What about Artist package?Better looking or better sounding guitar?Personally i love maplenecks with maple fretboard.Have seen some really cool customs here at the forum with a maple/maple neck and i wish PRS could offer that as an option on the standard models.
I don't think I'll ever have a PS, but I think I can still make the comparison as I have two AP's and other stock PRSi. The first PRS I ever bought was my 2006 Cu24 AP. Got it new at GC. That guitar continues to be the best sounding PRS I have ever played. So with only that guitar to go by it is simply no contest. AP's have better tone than any stock PRSi. But last year I picked up a 20th Anni AP. It is a 2006 SC and I happen to have one of the old SC's to compare it too. Guess what, the 2000 SC kicks it's butt in tone.
So the answer is, not all guitars are equal, and it doesn't matter if it was a PS, or AP, or stock, if the woods and the hardware and the stars all align, you get one of the great ones. Now I do think that with the best quality woods, and the best build methods, you have a better chance of getting one of those great ones. That is why PRS guitars are more consistent than other companies, but within the PRS family of guitars, you can get a great one out of stock just as you can out of AP or PS offerings.
And since that CAN affect the tone, it's basically a "made to measure" guitar. Maybe not "bespoke" like a PS, but a very cool thing nonetheless.
One other thought. Most of (not all) the absolute best sounding guitars I have ever played in my life have had totally plain woods on them. Is that because more guitars are made with plain woods, or does less figured wood actually sound better most of the time? I know several builders who feel that way.
EDIT: I just spent an hour and a half with these three, and I cant say the PSs sound any better than the production CU22 SH LTD. Each sounds fantastic, with slight variations on the CU22 semi hollow/trem sound.
Interesting thread. I would guess that it's a matter of difference mostly. There are so many variables with an electric guitar especially once it's plugged in. That said, I also believe if the woods are selected by persons knowledgeable and with experience in picking woods and seeing them through to the final product (like a PRSh) I would have to think the highest quality possible is the result. Is that "better" than something else? Subjective. But the highest quality possible? Yes I would think so. And that has its own value IMO.
This is a surprisingly difficult question to answer.
I have a hard time separating the impact of how the guitar feels and the impact that has on how I play and how I feel about the result when it finds its way back to my ear.
I can say the PS guitars get much more play. The others get used mostly for something specific. If I am using the guitar as a meditation and just want to play, I pick up a private stock and I know I am going to like what I hear.
I think it sound better.
I know the acoustic sounds like nothing else.