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10 Best PRS Guitars in 2021 (Reviews): Which PRS is Best for You?

Guitars offer more portability, flexibility, and approachableness than any other musical instrument, making it the first choice among kids wanting to learn an instrument.

There are many respected guitar brands in the market right now, and one of them is Paul Reed Smith, also known widely as PRS Guitars.

PRS Guitars are known for their PRS Custom 24 made in Maryland, but their repertoire of products and quality guitar has only grown over the years.

Of all the guitars in the PRS lineup, the PRS SE Custom 24 in a sleek Black Gold Sunburst design reigns supreme.

Here, we list the top ten best PRS Guitar and find out each guitar’s specs, pros, and cons.

The Best PRS Guitars

PRS SE Custom 24 in Quilt Black Gold Sunburst 

We Recommend
PRS SE Custom 24 Black Gold Sunburst
5.0
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Our top pick for best overall Paul Reed Smith Guitar is the PRS SE Custom 24 in Quilt Black Gold Sunburst — a Sweetwater Exclusive.

A solid-body guitar with the sound, playability, and dazzling looks of the PRS Custom 24 line without the hefty price tag.

The PRS SE Custom 24 has a mahogany “violin” body shape and a maple veneer top modeled to be shaped like the iconic PRS Custom 24 to conform to the body contours, making it easier to hold.

The guitar features an eye-catching sunburst flame maple design and the iconic PRS old-school bird inlays on the rosewood fretboard — a signature PRS look.

When it comes to sound, this budget-friendly guitar doesn’t compromise; its PRS designed tremolo system and two humbucker pickups maintain its tune even in the most metal-sounding of pieces.

Overall, the PRS SE Custom 24 delivers a pro-quality guitar on a budget comparable to the PRS Custom 24 that costs five times as much.

Pros

  • Incredible intermediate guitar at an affordable price
  • “Wide-thin” neck, making for fast and fluid playing
  • 8 different tone options

Cons

  • Nut needs a little filing at times

PRS SE Custom 22 in Vintage Sunburst 

Also Great
PRS SE Custom 22 Guitar, Vintage Sunburst
4.3
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If you’re looking to buy a PRS guitar that ticks all the boxes for quality and affordability, then the Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 in Vintage Sunburst is what we recommend for you.

A solid-body electric guitar straight out of the 80s with the classic PRS playability and no-nonsense humbucker tone from its pair of PRS 85/15 S pickups.

This elegant guitar is made with mahogany back to contour comfortably with the body and a striking flamed maple top that does not just look good but sounds incredible.

The PRS SE Custom 22 neck is shaped with mahogany, with the fretboard made of rosewood inlaid with the classic PRS old-school bird.

The PRS SE Custom 22 gives off a warm, mellow sound because the neck and body are made in mahogany, making it perfect for guitar players focusing on classic rock.

In its entirety, the PRS SE Custom 22 is close to perfect, ticking all the boxes an 80s lover might look for in electric guitars.

The only con with the PRS SE Custom 22 is it’s not the best PRS Guitar for metal, for it restricts itself in the Classic Rock genre, as the humbucker tone fits that sound, but it falls short in the realms of metal or jazz.

Pros

  • Ideal for fans of humbucking pickups
  • “Wide thin” neck perfect for rapid finger technique
  • High-quality pickups for full, smooth sound

Cons

  • Might be discontinued

 

PRS McCarty 594 in Black Gold Burst

Runner-Up
PRS McCarty 594 10 Top Black Gold Burst
4.5
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If you’re looking for the best high-end electric guitar Paul Reed Smith Guitars has to offer, we recommend the PRS McCarty 594 in Black Gold Burst finish.

This guitar is the latest update to the classic Paul Reed Smith McCarty model released in the 1990s.

PRS McCarty 598 is a solid-body electric guitar with a maple top and a mahogany body and neck with a beautiful rosewood fretboard.

PRS Guitars revamped its current PRS McCarty 594 by giving it a polish of high-gloss nitro over just the usual cellulose CAB overcoat resulting in a smooth, durable, and sleek crystal-clear sheen.

The PRS McCarty 598 has a smooth and distinctly vintage timbre accounting for its TCI-tuned 58/15 LT that gives off full humbucking and sweet single-coil tones.

