Read our PRS S2 Standard 24 review before you buy and see if it’s for you.
The S2 range is the PRS Guitars answer to models like the Gibson SG. Paul Reed Smith and his company have created a variety of models. This review focuses on PRS S2 Standard 24.
The PRS S2 Standard is a great choice for guitarists looking for a step-up guitar. It’s your chance to own a US-built electric guitar but at an affordable price.
The S2 Standard 24 has classic good looks. The satin paintwork looks great, while the double-cutaway looks stylish and comfortable.
The model we have is the McCarty tobacco burst finish, although you can also get in vintage cherry and satin charcoal.
The satin finish makes it prone to dings and dents—those who like a roadworn look might see this as a plus. Our model is second-hand and has already picked up a few battle scars.
Sadly, the fretboard does not feature the iconic PRS doves. PRS purists will have to upgrade to the Custom range to get this feature.
The first thing you notice when you pick up the S2 Standard 24 is just how little it weighs. It’s surprisingly light for a guitar made entirely of Mahogony. You could easily gig this thing for more than two hours and not suffer any shoulder, neck or back ache.
Strapping on the guitar, we also notice that the mahogany neck is well-balanced and doesn’t suffer from the “neckdive” associated with SG-style guitars.
The neck finish is satin with a slight glossiness to aid the grip—if you like a smooth neck the S2 is a good choice.
The rosewood fingerboard looks beautiful and plays smoothly. PRS describes it as “fantastically smooth” and we’d agree with this—there are no imperfections to trip you up as you play.
The action is low and feels comfortable, making faster playing styles possible. There is some string buzz though.
The frets are a good size. Fans of high frets may be disappointed as the depth is modest, but most players will be perfectly happy and there no issues with bending the strings.
One minor gripe we have is with the volume and tone control knobs. They feel cheap and aren’t precise enough. For a guitar at this price point we’d expect far better quality. But this doesn’t ruin the overall experience.
Here’s where the PRS S2 Standard really shines. It sounds great and offers an amazing range of sounds – mainly thanks to the coil tap which allows you to switch from the two pickups from humbuckers to single coils.
On a clean channel all combinations sound good, although there is a little bit of volume lost when switch to single coils.
The mahogany body combined with the humbuckers provides strong mids.
This means it’s missing the high-end sparkle that you might expect from some guitars – but that’s to be expected with this kind of guitar. That sparkle is missed most on the single coils and they lose a bit of character because of it.
To hear the S2 Standard in its element, you need to crank up the gain.
The neck humbucker sounds wonderfully muddy. It is perfect for achieving a warm blues solo sound or churning out gravelly stoner rock grooves.
The neck humbucker changes gear. Here you get powerful, biting tone that is crying out to play massive rock riffs.
Meanwhile the neck single coil provides a warm rock sound, reminiscent of 90s Chilli Peppers. Similar to the humbucker, cranking the bridge single coil will give you a powerful rock tone. But be warned – both single coils aren’t very brittle and cranking them too far can get a little shrill.
The final point to discuss is the tremolo. We’re not big fans of tremolos here, but the S2 Standard’s is well worth mentioning. It feels solid, plays smoothly and doesn’t immediately knock the guitar out of tune. What more could you ask for?
Best of all, it’s a push-fit. So if like us you want to take it off occasionally, you can do so quickly and easily.
The PRS S2 Standard provides a lot of guitar for an excellent price point. It’s solidly-built, looks good and provides great rock sounds. I’d recommend it as a workhorse guitar for anyone playing in a gigging rock band. It’s excellent rage of sounds means that it could also hold it’s own in the studio.
It’s an excellent choice for fans of rock, blues and perhaps even metal. Jazz, pop and funk players would probably be disappointed due to the lack of sparkling highs.
Want to discover more amazing guitars? Then check out our article on the best guitar brands.