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The History of the PRS Classic Electric AKA PRS CE

PRS Classic Electric

The guitar that's been on my wish list for a very long time is the Paul Reed Smith Custom 24. I find PRS guitars very beautifully designed and love the lines and curves on PRS guitars. Since the PRS Custom 24 is at the core of what started it all for Paul Reed Smith it's the PRS that's been on my list. But lately I'm more into stratlike guitars, and am looking to buy a strat or strat alternative. In my search for a strat-like guitar I also came accross a few PRS models. Besides the PRS EG3 and PRS EG4 models I also came accross the PRS Classic Electric, also known as the PRS CE. What made these guitars meet my criteria for being "strat-like" is the fact that they have alder bodies, well, at least the earlier ones. 

I've summed up the information that I found on these guitars and even made an infographic. Enjoy the read!

These guitars were introduced in 1988 as the PRS Classic electric but were later re-labeled as PRS CE's due to trademark issues with Peavey. The earliest versions of these guitars even came with maple headstocks with "PRS Classic Electric" logos on them. They also had an option for a maple fretboard. 

Other specifications were:

In 1989 PRS added the PRS CE Bolt-On Maple top version to it’s productline and also changed the headstock to satin black with the “Paul Reed Smith” signature logo. They also dropped the maple fretboard option, added the wide-thin neck option and replaced the Vintage Treble pickup with the HFS pickup.

In 1995 PRS offered the option for the PRS stoptail bridge, changed the bodies of the CE's to mahogany and introduced the PRS CE 22 Bolt-On which had the same features as the Classic Electric except for the following:

The option for a stoptail bridge was dropped in 2001, the year after which the CE's were only offered with a maple top. The PRS CE24 was only offered with a wide-thin neck and the PRS CE22 was only came with the wide-fat neck. 

Paul Reed Smith Guitars offered the non-maple top guitars again in 2005 when they introduced the PRS CE24 Mahogany and the PRS CE22 Mahogany along with the reintroduction of the maple headstock. This time around with the "Paul Reed Smith” signature logo.

In 2008 the PRS CE’s went back to their original Alder bodies with the introduction of the PRS CE24 Alder and the PRS CE22 Alder and it was the last year the PRS CE's were produced.

Paul Reed Smith Classic Electric / PRS CE History Infographic
Paul Reed Smith Classic Electric / PRS CE History Infographic

Click to see more specifications of the PRS Classic Electric /CE guitars: