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Thread: Need help to choose a PRS SE

  1. #1
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    Need help to choose a PRS SE

    Hi all !

    I've been playing on an acoustic guitar (a Cort Earth 70 NS) for some years (nice guitar for the price by the way) and now I'm willing to buy a PRS SE to start learning electric guitar but I need your advices to make the right choice somehow because I'm living in the middle of nowhere, so it's gonna be hard to find a guitar shop to try it and mostly because I'm kind of lost with all I have read about these guitars.

    First of all, I've read a lot that PRS SE have problems with the nuts, my first question is : Should I wait till 2014, as I'm not in a hurry to buy a new one, to check out if they launch a new model with a better nut ?

    I'm interested in two models, the PRS SE Custom 24 and the PRS SE 245. As I like different kind of music as blues, rock, hard rock and country... I'm looking for a polyvalent guitar.

    It seems that the PRS SE CU24 is more polyvalent thanks to the ability to split the coils. Will the trem be a problem if one day I need to drop tune my guitar ? Some people say it's not a problem and others say the trem needs to be blocked. I don't even know if I'm gonna need to drop tune it because I don't like most of heavy metal music. Actually the most "brutal" musics that I enjoy listening to are Saving Abel, Theory of a Deadman, Nickelback and Seether but some of their songs are already too "heavy" to my ears.

    If I buy a CU 24 frets, will I be lost when I'll use another electric guitar which has 22 frets ?

    If you believe that I don't need to wait 2014 to buy one, should I bring it to a tech right after I've got it ? I'm gonna use Ernie Ball 10/46 pure nickel strings on it, will it be a problem for the nut ? Should I buy a nut when I order the guitar and which one or should I let the tech order the right nut ? If I have to buy locking tuners too, what do you recommend me ?

    Should I really remove the stock pickups ? I've checked a video with stock pickups and then Seymour Duncan on a PRS SE, I haven't heard a big difference. If you recommend me to change them, what pickups are the best to suit the guitar ?

    Thanks all for your help !

  2. #2
    Senior Member sleary's Avatar
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    I owned a 2012 prs se cu 24 and had no problems that you speak of. No problems with the trem , nut or pickups. Pickups were very good to my ear and loved the split coil . The trem was spot on and had no problem with putting it in drop c, didn't block it either. It stayed in tune with no binding on the nut. I did however put locking tuners on mine because I love the ease of string changing.

    Drop tuning was only done when need be but never left that way. Would've been killer if I kept the se cu24 and had it setup for drop c tuning but I traded mine in on my dgt . Kinda miss my se though, might get another one soon.
    2013 PRS DGT..
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  3. #3
    There's nothing wrong with the SE nuts. There's a lot of BS on the internet, don't buy into it. If later on you decide you want to experiment with a different nut, it's not a big deal to swap out the nut.

    I found the pickups on the ones I tried very nice.

    As to strings, PRS strings are pure nickel, and they are very well made strings, very smooth with a "soft" touch in the fingers. I hardly noticed switching often between my 24 fret Mira and a CU22 I had at the time, but individuals vary, so that's impossible to predict whether adjusting to a different number of frets will matter to you or not.

    Keep something in mind - if you're new to electric guitar, it's going to take some time to acclimate, and none of the little tweaks you refer to are going to matter for a good while in any case. For the most part, this is all irrelevant until you really get going.
    If something is too hard to do, then it's not worth doing. You just stick that guitar in the closet next to your short-wave radio, your karate outfit and your unicycle and we'll go inside and watch TV.
    -- Homer J. Simpson

  4. #4
    Senior Member sergiodeblanc's Avatar
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    Get them both.

  5. #5
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    Tough decision! Both are REALLY nice guitars. The CU24 will probably be the most versatile, but the 245 would be the most stable when changing tunings. On the CU24, if the trem is floating, as I believe it should be, your action and intonation will need adjustments if you radically change your tuning, say to drop C from standard, or something like that. This has been my experience with mine.

