 0.81″ thick at the 1st fret and 0.89″ thick at the 12th fret and has a fretboard width of 1.69″ at the nut
- Weigh approximately 7.5-8.0 lbs
- Have a 25″ scale with 24 frets
- Have a 10″ fingerboard radius
- Have same body shape and dimensions
Most Features are Exactly the Same
Despite the pretty big price difference between these two guitars, all other features are exactly the same.
Both guitars have:
- Mahogany body and maple neck
- Rosewood fretboard
- Wide Thin neck shape
- 10″ fingerboard radius
- 85/15 “S” pickups
- Master volume and tone control
- Push/ pull tone pot for coil splitting
- 3-way pickup selector
- PRS Double-Acting truss rod
- Multi-ply neck construction
- Set neck
- Bird fretboard inlays
- SE logo on headstock
- PRS patented tremolo bridge
- PRS tuners
- Nickel hardware
- PRS synthetic nut
- 9-42 gauge strings
- Gig bag included
Where are They Made?
The PRS SE Standard 24 and PRS SE Custom 24 are both made in Indonesia currently. Previously, much of the PRS SE line was made in South Korea. I couldn’t find exactly when PRS made this switch, however I purchased my SE Custom 24 in 2014 and this was made in South Korea.
The PRS SE Custom 24 costs approximately $850 whereas the SE Standard 24 costs $700. In the UK, the SE Custom 24 costs £800 on average whereas the SE Standard costs £500.
That’s a pretty big price difference in the UK given that the only tangible difference between the two guitars is that one has a fancy looking flame maple cap. In the USA, the price difference isn’t nearly as dramatic and much more easy to justify.
On the second-hand market, and “excellent” condition PRS SE Custom 24 costs approximately $720, whereas an SE Standard 24 costs $550 on average.
The PRS SE Custom 24 retains more of its value on the second-hand market so is a better investment to make if you think you may want to resell it in the future.
|PRS SE Custom 24
|PRS SE Standard 24
Which is the Best Guitar?
This really comes down to how much you value the maple top on the Custom 24.
If you’re looking for a nice flame maple top which essentially makes the guitar look more expensive, then splash out on the Custom 24. However, if you don’t care about the top wood, just go for the Standard 24 and save yourself a lot of money without any other compromises.
I personally own an SE Custom 24. The reason I went for this guitar is because there was a limited edition quilted top model available when I was in the market for a new guitar, and it was on sale at only £50 more than the Standard 24. It was a no-brainer for me as I loved the look of the guitar and didn’t feel like I was overpaying for the appearance.
If however both guitars were on sale at full price, I’d have just gone with the Standard 24 as I think it’s the best value option out of the two.
Check out Guitar Center to see the current prices of both guitars: