Best Paul Reed Smith (PRS) Guitars – 2019 Ultimate Round-up

Trying to find the right brand of guitar that not only fits your style and image, but your budget as well, is a hard thing sometimes. There are so many brands to choose from, all with their own unique brand's mission and designs. 

One of the best, though, is PRS, or Paul Reed Smith. 

You have never heard of them!? Well, in this guide we are going to solve that. We will give you an in-depth look into the company, with their great-sounding guitars, and present you with a few of the best PRS guitars on the market today. It’s about time we start that introduction, so let’s start with. what is a PRS guitar?

Comparison Chart of the Best PRS Guitars

Product

Rating

Price

Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 Electric Guitar

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Whale Blue

Best Overall

Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Whale Blue

Runner-up

Paul Reed Smith SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar, Tobacco Sunburst

Best for the Money

Paul Reed Smith SE Kingfisher 4-String Bass

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Kingfisher 4-String Bass Guitar with Gig Bag, Tortoise Shell

Best PRS Bass Guitar

Paul Reed Smith SE Angelus AX20E

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Angelus AX20E Full Size Single Cutaway Acoustic/Electric Guitar with Hard-Shell Case

Best PRS Acoustic Guitar

Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Fire Red Burst

Best PRS Baritone Guitar

What is a PRS Guitar?

You have all probably heard of the big names like Fender and Gibson. In fact, those brands tend to get a lot of airtime, but that is all about to change. Paul Reed Smith Guitars is a brand that has been around since the mid-80s and is named for the man who started it all. There are several things make this brand stand out from the rest.

PRS guitars are built with a 25” scale length, which makes them the middle-of-the -road choice between many of the big names. Every guitar is held to the same standard and the innovation (like custom pick-ups) that comes with them should definitely make you look at this brand a little closer.

Why Are These the Best of the Year?

When looking at these stunning PRS guitars, there are many features you will notice. So, which factors make these the best of the year? Below are a few of the features and elements you should consider when purchasing a PRS guitar. 

Here are a few of the most important factors to keep in mind:

Design

There is a lot of care and attention taken by the design team at PRS to uphold the company’s standards. This, of course, starts with the materials used in the design. From the perfect tonewood to the full-body design, everything about these PRS guitars is built for superior sound. On a side note, these guitar designs all end in stunning, eye-catching beauty and a kick-ass sound.

Sound

When you are looking to find the right PRS guitar, you want to pay attention to the sound, the area where design and the choice of woods are most important, as are all the peripheral inclusions. So, making sure all the internal and external pieces are geared toward your specific musical needs is always essential.

Controls

You want to be able to craft that sound properly. Which means having control over volume and tone. The best choice for these is to have them built-in to the guitar. This way, the perfectly crafted sound is at your fingertips with a simple flick of a switch and turn of a knob.

Hardware

Making sure the hardware, like the pick-ups and the bridges, is all perfect for whatever sound and playability you need is vital. PRS uses innovation and often crafts custom pieces solely for specific models.

Review of the Best PRS Guitars

With all the information you now have at your disposal regarding PRS guitars, we want to look at some of the best PRS guitars available through your local music store or online. 

So, without further ado, here are our choices:

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 22 Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Whale Blue

PROS

  • Sleek and eye-catching style
  • Custom designed pick-up systems and tremolo
  • Ergonomically-designed for ease of play over extended periods
  • Crafted in high-grade mahogany for better durability and sound
  • Hardware design is innovative and leads to a richer and easily crafted sound

CONS

  • Issues with color consistency
  • Issues with knob placement consistency
  • Not compatible with all music styles (i.e. jazz)

What Recent Buyers Report

Most recent buyers have only great things to say about this stunning guitar. Though there are issues with knobs not being where they should be and pictures and colors not being quite as vibrant, on the whole, the customers seem to enjoy the intensely clear and powerful sound from this guitar.

Why it Stands Out to Us

To get the overall best ranking, the guitar must have a stellar sound and durability like no other. This is what stands out to us about this model from PRS. This guitar has a hardware system designed to craft the perfect sound. This, in the end, is the most important aspect to any guitarist the world over.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar is great for any guitarist. The better question would be, who wouldn’t this guitar work for? This answer is straightforward: the sound and power that come from this guitar are not great for smooth styles like jazz or blues. Other than that, this guitar is perfect for just about everyone else.

Bottom Line

If you are looking for a sound that will blow the socks off the band or audience, adding this guitar to your collection wouldn’t be a wrong move. Not only will you sound like a rockstar, but you'll look like one, too. It is a sleek and stylish guitar that is not just all style, but has substance, too!

