tjon901 02/02/2012

PRS CE22 : tjon901's user review

« Original budget PRS »

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The PRS CE line was their line of bolt on guitars. They had these guitars before the SE line of imported guitars. These guitars were made in America like the other PRS guitars but they were cheaper due to the bolt on construction. These guitars also came with all the features of the USA made PRS guitars but were still a bit cheaper. Nowdays a used CE model is the cheapest way to get into a USA made PRS. The guitar has a mahogany body with a maple top. It has a bolt on rock maple neck with a 22 fret rosewood fretboard. The neck on this example was the wide fat neck. Up top on the headstock you get PRS's great locking tuners, something you dont get on PRS SE models yet. The bridge is the PRS vintage style tremolo. The pickups are PRS Dragon pickups which are nice. The controls are the old PRS setup since this is an old PRS. You get a master volume and a master tone and a 5 way rotary pickup selector.


Even with the bolt on design this PRS retains its playability. PRS was clever in the design of this guitar. The bolts for the neck are pushed back way under the neck pickup so the heel of the neck is no bigger than it is on the set neck models. It feels just like a set neck model with a raw neck. The locking tuners are great and they hold tuning well. I love the PRS locking tuners because they are a very unique design. They didnt just copy some aftermarket locking tuners, they made their own. The tremolo is very stable and it didnt cause me any problems when playing normally. I do not normally use a tremolo so if the guitar can be as stable as a hardtail I think it is a good tremolo. One thing I hate about these older PRS guitars is the Rotary pickup selector. You never really know where you are. There are 5 positions and they all look the same essentially.


While this guitar originally came with Dragon II pickups the owner found some original Dragon I pickups and swapped them in. These are both PRS pickups but they are totally different sound wise. The Dragon II's are more of a mid level output pickup with an overall bright sound. The old Dragon I pickups are very high output. They have a big dark sound which is great for heavy music. They werent really designed for heavy music but they work well. It is unfortunate that they are so expensive to find. Even with the big dark sound and the huge output the Dragon I pickups are very articulate. They are very sensitive to dynamics which is hard to find in a super high output pickup like these. They respond very well to the volume and tone controls. PRS is one of the few companies who I think could do very well selling their pickups aftermarket.


If you are looking to get a PRS you should see if you can find a CU model for cheap. Nowadays you can get these guitars for less than 1000 USD. That puts them close to the price of a new PRS SE and they are a lot more guitar than a PRS SE. I think finding a CU model used is the best way to get into a real American made PRS guitar. A guitar like this is a stepping stone into a PRS Custom model or something cool like that. Even as a bolt on the PRS bolt on design is so nice they feel just like the set neck guitars. If the choice was between a PRS SE model and a PRS CU model I think the CU model wins hands down.