PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

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PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by GrantB »

As some of you know, I am now intimately familiar with the black hole that is scale length and body join position! If not, read my LP Jr thread.

Also, you may have seen a thread derailment on BC's for sale, where the same concept around neck/body positions was discussed.

So, I was naturally interested in finding out WTF was going on. I am agnostic towards PRS so I have nothing to prove, defend, justify. This is NOT about which sounds better or whatever...or closer to other X guitars etc etc. This is about how PRS have approached the design.

We are talking of the basic trem equiped USA Custom. Here are the gruesome details I can determine based on what I can see about the two models, and my own experience.

- Both bodies are the same size.
- The scale lengths are identical.
- The position of the final fret (22 or 24) in relation to the body is the same...almost at the third fret from the end of the board, you will see the top horn joint.
- Technically speaking, from a guitar making position, the following must be true.
* On the 24, the bridge must move up the body to compensate for the 12th fret shifting away from the neck/body join (see point above about both necks where they join around 3rd fret). There is mathematically zero way to keep the scale length, keep the third fret join, and change the number of frets without making this adjustment.
* As a result, two things must happen to the neck pickup - 1. it sits further away from the 12th fret (as it rests against the end of the board, with the nearest fret being either 22 or 24) which means there is a tonal change. 2. The bridge (and therefore pickup) has also moved closer to it, as the 12th fret is further away, and that must always be the same. This also must result in a different tone for the in between position.
- Overall length of the 24 must be longer (from rear to top of neck).

Now the above looks like a cluster fluff, but it's actually easy to work out. The trick is PRS look to have wanted to keep the body / neck joint in the same place in relation to the end of the fingerboard. That's clever. I guess they could have just jammed on an extra two frets but then the access to the last frets would have been compromised...so they moved the neck out. Unlike Fender, who just added a fret on a little fingerboard extension.

Blue is a 22, purple a 24.

I could be wrong on maybe one account - if they make a different body size. PRS blurbs suggest this is not the case. Oh, and maybe they make different size bodies for their different Custom models? Again, I can't see that, and importantly, not between same model, different no of frets...

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by olegmcnoleg »

Nice! This tallies with my experience of both 22 and 24 feet models. The pickups are closer together on the 24 fret models I’ve seen, and the bridge/trem sits closer to the neck.
Your other logic makes sense too. I thought that on some early models the 24 fret neck was a tad shorter, but I may be wrong about that.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by mrmofo »

i edited my FS thread with the difference between the two models.
the fact that the pick ups are closer together on a 24 fret prs means you get more of a strat like quack with a 5 way rotary.
this means almost nothing these days as prs have branched out somewhat from the original design.
on some of the new prs guitars we don't get the five way rotary, we now get a three way switch, clearly cheaper made hardware and for the first time on a usa made prs guitar we get three piece necks. the original bridges were cut from a single piece of brass. an idea taken from Hamer's sustain block bridge. in-fact early prs and early hamer share many construction ideas.

the 22 fret came later in the early 90s.
All of the original prs guitars had 24 frets. a design they were quite proud of at the time.
There are still some that think the neck PU is moved to accommodate the extra frets which only proves they cannot detect the difference in length of each.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by GrantB »

olegmcnoleg wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 9:49 pm Nice! This tallies with my experience of both 22 and 24 feet models. The pickups are closer together on the 24 fret models I’ve seen, and the bridge/trem sits closer to the neck.
Your other logic makes sense too. I thought that on some early models the 24 fret neck was a tad shorter, but I may be wrong about that.
The 24 could only be shorter if they changed the scale length...which of course is possible.
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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by GrantB »

mrmofo wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 9:52 pm i edited my FS thread with the difference between the two models.
the fact that the pick ups are closer together on a 24 fret prs means you get more of a strat like quack with a 5 way rotary.
this means almost nothing these days as prs have branched out somewhat from the original design.
on some of the new prs guitars we don't get the five way rotary, we now get a three way switch, clearly cheaper made hardware and for the first time on a usa made prs guitar we get three piece necks. the original bridges were cut from a single piece of brass. an idea taken from Hamer's sustain block bridge. in-fact early prs and early hamer share many construction ideas.

the 22 fret came later in the early 90s.
All of the original prs guitars had 24 frets. a design they were quite proud of at the time.
Just for clarity, the thread is only focussing on the design philosophy of the scale and neck placement. Discussing cheapness of hardware or not will take it down a way different road...a bumpier, dustier one.
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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by Jay »

Not sure if you are looking for affirmation, but if body dimensions are the same then your gruesome details are correct...