This particular model of PRS guitar doesn’t come cheap, but if you have money for this investment, this guitar can last you for life.

Another one of the signature best PRS guitars that combine vintage specifications into a reliable high performing instrument.

Pros

  • Exceptional playability
  • Gorgeous build
  • Smooth vintage single-cut tones

Cons

  • The asymmetrical thicker neck feels different but embraceable

 

PRS Silver Sky in Polar Blue

PRS Silver Sky, Maple Fingerboard, Polar Blue
5.0
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Our choice for the best Strat-style guitar among the lineup of PRS Guitars is the Silver Sky.

The PRS Silver Sky is the PRS Guitar brand counterpart to the iconic Fender Stratocaster.

Paul Reed Smith designed and built the Silver Key specifically around the Fender Stratocaster — an instrument once owned by John Mayer.

This PRS Guitar features the specs you would want to see from a Stratocaster: its cutaway dip, neck carve, fingerboard radius, and S55 pickup configuration with PRS Guitars’ modern modification under John Mayer.

Another gorgeous solid-bodied PRS guitar with the body made of alder, a neck made of maple, and an Indian rosewood fretboard with the signature bird inlay.

One of the best PRS guitars with clear-sounding single-coil pickups that belts out the sound with  clear sound quality and note definition.

To sum it up, PRS Silver Sky is up there with the best of the best of PRS Guitars; it might not be the cheapest, but best be sure that you’re getting your money’s worth.

It also doesn’t hurt that John Mayer is probably holding his own PRS Silver Sky right now.

Pros

  • Attention to detail and quality resulting
  • Superb sound, look, and playability
  • Stands out among other strat-style guitar

Cons

  • High price tag

 

PRS Custom 24 in Charcoal Burst

PRS SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar (Charcoal Burst)
4.7
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If you’re looking for the best PRS Guitar models, then the classic PRS Custom 24 in Charcoal Burst is for you.

The Custom 24 is an American-made PRS guitar using the best quality woods: an elegant maple top and soft mahogany back for hours of playing.

The PRS Custom 24 also has a thin mahogany neck and a rosewood fingerboard adorned with the PRS signature bird inlays.

One of the core models delivers a wide range of tones because of its updated 85/15 treble and bass pickups and PRS’ patented third Gen tremolo system.

Guitar enthusiasts would agree, the Paul Reed Smith Custom 24 is on par amongst the Gibson Les Paul and the Fenders.

Pros

  • Fantastic playability 
  • Comfortable owing to the broader space between strings
  • Gorgeous nitro-finish adds to durability and aesthetics 

Cons

  • Burst colorway might be too much, but there are classic colors available

 

PRS SE Hollowbody Standard in McCarty Tobacco Sunburst

PRS SE Hollowbody Standard in McCarty Tobacco Sunburst
5.0
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One of the best PRS electric guitars crafted for jazz is the PRS SE Hollow body Standard in our choice of sleek Tobacco Sunburst colorway.

As its name would suggest, this PRS guitar is a hollow body model, fitting to deliver sweet and rich notes and harmonies usually heard in jazz and blues music.

This PRS Hollow body guitar is unique for being a thin-profiled instrument yet still delivering that full warm hollow body sound with clarity and fullness.

The PRS SE Hollow body Standard has a full mahogany neck and body, while the fretboard is made in premium ebony decorated with the signature bird inlays for a luxurious feel on the fingertips.

You will not go wrong with one of these Paul Reed Smith designed SE models based on his works in the 70s and 80s for Peter Frampton and Carlos Santana.

Pros

  • Great range
  • Superb refurbished designs
  • Affordable for a hollow-bodied guitar

Cons

  • No left-handed options

 

PRS SE Mark Holcomb in Holcomb Burst

PRS SE Mark Holcomb in Holcomb Burst
4.8
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For fans of heavy metal and Mark Holcomb’s band Periphery, here is the guitar for you: the PRS SE Mark Holcomb in a stunning Holcomb burst finish.

This Mark Holcomb signature guitar is modeled after the more affordable PRS SE Custom 24 with notable adjustments for heavy metal enthusiasts and experts.

Rightfully a PRS Guitar for metal.

Like the PRS SE Custom 24, this PRS guitar is a solid body guitar with a mahogany-made body, a maple wood with satin finish top, and a 20 in. radius ebony fingerboard with the iconic bird inlays.

