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Thread: Can anyone tell me about the PRS CE 24?

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    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Can anyone tell me about the PRS CE 24?

    Hi Guys,
    Can anyone tell me about the PRS CE 24? When were they offered, what do they sound like, how are they regarded, that sort of thing. You guys know and love PRS instruments, so I figure if anyone knows it'll be you guys.

    Cheers!
    Last edited by ExpatGirl; 09-03-2012 at 06:43 AM. Reason: Typo correction

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    I can't quite remember when exactly they were discontinued, but generally they were regarded very highly and known for having plenty of PRS tone with just a little bit of Fender snap and sparkle on top. My guitar teacher had one, and it was absolutely stunning. Really articulate and capable of covering a lot of different genres. Still one of my favourite PRS models, and I really liked the 'hot hues' colours they did on the most recent run (think it was about 2004 it was brought back). I'm always keeping my eye on the second-hand market to try and snag one for a good price, but I'd love to them brought back someday.

  3. #3
    I had a 20th in blazing copper that I bought NOS and eventually sold. It's a good value. It's a very dark and midrangy guitar. For that reason, I found it a bit limiting in terms of styles but what it did match with, it did well. The HFS bridge pickup was one of those love/hate relationships for me. One day I wouldn't be able to put the guitar down and the next I'd pick it up for 2 seconds and swear I was going to sell it. I did, eventually, but for other non-guitar related reasons. One thing I was never a fan of was the finish on the maple neck. It got pretty tacky at times. Personally, i believe maple necks should have no finish and just oil/wax but that's just my opinion. They are a good workhorse rocker type guitar and the prices on the used market are pretty good now. If you have the opportunity to add one, I'd recommend it.

  4. #4
    Senior Member vchizzle's Avatar
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    There are a few variations of the CE that you should be aware of. 24 and 22 fret models.
    There are:
    mahogany back/maple top
    solid mahogany body
    solid alder body
    alder body/maple top

    I think the alder body came 1st and in mid 90's they maybe switched to mahogany. I think around that same time the swamp ash special came out in '96 or '97.

    They started out early on as the "Classic Electric" I believe. I think they are the closest bridge between strat and LP, leaning closer to the strat side. Depends a lot on whether you like bolt on or set neck guitars more. I think they're great bolt on guitars, I prefer set neck a bit more but if I want that sound, I wouldn't hesitate grabbing a CE. Great guitars that can be had at a really nice price at times. I'm no CE expert, hopefully someone who knows more pops in with some opinions.

  5. #5
    deus ex machina
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    The CE was first introduced in 1988. The first CEs where known simply as the "PRS Electric." Peavey held a common law trademark the word "Classic," so the name was shorted to CE.



    The original CEs had all-alder bodies. PRS added a multi-piece maple top as an option in 1989. The conversion over to being a full-blown poor man's Custom occurred in 1995 when PRS started offering the CE with a mahogany back.

    As an aside: I remember a particularly special early CE 24 that Master Musicians had in stock when their Annapolis store was located just down the street from the PRS Virginia Ave shop. The body was all black except for the masked binding. That guitar sang, but I could not bring myself to shell out $899.00 for bolt-on PRS when I could pay $1299.00 for a stripped-down set-neck PRS. I have kicked myself for almost two and a half decades for not buying that guitar. If I were to purchase a CE, it would have be in the original 1988 configuration. I am hoping that PRS offers a special twenty-five year anniversary run of the original "PRS Electric" in 2013.
    Last edited by Em7; 09-04-2012 at 05:26 PM.

  6. #6
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    CE24 is a great guitar. I've got one with a maple cap and 59/09s and I use it when I want a more straty tone, handles Mayeresque tones really well. It does the full on HB just fine and is a bit brighter than a CU24 because of the maple neck IMO. Great value, very flexible guitar. I had a CE22 a while back with DIIs and that was great instrument as well. I agree with Drew and vchizzle, most people like them and they are a great value.
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  7. #7
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    ExpatGirl - There are many CE fans out here...myself included. Expect much love! I am so utterly enamored with my 1990 CE24 that I would be hard-pressed to pick that or my Siggy in the "burning building - save one" scenario.

    My CE is the loudest, brashest (but not in a bad way) guitar I own, and sounds amazing. It's alder bodied (as are all pre-95 I believe) with the mahogany top, and has the most comfortable WT neck I have ever played. I don't have a mahogany CE24 to compare it to, but I do have my 93 all-mahogany STD24, and this is like a "goes to 11" version of that, with more mids, highs and grit. The single coil tones are a little thicker / strat-like than what you have on your SECU24, but the overall tone of the guitar is in a similar spectrum (but much more vintage sounding).

    The quality on the CEs are just as amazing as any other PRS, and as you can get them for under a grand, they are a great buy. I will have another...someday
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2000 CU22 Semi-Hollow | 2003 & 04 SE EG
    2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 HB II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited
    2013 CU24 | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow | 2014 CU24 Semi-Hollow

  8. #8
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    I'm letting other people go first this time before I get on my soapbox. Em7, PRS already reissued the original alder design back in 2008(?), but I like your thinking!

  9. #9
    deus ex machina
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    I'm letting other people go first this time before I get on my soapbox. Em7, PRS already reissued the original alder design back in 2008(?), but I like your thinking!
    Yes, but if I am not mistaken, PRS reissued the alder-bodied CE24 in the rotary knob plus HFS/Vintage Bass format, which is not the original configuration. The original CEs shipped with a toggle switch that had a metal bat (or at least a metal tip). If I recall correctly, the original CEs also shipped with Standard Treble and Standard Bass pickups. The switch over to using the HFS/Vintage bass combination in the CEs did not occur until the early nineties.

