PRS SE Santana vs Custom 24 [Main Differences]

PRS makes some of the most gorgeous guitars in the market. I think you wouldn’t argue with that.

But looks are not everything, and their reputation is also backed by their incredible sound and price to quality ratio.

The SE Santana and the Custom 24 really follow that norm.

Although similar looking, these 2 instruments have some central differences that might make players lean towards one side or the other.

What are the differences between the PRS SE Santana and the PRS Custom 24, you might be asking? Here is a short answer to that question:

The main differences between the PRS SE Custom 24 and the PRS SE Santana are that the former has a wide thin maple neck with a 25″ scale length and coil-splittable humbuckers. The Santana, similarly to a Les Paul, has a wide fat mahogany neck with custom humbuckers made especially for its 24.5″ scale length.

For those who want to dive a bit deeper into this topic, in this article I will talk briefly about the main features of both these PRS models, and then I will put them side by side to clearly show their differences.

Finally, I will give you my insights into which one I think might work out better for you.

Are you ready to get started?

Let’s go!

PRS SE Custom 24 main features

PRS SE Custom

The PRS SE Custom 24 is undoubtedly the SE line’s flagship. It is the guitar that, in my opinion, retains the stronger PRS soul of them all.

And with the PRS soul, I refer to what these guitars originally were made like. The concept has broadened and shifted with the intention to appeal to more players and that’s great.

The Custom 24 for me has always been like a hybrid between a Stratocaster and a Les Paul.

It has 2 humbuckers as a Gibson, but you can also coil-split them, so it could sound more like a Fender. The body is made of Mahogany with a maple top as a Les Paul, but the neck is made of Maple as a strat.

The best of both worlds, some may say. Others could argue that this doesn’t give it any particular personality that could put it on a certain part of the American guitar spectrum. 

I think that the personality of this guitar is being exactly what it is: An amazing and versatile tool for the modern guitar player.

Another small quirk from the PRS lineup I learned a while ago is that the neck being 24 frets makes for the neck pickup to sit in a position a little bit more towards the bridge. At least if compared with other famous guitars with neck humbuckers such as the Les Paul.

This small shift in position from the neck pickup gives it a particular tone very characteristic to PRS.

Here is the full spec sheet of the PRS SE Custom 24:

SpecPRS SE Custom 24
Body shapeSE Custom 24
Body materialMahogany
Top materialFlamed Maple
Neck materialMaple
Neck shapeWide Thin
Scale length25″
Fretboard materialRosewood
PickupsPRS 85/15 “S” Humbuckers
Controls1 x master volume, 1 x master tone (push/pull coil-split)
Switching3-way blade pickup switch

PRS SE Santana main features

PRS SE Santana

The PRS SE Santana is the signature model of the legendary Mexican-American guitarist Carlos Santana. Santana has been a PRS player for centuries now.

His guitar has its own body shape in the PRS lineup, but I would say that although it shares many things with the Custom 24, this instrument has a more clearer lean towards the Gibson side of things.

I know it sucks to measure everything in terms of Fender of Gibson, but they are and have always been the standard, and I hope that comparison could give you a clearer and quicker idea of what I’m talking about.

The Santana has a mahogany body with a mahogany neck, and their custom Santana humbuckers are not factory coil splittable.

Here is the full spec sheet for the PRS SE Santana:

SpecPRS SE Santana
Body shapeSE Santana Double cut
Body materialMahogany
Top materialFlamed Maple
Neck materialMahogany
Neck shapeWide Fat
Scale length24.5”
Fretboard materialRosewood
PickupsPRS SE Santana “S” Humbuckers
Controls1 x master volume, 1 x master tone
Switching3-way toggle pickup switch

Main differences between the PRS SE Santana and the Custom 24

Both the PRS SE Custom 24 and the Santana are amazing instruments, but I think they are designed to cater to slightly different players.

Of course, the latter one was created to satisfy the needs of Carlos Santana, however, many players will surely share his preferences.

Here are the spec-sheets of both these guitars put side by side so you can see their differences more easily:

SpecPRS SE Custom 24PRS SE Santana
Body shapeSE Custom 24SE Santana Double cut
Body materialMahoganyMahogany
Top materialFlamed MapleFlamed Maple
Neck materialMapleMahogany
Neck shapeWide ThinWide Fat
Scale length25”24.5”
Fretboard materialRosewoodRosewood
PickupsPRS 85/15 “S” HumbuckersPRS SE Santana “S” Humbuckers
Controls1 x master volume, 1 x master tone (push/pull coil-split)1 x master volume, 1 x master tone
Switching3-way blade pickup switch3-way toggle pickup switch

As you can see, the most apparent divergences between these 2 guitars are the different body shapes, and that the Custom 24 has a maple neck while the Santana is made with a fatter (in size) mahogany one. This gives it a more warm tone in the likes of a Les Paul.

Also, the Santana won’t let you coil-split its custom pickups as the Custom 24.

And talking about its pickups, these are made especially to match this model’s shorter scale length.

Finally, if all of this already sounds too much con the Gibson side of the balance, take a look at the pickup switch in the Santana.

Which one should you get?

Here in GearAficionado, I don’t like making such hard choices for you. Getting a new guitar is a very personal process that you should transit on your own and arrive at your own conclusions.

What I try to do with this blog is give you all the information you need to make a more confident decision.

I always encourage you, however, to try out the gear in person if that’s possible for you. What you might hear or feel from playing the actual guitar would never translate completely into written words on an article or even the sound of a YouTube video.

Finally, if you want to know which kind of players I think would prefer each of these models, here are my insights into it:

  • If you are a player that moves through different genres and enjoys a wider palette of tones, check out the PRS SE Custom 24
  • If you prefer a more Gibson focused tone, go for a PRS SE Santana
  • If you are a rhythm player, I think a PRS SE Custom 24 might work out better for you
  • If you are a lead player, try out a PRS SE Santana
  • If you prefer thinner necks, look for a PRS SE Custom 24
  • If you prefer shorter scale guitars, pick up a PRS SE Santana