A Closer Look: PRS 35th Anniversary Custom 24 models!

Published on 12 March 2020


They make some of the most objectively beautiful guitars in the world.

They are known as the best of the best for those who love function as much as looks.

They’ve been around for 35 years now and they changed the face of modern guitar building.

They are PRS guitars, of course, and since 1985, Paul Reed Smith and his team of craftspeople in Maryland have brought exquisite beauty and cutting-edge engineering to guitarists across the world. To celebrate, they have released some special 35th Anniversary models. There are four models: an SE Custom 24, and S2 Custom 24, and ‘Core’ Custom 24 and a mighty Dragon! This means that every major price point is included, from the budget-conscious player who wants quality, right up to the heel-heeled collector who desires an incredible museum piece! Let’s check them out!


SE 35th Anniversary Custom 24 Black Gold Burst

For many players, this is an exciting guitar than one can realistically consider splashing out on. At well under a grand in price, you can have this gorgeous, high performance instrument that matches class with versatility.

For years now, PRS’s imported line of SE guitars have been a viable, legitimate choice for the player who can’t quite stretch to American prices but still wants a little of the Paul Reed Smith magic dust. This model, whilst certainly the most affordable, still punches way above its weight: custom wound pickups, the patented PRS tremolo design, a contoured Flame Maple top with a delicious Black Gold Burst finish and Bird inlays all help to sell that PRS dream.

You get 24 frets on a Wide Thin neck here, which seems to be the consensus for a brilliant contemporary player’s neck carve. The famous 25” PRS scale length is present and correct, putting you directly in between the ‘Big Two’ in terms of feel. PRS have always offered something to players from both camps, and we feel this is one of the company’s strong suits.

Those custom wound pickups are based on Paul’s ‘Tuned Capacitance Inductance’ pickups, which means the pickups are wound specifically for that exact type of model: TCI pickups on, say, a Singlecut will be different to TCI pickups found on a Custom 24 and so on. It means that these are tuned in to perform to the guitar’s strengths, bringing plenty of that characteristic PRS clarity to your playing.

In our opinion, the SE Custom 24 has always been a star: in this 35th Anniversary guise, it’s better than ever! It’s available in limited numbers, so buy one now, while you still can!


S2 35th Anniversary Custom 24

PRS fans will already know about the benefits of the US-made S2 family of guitars, but for those who don’t, PRS S2 guitars offer truly American made PRS guitars at a fantastic price. Rather than ‘cutting corners’ the guitars are redesigned to be easier to manufacture. For example, the tops of the bodies have simpler contours, which are quicker and hence heaper to shape.

So, as a more affordable, US-made celebration of the PRS sound and style, the S2 Anniversary model is a potent package indeed. What’s different about this compared with the regular S2 Custom 24? Well, the main thing is the addition of two mini toggle switches in between the control knobs. These offer individual coil splits. This allows you to use, say, a humbucker sound at the bridge position and a single coil tone at the neck, with of course the in-between setting of the pickup selector allowing you a blend of both.

The pickups here are 85/15 ‘S’ models, which may be familiar to you already. These are inspired by the 85/15 hand-wound pickups and have a more vintage tonality.

A Pattern Regular neck carve, 24 frets and Bird inlays seal the deal on this wonderful guitar. A range of finishes are available such as this lovely Elephant Grey. For those who want to spend their money wisely, this guitar is limited edition, American and a top-class workhorse with beauty to spare.


Core Line Custom 24 35th Anniversary

This is the real deal right here. The reason for the hype and the justification of a reputation. The PRS Custom 24 is a stunning instrument in every way, from the wood choice to the sculpting, the engineering to the aesthetics. Simply, it’s a modern classic and is looking great at 35 years old!

PRS are making this Anniversary model available in a range of colours: this Aquamarine example caught our eyes (as did the superb Violet Burst model you’ll see here too)! The carved Flame top is scandalously beautiful, especially with the natural Mahogany back! Two neck carves are available – Pattern Regular and Pattern Thin – and upgrades are available, such as the ‘hybrid’ (gold and nickel) hardware that you can see on this Aquamarine example.

As with the S2 model, this Core Custom 24 has two mini toggles for independent coil splitting, making an already-versatile guitar even more useful! To most people the Custom 24 is what a PRS is, and this Anniversary model shows than off most handsomely.


Private Stock 35th anniversary Dragon

They had to.

What is a PRS celebration without a Dragon model?

This has been a tradition for the company since the early 90s, and the 35th anniversary model is quite something else! Game of Thrones may be off the telly now, but dragons are alive and well in Maryland! This guitar has a bejewelled fire-breather running up the entire length of the fingerboard, leaving the guitar’s body free to look exceptional with its book-matched Maple top over an African Ribbed Mahogany body.

It’s not just any Dragon, either: this one has been dreamed up by Dungeon’s & Dragons artist Jeff Easley. Who’s gonna give you a better dragon template than that?

Obviously, this is beyond the means of most of us, but for those who can afford it, and don’t want to put it straight into a display case, they’ll find that the combination of TCI pickups (voiced for this specific guitar, as we mentioned previously) and 25” Pattern profile neck is a perfect partnership. There are 135 of these Dragons being unleashed to the world. Check out the PRS Dragon we have for sale!


Final Thoughts

With the exception of the Dragon, each of these instruments is, first and foremost, a splendidly functioning tool for the active musician. Despite their status as limited-edition Anniversary models, these guitars will all be at their happiest when put to work delivering song and song night after night. However deep or shallow your wallet, you can indulge in a special slice of birthday ‘cake’ with PRS and pick an amazing Anniversary Custom 24.

The Dragon is always the special, ornamental marker: a yardstick for PRS’ progress into precision engineering. This is one of the best Dragons we’ve ever seen. We’re interested to see what Paul and the gang will have for us in 5 years for the company’s 40th...

Have a browse of our entire PRS 35th Anniversary range, and click through to order your limited editiion guitar!

Thanks for reading


Ray McClelland




Here are some similar articles you might like