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Thread: Help with 1990 CE24

  1. #1
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    Help with 1990 CE24

    Hello PRS Forum,

    This is my first post here. I look forward to being a part of this community!

    I have a 2002 CU22 Trem that has become my #1 guitar. If I could say anything negative about my CU22 it is that sometimes it can be too smooth and warm sounding. Sometimes I prefer a more dynamic and clear tone- closer to a fender sound. So I jumped on a 1990 CE24 I found on Craigslist because it has all the things to give me a more Fender sound - bolt on maple neck and alder body. I've also read very favorable reviews on the CE alders on the is forum. After getting the guitar, setting it up the best I can and putting in the same pickups I had in the CU22, the CE24 does not sound as expected. Surprisingly, it is warmer and less dynamic than my CU22! It's response is not as lively as my CU22, which was the opposite of what i was expecting from a CE Alder body. I feel like there is something wrong with this guitar. Maybe something with the wiring or the pots, or the rotary selector? Do these things go bad over time to where they affect the sound? I did notice the pots were noisey when i first turned them. Also, I have not been able to get the strings setup as well as my CU22. I need to keep the action higher than I'd like to keep strings from buzzing. Is this common with 24's vs 22's?

    Does anyone have any sugestions to "fix" this guitar if anything can be done at all? I live in the Northern Virginia area, if anyone has a recomended tech to take it to.
    Thanks for all your help!

  2. #2
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    Welcome to the forum

    I don't have the answers for you, but someone on here will. I also live in Northern VA. What part are you located in?
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY
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    Thanks! I'm in Centreville, where are you?

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    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman7 View Post
    Thanks! I'm in Centreville, where are you?
    Hey neighbor, I'm in Manassas...you're only 5 minutes away.

    As far as a local tech there is a damn good one off 28 heading into Manassas. Most of the shops use him including PRS dealer in Gainesville.
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY
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    Cool thanks! I see you have a CE22. What do you think of yours?

  6. #6
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    I love mine especially after putting in a set of \m/ pickups in it.

    Sent you a PM with tech info
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Audie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chris528 View Post
    Hey neighbor, I'm in Manassas...you're only 5 minutes away.

    As far as a local tech there is a damn good one off 28 heading into Manassas. Most of the shops use him including PRS dealer in Gainesville.
    Smallworld? You would'nt be talking about Guitar gallery in Gainesville and a tech by the name of Jeff? Great people, the store and the tech!

  8. #8
    Senior Member Chris528's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Audie View Post
    Smallworld? You would'nt be talking about Guitar gallery in Gainesville and a tech by the name of Jeff? Great people, the store and the tech!
    Yes it is a small world and that's exactly who I'm talking about.

    Where are you?
    "BADASS MODDED" SE SEMI-HOLLOW W/BIGSBY
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    Senior Member Audie's Avatar
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    I did live in Gainesville, a couple of blocks from Guitar Gallery. They referred me to Jeff, who did an excellent job! I moved a couple of years ago. I live in New Orleans area now. I miss Virginia, except for the Winter!

  10. #10
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman7 View Post
    Hello PRS Forum,

    This is my first post here. I look forward to being a part of this community!

    I have a 2002 CU22 Trem that has become my #1 guitar. If I could say anything negative about my CU22 it is that sometimes it can be too smooth and warm sounding. Sometimes I prefer a more dynamic and clear tone- closer to a fender sound. So I jumped on a 1990 CE24 I found on Craigslist because it has all the things to give me a more Fender sound - bolt on maple neck and alder body. I've also read very favorable reviews on the CE alders on the is forum. After getting the guitar, setting it up the best I can and putting in the same pickups I had in the CU22, the CE24 does not sound as expected. Surprisingly, it is warmer and less dynamic than my CU22! It's response is not as lively as my CU22, which was the opposite of what i was expecting from a CE Alder body. I feel like there is something wrong with this guitar. Maybe something with the wiring or the pots, or the rotary selector? Do these things go bad over time to where they affect the sound? I did notice the pots were noisey when i first turned them. Also, I have not been able to get the strings setup as well as my CU22. I need to keep the action higher than I'd like to keep strings from buzzing. Is this common with 24's vs 22's?

    Does anyone have any sugestions to "fix" this guitar if anything can be done at all? I live in the Northern Virginia area, if anyone has a recomended tech to take it to.
    Thanks for all your help!
    What pickups did you put into it? The Dragon II set?

    I have almost an identical setup. I've got a 2008 Custom 24 with Dragon II pickups in it, which is my #1, and I just picked up a 1993 CE-24 with an alder body/maple neck. However, I kept the pickups stock.

    They say that alder has a more "balanced" tonal range than mahogany, but I've also heard that it has stronger midrange. The Dragon II pickups have a pretty pronounced midrange to my ears as well, which is why I love them in my Custom. But they shape the tone in such a specific way that you're not likely to get much variety out of them in your CE 24. They might very well sound warmer in an alder guitar. If that's what you did, then try putting the HFS/VB set back into the CE.

