PRS Custom 22 - Honest Review

Discussion in 'Non-Fender S-Type Guitar Forum' started by iGav, May 14, 2017.

  1. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    Hi All,

    I've been living with my PRS Custom 22 for about 8 months now, so I decided that with the honeymoon phase over and done with that I'd write an honest review.

    So the typical PRS description is half LP, half Strat, right? I'll get that out of the way, but it's a way overly simplified description to give this guitar. It's one piece mahogany with a maple top with rosewood, but it's got a trem too. It's got a thin body, some will say that affects the 'tone' (whatever that means exactly). It's also got a fat enough C shaped quartersawn mahogany neck.

    The things I really like about this guitar are the feel, the tone and the reliability.

    When you put it on/sit down, it feels quite Stratty in the hands. That's one of the things I really like; it's balanced and comfy, the body sits well in your hands. The fingerboard is wider than something like a Gibson, maybe similar to a Fender. The 25" scale is great, I'd describe the fretboard as more 'roomy' than a Gibson. It's got more space between the frets, that's good to me, less cramped. It's also got a 10" radius board, it feels Fender esque - lovely. In the right hand, one can feel the springs in the trem, like a Strat. The strong tension with 10s feels similar to a Fender.

    The sounds are really something interesting here. Mine has the 59/09 humbuckers with a 3 way and push pull. The bridge is a PAF but a bit hotter, nice and bright, very clear and detailed. Lots of overtones, they sound expensive. The neck pickup is quite bright too, brighter again, the guitar sounds more like an SG or 335 here: brighter than an LP overall. It's also very resonant and sustains like mad, the tone is very detailed and rings out. The clean tones are gorgeous.

    The coil taps are something else, this neck pickup tapped really sounds like a strat: maybe a start that's darker in the mods but really really nice. It's not just a good coil tap, it sounds amazing: it's a great sound on its own, I really do like this sound. The trem springs going here add to this.

    In terms of tones there's a balance here, it's bright and powerful, sustains well, the coil tap on the bridge is a bit weak but the HB mode has a slight hint of twang going on. It does a lot very well, I wouldn't say it's a jack of all/master of no tones, the bridge humbucker on overdrive is a signature tone from PRS that's right on the money for me. It does a lot but does it all so well in this config. Some came with the rotary switch that gave many split options that probably added to that idea, but I couldn't live with a 24fret anyway. I also couldn't live without that coil tapped neck pickup.

    The guitar itself feels very solid, the phase 2 locking tuners work with a coin to tighten, they work great, the tuning is rock solid.

    Anyway, with all the talk of the new 594, I thought it was good to look at the original PRS offering. It's a great guitar.



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  2. CaseCandy

    CaseCandy Senior Stratmaster

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    Thank you iGav, great insight. PRS is on my list and I'm sniffing a few at the moment.
     
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  3. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

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    I think PRS knew guitarists like a Strats ergonomic body and the playability of a LP neck.

    Morph the two, pay attention to QA, and upgrade the finishes.

    A recipe for a very successful company.
     
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  4. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    Yeah, it's a good middle ground, but some people knock it for that. It's not as fat as an Elle Pee, but that's ok.

    I don't know why the guitar market is so obsessed with 'vintage' this and that, I've played some very special guitars but I'm not completely convinced. Why look backwards all the time?

    I also have a 245, the Custom is a lot slimmer and less stiff feeling, they sound radically different unplugged.

    What really bowled me over was how well it does the coil tap sound on the neck pickup, it's just a beauty. Usually they're thin and too bright; it's not, it sounds a little thinner than a strat, maybe like a Tele neck pup. Totally sold.
     
  5. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    Thank you sir. Not my first time around with PRS, I'd recommend searching used, they're accessible at used prices.

    The newer models are better also, the newer the better. I had a '96 a few years ago, not great really... the old locking tuners are very heavy and a ***** to use, also some older ones can have weird pickups. (Very hot, dark, etc)
     
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  6. circles

    circles Resident Pinball Enthusiast

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    Thanks for the review! I like many aspects of PRS guitars.
     
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  7. lonegroover

    lonegroover Senior Stratmaster

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    In terms of quality of construction and materials PRS are the best factory-made guitars in my experience. Can't imagine buying a dud one, not a new one anyway.
     
  8. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    I had a '96 Custom a few years that I returned to the dealer apologetically. He wasn't surprised. It was just dead, didn't sound great, but same can be said for any company.
     
