Fender American Performer Stratocaster vs PRS SE Custom 24

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Finding the particular specs of 2 guitars online is quite some work.

In many cases, the manufacturers don’t inform the same features about the instruments that you want to compare and you have to start digging all over the web to find them.

But hey, relax! 

If you are here, it seems like I have already done that job for you.

Here is a brief description of these 2 guitars:

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster is made in USA, has a solid alder body, a bolt-on Modern “C” maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and SSS pickups. The PRS SE Custom 24 is made in Indonesia has a solid mahogany body, a set Wide Thin “C” maple neck, rosewood fingerboard, and HH pickups.

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has Fender Classic Gear tuners, Yosemite Strat Single-coil pickups, and Neck pickup blend electronics. The PRS SE Custom 24 has PRS Designed tuners, PRS 85/15 “S” Humbucker pickups, and Coil-tapping electronics.

For those who want a deeper dive into all the specs that make these 2 guitars different, in this article I will put them side by side so you can see their main differences.

After that, I will show you some sound tests I found, and give you a brief history of each one of them.

I will then talk about their main specs one by one, and link you to some other interesting articles I have written about these specific features.

Finally, I will give you some comments about each of these instruments.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s go!

Fender American Performer Stratocaster and PRS SE Custom 24 side by side

SpecFender American Performer StratocasterPRS SE Custom 24
Years of productionSince 2018Since 2000
Made inUSAIndonesia
Body typeSolidSolid
Body shapeStratocasterDouble Cut
Body materialAlderMahogany
Top materialMaple
FinishGloss PolyurethaneGloss Polyester
Neck materialMapleMaple
Neck shapeModern “C”Wide Thin “C”
Headstock shapeFender Stratocaster 70sPRS
Neck jointBolt-onSet
Fingerboard materialRosewoodRosewood
Fingerboard radius9.5″10″
Number of frets2224
Fret materialNickel SilverNickel Silver
Fret sizeJumboMedium Jumbo
Scale length25.5″25″
Bridge6-saddle Vintage-style Synchronized TremoloPRS Molded Tremolo
TailpieceBridge integratedBridge integrated
NutSyntheticSynthetic/Bronze powder blend
TunersFender Classic GearPRS Designed
Pickup configurationSSSHH
Neck pickupYosemite Strat Single-coilPRS 85/15 “S” Humbucker
Middle pickupYosemite Strat Single-coil
Bridge pickupYosemite Strat Single-coil / Performer DoubleTap Humbucker (HSS)PRS 85/15 “S” Humbucker
ElectronicsNeck pickup blendCoil-tapping
Controls1 x Master Volume, 2 x Tone, push/push add neck blend (SSS) / 1 x Master Volume, 2 x tone push/push coil-split (HSS)1 x Master Volume, 1 x Master Tone (push/pull coil-split)
Switching5-Way Blade3-Way Blade
Weight7 – 8 lbs7 – 8 lbs
PlayersJeff Beck, Ritchie Blackmore, Eric Clapton, Rory Gallagher, David Gilmour, Jimi Hendrix, George Harrison, Eric JohnsonDave Navarro, Steven Wilson, Mark Tremonti, Mark Holcomb, Alex Lifeson, John McLaughlin, Paul Jackson Jr., Vernon Reid, Tyler Larson
CaseGig bagGig bag
Price$1299$849

What do they sound like?

Fender American Performer Stratocaster play demo

PRS SE Custom 24 play demo

Brief descriptions

A brief description of the Fender American Performer Stratocaster

“A modern expression of the solidbody electric guitar that started it all, Fender’s American Performer Stratocaster delivers the latest in US-made quality and value. The American Performer Stratocaster boasts a massive tonal range. A trio of Fender Yosemite single-coil pickups — with flat-staggered pole pieces to increase output — serve up classic Strat spank and sparkle, infused with gobs of sustain for soloing. A push-pull tone knob lets you add the neck pickup to any position, opening up a huge, extended tonal range. The second tone pot engages Fender’s Greasebucket master tone circuit, which rolls off highs without reducing gain. Not to be overshadowed by its innovative electronics, the American Performer Stratocaster, naturally, features the outstanding comfort and playability you expect from a Fender Strat.”

Source: Sweetwater.com

A brief description of the PRS SE Custom 24

“The Paul Reed Smith SE Custom 24 solidbody electric guitar puts the sound, playability, and gorgeous looks of the Custom line into a more affordable instrument. The SE Custom 24’s mahogany body and maple top now feature a more traditional “violin” body carve that gives it the feel of top-level Custom 24 guitars. A pair of 85/15 “S” pickups delivers a wealth of superb humbucking or single-coil tones. Its maple neck features a Wide Thin shape for comfortably fast playability, and the rosewood fretboard is adorned with old-school Birds inlays for that iconic PRS look. This guitar is a true PRS through and through, as well as being a great value — you don’t have to be a touring rock star to enjoy the PRS SE Custom 24’s exceptional tone and playability.”