    The nuts are good, they just aren't slotted wide enough IMO. They're slotted for 9's, so if you want to use 10's as you said, they will bind in the nut, and not hold tune properly. See if the place you order from will file the slots for you. It's not a hard thing for a tech to do, and they should do it free of charge if you're buying a brand new guitar. That is, assuming you're ordering from a place that has a tech. I switched to locking tuners and a TUSQ nut, and it only made a marginal difference - the only big advantage was that the TUSQ nut will fit much bigger strings if you want it to. I wouldn't hold your breath for PRS to change the nut for 2014, they've given no indication of doing so even though this nut conversation has been going on for quite a while now, and even if they do change it, it probably won't show up on the new models until at least spring.

    If it were me, I would try to decide what you're more likely to do more frequently, change tunings, or want single coil tones. If you want to change tunings a lot, get the 245, if you want to get single coil tones for blues, rock, country, etc, get the CU24. Tonally, the 24 has a tighter bottom end and more zing on the high strings, and more "presence" throughout, as well as a bit more output from the pickups. The 245 has more depth in the bass, warmer highs, and is a bit thicker in tone throughout. The bridge pickups on both guitars are very nice. I also liked the 245 neck pickup, it was very nicely balanced and not too muddy. The SE VB on the 24 was a bit too flutey and hollow sounding for my tastes. Sorry, rambling post, just thought I'd give you lots of info since I have both guitars.

    On second thought, forget everything I wrote... just do what Sergio said!
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  6. #6
    Angry Southern Gentleman Hopeful Sinner's Avatar
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    If you are willing to replace all those parts to get the guitar "up to snuff", you might consider just biting the bullet and purchasing an S2 CU24.

    You'll get the US nut, locking tuners, better pickups and it will be Made In Maryland. Win Win IMHO...

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    Thanks everyone for your help !

    I can't afford an S2 CU24 at the moment, it's like twice the price of an SE :s. So I made my choice according to what you guys said, I'll buy a PRS SE CU 24.
    I'll ask the store how much it would cost to fix the nut and add locking tuners, if it's too expensive I'll not do it, because some of you say they didn't have a problem with it.

    Also I'll probably buy an SE 245 next year, Sergio is right, I should get both of them, problem solved

  8. #8
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    The SE CU24 was my choice when I picked up my first electric, but that was because they didn't have SE 245s in the shop. I used to drop-tune a lot, had no problems with it apart from bridge set-up, which has to be done on every drop-tuned guitar anyway, regardless of stoptail or trem. The more crucial thing to look at is the string gauge. Fatter strings are essential to maintain string tension when you drop-tune. The nut can be swapped down the road if you prefer other materials, but it holds up will for gauge 10s. Fatter gauges will need some filing work or the wound strings will sit on right top of the string slot, not that it matters a lot for rhythm playing, but lead bends will put it out of tune. The longer scale of the CU24 works better for drop-tunings due to the extra tension for the extra half inch. That said, I've seen Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy using SC 245s for tunings as low as Drop Bb/Drop A# (BADGBE then half step down.) Strings had to be thicker to compensate though.

    One more thing, the neck profile is a big difference there. Wide Thin is very thin, like Jackson necks with a rounder back. The Wide Fat is a comfortably chunky neck without being too clubby. Better play both extensively before deciding which one is for you.

    It's up to you, whether you like the bigger hunk of wood or prefer the more "modern" thinner body.

  9. #9
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    It's great to see such helpful posts for people coming here for information!
    Thbbbbbt...
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  10. #10
    If you are new to electric guitars I would advise getting something without a tremolo initially. They can be a pain to get setup right correctly. They make playing stiffer when floated and can be fiddly to lock them down properly if you don't know what you are doing.

    I understand you like the coil tapping aspect but personally I've never found coil tap all it's cracked up to be. I would say get the 245 first, or maybe look at the Bernie Marsden Signature too.

