PRS which stands for Paul Reed Smith is a popular American amplifier and guitar manufacturer based in Stevensville, Maryland. The company was started in 1985 by Luther Paul Reed Smith. Since then, the company has been known for its high-end electric guitars. Over the years, world-class celebrities and guitar legends like John Mayer, Zack Myers, Tony McManus, Mark Tremonti, Gary Grainger, David Grissom, Alex Lifeson, Mark Holcomb, and Martin Simpson had been associated with the brand.
The best PRS guitars on the market are to a large extent, better than others out there. And this is because, they care about details, quality, and they have a very high standard. In your quest for the best PRS guitars, it is important that you give careful attention to features, like the scale length, neck wood, frets, pickups, and body, as they can determine the durability and efficiency of the guitar.
Top 5 PRS Guitars Review 2020
To help you narrow down the best PRS guitars on the market, we did our own research. We also went through hundreds of reviews on reputable sites. After our deep and extensive research, we were able to narrow down our top five picks. The guide starts with a nomination table that shows the rating for each PRS guitars, followed by a detailed review of each product as well as their pros and cons. In the end, there is a detailed buying guide that will arm you with the information you need to find a good PRS guitar that will suit your needs.
PRS SE Custom 22 – Editor’s Choice
- Scale length: 25’’
- Body: beveled maple top with flame maple veneer and mahogany back
- Neck: maple
- Frets: 22
- Pickups: PRS 85/15 “S”
More features: rosewood fretboard, molded PRS patented tremolo bridge,gig bag included
PRS is a popular and reputable company that has steadily defined our perspective of modern cutting edge guitar. One of the company’s models that have been lauded by many enthusiasts in the guitar industry is the PRS SE Custom 22.
The versatility of this top-notch electric guitar under 1000 dollars is what makes it stand out from others out there. With it, you will be able to tackle any music style with ease.
The eye-catching, smooth, and durable mahogany that was used to make the body and the neck of this guitar is going to leave your jaws on the floor. Apart from being sturdy, mahogany reels in superior power and resonance and lays a solid foundation for various musical styles.
The slim and comfortable neck of the PRS SE Custom 22 is certainly going to impress you.
One striking thing about this guitar is its superior electronics. This beast of a guitar boasts the manufacturers treble humbucker pickups and furnace bass, along with a 3 way pick up selector and a dedicated volume and tone controller.
With the PRS SE Custom 22, you will be able to make powerful sounds. Also, you will be able to produce clean notes without stressing yourself out.
No doubts the PRS SE Custom 22 is a masterfully crafted piece, but it has a minor flaw. Some players pointed out that the humbuckers of the guitar cannot be toned down to deliver an old school style of blues and jazz.
Overall, this is certainly one of the best guitars you can find on the market. So, if you want to take your guitar game to the next level, the PRS SE Custom 22 is for you.
- It is made from premium quality mahogany.
- It is comfortable and can be used for long hours
- Its electronics, sound, and hardware are impressive
- It is not suitable for playing old school jazz and blues
PRS SE Mark Holcomb – Best PRS Guitar For Metal
- Scale length: 25.5’’
- Body: beveled maple with quilted maple veneer top and mahogany back
- Neck: maple with satin finish
- Frets: 24
- Pickups: Mark Holcomb Signature Seymour Duncan “Alpha” and “Omega”
More features: volume and push/pull tone controls with 3-way blade pickup switch, plate style (string-through) bridge, ebony fretboard
Mark Holcomb is a popular figure in the realm of metal guitar. His fresh and unique techniques, as well as his incredible writing style, have put him up with the greatest guitarist on the planet. PRS, a popular guitar company got on board to support this artist with a brilliant signature guitar designed by PRS and Mark.
The first thing you are going to notice about this guitar is its impressive body finish, which is as a result of a unique blend of colours known as the Holcomb burst. The PRS SE Mark Holcomb is made with quilted maple veer, mahogany back wood, and bevelled maple.
The 25.5-inch neck of this impressive guitar features a satin back which is going to give a smooth feel to your back.
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb also features a 24-fret, 20 radius ebony fretboard, black chrome hardware, a quilted maple veneer, and a 3-way blade pick-up switch with dedicated knobs for coil splitting.
While the PRS SE Mark Holcomb is amazing, it has a few downsides. For starters, its nuts look cheap. Also, some customers complained about its low-performance tuners and bad truss.
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb is perfect for guitarists who are into Rock and metal that are looking for a versatile, unique and solid guitar. If you are a fan of Mark Holcomb you are going to fall in love with this guitar.