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Whale Blue

PROS

  • Smooth neck for better speed and playability
  • Improved vibrato for better tonal fluctuation
  • Built-in hardware is innovative for unique and rich sound
  • Price versus value is impressive compared to other models and brands
  • Offers a vintage sound from its classic design and use of the perfect tonewoods

CONS

  • Issues with the finish scratching easily
  • Some may feel it is a little too light
  • Aesthetic may not be everyone’s cup of tea

What Recent Buyers Report

Recent buyers love the vintage look, feel, and sound. The innovation in hardware seems to be the biggest thing that makes this guitar shine. Though, even with all that, some do feel that the look may not be for everyone. Also, the overall weight of the guitar maybe just a bit on the light side for some.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Once again, this PRS guitar stands out for many reasons, but chief amongst them is the attention to the design when it comes to the innovative hardware. Built to have a perfectly crisp, clean sound, this guitar is definitely a great choice for any guitarist looking for a gig guitar.

Who Will Use This Most

This guitar would really benefit the road musician, the guitarist touring down the road from gig to gig. For the guitarist looking for a reliable, sweet-sounding guitar that can take just about anything you throw at it. This guitar gives them that, in addition to making them look good doing it.

Bottom Line

Coming in second is yet another high-quality, superior-sounding PRS model. The way this guitar is designed shows that this company still holds true to its mission, which is creating innovatively-designed guitars for every guitarist that will stand the test of time. No guitarist would be wrong in chosing this guitar as their go-to option, whether on the road or in the studio.

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 245 Standard Electric Guitar, Tobacco Sunburst

PROS

  • Aesthetic design is a nice touch
  • Rockstar distortion for a crunchier sound
  • Great choice for any experience level 
  • Overall design is easy to use and comfortable to play
  • Built-in, high-grade features help it stand out
  • Price versus overall value is comparable to higher-end competitors

CONS

  • Issues with some fret buzz
  • Some issues with overall tuner quality
  • Not great for the guitarist that likes to shred

What Recent Buyers Report

If you want a great-sounding guitar for a decent price, then this model from PRS is the choice for you. At least that is what recent buyers are saying. They love the overall design and high-quality hardware included in this design. There are a few that have had problems with fret buzz and tuner quality, but for the most part, this guitar is a great choice according to them.

Why it Stands Out to Us

It stands out to us for the same reason as the customers who have bought it. The sheer amount of value you get with this investment for such an affordable price tag is outstanding. All the attention to detail has given the music world a guitar that offers superior sound and easy playability but still fits in even the budget-minded guitarist’s world.

Who Will Use This Most

This is an excellent guitar for the beginning musician that loves a good rick lick or jazz breakdown. With its stellar sound and easy to play design, the beginning guitarist will be able to build their skills while still feeling like a true musician. Though, if they are looking to shred or rock super hard, they may want to keep looking for the right guitar.

Bottom Line

Trying to look cool and get a great sound while working with a budget can be frustrating. That is not the case this highly affordable guitar from PRS. It is a great choice and will have you sounding good in no time.

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Kingfisher 4-String Bass Guitar with Gig Bag, Tortoise Shell

PROS

  • Simplistic design makes it easy to use
  • Crafted with a unique two-octave neck
  • Versatility of sound, including a tight upright tone
  • Sleek and stylish design that is distinctive and a conversation starter
  • Ergonomically-designed for comfortable play over extended periods

CONS

  • Not compatible with all styles of music.
  • Some may find it a little heavy in the weight department
  • Issues with some hum from electronic devices, like neon signs

What Recent Buyers Report

This is a simple bass that works well and offers a balanced feel. At least that is if you take the word of the recent buyers, and why wouldn’t you? They have had this impressive bass in their hands. This bass has a lot of fans, but of course, there are always issues. Some have had problems with hum from electronics, as well as the overall weight of the bass.

Why it Stands Out to Us

Taking the high quality and attention to detail into the world of the electrical bass was just an absolute no-brainer. The high-grade design and overall quality of sound are what stands out to us. That conforms to the dedication of continuing the mission of the company.

Who Will Use This Most

This bass would be great for the bassist that plans to be in the studio or on stage for extended time frames. With the balanced design and overall build, this bass makes it a pleasure to sling this instrument. It is especially great for someone looking for the ability to use it upright, as well.