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by maxtuna26 View Post
    The SE CU24 was my choice when I picked up my first electric, but that was because they didn't have SE 245s in the shop. I used to drop-tune a lot, had no problems with it apart from bridge set-up, which has to be done on every drop-tuned guitar anyway, regardless of stoptail or trem. The more crucial thing to look at is the string gauge. Fatter strings are essential to maintain string tension when you drop-tune. The nut can be swapped down the road if you prefer other materials, but it holds up will for gauge 10s. Fatter gauges will need some filing work or the wound strings will sit on right top of the string slot, not that it matters a lot for rhythm playing, but lead bends will put it out of tune. The longer scale of the CU24 works better for drop-tunings due to the extra tension for the extra half inch. That said, I've seen Alter Bridge frontman Myles Kennedy using SC 245s for tunings as low as Drop Bb/Drop A# (BADGBE then half step down.) Strings had to be thicker to compensate though.

    One more thing, the neck profile is a big difference there. Wide Thin is very thin, like Jackson necks with a rounder back. The Wide Fat is a comfortably chunky neck without being too clubby. Better play both extensively before deciding which one is for you.

    It's up to you, whether you like the bigger hunk of wood or prefer the more "modern" thinner body.
    I'm a bit worried now about you say. I have a friend who's lent me his Jackson made in USA to try it and my first feeling wasn't so good, I'm definately not used to that kind of thin neck, I didn't feel very comfortable while playing. I'm used to feel wood in my hand with my acoustic guitar. I can show you a picture of that Jackson neck :



    I did not realise it would be a big deal. Does it look like a PRS SECU24 neck ? If it does, I guess I should go for an SE 245. I know that the best way to know what I like would be to try one but as I said, I live in the middle of nowhere and it's gonna be hard to find a shop which is selling it, unless I spend money to travel to a big city.

    Thanks again for your help guys, if you need more pictures just ask.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hewyn View Post
    I'm a bit worried now about you say. I have a friend who's lent me his Jackson made in USA to try it and my first feeling wasn't so good, I'm definately not used to that kind of thin neck, I didn't feel very comfortable while playing. I'm used to feel wood in my hand with my acoustic guitar. I can show you a picture of that Jackson neck :



    I did not realise it would be a big deal. Does it look like a PRS SECU24 neck ? If it does, I guess I should go for an SE 245. I know that the best way to know what I like would be to try one but as I said, I live in the middle of nowhere and it's gonna be hard to find a shop which is selling it, unless I spend money to travel to a big city.

    Thanks again for your help guys, if you need more pictures just ask.
    The pic doesn't work, so I'm not sure which neck you posted. I'm going to include Dinky and Soloist profiles for convenience. The Wide Thin profile is very different from Jacksons, but the thickness is identical with the Soloist. The Dinky will be around 0.5-1mm thinner. Nut width is the same for all necks.

    PRS Wide Thin has more of a C (at some point even V-feeling due to thinner shoulder at the edge) shape profile down the neck. It doesn't feel like Ibanez or Jacksons. Ibanez had a flatter back (maybe shallow C) and the Jackson, Dinkys feel more like extra thin U, with more shoulder at the fretboard edge. The Soloists I tried were literally flat, squarish U-shaped. I find that out of all thin necks, the PRS Wide Thin was the most comfortable, kind of like a best-of-both-world profile, such that it's very shreddable but still comfortable for chording.

    I guess hand size would matter here. I have Asian-sized hands, so they're relatively small. The Wide Thin feels perfect for me, the Wide Fat feels great too. For some people, the Wide Thin may be too thin and may cause cramps while doing chording, while for some, the Wide Fat may feel too big and may affect playability (thumb-over or lead-playing).

    It's all down to your own preferences. Again, try your best to track one down with each neck profile and try them out. Cheers!
    Last edited by maxtuna26; 10-14-2013 at 10:59 AM.

