Okay, here goes.
The rep brought in 3 guitars to the local guitar shop Monday. Custom, Mira and Starla. For the purposes of this post, I'm focusing on the Custom. I took some photos with my phone, with permission of the rep, in order to attempt to show some closeups. Please forgive the poor photo quality and my shaky hands.
My general impressions of the guitar were very good. I will break down specifics with the pictures, but the build quality was top notch. Felt great in your hands, and is a step above the SE line. You can tell the difference. You can also however, tell the difference between the feel of the S2 and the core custom 24. I can't exactly quantify how, but it could have just been the setup. Build quality was excellent. It represents it's price point very well, and is IMO, exactly what it is represented to be.
To my ear, it was very difficult for me to tell the difference between the S2 pickups tone vs. a standard set of HFS and Vintage Bass pickups. Now, on with the show:
Here is a pic of the front of the guitar. Clearly, the figuring is not up to the level of a core line PRS. That's probably what they mean by using wood that is easier to source and not as expensive. It has ok figuring, but clearly nothing that they would use on a core guitar.
Here's a shot of the maple cap. Seems to be a good slab, nice thickness:
Here is the neck joint. Very nice, clean work:
Here is a picture of the back of the guitar. Here's a major difference. You can see in the photo the cavity covers are not countersunk, they are surface mounted. Not a huge deal, but it seems like it wouldn't cost any more to add the countersink program into the CNC machine. Oh well:
Steel sustain block, not Brass, but we all knew that going in:
Very clean inlay work. The birds are straight ivory colored. No Mother of Pearl, but at least you get the birds:
Perhaps the biggest weakness in the guitar, as I see it anyway, is the SE trem. the bridge saddles are clearly not as nice as the core lineup stuff, but they are straight up about it on the website, and they have to save money somewhere. I guess you could always upgrade:
Here's a shot of the back of the headstock. Handwritten serial number American Style! I looked as hard as I could, and I couldn't see the scarf joint anywhere on the neck. The rep showed me where it was, but I still couldn't see it. Very impressed:
And finally, the much debated "S2 locking tuners". Honestly, they are very high quality locking tuners. I don't see any reason whatsoever to upgrade:
The finish on the guitar was excellent, but not quite as nice as the core line stuff. You could tell there is a different finishing process.
Bottom line, great guitar for the money.
Very informative..... clearly this is just the beginning of this line and if all goes well for it we will see future improvements like the countersunk back plates that it seem so such a good idea since the SE line it done properly.
Waiting for the S2 513 Piezo Trem! :P