- Excellent craftsmanship
- It is durable
- Amazing features
- Cheap nuts
- Low-performance tuners
- Bad truss
PRS SE AX20E – Best PRS Guitar For Blues
- Scale length: 25.3”
- Body: solid sitka spruce top and mahogany back and middle
- Neck: mahogany
- Frets: 20
- Electronics: Fishman GT1
More features: ebony bridge, 2 7/32” string spacing, hard-shell case included
The PRS SE AX20E is a premium quality guitar that pairs mahogany sides and back with a solid and balanced tone. Its traditional bracing offers more stability. This ultimately makes it super easy to handle.
The PRS SE AX20E has a resounding punch that can either cut through the mix or stand alone.
The Angulus Cutaway body of the PRS SE AX20E delivers superior comfort and playability. Unlike other guitars, the PRS SE AX20E is versatile and is suited for fingerstyle playing and picking. When plugged in, its Fisherman GT1 system delivers an organic and dynamic tone that guitar enthusiasts are likely going to go crazy about.
The electronic system of this guitar features a soundhole mounted preamp with volume and tone controls and an under saddle pickup.
The PRS SE AX20E comes with a special kit that includes the following; Chromatic tuner, 15’intrument cable, Light gauge guitar string, pick sampler, and a hard shell case.
As you can tell, this model is an awesome acoustic electric guitar for blues and practically any other kind of music you can imagine, but it has just one issue. And that is its cost. Some users complained about it being a little bit more expensive than other models similar to it on the market. This, of course, takes nothing from the brilliant performance of this guitar.
The bottom line is that the PRS SE AX20E is a great fingerstyle instrument that can produce rich harmonic overtones.
- It comes with a special kit
- Impressive design
- It is durable
- It has a number of amazing features
- It is comfortable and can be used for long hours
- It is pricy
PRS SE Kingfisher – Best PRS Bass Guitar
- Scale length: 34’’
- Body: swamp ash
- Neck: 5-ply maple
- Frets: 24
- Pickups: SE 4B ‘H’
More features: Hipshot TransTone bridge, rosewood fretboard, two volume controls and one tone control
The amazing look, tone, and feel of the PRS SE Kingfisher are going to blow you away. Whether you are a professional guitarist or a newbie, you are going to get value from this bad boy.
While it has a lot of amazing features, its super sleek and unique design is going to leave you in awe. Since the guitar is easy to set up, you aren’t going to spend hours figuring things out.
With this guitar, you can be confident in producing beautiful sounds while standing or sitting. Its balanced nature makes it an all day guitar that can be used for long hours without the fear of it causing shoulder fatigue. With the brass strap that comes with this remarkable guitar, you can be sure of the smooth and unhindered movement of your hands.
A highlight of the PRS SE Kingfisher is its impressive neck-through construction, which is usually found in guitars above the thousand dollar price mark.
The neck-through design and the signature features of this guitar are what set it apart from others out there.
The simple nature of the Kingfisher’s electronics makes it very easy to use. PRS, the creator of this excellent guitar, employed two proprietary humbucking for the neck and bridge position as well as a passive control system that consist of a volume and tone configuration.
It is obvious that the PRS SE Kingfisher is a top notch guitar, but it isn’t a good fit for those who are fans of old school sounds.
- It is easy to use.
- It is comfortable.
- Eye-catching design
- The tone may not appeal to people who are into old school sounds
PRS SE 245 – Budget Pick
- Scale length: 24.5’’
- Body: beveled maple top and flame maple veneer top, thick mahogany back
- Neck: mahogany
- Frets: 22
- Pickups: 245 “S”
More features: rosewood fretboard, PRS designed tuners and bridge, nickel hardware
The PRS SE 245 is a budget-friendly, durable and elegant guitar that is perfect for armature learning the basics and pros who want to take their guitar playing game to the next level.
Unlike other guitars that are fragile and cannot be used for long, the PRS SE 245 is a workhorse and can withstand continuous use without compromising performance.
Body and the neck of this top-notch guitar are made with mahogany, which is a durable and sturdy material.
Powering the PRS SE 245 are tow RPS humbucker pickup that is carefully placed on the bridge and on the neck, which is controlled by a dedicated 3-way switch for pick up and separate knobs and volume for each pick-up.
The 24.5 scale length of this guitar is a perfect fit for players who are into short-scale guitars. One remarkable thing about this guitar is that it is surely going to impress you with its classical voice. Thanks to its versatile control layout and 245 “S” Pickups, you will able to create inspiring sounds with relative ease.