    The Vintage Bass is an extraordinary neck pickup. It may be a humbucker but it's incredibly clean and has a high-end sparkle that can, at times, sound like a Strat's neck pickup, especially in the CE-24. The HFS is a high-output humbucker, but if you back off the gain on your amp you'll find it has a much more balanced tone than the Dragon II brige pup.

    That's how I've got mine set up -- Dragon IIs in my Custom, and HFS/VB in my CE -- and I'm very happy with how the two guitars complement each other.
    Quote Originally Posted by gush View Post
    You should post a pic of BM so we know it's real.

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    Thanks Sage for your input! My custom came with dragon 2's but I have swapped them for Dimarzio EJ customs. They sound like Filtertrons. Like a more open sounding PAF. I swapped these for the dragon 2's for the reasons I stated in my original post. I was looking for a more dynamic and clear tone. These pickups definitely got me there. My CU22 sounds very different than what it used to, but I am very happy with the tone! I suspect the Starla gives a similar sound. I got the CE24 hoping to go even further in that direction in tone.

    I know they have different pickups, but in your experience, what are the tonal differences between your custom and CE? Could you speculate how they would compare with the same pickups?

    Thanks!

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    I forgot to add. The CE came with the HFS and bass pickups, and it sounded quite dark.

  13. #13
    Occasionally Onery Member CantankerousCarl's Avatar
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    FWIW I have 3 alder-bodied CEs with HFS/VB and I would definitely not categorize any of them as dark by any means. They are definitely more midrangey than my same-era CU24 which also has the same pups, and the single coil sounds are more stratty by comparison. My hog/MT CE splits the difference.

    So you might want to indeed have it checked by that reputable luther, or the PTC. Probably because of the price point, I have seen some very odd things done to CEs that never made it into my stable...folks like to tinker with them. Or you may just have a really dark CE. You could try a lighter gauge string if that's an option as well.

    Good luck, let us know how it goes...and PICs lol...

    Edit: just thought about it, but also my 91 CE24 is all alder (no maple top) and it is definitely more "restrained" than my maple-topped ones, but not dark. It has a bit more smoothness as I would associate with my 93 standard, but not as warm. So if your 90 is all alder it may be the wood...
    Last edited by CantankerousCarl; 02-17-2014 at 07:35 AM.
    1990, 91, 92 & 97 CE24s | 1991 CU24 | 2003 & 04 SE EG SSS | 2008 SE Semi-Hollow Soapbar
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    2013 Hollowbody II | 2013 CU24 Swamp Ash Limited | 2013 XPRS 408 Semi-Hollow
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    Senior Member gush's Avatar
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    I have a CE22 but it is a 97 with mahogany/maple body. It has drag I pickups with rotary switch. I got it in dec 2013 and it is kind of rough but I LOVE this guitar. The Drag Is are hot pickups which I tend to not like but these are very nice and the rotary offers some very nice pickup combos that I have fallen in love with. I dislike switching on the fly with the rotary and may never get used to that but as I understand it, the combos it offers can't be had with a blade switch.

    I find that my CE22 will produce tones similar to a strat on my clean channel but on the dirty channel the vol pot has to be rolled back a bit to get there.

    I picked up a CE24 at the same time and it is a 97 with mahogany/maple body as well but it has HFS/VB pickups. I have never been able to bond with the HFS and was ready to switch it out as I find the HFS to be too harsh. Yesterday I was trying to back the pickup away from the strings a little bit more and backed it off of the screws AGAIN! I hate that.
    So I was forced to take the strings off AGAIN and fix that. I decided to screw pickup to the bottom of the cavity instead of suspending it with springs and screws which gives 3/8 to 1/2 inch clearance. I really like the results so far. It acts like a vintage pickup now. I keep a roland cube 30 in my studio for when I don't feel like dragging 5150 downstairs but I WILL drag it downstairs today to see what it really sounds like. It's crazy how that little mod has changed my feelings towards this guitar, totally different machine now.

    We will see what the tubes have to say about it.

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    I am trying to post some pics but, I can't deem to figure out how.

    I notice that the 3 saddles for the wound strings have a shiny polished finish. I have not seen these before. Can anyone shed any light on them? The plain string saddles have a flat finish, which are like the ones on my 02 CU22.

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    there's a great luthier in falls church.... Matt Baker of action music.... can't say enough good things about him

  17. #17
    Senior Member Sage's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Gman7 View Post
    I know they have different pickups, but in your experience, what are the tonal differences between your custom and CE? Could you speculate how they would compare with the same pickups?
    I just got the CE last week, so I'm still getting a feel for it, but so far I'd say the tone feels a little smoother on the CE, but not as full as the Custom. The Custom sounds bigger, has better sustain, while the CE has a more focused sound. I'm finding myself agreeing that alder has a more "balanced" tone than mahogany. The maple neck imparts a less pliable and brighter tone, I think. Basically it's like the difference between a Gibson and a Fender.

    I've never heard the EJ Customs, but they're described as being super bright. Might be hard to compare guitars with those in both.
    Quote Originally Posted by gush View Post
    You should post a pic of BM so we know it's real.

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