I suppose they could have stuck with the 24, pull the last two frets out, sell it as a 22 and market it as the most accessible fretboard ever. And just put a large bird inlay where the last two frets were :roll:
Long as I can see the light...

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by murky »

I think part of the explanation comes from the 24 fret coming first.

Business decision might have gone like this:

Option 1 - Different bridge locations:
- 24 - tooling stays the same
- 22 - new tooling

Option 2 - Same bridge position:
- 24 - completely redo tooling
- 22 - new tooling.

I.e. different bridge position meant didn’t have to change tooling for the 24.
Last edited by murky on Wed May 05, 2021 10:48 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by mrmofo »

Jay wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:09 pm Not sure if you are looking for affirmation, but if body dimensions are the same then your gruesome details are correct...

I suppose they could have stuck with the 24, pull the last two frets out, sell it as a 22 and market it as the most accessible fretboard ever. And just put a large bird inlay where the last two frets were :roll:
I doubt the market would have let them.

PRS did a 22 fret Strat like guitar in 1992 called the EG. think Silversky type deal.
about 1994 PRS did the 22 fret custom and Mccarty.

PRS had dudes like Sting and Aldemeola singing their praise.

Magazines were still a thing, some of these magazines printed very truthful reviews.
twas a great time to be alive.
There are still some that think the neck PU is moved to accommodate the extra frets which only proves they cannot detect the difference in length of each.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by werdna »

Visually there is a surprising amount of visual difference due to the pick up placement.

If the two versions were recorded through the same equipment, I wonder whether anyone could guess correctly better than 50% of the time. I always raise this because we don't want to delude ourselves as to how special we are.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by GrantB »

murky wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:38 pm I think part of the explanation comes from the 24 fret coming first.

Business decision might have gone like this:

Option 1 - Different bridge locations:
- 24 - tooling stays the same
- 22 - new tooling

Option 2 - Same bridge position:
- 24 - completely redo tooling
- 22 - new tooling.

I.e. different bridge position meant didn’t have to change tooling for the 24.
Ah, this makes sense. Didn’t realise the 24 came first. So just reverse my comments about them moving the neck out for the 24, to moving the neck in for the 22.
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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by mrmofo »

werdna wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 7:26 am Visually there is a surprising amount of visual difference due to the pick up placement.

If the two versions were recorded through the same equipment, I wonder whether anyone could guess correctly better than 50% of the time. I always raise this because we don't want to delude ourselves as to how special we are.
the neck pickup sounds different to me, i reckon i can pick it, especially with a rotary 5 way.

heres a blind test. 24 fret prs position 2 or 4 on a rotary verses a modern strat ssh on pos 2 and 4.

try that with a standard 22 and it's no way near.
the only " better" imo is when you're looking for a strat quack. 24 with a 5 way sounds more like a strat.
thats it
There are still some that think the neck PU is moved to accommodate the extra frets which only proves they cannot detect the difference in length of each.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by codedog »

Jay wrote: Wed May 05, 2021 10:09 pm Not sure if you are looking for affirmation, but if body dimensions are the same then your gruesome details are correct...

I suppose they could have stuck with the 24, pull the last two frets out, sell it as a 22 and market it as the most accessible fretboard ever. And just put a large bird inlay where the last two frets were :roll:
IIRC there are guitars like that. Well, not just pulling out the frets. I was thinking of SGs and B&G Little Sister. There's the sizeable gap between end of fret board and the neck pickup.

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by jeremyb »

The body is clearly smaller on the purple one, looks like a childs guitar compared to the blue one.
Cause I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for…

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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by GrantB »

jeremyb wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 10:37 am The body is clearly smaller on the purple one, looks like a childs guitar compared to the blue one.
You’re using the wrong sized screen. Look at it on your phone. You’ll see they’re the same size.
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Re: PRS 22 vs 24 - body/neck/pickup position punch-up

Post by jeremyb »

GrantB wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 11:39 am
jeremyb wrote: Thu May 06, 2021 10:37 am The body is clearly smaller on the purple one, looks like a childs guitar compared to the blue one.
You’re using the wrong sized screen. Look at it on your phone. You’ll see they’re the same size.
Cause I’m bigger than my body gives me credit for…

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