PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin – is this the best value electric guitar in the world right now?

PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin – is this the best value electric guitar in the world right now?

It’s fair to say that over the last few years, our wallets haven’t had it easy. You don’t need me to tell you that everything from food to housing to guitars has become astronomically more expensive than they were just a few short years ago. The result of this global phenomenon is the things that used to be attainable and affordable for most people, have in many cases been pushed out of the reach of the average consumer.

READ MORE: PRS SE Silver Sky Maple review – how much difference does a maple fingerboard really make?

Guitar gear is, of course, not immune to this by a long shot, and if, like me, you’ve worked in guitar retail at any point in the last few years, you’ll have spoken to everyday players who now find themselves priced out of good-quality gear from the big names that they’d previously been able to afford.
It’s a scary and worrying thing for the industry (and society!) at large when ordinary folks are being pushed out of huge swathes of what used to be regarded as the ‘mid-price’ market – now that you can easily spend north of $1,000 on an Epiphone or a Mexican Fender, it feels like there’s a rung on the ladder that’s been sawed off.
It seems like the good folks at PRS share some of these concerns, as the brand new CE 24 Standard Satin – part of the brand’s Indonesian-made SE line – is not just affordable; it might very well be the best value PRS guitar ever.
PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin
What makes the PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin special?
The Satin is a stripped-down version of what was already one of the best value guitars in PRS’ SE line-up – the $699 CE 24 Standard. That guitar is a bolt-on, double-cut, twin-humbucker’d rock ‘n’ roll machine, the mahogany body of which sports the classic flamed maple veneer and gloss burst finish.
The Satin knocks 200 bucks off that price tag, and does away with the maple veneer and the gloss finish, instead opting for an ultra-thin solid satin finish to the mahogany body – other than that it’s an identical instrument.
You still get the same shallow violin carve, 10’’ radiused rosewood fretboard, 25’’ scale length, and the very same 85/15 “S” pickups from the SE CE 24. You have a 3-way toggle switch, with a volume and even push/pull control on the tone knob that allows you to split the coils of those humbuckers. What’s more, your $499 also gets you the exact same quality PRS gigbag that the non-Satin version enjoys – a real bonus given the trend for sub-$1,000 guitars to ship with ultra-cheap bags, or no bag at all (looking at you Gretsch!).
The Satin
Does the PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin sound good?
PRS’ SE guitars have a decades-long reputation for great sound that belies the price tag, so I was expecting good things from the Satin… what I wasn’t expecting as I plugged into my Supro Royale 1×12 was to be taken aback by just how good it sounds.
Whether you’re looking for chewy blues licks or full-on metal chugging, the Satin seems to spit them out with aplomb. Individually, the neck pickup sounds warm and full. Chords ring out much like the other CE 24 models, and it’s not just humbucker tones either – pulling up on that tone knob gives you some of the most convincing single-coil tones I’ve heard from a coil-split on a guitar in this price bracket.
The Satin is a perfect match for my 1981 Inventions DRV or any other dirt pedal – the bridge pickup retains articulation and clarity and never once sounds thin or harsh. On the front pickup, this is a full-on rock machine that could easily go from Loveless era My Bloody Valentine to your favourite Foo Fighters song at literally the turn of a knob.
Back of the Satin
Is the PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin currently the best-value guitar in the world?
PRS’ SE guitars have always been a little more expensive than its Mexican Fender and Epiphone counterparts, but with the general acceptance that the instrument you were getting was probably of a higher standard (and made with better materials) than other mid-price instruments.
Over the last few years, Fender and Epiphone (and most other non-US-made brands) have pushed the price envelope up on some of its models to the point where that price difference is no longer as stark as it once was, which makes it all the more remarkable that we’re sat here in 2024 looking at a fully-featured PRS SE guitar that costs less than $500.
And the even more notable thing is that even for this relatively small amount of money, you’re getting an insanely high-quality instrument that can compete with many guitars that cost twice the price.
Of course, the Satin might not be the cheapest guitar in the world, but it’s hard to think of another instrument that offers quite so much bang for buck right now. This offers all the classic ingredients that you want from a PRS guitar – and you don’t have to be a blues lawyer to afford it.

PRS SE CE 24 Standard Satin alternatives
For many years, the default affordable option for those players wanting a slab of mahogany with a pair of humbuckers on it has been the Epiphone Les Paul – a Standard will set you back around $700/£679, while if you’re after something that echoes the PRS’ stripped down vibes, the P-90-loaded Epiphone Les Paul Special is a similar bargain at just $499/£489. Alternatively, the Sterling By Music Man Mariposa ($599/£759) offers twin-humbucker fun and quirky looks for a great price… US price, at least, while Fender’s Player Jazzmaster HH ($829/£719) offers a similar blend of humbuckers (with coil-splitting) and tremolo.
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