A modification made is the addition of Mark Holcomb’s signature Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups, 24-fret, and a 25.5″ scale length wide thin neck making it ideal for detailed high-speed fretwork and excellent guitar solos.

The PRS SE Mark Holcomb signature guitar has a significantly lower price tag than any other heavy metal guitar in the market.

In our opinion, it’s one of the best PRS guitars for metal money can buy.

Pros

  • Great price tag for metal guitar
  • Mark’s signature Seymour Duncan pickups
  • Scale length could increase up to 25.5″

Cons

  • Nut corners stick up and are square; needs some getting used to

 

PRS SE Angelus A50E in Natural

PRS SE Angelus A50E in Natural
4.6
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Our pick for the best PRS guitar for acoustic is the PRS SE Angelus A50E.

The PRS SE Angelus A50E is PRS Guitars’ take on an affordable yet quality acoustic guitar.

This PRS Guitar is made out of spruce and flamed maple for the body and mahogany for the neck, whilst the fretboard is made of ebony with the signature PRS Guitars’ iconic bird inlays.

Its Angelus cutaway body shape brings comfort for hours of picking and fingerstyle playing.

There’s no compromising on the sound either.

The PRS SE Angelus A50E features the Fishman pickup system giving it an excellent acoustic projection that makes it suitable for playing onstage.

There is an assortment of acoustic guitars on the market right now, but none pack the package that PRS Guitars have to offer: quality, affordability, and versatility.

Pros

  • Affordable acoustic guitar including hard case
  • High-end quality made
  • Slightly longer scale length against other brands

Cons

  • Lightweight guitar easy transport could be a con to some

 

PRS CE 24 in Faded Blue Smokeburst

PRS CE 24 in Faded Blue Smokeburst
4.5
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PRS CE 24 Electric Guitar is an affordable update to the classic late 80s PRS CE series, and it is our top pick for Bolt-on PRS Guitars under $2000.

It features a TCI-tuned 85/15 pickup set and an upgraded switching system that lets you transition from a rock ‘n’ roll humbucker sound to a smooth single-coil lead.

Like its late 80s Custom 24 version, the PRS CE 24 retained and enhanced its bolt-on maple neck for the same tonal diversity PRS Custom 24 users are accustomed to.

The PRS CE 24 is a solid body guitar with a mahogany back, a flamed maple top, a fingerboard made of rosewood that features the iconic bird inlays, and nickel hardware.

PRS CE 24 also has a thinner body and a carved top, making it comfortable for the hand and arms when strumming.

Pros

  • Built with durability and quality in mind
  • Professional specification instrument
  • Comfortable due to thinner body

Cons

  • Might not be the best guitar for metal because of the low output sound

 

PRS SE 245 in Vintage Sunburst 

PRS SE 245 in Vintage Sunburst 
4.5
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PRS SE 245 in the Vintage Sunburst colorway is our pick for the best PRS single-cut guitar.

The PRS SE 245 is known collectively among guitarists as the PRS Guitars’ counterpart to a Gibson Les Paul guitar — perfect as a first or even your last guitar.

It has a mahogany body, a bound mahogany neck with a rosewood fretboard, and a 24.5″ scale length giving out thick and whole notes while giving off a heavy 50s vintage aesthetic.

With the PRS SE 245’s price tag, you’re not just getting affordability but also PRS Guitars’ trustworthy quality.

Pros

  • An entry-level guitar that feels pro
  • Fantastic build quality
  • Old school looks with modern specifications

Cons

  • Not the best guitar for metal players

 

Buying Guide

Each PRS Guitars is a unique display of high-level craftsmanship; each guitar is distinct in itself; that’s why when you decide to invest in a PRS Guitar, you can never really go wrong.

So, you’re looking to buy your first PRS Guitar, but you’re bombarded with information and would really like a comprehensive guide? We got you.

Here are things you should note about the best PRS acoustic-electric guitars.

Materials and Build Quality

There is a distinct difference when buying between a PRS Core guitar and a PRS SE Standard. 

Higher-end PRS guitars like the Core series and Private Stock are made in the United States using higher quality materials, with fewer quality control issues;

PRS SE series is PRS Guitars’ line of affordable instruments with a lower price tag due to a step down on the materials’ quality.

