Finding the perfect guitar can be pretty challenging, especially if you’re into multiple genres of music and you want somewhat of a more versatile instrument.
From the all-time classics like Fender, Gibson, or Gretsch, where you’ll find the most sought-after and expensive vintage instruments, to the modern era brands like PRS or Suhr, many guitars accomplish this task of covering a lot of ground sonic-wise.
But what is the most versatile guitar you can get?
One of the most versatile guitars you can get is the PRS Custom 24. It is perfect whether you’re playing Bossa Nova, Jazz, Rock, Metal, or Country. It has everything you need, from really great-sounding humbucking pickups that can be split into single coils to a perfectly balanced PRS Patented Tremolo system.
The Custom 24, in its way, pleases the eye of any player. The stunning finishes available in all the ranges of this model are endless, from the eye-catching Carved Figured Maple finish in McCarty Sunburst shown above to the more modern-looking Flamed Maple in both the body (in Blue Fade finish) and the neck shown below.
That’s the guitar that started it all for Paul Reed Smith. He designed everything from the volume and tone controls and its 5-way blade switch to its 85/15 pickups. It is so well balanced, so smooth to play; its timbre is so well-thought that any guitarist used to improvise and that cares about his tone enjoys it. But why does it work so well in all these genres of music?
That alone covers several styles of music, such as R&B, Neo Soul, Jazz Fusion, Samba, and the list goes on, where the guitar has a soloing role in fulfilling, not in a rock-oriented way in a more jazzy approach.
In the photo shown above, Mayer is playing a Custom Shop version of this guitar, as indicated by the headstock. Also, a remarkable detail of this one is the number of pickup splitters/selectors (six with the main 5-way one). Many versions of this guitar have these, especially Custom Shop ones, which contribute to the versatility factor of the instrument. You can get so many timbres and tones with it!
Many jazz players like the great Brazilian guitarist Ricardo Silveira are famous for playing a semi-hollow body version of the Custom 24, another ramification of the Custom 24 models that speaks to a particular kind of player. Mayer himself, in fact, even at some point had his signature semi-hollow Custom 24, called the “Super Eagle”:
When it comes to a guitar tone with a lot more gain, like in Rock or Metal, it is also perfect due to the quality of its pickups. It was popular among guitar players from New Metal bands in the early 2000s, like Brad Delson and Mike Shinoda from Linkin Park.
As you can probably tell by now, the PRS Custom 24 is the best guitar available if you want an extremely versatile instrument, from Metal to Jazz, especially if you’re the kind of player that loves so many different genres of music!
Do you want to know what amp and gear you should also get to go with your PRS Custom 24? Continue reading to find out. This way, you will be as prepared as possible to play a wide range of music styles.
What is the most versatile guitar amp?
The most versatile guitar amp is the Fender Twin Reverb. From its unique clean sounds to its tube preamp that warmed up can give you a ton of overdrive, this amp is perfect for pretty much ANY kind of music. It responds perfectly to pedals and works well both in low and high volume situations.
The Twins for intimates have been and are everywhere. From The Beatles to The Grateful Dead, from B.B king to Eric Johnson, from Jeff Beck to John Mayer, these amps are straightforward industry standards when it comes to versatile guitar amps, and you can find them on backlines of venues and clubs around the world. Just for two reasons, they are incredibly reliable and great-sounding amps.
A fascinating fact about the Fender Twin Reverb is that, either if you’re playing a single coil or a humbucking guitar, the timeless 85-watt combo creates the same crystal clear, clean sound that has the essence the amp.
It’s worth mentioning the speakers themselves, as they are pretty iconic and commonly associated as the reason for this pure American Fender sound. Some might say that the Fender Twin Reverb can be too loud, and that’s true because Leo Fender-designed it in the 1960s to be a workhorse stage amplifier, not a bedroom-size amp.
More recently, Fender released a reissue of the 1965 version, which was probably the most famous one. A must-have for every guitar player.
What are the most useful guitar pedals?
You’ll always need a Tuner; Overdrive is a must-have, Compressor will boost your sound, Delay/Reverb is essential, A Noise Gate will save you, Chorus/ Flanger is the perfect way to create crazy and different sounds, An Equalizer is an ideal way to get a good, consistent guitar sound. Here’s why:
No matter what gig you’re in, a Tuner is essential. You have to have an Overdrive, not one guitarist, besides straight-on jazz cats, plays with the clean sound only, not ever really. Not to mention that a good overdrive pedal can also boost your amp sound.
A compressor will boost your sound, sometimes when you’re playing live with a band, and you feel like your guitar sound is not showing up so much, and it just seems lost in the stage noise, a compression pedal probably will be just the right thing for you, it can help you cut through the mix.
Delay/Reverb is essential to clean chords, lead solos; they all need these effects to get the spectrum of the sound amplified to their full potential. A Noise Gate will save you because, when you have this many pedals on, many cables and connections can go wrong and ruin your guitar signal. A Noise Gate you assure no “rum” sound happens, and the sound stays perfectly intact.
Chorus/ Flanger adds a lot of flavor to your parts, and it can be the secret to a beautiful clean sound. An Equalizer pedal is a perfect way to get a good, consistent guitar sound, no matter where you are playing.
Every serious gigging guitar player requires different sounds and tones to deliver properly as a musician, mainly because the guitar is such a volatile instrument timbre-wise; in other words, you can do so much with it!
If you are a versatile instrumentalist who plays lots of music, you need multiple pedals to create the tones the music you’re playing requires.
Trying to stay faithful to music if you are a musician means trying it all, from genres to gear and techniques. It means constantly seeking the best solution for what fits you, your style, and your playing. Still, we can assure you, if you have a PRS Custom 24 plugged into a Fender Twin Reverb, with all the most valuable pedals previously talked about, you’re ready for pretty much any gig on the planet!
Fred Meyer is a guitarist, arranger, and music enthusiast. Currently, he is playing with his Fusion-rock instrumental trio and is graduating from Music school at the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, studying Arrangements in Popular Music.