Bottom Line

In the end, you want a high-quality, rich-sounding bass that offers everything you need to round out your music. That is precisely what you get with this bass from PRS guitars. Knowing that every bassist wants a balanced, well-crafted, great-sounding bass is why PRS keeps making a name for themselves in the music world.

Best PRS Acoustic Guitar:
Paul Reed Smith SE Angelus AX20E

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE Angelus AX20E Full Size Single Cutaway Acoustic/Electric Guitar with Hard-Shell Case

PROS

  • Durable build that will last a lifetime
  • Design and materials lead to a full sound
  • Aesthetics that will make any guitarist happy
  • Neck is smooth and adds to the ease of playability
  • Due to construction, it has a great resonance that fills the room
  • Improved intonation through the design and high-grade hardware

CONS

  • Issues with some fret buzz
  • Some may not like the laminated back and sides.
  • The response needs improving when open tuning

What Recent Buyers Report

Music will fill the room with excellent tonal quality. This is how most recent buyers describe their experience with this acoustic guitar. Once again, it seems that PRS has crafted a great instrument. Though there are some issues with fret buzz and the tuning resonance, these are not universal issues, and so it appears this may easily be the best acoustic guitar available.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The resonance and overall tonal spectrum are what really get our attention. The carefully crafted hollow body and the addition of high-quality electric parts make this a great acoustic with a wide range of versatility.

Who Will Use This Most

This is a great choice for any guitarist playing small venues with limited space. The size is nice and the resonance easily fills small rooms. It is a great choice for the studio musician as well, getting ready to record some beautiful music. The easy playability and smooth neck make this a comfortable to play guitar for long sessions.

Bottom Line

Having an acoustic guitar that sounds good, both naturally and hooked up to an amp, is a great boon to many guitarists. The Angelus is the guitar which can deliver that. With a carefully constructed body and the use of high-quality tonewood, the PRS design team has built one fine acoustic guitar.

PRS Paul Reed Smith SE 277 Baritone Electric Guitar with Gig Bag, Fire Red Burst

PROS

  • Durable and well-built for a longer life
  • Made with a B-to-B baritone tuning scale
  • Overall design is easy and comfortable to play
  • Balanced and lighter than most baritone guitars
  • Humbuckers give the sound a versatility of low output

CONS

  • Some may not like some of the flourishes
  • Some may take issue with the weight
  • Price is more expensive than some of its competitors

What Recent Buyers Report

The price is the only flaw with this guitar, that's what most recent buyers are saying. They love the scale length that the neck affords them and the fact that it is lightweight and comfortable to play. Combine that with this baritone guitar’s high-grade electronics, and you have a guitar few can find fault with.

Why it Stands Out to Us

The build quality and playability of this baritone guitar are what made us chose it as the best PRS baritone guitar. Quite simply, PRS’s attention to creating high-quality guitars with improvements requested by guitarists themselves, has lead to another great model.

Who Will Use This Most

This is great for the novice to the baritone guitar world. With its smooth playability and lightweight design, the newcomer will feel comfortable as they play for hours trying to memorize those chords.

Bottom Line

The baritone may have been something people overlooked in the past, but over the last few decades, it has made itself known to the world. This PRS guitar gives you a great introduction, and once you play it, you may never want to look anywhere else for another baritone guitar.

Type of PRS Guitars

There are, of course, different models of PRS guitars, and categorized to make your choice easy. Knowing the different types of guitars will help you be able to choose just the right one. 

Here are some of those different types:

Core Electric

As the name indicates, this is the standard electric guitars put out by PRS. Many of these come with custom tremolo and pick-ups. These models tend to be more budget-friendly options.

Bolt-on Electric

This type of PRS guitar has a slimmer body and the same custom pick-ups to improve overall sound and comfort when playing for extended times.

Core Electric Bass

Designed initially as Grainger basses, they found their way into the PRS family and have received some upgrades. These basses have both pick-ups and volume controls that can be used as either active/passive.

Acoustic-Electric

These guitars can be played both with or without an amp and resonate with a sweet, full tone that will make any guitarist think they are in heaven

Acoustic

If you want a straight acoustic, they have that, too. Easily playable down the entire neck, with a rich, full sound, these guitars are designed to look good, sound good, and feel good to play.

Conclusion

Now you know all about Paul Reed Smith guitars. They have been played by musicians around the world and are easily one of the best brands out there. Hopefully, with the information we have laid out above, you feel like PRS is an old friend and your decision to choose between the best PRS guitars is just a little easier. Rock on!