PRS Custom 24 VS Gibson Les Paul Standard: Which one?
Our vote goes for the Gibson Les Paul Standard
We have a hard time breaking ranks from PRS, but the reality is that the Custom 24 does not do enough above what you get in the Les Paul Standard to justify an additional $1500 of expense. Drop the price of the Custom 24 and we'll come runnin' back home.
What are the differences between the PRS Custom 24 and the Gibson Les Paul Standard? They are both great guitars, but which one is right for you? Is it possible to identify differences between them - how they sound, how they're built, and what kind of features they have - that might make it easier to make a decision?
It is possible, and that's exactly what we'll do in this article.
We'll compare the PRS Custom 24 and the Gibson Les Paul, the Standard version, looking at all the factors you need to make an informed decision.
If you've narrowed your choice down to these two guitars, we'll help you finish the job.
The PRS Factor (with a caveat)
Up front, it's important to point out that we're big fans of PRS guitars. Bobby (Guitar Chalk's founder) has always owned at least two, even through the process of testing many other electric guitars.
For us, the task of something like the Gibson Les Paul Standard is to provide better value or better quality than the PRS Custom 24.
While Gibson has a lot of tradition and name recognition behind it, we'd argue that PRS makes the better guitar. Yet, in this particular comparison, PRS has a massive problem on their hands.
Price and value.
We'll look closely at the two instruments so you can make the call.
Let's start with a simple comparison.
PRS Custom 24 VS Gibson Les Paul Standard (comparison tool)
We've put the PRS Custom 24 and Gibson Les Paul Standard in the following table for an easy, side-by-side comparison. For audio demos, we've embedded those below the table.
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PRS Custom 24
Gibson Les Paul Standard
Both Guitar's Specs, Side by Side
The tonewood mixture, pickup configuration and top carving are similar in both guitars, as you can see from the side-by-side spec sheet below.
Les Paul Standard
AA Figured Maple
PRS Gen III Patented Tremolo
ABR-1 Tune-O-Matic with Stopbar
PRS TCI-tuned 85/15 Humbucker
Burstbucker 61R Humbucker
PRS TCI-tuned 85/15 Humbucker
Burstbucker 61T Humbucker
1 x master volume, 1 x master tone + 5-way blade
2 x volume, 2 x tone, 3-way toggle pickup switch
PRS Custom 24 Details
The single biggest disadvantage of the PRS Custom 24 is the price tag. At a crisp $4000, it tags an extra $1500 on what you'd pay for the Les Paul Standard.
Despite the fact we love PRS guitars, that's a huge ask from PRS, which doesn't give us a lot of reason to fork over the extra money.
Mahogany for the body and figured maple for the top piece is in both guitars. And while you could potentially argue that the top carving in the PRS is nicer than the Gibson, the amount and quality of work looks to be fairly similar.
PRS is also less-known than Gibson for their pickup line, though you have one of their nicest options in the Custom 24 - the TCI-tuned 85/15 set.
But are there other features in the PRS that we could identify that would help justify such a large markup?
Not that we can see.
Gibson Les Paul Standard Details
On the other side of our coin, Gibson gives you their own Burstbucker pickups (one of our favorite sets) and everything else you'd expect from a vintage-style Gibson Les Paul.
We would note that the tone of this guitar is different than the PRS.
In the PRS you get a thicker, punchier, and more percussive tone, while Gibson Les Pauls tend to be brighter and more intense, better for lead guitar and more treble-leaning EQs.
Those who prefer a warmer, more rhythmic, and percussive tone might be okay with spending the extra money to get the Custom 24.
Why exactly do they sound different?
It's honestly hard to tell.
Likely it's the pickups, because - as we mentioned previously - the bodies and tonewood makeup are quite similar in these two guitars.
Summary of Comparison
It's really hard for us to not recommend a PRS guitar.
But the Gibson Les Paul Standard - the '50s and '60s version - gives you much more value for what you pay. It's also arguable that Gibson gives you better pickups in the process.
So in the absence of anything to incentivize the extra $1500 for the Custom 24, we'd recommend saving the money and going with the Gibson Les Paul Standard.
It hurts, but it's the right answer.
Do you have thoughts or opinions about this comparison?
Perhaps you have questions about the PRS Custom 24 or the Gibson Les Paul Standard? If so, drop it in the comments section below and we'll take a look.