Source: Sweetwater.com

Body type

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a solid body. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a solid body.

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Chords
Chords

As you probably know, the body type of a guitar is a defining factor for its character and tone. 

If you want to know more about how these kinds of bodies affect these guitars, you can check out this article:

Body shape

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a Stratocaster body. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a Double Cut body.

The shape of a guitar’s body has serious implications on its playability, but not so much on its tone.

If you want to know everything about the effect of guitar body shapes, and their influence on the instrument, check out this article:

Body material

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a solid alder body. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a solid mahogany body.

The kind of material used to build a guitar’s body is something you should really pay attention to.

This is one of the main factors that define the tone of an instrument.

If you want to know how these specifics materials impact the tone of these guitars, you should take a look here:

Top material

Guitarists are often curious about how guitar tops affect tone. 

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There are many factors that contribute to the sound of a guitar, and whether it has a top is an important one. With so many options on the market, it can be difficult to make a decision. 

The following article will explain what guitar tops are and why they matter, as well as provide guidance for those who want to learn more about these options.

In short, a guitar’s top has a slight, but perceivable, influence on its tone, however, they are mostly used for aesthetic purposes.

Whether your preferred guitar has one or not, it shouldn’t worry you too much.

However, if you want to know all there is about guitar tops, go here:

Finish

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a gloss polyurethane finish. The PRS SE Custom 24 is painted with a gloss polyester finish.

Guitar players know that there are many variables in determining the sound of a guitar. Yet, one of the most popular debates is about nitro vs poly. 

Let’s explore this question, so you can make an informed decision for your next purchase.

These 2 finishes are both types of varnish that can be used to protect and beautify a guitar’s wood. They also have slightly different properties that some players argue can influence the tone of your guitar.

Nitro is a type of varnish that is thinner and less durable, while poly is thicker, way more durable, and cheaper.

Poly provides more protection from moisture and scratches, but some people argue it reduces resonance and sustain. Nitro wears off with time but has a more organic feel to the touch and is said to improve sustain and resonance.

Neck material

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a maple neck. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a maple neck.

The type of wood that a guitar neck is made of will have a significant impact on the tone of your guitar. 

Tonewoods have different densities, hardness, and acoustic qualities. 

The type of wood a guitar neck is built with will determine its final sound. 

In the following article I present you a list of the most common tonewoods used in guitar necks, and the influence they could have on the tone of the instrument:

Neck shape

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a Modern “C” neck. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a Wide Thin “C” neck.

The shape of a guitar neck has a significant impact on the tone and playability.

Guitar necks come in a variety of shapes, so it’s important to know what each of those shapes offers.

Luckily for you, I’ve compiled some general information about each different type of guitar neck shape so you can make an informed decision when choosing your next guitar:

Headstock shape

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a Fender Stratocaster 70s headstock. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a PRS headstock.

The shape of a guitar’s headstock is not really a big defining factor for its tone.

However, many players argue that differences in mass, especially at the end of the neck can have some implications in tone.

In this article I go deep into that topic and answer the most pressing questions:

Neck joint

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a bolt-on neck. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a set neck.

Guitar necks come in a variety of different joints, and each one has its own pros and cons.

Knowing the differences between each joint can help you decide which is best for you.

A guitar’s neck joint is what attaches the guitar’s neck to the body of the instrument. 

There are 3 types of neck joints: bolt-on, set, and neck through. 

Bolt-on necks are attached by screws at the heel of the neck and can be removed easily for repairs or customization. 

Set necks attach to a pocket in the guitar’s body and stay put with glue.

In neck trough instruments, the neck elongates and becomes the central piece of the body, where most of its hardware is mounted. Then, there are wood “wings” glued to its side to complete the body shape.

If you want to know the specifics of each of these joints, check out this article:

Fingerboard material

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster fretboard is made of rosewood. The PRS SE Custom 24 fretboard is built of rosewood.

The material of a guitar’s fingerboards is as important as the one of the rest of the neck.

In conjunction, both these 2 parts have a deep impact on the final tone of the instrument.

Also, take into consideration that the fretboard is the point of contact for your playing fingers with the guitar, so feel is also a very important factor.

