From PRS 2015 – “Our core Custom 24 keeps Anniversary bling to a minimum – just an Anniversary logo on the truss rod cover and a thick, inlaid line inside the fingerboard and rosewood veneer-faced headstock edges. Hardware is ‘hybrid’- a mix of gold- and nickel-plated parts.
Originally, the Custom was all about combining humbucking and single-coil tones in one instrument, and it’s the way that is achieved, along with the specific recipe of the dual humbuckers, that has evolved constantly over the years.”
And while this 30th version retains the master volume and tone control, along with the three-way toggle switch with coil splitting available via the tone pot, it’s the pickups here that are updated.
They continue Paul Reed Smith’s ongoing quest to nail the ‘best’ PAF-style humbucker tone. The uncovered versions here, which show off their proprietary square-edged bobbins, are called 85/15s.
Of course, the pickup can hear only what the instrument is producing, and PRS’s blend was certainly unique back in 1985. The offset double-cut body with its halfway-between-Gibson-and-Fender scale length, its vibrato with notched pivot screws and originally all-brass casting, now, as it has been for a considerable time, a two-piece design.
While the vibrato has remained very true to the original vision, the locking tuners have evolved and today we’re onto the third generation of top-locking types with open backs and a total absence of any nylon washers. The nut material has evolved, too – always friction-reducing, the latest recipe adds bronze and glass powder to the material.
What has barely changed in 30 years is the construction style. The 49mm-thick Custom’s body uses a one-piece 28.5mm mahogany back topped with a 20.5mm-thick, book-matched and centre-jointed carved maple cap.
The extended tongue of the 24-fret, one-piece mahogany neck sits under the neck pickup, while the compact heel and the hallmark cutaway ‘scoop’ allow easy access to the top frets. Everything is perfectly executed high quality – words that have been associated with PRS from day one.
It’s super-sharp today, too – comparing fit and finish to a 1988 PRS Classic Electric, you can see and feel the differences as though every fine detail has been subsequently honed to perfection.
This PRS CU24 is offered with two neck profiles: pattern thin or pattern regular, as here. Dimensionally, it measures 42.33mm at the nut, 52.02mm at the 12th fret; 21mm deep at the first fret and 23.2mm at the 12th. It’s extremely mainstream in shape, a sloping shouldered ‘C’ that doesn’t feel big or small, just right, in the hand.
Limited to just 100 guitars worldwide, and exclusive to Europe and Australia, each of the “Final Run” 30th Anniversary Custom 24’s is signed and numbered by Paul Reed Smith and offered in five previously unavailable colours: Burnt Maple Leaf, Charcoal, Fire Red Natural Back, Faded Blue Jean and Yellow Tiger.
This one is finished in striking Charcoal, and presents in excellent condition. In fact it is pretty much as new. Not even any pick marks below the strings, no dings or dents that we can see, and no buckle rash. Frets show no visible wear and the mix of gold and nickel hardware is stunning and in perfect condition.
It was bought new by its one owner as “B Stock” which means it has a minor imperfection and was priced accordingly. In the case of this guitar the “blemish” is a tiny fault in the finish on the neck which 90% of folks would hardly notice if it wasn’t pointed out. It is a very thin, very slightly lighter area on the side of neck between the 10th and 12th frets. Looks more like a small reflection actually, and just about impossible to photograph – but we tried.
On the upside, this CU24 is a “Ten Top”. For newcomers to the PRS story here’s how the company defines a Ten Top – “A very small percent of the maple trees cut in North America are actually figured. To make “10-Top” status a PRS top must have clearly defined figure across its entire top with no “dead” spots. A guitar designated as a 10-Top will usually have a small “10” written on the back of the headstock in the upper right corner.”
Guitars mean very different things to different people. For some, owning a PRS is more a statement of status, for others they are just impossibly pretty things. Then there are the quality obsessives … on it goes.
But the thing about this Custom 24 is just how fit for purpose it is. From the effortless playability through to the intonation, tuning stability and hugely versatile sounds for a really wide range of styles, it will never let you down.
This is certainly one of the most classic-sounding Custom 24s to date – underneath the oh-so-pretty appearance is simply one of the best working musical tools that money can buy.
Comes in its original PRS hard case finished in a deep but discreet black paisley pattern, in good condition.
Video Demo – https://youtu.be/vOiDwXo-SuM?list=RDvOiDwXo-SuM
Great review from Guitar Player Magazine here –