A Closer Look: PRS CE24 Semi-Hollow
Published on 23 June 2020
Have you tried a semi-hollow guitar before?
They do come in a few guises, from Gibson to Gretsch and every point in between, but all of them have a lovely openness to their tone. It’s a sort of bloom that occurs in the note a little after it’s been initially played. You can’t really get it from a solid body guitar, and it can really sweeten your playing!
That being said, have you noticed how important a bolted-on neck is to the snap and response of certain guitars? Again, it’s in the construction of the instrument itself, but these factors dictate your playing a little, and provide new options. Bolted-on necks definitely influence playing a certain way. If you like that response, you really miss it when it isn’t there...
So how good would it be to have something like a PRS guitar, made in Maryland with all the expertise that entails, but with a bolted-on neck AND a semi-hollow body?
It would be pretty amazing, wouldn’t it? If only PRS made such a...oh, wait a minute...
The PRS CE24 Semi-Hollow is exactly that guitar. What a good idea! This is one of the best concepts in guitar design that we’ve seen in ages. It’s like putting the idea of a Thinline guitar into a ‘proper’ PRS with a tremolo and all the rest.
We are massive fans of Paul Reed Smith’s legitimately classic guitar designs. We are already onboard with how versatile, clear-sounding and downright incredible PRS guitars are. None of this is news to us, and we’re sure it isn’t to you, either. We are also well-schooled in the greatness of the underrated CE range (CE stands for 'Classic Electric'), which are full-fat USA PRS guitars with the added snap and attack of a bolted-on neck. There is still sustain for days with these guitars, but the extra front-end attack really helps with clarity and presence.
In many ways, we think the CE models are the best PRS guitars: with brilliantly voiced pickups and a tremolo that’s highly reactive yet very stable, they are a player’s dream, with a sound that’s adaptable enough to cover Jazz to Metal, but with nothing even remotely bland about the tone in the process. Blues Rock and similar playing styles practically scream from PRS CE guitars! Humbuckers, single coil sounds, clarity, fatness, it’s all here, and they are easy to get to, with a simple 3-way toggle selector, volume and tone knob. The tone knob houses the push-pull coil split, making your selections as straightforward as it gets.
The addition of the semi-hollow body and single f-hole also makes that sound even more beautiful. It’s a sound that fits great into a mix, with lots of resonant body to match the initial clear snap. A word on the body: it’s a 1-piece Mahogany body with a Flame Maple top, and as you can see from our pictures, they are classic PRS in every way!
This tone wood combination is as tried-and-true as it gets. We think the semi-hollow nature of the body adds richness and depth to the sound in ways that some other famous semi-acoustics don’t actually manage! Remember: certain famous f-hole guitar designs (even the really expensive ones) use plywood for their bodies, with a solid centre block. The PRS CE24 Semi-Hollow is made with a hollowed-out solid slab of Mahogany, with a beautifully carved Flame Maple top! The difference is considerable.
The top retains all of those wonderful violin-like contours that adorn Core PRS models (the S2 and SE models don’t get quite such lovely carves) and help to really sell that idea of the instrument being a fine piece of art.
A Player’s Dream
Most guitarists who sit down with a Maryland-built PRS Core model will agree that the neck is where much of the magic happens. Paul Reed Smith was on to something when he settled on the 25” scale length! You can bend strings a little further and easier, like you can on a 24.75” scale guitar, plus you get much of the fast response and favourable string tension of a 25.5” scale.
On top of this, these guitars have 24 frets, which is excellent for technical players, but also great for tone...those extra two frets move the neck pickup’s position away from a naturally occurring harmonic node, which sits right about the pickup on a 22-fret guitar. It’s not something that many people talk about, but it’s one of the reasons why 24-fret PRS guitars sound phenomenal in the neck position!
The neck profile is ‘Pattern Thin’, just like Mark Tremonti’s signature model, so you know it’s going to perform! The radius of the fingerboard is PRS’s standard 10”, again lying somewhere in between the Big Two and all the better for it! Finally, the iconic Bird inlays are here, marking your paths to guitar god greatness as you ascend that wonderful, satin-nitrocellulose neck finish! Perfect.
We are highly impressed with the PRS CE24 Semi Hollow. We feel that this is a guitar we could confidently and comfortably take to any gig, session or jam and nail every sound and style. We think this is a legitimately justifiable purchase for any player looking for a pro-quality, inspirational guitar with world-class tone, the best build quality in the business and stunning, stage-ready looks. Try one and see for yourself.