Needless to say, the PRS SE 245 is an excellent guitar with a lot of impressive features and it is versatile, but it has one downside. It isn’t suitable for shredding.
So if you are looking for high performance but budget-friendly guitar to use on a different genre of music, then the PRS SE 245 will be perfect for you.
- It is affordable
- It has a handful of impressive feature
- It is easy to use
- It is suitable for newbie’s and pros
- It isn’t suited to shredders
Whether you are buying your first PRS guitar or just looking to upgrading your present one, it is surely going to be a challenge to choose among the many models that are available. To put things into perspective and ultimately make an educated decision or choice that you won’t regret in the near future, there are some features you should give attention to. Thankfully our comprehensive buying guide contains everything you need to know about PRS Guitars.
Get the best – invest in PRS
Granted, there are different brands of guitars on the market, but the PRS is somewhat different. There are only a handful of manufacturers that have high standards and take much care to ensure the perfection of the appearance and the performance of the instrument itself. Apart from the arthritic approach to coating, spraying and buffing the guitar, PRS is well-known for the quality of wood used in making each guitar. Whether it is a standard model or a top-grade model, anything less than stunning would not do with PRS. If for some reason a guitar happens to have a small imperfection, the guitar is permanently destroyed. This clearly shows that the PRS has a very high standard and they don’t settle for anything less than the best.
Cleaning tips – how to take care of your PRS guitar
Whether you are going for a top-notch PRS guitar model like the PRS SE Custom 22 and PRS SE Mark Holcomb or a budget-friendly model like the PRS SE 245, it is important that you take good care of it, to ensure that it remains in a perfect working condition and last long. Below are some cleaning tips that might come in handy.
- Try not to expose lacquer finishes to synthetic, surgical rubber tubing for long, as it may react adversely with the lacquer.
- Carefully wipe the bridge, neck, and string with a lint-free material before and after use.
- Wipe metal parts with a dry polishing cloth. Don’t spray any cleaning agent like glass cleaner on it as they contain silicon and abrasives that may damage your guitar. Only use cleaning agents made exclusively for guitars.
- Don’t expose your guitar to excessive cold or heat for a long time. Extreme heat and sunlight can make the well-crafted woods in your guitar to look faded. While cold weather may not adversely affect the finish of your guitar, it may cause serious damage to the neck, binding, and inlays of your instrument.
- Regularly tighten all screws and check tuning machines and strap-pins.
- Take your guitar to a local guitar technician annually for a complete overlook.
- Carefully dress the frets each time you change strings.
- Avoid things that can damage or scratch your guitar.
Price tag for Paul Reed Smiths guitars
While some PRS guitars are pricy like the PRS SE Custom 22 others are affordable like the PRS SE 245. The SE models, which are reviewed in this guide are affordable than the PRS models.
Below is an estimate of what to expect from the 3 main different categories of PRS guitars.
- Private stock and core models 1800usd and above
- SE model $300 to $1100
- S2 midrange model $1000 to $1500
If you are new to guitars, it would be wise you settle for an acoustic or electric guitar under 500 dollars of some other brands, or a cheaper PRS model like the PRS SE 245. As you get better, then you can go for fairly expensive models like the PRS SE AX20E or the PRS SE Mark Holcomb.
The following features will help you choose the perfect RRS guitar
Choosing the first PRS guitar that catches your attention isn’t really a good ideal, as it might not meet your unique needs and preferences. To make an informed decision and narrow down the best one that will be good for you, we have to consider features like the model, frets, scale, accessories, warranty, and tone wood to arm you with the information you need to choose the perfect PRS guitar.
Acoustic or electric
While you have the freedom to use a type of guitar you like, we recommend that you use Acoustic guitars especially if you are new to guitars as they are beginner friendly, easy to use, and can be learned relatively quickly. Acoustic guitars are meant for learning finger placement and cords as well as for understanding how to amplify sounds.
Pros of Acoustic guitars
- You don’t need electricity to use them
- They are portable
- You don’t need a lot of equipment or accessories other than a guitar pick to use it.
- The strings won’t hurt your finger.
Electric guitars are perfect for those who are pros and those who have mastered the basics. When choosing an electric guitar, it is wise you give your attention to the craftsmanship and quality its components rather than the type of wood used to make it.
Pros of electric guitars
- You can plug in headphones into it.
- Holding down the electric guitar chords is relatively easy
Wood is one of the main materials for guitar crafting. The role of the wood is to hold the guitar together, as well as, to help it produce great tones. Tone wood can produce sharp sounds and deep overtones.
