The PRS brand has hardly disappointed any purchase. Across the entire spectrum of different prices, guitars sporting the iconic PRS double cut (or the slightly sketchy single cut) shape is almost an assurance of tonal goodness, playability and aesthetic elegance, capable of catering players from Jazz, rock to even metal. The go-to mahogany/mahogany configuration has rendered this modern workhorse as versatile as it could be, much to the protest of Gibson equivalents who arguably have inferior quality. PRS and its subordinate SE line are at the forefront of most guitar-oriented music genre, guaranteeing
While PRS are known universally for their state-of-the-art creations of sheer craftsmanship and daunting price-tags, the Korean-manufactured SE line is a gateway for aspiring boutique guitar owners as well as PRS's outlet for more innovative and daring ventures. Take the SE Torero for example: it is a floyd-rose ready, EMG fueled metal monster with distant relation to PRS's signature custom 22 and custom 24, yet it flourished carrying the unmistakable PRS craftsmanship and meticulous approach to details.
The PRS custom 24 7-String is another fine example of the SE line's bold attempts at catering to a fanbase beyond the confines of classic rockers, this time by reinventing their most popular designs and shoving another string onto it. Or is it just that?
In addition to the added low end, the 7-string rogue sports several slight deviations from the familiar custom 24 design. Instead of a mahogany body+neck wood config, PRS opted for a mahogany body/maple neck combination, possibly to prevent the mahogany meatiness from discouraging use of the bassy 7th string. The typical PRS 25' scale length is also extended by an underwhelming 0.5', pushing this guitar to Fender-scale and adding string tension to avoid flabbiness. Also notable was the lack of a vibrato system - where most if not all custom 24 guitars have a non-locking floating bridge, its 7-string cousin brandishes a complete set bridge. The reason behind this design is not known, as numerous 7-string whammy units have proven to be successful in other brands, but to each his own. Pickups are PRS SE HFS Treble (B) and PRS SE Vintage Bass (N), maneuvered by a 3-way blade switch and a push-pull toggle at the tone pot enabling coil-split.
This PRS is an atypical specimen in the 7-string world, especially when pertaining to pickup configurations. The names "HFS Treble" and "Vintage Bass" have already given the first and biggest hint - this is not a guitar designed for metal chuggery, unlike most other 7-strings on the market. This is a guitar akin to the accomplished 6-string lines provided by PRS, even leaning more to the milder side of tones. The Vintage Bass neck pickup, to no one's surprise, is a very warm and sweet sounding mellow pickup that is exceptional for jazz playing and rhythm, with very unpronounced "bite" and "growl". When driven, the warm lead tones are not as tight as a modern player would prefer, but is perfect in delivering solid rock solos and fluid licks. The bridge pickup, however, is a little disappointing in that it lacks tremendous amounts of gain and could sound rather weak and insensitive.
The neck is, to the disdain of many, gloss finished. I personally do not have an issue for this (stop finding excuses for slow playing). Thin and not too wide for a 7-stringer, the neck ensures playing comfort entertaining shredders mostly, while chord enthusiasts may find it a little too flat to play massive chords on.
A not-so-minor issue is inadequate cutaway at the lower horn, making access to the 24th fret very unfavorable. For people who do not climb up to those heights (like me) this is a slight nuisance, but shredders up the neck would definitely find this a deterrent to high-profile playing.
A very usable sound is when both pickups are selected in the middle position with the coil tapped. A very crispy yet rich sound is achieved through this.
I hold this guitar in high regard, for its blues and jazz mellowness, for its coil-splitting fun and for the rich musical lead tones. For a 6 string player switching over to 7-string, the minimal change in scale length and narrow fretboard may make you feel at home instantaneously, but TO ALL METALLERS: THIS IS NOT THE STOCK 7-STRING FOR YOU. Of course, Mark Holcomb from Periphery uses this particular model with DiMarzios fitted, so it remains an option.