PRS SE MCCarty 594 Review
Our Verdict and Review Summary
Like we'd expect from the SE series, the McCarty 594 is a fantastic balance of heavy, high-quality tone and an affordable price. It's percussive, well-built, and handles distortion well. For those who have played PRS SE guitars, the pattern vintage neck will be a familiar feel. Even the PRS 58/15 "S" humbuckers are included. Overall, it's a fantastic guitar that I can confidently recommend for a wide range of scenarios.
I'm more used to the CE and Custom 24 PRS models, so this was actually my first go-around with the SE McCarty 594. At first, I had a lot of difficulty getting used to the selector switch placement, just because I kept hitting it coming up with my right hand while playing. That's just something you'll need to get used to if you haven't played a guitar with a switch in that position. But overall, this is a fantastic guitar, especially for what you pay. It feels solid, looks great, and sounds smooth and heavy, like you'd expect from a good modern electric. Like most electrics in the PRS SE series, it looks and sounds a lot better than it costs.
Compare the SE McCarty 594 to Other Guitars
This section lets you compare the SE McCarty to some other electric guitars in a similar price range.
PRS SE McCarty 594
PRS SE Custom 24 Floyd
Epiphone Les Paul Custom
Fender Player Telecaster
We link to products on Sweetwater that help support our site and keep the lights on. If you click through our orange buttons, we might earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thank you all for your generous support over the years! ~ Bobby and Danielle
For most of our product reviews we take our own photos, in-house. Thank goodness for portrait mode. For those interested in using these photos, that is completely fine with us as long as you give us credit and don't claim the work as your own. Simply linking to guitarchalk.com near the photo is totally fine.
PRS SE McCarty 594 Review Card
BEST FOR: Rhythm, rock, metal, high gain, intermediate players, performing.
- Thick and percussive tone
- Handles heavy gain really well
- High-end PRS pickups included
- Looks fantastic
- Solidbody with separate top piece (Maple)
- Excellent price point
- Pickup selector switch placement takes some getting used to
- Intonation and tuning gave me some problems
Prices updated Thu, February 29th, 2024.
Guitar's Tone and Overall Sound Quality
I liked the McCarty with distortion better than with a clean tone, but there's nothing to complain about regardless of the gain levels I had set. It handles palm mutes really well and certainly gives you some nice, full open chords. For my Instagram reel below, I only recorded a short segment of a Disturbed song, using the McCarty and a Line 6 Helix One "Swedish chainsaw" distortion. I understand it's a bit chaotic, but with Bobby you get metal. It's just the way I'm wired.
Don't get the 58/15 PRS humbuckers confused with the 85/15. The 85/15 set is a cool $500 (at the time of writing this review), while the 58/15 set is a much cheaper pair that we see on a lot of SE models. However, the 58/15 is still solid, getting you a clear and heavy tone that's particularly good on the rhythm side.
Overall, this is a rhythm-focused electric guitar. And that's not to say it can't handle lead, but it's very comfortable on the percussive, rhythmic side of the spectrum.
I have no complaints at all about the tone.
The onboard controls aren't quite as extensive as the Custom 24-08, but you do have push-pull coil tap, which is weirdly not listed on the Sweetwater spec sheet (it is for the McCarty single cut model, but whatever). From there you have dual volume and tone controls, along with the three-way selector switch positioned on the upper bout, which I've already complained about. With heavier distortion, I didn't really notice much change when tinkering with the coil tapping, but it was more noticeable on cleaner settings.
SE McCarty's Price and Value
The entire SE series was designed by PRS to get their guitars into the hands of players with a lower (perhaps much lower) budget. Mainline PRS guitars regularly eclipse $4000 and $5000. As a result, the sub-$1000 prices of the SE models are a welcome sight for the more common guitar buyers.
Check the price guide above, but at the time of writing this review the SE McCarty 594 was roughly $760, which is an incredibly good deal for a guitar of this quality.
So as we'd expect, the value here is through the roof.
Electric guitars with a separate top piece are my preferred construction, as opposed to a single body of solid wood. The top piece ( usually Maple) is how mainline PRS and Gibson electric guitars are constructed, which is what we see in the SE 594, though without the slick body carving.
McCarty Review Wrap Up
I would recommend this guitar for a wide range of skill levels and musical styles. As I mentioned, it's especially good for rhythm, and a very ideal intermediate electric guitar. But even advanced players will be well-served by the SE McCarty and won't be selling themselves short.
Heavy distortion, punchy rhythms, rock, and metal are all good landing spots for the 594. But really, it can handle just about anything.
It's a great electric guitar with minimal downsides.
If you have questions about my PRS SE McCarty 594 review, leave them in the comments section below.
Related PRS Electric Guitar Articles
Gear and guitar lesson reviews by real guitar players
We buy, use, test, research, and rate the guitar programs and gear we recommend. Sign up for our mailing list and we'll keep you up to date.
By clicking the "sign up" button, you are consenting to receiving updates about Guitar Chalk and recaps of what we publish. You can unsubscribe at any time.