  9. Brian H

    Brian H Senior Stratmaster

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    I have a 2013 P22. Basically a Custom 22 with a slightly thick body and the Piezo system in the bridge. I agree with probably everything you wrote.

    The guitars are very comfortable with the shape, weight, attention to details. Everything fits tightly...its like a nice car when you close the door and there is kind of a soft thud.

    My only problem is mine is too bright. I'm not sure what pickups are in it, but I have a set of 57/08s I put in another guitar that I'm thinking of putting in the PRS because they sound nice.

    The other problem is the thing looks so nice i tend not to play it the same way i play other guitars. i'm aware of not wanting to scratch it up with my pick or hand or a belt on the back. My other guitars....I don't care.

    But the way the top is carved does put that area you would hit with the pick , somewhat out of the way.


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  10. Brian H

    Brian H Senior Stratmaster

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    agree with this also. PRS has always continued to make real improvements. Bridges, Tuners, pickups, building process, finish etc.
     
  11. ProSonicLive

    ProSonicLive Senior Stratmaster

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    I liked the 80's models better. the ones without the weird heel. But they are still great guitars.
     
  12. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    I find the top coat is tough enough. I mean, I take care of mine but there's no need to be precious. It's still a great guitar made by some of the best builders in the world, have at it!

    Regarding the sound, it's quite bright overall, I find the trem models tend to be a bit brighter in the attack, a custom is never as fat as an LP type. Important to bear in mind that you can darken the tone with a pickup swap, or just EQ your settings to be less bright.

    Another thing to try on the cheap is pure nickel strings; they warm the tone up.
     
  13. Phye

    Phye Strat-Talk Member

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    Or change the cap value.[emoji6]
     
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  14. mfranzdorf

    mfranzdorf Senior Stratmaster

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    For whatever reason , I've resisted PRS. I know a lot of people love them but I've not given them a chance. Maybe it's time I rethink that?
     
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  15. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

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    I think the problem with PRS as Brian H mentioned is the line where they cross from player to collector grade.

    The lower priced SE line is a gigging guitar you can drag around the countryside. Others are stay at homes.

    Guitars as art... smart Paul offered more than black, white and red and knew people would pay to display it at home.
     
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  16. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    That's all in the head though. I don't know why people leave them at home or don't consider them. When I was a teen a shop near me had 4 and I was 14 or so. I never snubbed or thought bad; I don't get how as a guitar lover you wouldn't like them? The birds are probably a bit marmite, fair enough, but they're such great players.
     
  17. ashtray

    ashtray Strat-O-Master

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    I'm a fan of PRS, and I've been lucky enough to have gotten some playing time on various models - either in shops, or borrowing a guitar from a friend. Yeah - a real friend lends you his Private Stock! (it was ok - I mean, it was nice, but just really specifically customized with different fretboard radius and pickups and colors - wasn't my thing)

    Its funny, the older 90's PRS seem to play different than the newer ones. They definitely sound different, though the newer ones use different pickups and probably bridges and everything else has changed.

    I borrowed my friend's 513 because I was thinking of buying one - but comparing it to my beat up CE24, I liked my CE better! Ok, the 513 had a beautiful 10 top, but the neck feel and tones on my '97 CE just seemed warmer.

    I've got an early 90's EG as well with triple dominos. As much as it is supposed to lean towards the Strat relm, there's not much Straty about it to me.

    PRS guitars are their own thing. Its tough to define them as half Strat and half LP - though clearly the design and features would suggest so. Their tones tend to follow neither. I do like the 25" scale - very comfortable.
     
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  18. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    I gig mine, if it's that good, I'd wanna use it. Too good not to, besides I think it'd be a shame not to. Add in the ability to cover such ground it can.
     
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  19. iGav

    iGav Strat-Talker

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    Just do as I did; if you like what you see and hear, try.

    I borrowed a McCarty for a session in the studio, needed a HB sorta guitar and it was great. Easy to play, nice neck, great sound. And I just about think the PRS doublecut shape is just about my fave.

    Also to be truly fair, I didn't like everything I tried. I didn't like the Custom 24, it felt too long and 'flexy' to me. Didn't like the HB1 either. Too light and lacking balls.
     
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  20. wildhawk

    wildhawk Most Honored Senior Member

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    My view was a general one.

    A good ding that can result in the the loss of hundreds of dollars off the instruments value is something most beer hall giggers won't risk.
     
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