  13. #13
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    Thanks again for your help,
    I try again the pictures :
    Neck :
    http://i44.tinypic.com/9krp77.jpg
    http://i43.tinypic.com/a6wxz.jpg

    Body :
    http://i41.tinypic.com/25zic92.jpg

    I have no idea what model it is, I just know it is an old one
    Last edited by Hewyn; 10-14-2013 at 11:33 AM.

  14. #14
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    I'm not sure if the body shape will help, but I could try!

    I think it's a D-shape profile, from the picture, but that's just a big guess. If it's a D-shape neck (around 18mm), it's a big (trust me, it really is!) 2mm thinner than the Wide Thin. That 2mm will put in more meat to the neck, which IMO makes it more playable. Those D-shape necks are strictly for the shredders who doesn't play chords!

    The Dinky neck is around 19mm. The Soloist neck is a bit thicker than the Wide Thin, but the squarish U gives a very different kind of feel.

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    Well Maxtuna you might be right because I didn't feel comfortable at all playing chords. What about a Fender stratocaster neck compared to the PRS one ? I've already had one in my hands, I remember how the neck feels and it was definately more comfortable playing chords than this Jackson.

  16. #16
    Senior Member andy474x's Avatar
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    I don't know how the thickness of a strat neck compares to PRS thickness by the numbers, but I would say the shape of a standard strat neck is very similar to a PRS. Of course, this is ignoring the many strat models with special neck shapes. On thickness, going purely by feel and my own experience, is that the standard strat neck profile is somewhere between wide fat and wide thin.

    Let me put it this way, my first decent electric was a MIM standard strat, and I definitely grew fond of that neck size and shape, and wide fat and wide thin both feel great to me. If you were to play them side by side, you would notice a difference, but they definitely compliment each other well IMO.
    -I'm no expert, but it seems to work and I haven't electrocuted myself yet. Which is pretty much the standard I live by.

    SE Custom 24 25th Anniversary - SE Akesson+57/08's - SE 30 Head/Cab

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by Hewyn View Post
    Well Maxtuna you might be right because I didn't feel comfortable at all playing chords. What about a Fender stratocaster neck compared to the PRS one ? I've already had one in my hands, I remember how the neck feels and it was definately more comfortable playing chords than this Jackson.
    The Wide Thin neck is a tiny bit thinner than Fender's standard C neck, while the Wide Fat is a tiny bit thicker. The PRS nut width is approx. 1mm wider than standard Fender nut width. The Fender neck is a very C-shape, with the rounder back and all that classic comfortable feel (some might call it generic though). PRS Wide Thin has thinner neck shoulder, the middle part remains C feeling and creates a subtle V-shape feeling, like a thin C-shape neck with V neck edges. The Wide Fat is a lot of meat in the middle, like a fatter Fender C, like the neck on my bro's tele, but with a wider nut width.

    From personal experience, I can switch from Wide Thin or Wide Fat to Fender Standard C without any major problem. The only difference I feel is the slightly thinner back down the neck. At the top frets, they feel similar but Fender has that little bit more meat there. I don't have any Wide Fat necks now on hand but I did play quite a number of them in my nearest shop and remember how they feel because they're unique compared to other guitars. They're bigger than Fender Standard C from the first few frets, but as you go down the neck, the differences are more subtle. Andy couldn't have described it better, that's how I feel about the PRS and Fender necks too.

    That said, the 24 frets could have been a bigger influence on playing. That didn't affect me much because I don't widdle a lot at the higher registers, but it did affect shred lord Satch when he switched from 22 frets.

  18. #18
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    Well if you guys only feel a tiny bit difference, that should be all right for me. I must say I'm impressed by your knowledge I've learned lots of stuff lately xD

    Thanks again everyone :-)

  19. #19
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    Glad to be of help! We're all the same here, we learn from people around us. That's what makes this forum my favourite place to hang out online!

  20. #20
    Opaque John Beef's Avatar
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    Locking tuners are convenient, but not necessary. the tuners on the SE guitars are fine. If you know how to wrap the strings around them, you can make them "locking". See my thread here.
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