  10. #10
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Yeah, with the T&B pup's available again it would make a nice addition to their "throwback" series, but I suppose the PRS "Fender vibe" is pretty full right now. I always thought of the CE as the ultimate superstrat but without the goofy looks.
    Have you seen the small run for the Japanese market? I swear I need to move there!
    Last edited by sergiodeblanc; 09-03-2012 at 03:36 PM.

  11. #11
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    Yeah, with the T&B pup's available again it would make a nice addition to their "throwback" series, but I suppose the PRS "Fender vibe" is pretty full right now. I always thought of the CE as the ultimate superstrat but without the goofy looks.
    Have you seen the small run for the Japanese market? I swear I need to move there!
    Wow. Apart from the pink (and I'm a girl!), wow. That is stunning.

  12. #12
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    So would I be correct in thinking that the CE 24 is capable of producing some nice Strat-esque tones?

  13. #13
    deus ex machina
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    Quote Originally Posted by ExpatGirl View Post
    So would I be correct in thinking that the CE 24 is capable of producing some nice Strat-esque tones?
    If you are looking for Strat-like tones from a PRS guitar, you are better off looking at a Swamp Ash Special, 305, or a DC3.

  14. #14
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    If you are looking for Strat-like tones from a PRS guitar, you are better off looking at a Swamp Ash Special, 305, or a DC3.
    Agreed, but it does have some of the in-between Strat-esque tones, with a heavy emphasis on "esque" part. If you are looking for Fender bridge or neck tones you are better off looking elsewhere.

    Pink is for boys.

  15. #15
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by sergiodeblanc View Post
    If you are looking for Fender bridge or neck tones you are better off looking elsewhere.
    Like maybe an SE EG!, for those on a budget...although the set WF mahogany neck i am sure mellow out the sound if you a/b it with a real strat.
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2000 CU22 Semi-Hollow | 2003 & 04 SE EG
    2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar | 2011 CU24 GC Throwback | 2012 Signature Limited
    2013 408 Brazilian | 2013 Paul's Guitar | 2013 HB II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited
    2013 CU24 | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow | 2014 CU24 Semi-Hollow

  16. #16
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    If you are looking for Strat-like tones from a PRS guitar, you are better off looking at a Swamp Ash Special, 305, or a DC3.
    What about the NF3? Would that fall in the same category as these three guitars? I'm a little gunshy of the NF3 as it and the SE Orianthi are both made of korina. I didn't care for the tone of the Orianthi at all.

  17. #17
    Senior Member slev's Avatar
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    The NF pickups in the PRS Studio with the coil tapped 57/08 in the bridge position are some of the best in between strat tones out there. The CE24 does a nice job with these as well, you'd be even closer with the CE if you change out the rotary knob for the McCarty wiring (three way toggle and push-pull coil tap tone knob). The CEs are a good example of the flexibility that comes with most PRS guitars, that's why many of us are devoted followers. It's nice to have one guitar that can do a lot of different tones.
    Gear: Fender, PRS, Orange, Budda

  18. #18
    Senior Member Bill SAS 513's Avatar
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    NF3

    Quote Originally Posted by ExpatGirl View Post
    What about the NF3? Would that fall in the same category as these three guitars? I'm a little gunshy of the NF3 as it and the SE Orianthi are both made of korina. I didn't care for the tone of the Orianthi at all.
    Just picked up an NF3 and was extermely pleased with the various tones available. Bolt-on maple neck and FB, and these PUs really do come close to strat tones, but (forgive the extremely over-used term)...on Steroids. Following suit of the SAS, and swamp-ash 513, these are all extremly versatile packages. Of course, based on versatility, my "deserted island" pick would be a 513.

  19. #19
    Senior Member ExpatGirl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bill SAS 513 View Post
    Just picked up an NF3 and was extermely pleased with the various tones available. Bolt-on maple neck and FB, and these PUs really do come close to strat tones, but (forgive the extremely over-used term)...on Steroids. Following suit of the SAS, and swamp-ash 513, these are all extremly versatile packages. Of course, based on versatility, my "deserted island" pick would be a 513.
    Thanks very much, Bill. The NF3 is on my short list of guitars I'd like to get next. These instruments really are like potato chips, you just have to save up a lot to get the next bag.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Em7 View Post
    The CE was first introduced in 1988. The first CEs where known simply as the "PRS Electric." Peavey held a common law trademark the word "Classic," so the name was shorted to CE.

    The original CEs had all-alder bodies. PRS added a multi-piece maple top as an option in 1989. The conversion over to being a full-blown poor man's Custom occurred in 1995 when PRS started offering the CE with a mahogany back.

    As an aside: I remember a particularly special early CE 24 that Master Musicians had in stock when their Annapolis store was located just down the street from the PRS Virginia Ave shop. The body was all black except for the masked binding. That guitar sang, but I could not bring myself to shell out $899.00 for bolt-on PRS when I could pay $1299.00 for a stripped-down set-neck PRS. I have kicked myself for almost two and half decades for not buying that guitar. If I were to purchase a CE, it would have be in the original 1988 configuration. I am hoping that PRS offers a special twenty-five year anniversary run of the original "PRS Electric" in 2013.
    I've got a first year alder CE 24 that meets that description. It was confirmed by Orkie, who worked on it at the factory, and again years later for me. It screams, and is the easiest playing PRS in my collection. Thinking of letting it go to fund a new PRS amp.


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