Since all woods are not suitable for creating guitar parts, it is important that you pay close attention to choose the right type of tone wood. Below are the three main type of wood used in crafting.
- Ash – Most economical wood type sustains notes and chords
- Mahogany – It is strong and durable. It also produce a full sound
- They are mainly used for fret board and the neck
- They produce very clear sounds
This is a very important feature you should give careful consideration before making a purchase. As you know, all PRS guitars aren’t made the same and certainly won’t perform at the same level. If you are a professional guitarist looking to take your guitar playing game to a new stratosphere then you should go for top-notch models like the PRS SE Mark Holcomb or the PRS SE Custom 22. On the other hand, if you are on a greenhorn or you are still learning how to play, then the PRS SE 245 will be good for you.
Just like no two guitarists are the same, guitar necks also vary. While there are different guitar makers out here, there are only 3 factors that determine the level of comfort a guitar neck can offer. They are as follows;
- The Profile (Shape, width and thickness)
- The neck joint (the way and manner it connects to the body)
- The wood (number of pieces and type)
Below are some wood used in crafting the neck of a guitar.
- Pau Ferro
The neck joint
The neck joint is the area which the neck is attached to the body of the guitar. The neck joint should be able to withstand stress and pressure created when strings are tensioned. Since the neck joint can affect the tone of the guitar, it is carefully designed to offer superior comfort and balance for electric and acoustic guitars.
Pickups change the sound
This is another important feature you must give careful attention to, as it can determine the nature of the sound that a guitar will produce.
There are two common types of pickups:
This was used in making the first electric guitars. A single-coil pickup has a single coil of wire and magnet.
How single coil sound like?
Single coil pickups have a transparent, thin and cline sound.
Humbucker (double coil) pickups
Unlike single-coil pickups, humbucker pickups have two coils and several magnets.
How double-coil sound like
Double coil pickups have a warm and smooth sound and are perfect for Rock and blues.
While having the freedom to buy a guitar with a single or a double coiled pickup, it is best you go for one that has a combination of a double and single pickup.
This is an important part of a guitar that influences its tone and playability. If a guitar is smooth, comfortable to play and can be used to do pull-offs and hammer-ons effortlessly, it means that the frets have been properly dressed and perfectly matched.
Scale length basically the vibrating length of the string of a guitar is determined by the distance between the bridge and the nut saddle. The scale length of a guitar influences the quality of the notes produced, as well as, the tension of the string.
Irrespective of the type of guitar you want to buy, it is important that you do some research to learn if it requires additional accessories to work. While some guitars come with accessories, others don’t. To save yourself from spending extra cash on accessories, you have to carefully check if the guitar you plan to purchase come with basic accessories it needs to work properly. If it doesn’t, then you should look for one that comes with accessories.
Since PRS guitars are made from superior quality material and are carefully put together by professionals, you can be sure that that will last for a very long time. That said, it is still wise you buy models that are warranty protected. This way, if something were to happen to it, stops functioning properly, or has a factory defect, and then you will be covered.
Do well to read the details of the warranty of the guitar you want to purchase to get a picture of the type of protection it offers.
Feel free to add something you think is important and relevant, and please mention some of the products reviewed as examples in the buying guide, where appropriate.
Yes, PRS guitar is suitable for novice and may even help you learn quickly, as they offer more comfort and produce better sounds than regular guitars. However, if you are on a tight budget and cannot afford one, then you can settle for a cheap guitar. As you hone your skill and slowly get better, you should save up and buy a PRS guitar to speed up your progress.
Yes. Using a guitar made exclusively for left-handed people will easily help you play better and learn quicker.
Most of the expensive PRS guitars are made in the US. However, some affordable models (SE line) are made in South Korea.
While all the PRS guitars reviewed in this guide are great and have a lot of amazing features, here are our top picks.
The PRS SE Custom 22 is a high-performance guitar that is comfortable to use for long hours and an excellent choice for greenhorn and professional guitarist. Its unique design and lustrous look make it stand out as one of the best PRS guitars on the market.
The PRS SE Mark Holcomb, with a rating of 9.8 also caught our attention. Its mahogany back, maple veneer top and comfortable neck make it a perfect choice for people who want to take their guitar playing game to the next level.
Finally, the PRS SE 245, which is a budget-friendly guitar that is made from premium quality and durable materials, will be perfect for you if you are on a budget.
We hope that this guide ease your shopping for the best PRS guitar on the market.