The PRS SE series is their top choice for consumers since you’re getting your money’s worth for how truly uncompromised its quality is. 

Pickups

Knowing the proper pickup configuration is vital to match the specific genre of music you’re inclined to. 

If you’re looking for versatility, a guitar that could pretty much play any genre of music decently, then you go for a guitar with 85/15 pickups.

The PRS Core Custom 24, the PRS 22, or the PRS CE 24 has this. 

If you’re more inclined to play metal or any genre needing to belt out high gain sound, then the PRS SE Holcomb is for you. 

Its specialized Seymour Duncan Alpha and Omega pickups are perfect for those types of music. 

For genres leaning towards the vintage, the PRS SE Hollowbody is perfect for that. 

Frets

A PRS guitar comes with either a 24-fret or 22-fret configuration; it depends, again, on the type of music you’re inclined to. 

For lead or solo guitarists, a 24-fret PRS guitar is right for you. 

Body Style

Body Style corresponds to comfort; in looking for a PRS Guitar, you’ll need to consider what feels most comfortable to your preference. 

Almost all the PRS guitars have an identical body style shaped after the PRS Custom 24, with a slight modification for every line, such as in the PRS CE 24 with the same elements but a thinner body. 

Some guitars are lighter in weight, such as the PRS SE Angelus or the PRS SE Hollowbody making them ideal for travel and gigs. 

If you are inclined to the shape of a Fender Stratocaster, then the PRS Silver Sky will feel right at home for you. 

Price

It’s important to know what guitar to purchase that is equally as good and fits your budget. 

The PRS Private Stock guitars are the apex of craftsmanship, made-to-order, personally crafted guitars in close collaboration with PRS Guitars’ luthiers — making them the most expensive of the bunch. 

The PRS SE series, on the other hand, comes with quality and fantastic playability for a price fitting any budget. 

FAQs

Are PRS guitars worth it?

If you’re looking to buy a high-end guitar and have the budget for it, then yes, PRS guitars are worth it.

In buying a guitar, many factors come into play; the cost, of course, sound, performance, tonality, touch, and aesthetics.

PRS Guitars will give you the best materials from the wood, the hardware, the design — without compromise.

It could cost you a lot, especially with the American-made PRS guitars, but ultimately you’ll be getting your money’s worth by how they perform, and it will last you for a long time.

What PRS guitar should I buy? (The top pick)

Of all the PRS Guitars, we recommend the PRS SE Custom 24 as it ticks all the boxes on our mental list; a reasonable price tag without compromising its quality as a PRS Guitar.

Where are the best PRS guitars made?

When you receive your own PRS Guitar, the guitar could be made in one of these two places: Maryland in the United States or abroad in Indonesia.

The higher-end PRS Guitars are still made in Maryland; these include the CE, S2, and core models of guitars.

PRS SE guitars, the more reasonable price of the PRS Guitar line, are manufactured in Indonesia to cut costs to create cheaper guitars but still of the highest quality.

Both are uncompromised for PRS Guitar quality analysts thoroughly check each unit before allowing it to sell in stores.

High build quality is always guaranteed when buying PRS guitars from the high-end or more affordable line, acoustic or electric guitars.

Is PRS better than Gibson?

PRS Guitars and Gibson are up in the ranking of some of the best guitars made, so ultimately, both are equally good.

Still, PRS Guitars builds a much more reliable, slightly higher quality guitar with more “modern” sound and playability.

In contrast, Gibson guitars still have that classic Gibson sound — which tends to sound a lot fuller due to its stock pickups, look, and feel.

Both PRS Guitars and Gibson share a lot of similarities as well as differences.

In the end, deciding which guitar brand to go for is totally up to you.

 

Editor’s Choice

We Recommend
PRS SE Custom 24 Black Gold Sunburst
5.0
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We may earn commission from purchases made from our links, at no additional cost to you.

Of the ten PRS Guitars we listed, we found the PRS SE Custom 24 in a sleek Black Gold Sunburst, the best of the electric guitars overall.

This guitar meets all the criteria a beginner or a rockstar is looking for when buying a guitar: the versatile pickups that can belt out guitar sounds that encompass genre, the Wide Thin shape of its neck for fast and comfortable finger transition, and a great value with a significantly lower price all in all.

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