IMG_7147Whats the difference

Hello internet. I have always wonder exactly what the tonally differences were between the CE and the Custom. As a man who scours the used market buying,  trading and selling I often wondered why the bolt on CE PRS guitars often go for $1200-$800 while the Customs, which look identical except for the bolt on necks, go for $2600-$1500 depending on condition and the flow of the used market.

CE “Classic Electric”

In my research I found the CE’s were first introduced in 1988and discontinued in 2004. This Paul Reed Smith guitar model was originally called the “Classic Electric” but Peavey had a trademark on the word classic and eventually the name “CE” was used. The CE model had quite a few different variations of body woods, but the most common and standard is a mahogany body with a maple top. The maple tops can range from fancy figuring to no figuring and solid paint colors. Bolt on maple necks are what sets this model apart from the customs. The customs have mahogany set necks. Both the CE and customs, are available in a 22 or 24 fret neck. Most often the CE’s have moon inlays, while the Customs have bird inlays, but both can have either inlay. The maple bolt on necks give a snappier, mid rangy feel setting the CE apart from the Customs.

Comparing the Custom with the CE

The two guitars I have on hand right now are a 2004 Custom 22 and a 2002 CE 24. Most of the specs are the same on them, Dragon II pickups, upgraded McCarty wiring, Mahogany body’s, maple tops. The differences, beside the fret number, is the neck. The CE has the maple bolt on maple neck, and the Custom has the set mahogany neck. both even have the Wide Thin neck carve. The CE is a bit heavier, exactly how much I do not know but definitely enough to notice. Also the chrome covers have been removed from the pickups on the   Custom and I honestly feel it adds a bit of clarity and openness to the sound. (could totally be a mind trick but this is my story 🙂

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The Video

In the demo I’m using a Vox AC15c1 with a Celestion Blue, Miced into the sound card. The guitar with the bird inlays is the Custom. Any qyuestions or comments drop me a line.

I have found a wealth of knowledge on the PRS forum, particularly this thread HERE



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