In the following article, I share my thoughts on different fingerboard materials and their impact on the final sound of the instrument:

Fingerboard radius

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a 9.5″ radius. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a 10″ radius.

The radius of the fingerboard is a measure of how curved the neck of the guitar actually is when looking at it from bridge to nut.

This curvature is really a defining factor for how the instrument plays, and some players are very strict about it.

If you want to know more about how it’s measured and the effect it has on the playability of a guitar, you should look at the following article:

Frets

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has 22 jumbo nickel silver frets. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with 24 medium jumbo nickel silver frets.

The frets on a guitar have a deep impact on its playability.

Many players don’t consider this as important as other features, but more experienced ones will be very picky about this.

Bigger frets make a guitar easier to play, however, they hinder the overall intonation of the instrument.

Also, there are different fret materials to consider.

In these articles, I dive deep into how important are frets for a guitar.

Scale length

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a 25.5″ scale length. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a 25″ scale length.

The scale length of a guitar refers to the longitude of the vibrating part of the string.

This is measured from the nut to the bridge, and for intonation purposes, the middle point is always the 12th fret.

Different scale lengths have varying influences over things such as string tension, and of course, fret gap size.

If you want to know more about this, I invite you to read the post below:

Bridge

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a 6-saddle Vintage-style Synchronized Tremolo bridge. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a PRS Molded Tremolo bridge.

A guitar’s bridge is one of the 2 points of contact the strings have with the body and neck.

It is a central part for the transmission of vibrations through the instrument, and also defines many important factors for playability such as string spacing and action.

Some bridges also have extra functionalities.

To know everything there is about this part of the guitar, please go here:

Tailpiece

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a bridge integrated tailpiece. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a bridge integrated tailpiece.

Tailpieces are often forgotten when thinking about guitar parts, however, they have been there for centuries, and there are many different designs with alternate features.

Whether your guitar has a standalone one or a bridge that works like one too, you might be interested in broadening your knowledge about tailpieces here:

Nut

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has a synthetic nut. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with a synthetic/bronze powder blend nut.

The nut of a guitar is a small but very important part of the instrument.

It helps define string spacing, action, and is the source of many of the tuning issues cheaper instruments suffer from.

There are many kinds and materials of nuts out there, and if you want to know how they can impact your instrument of choice, you should go to this article:

Tuners

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has Fender Classic Gear tuners. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with PRS Designed tuners.

Guitar tuners don’t have a direct effect on how a guitar sounds.

However, their quality will be a defining factor in your playing experience. 

It’s fundamental that your instrument has good quality machine heads to keep it in tune.

In the following article, I dive deep into the most common questions players ask about tuners, and their functionality:

Pickups

Guitar pickups are one of the main components of any electric guitar. 

But do guitar pickups make a difference in sound? This can be a difficult question with many different answers.

The most important thing to note is that it is not just the type of pickup that determines a guitar’s sound, but also how and where you place the pickup on the guitar.

In this guide, we will discuss the different types of pickups and how they affect your sound

We will outline how pickups work and what are the central factors that determine how they influence the tone of your instrument.

Finally, we will help you compare different models and make an informed decision about which pickup is right for you.

Electronics

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster has Neck pickup blend electronics, 1 x master volume, 2 x tone, push/push add neck blend (SSS) / 1 x master volume, 2 x tone push/push coil-split (HSS) controls, and a 5-way blade switch. The PRS SE Custom 24 is built with coil-tapping electronics, 1 x master volume, 1 x master tone (push/pull coil-split) controls, and a 3-way blade switch.

The electronics of an electric guitar are what give the instrument its name. However, because they are hidden inside the cavities into its body, they are often forgotten.

Controls, switches, capacitors and resistances, all make for the circuitry of a guitar, and all have effects on the final tone and sounds it can offer to the player.

If you want to know the main things about this topic, I recommend you follow this link:

Weight

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster weighs 7 – 8 lbs, and the PRS SE Custom 24 weighs 7.5 lbs.

Guitar weight is an important factor when it comes to finding the right guitar for you. 

A heavier guitar will give you more sustain, but a lighter guitar will be more resonant, and easier to play and carry around. 

However, there’s no single answer to whether a lighter or heavier guitar will sound better than the other. 

There are also many factors that could determine what weight of guitar would be best for you.

Here, I explore some of these considerations and what I think are the main points to take into account:

Final comments

The Fender American Performer Stratocaster is a modern take on the classic American Fender strat, with current-era electronics and tonal options.

The PRS SE Custom 24 is a great example of how amazing Asian-made guitars can be. It has an incredible price to quality ratio, and if it fits within your budget, you will surely love it.

Which one do you think you like better?