Kiesel Vs PRS Guitars: What’s the Difference and Which Is Better?

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If you’re curious about the difference between Kiesel vs PRS guitars and which might be better for you, you’ve come to the right post!

Keisel Background

Although officially starting their work in 2015, Keisel foundations date back to the 1940s. The company grew into Carvin Corporation in the 1970s, becoming one of the biggest players in the game.

Finally, in 2015, Keisel broke off from Carvin as an independent brand. At this point, they’re famous for their high-end custom electric guitars and basses. Even while under Carvin’s control, the brand made such instruments.

What’s awesome about Keisel is that there are so many options to choose from. For the most part, these are modern-style instruments. However, you can also find some single-cutaway LP-style guitars and even hollow-body models.

But guitar players usually remember them for their shred-friendly instruments. Those that take inspiration from the 1980s instruments. And, of course, these aren’t the most affordable guitars on the market. The cheapest Keisel is over $1200 while the most expensive ones go past the $3500 mark.

Some Notable Keisel Guitar Models

When it comes to models, there’s a lot to choose from. There are no strict categorizations like series. But they offer a wide variety and you can find all sorts of guitars.

You have different body and neck constructions, extended-range guitars, and even headless ones. We can also find guitars gravitating towards vintage styles and some that have predominantly modern traits. But they’re all pretty unique and the brand is unlike any other out there.

As far as the models go, it’s hard not to be at least a bit biased about Kiesel. They don’t have a flagship guitar or anything like that. But these are some of the guitars that I found to be most interesting:

  • Jason Becker Tribute
  • Vader
  • Delos Headless
  • Type-X
  • AE185
  • Andy James Signature
  • Aries

Kiesel has a few Jason Becker models. However, the most interesting one in my opinion is the Tribute Series variant. The instrument has it all. Floyd Rose bridge, 14-inch radius maple fretboard, awesome maple neck, and two humbuckers. Additionally, you can also split the coils.

The Type-X is an extraordinary shred machine with its unique looks. A headless guitar with a neck-through design and an incredible choice of finishes. It has a 20-inch fretboard radius, which is incredibly flat, as well as 24 jumbo frets.

Vader is another awesome headless guitar with a flatter fingerboard radius. It comes with a modified Super-Strat body shape and some incredible ergonomic features.

AE185, on the other hand, is a different deal. It’s a semi-hollow-body bearing a Tele-like body. Aside from its two humbuckers, it has an acoustic bridge with a TUSQ saddle and a piezo pickup.

I could go into more detail about each of their models. However, suffice it to say that these are all virtuoso-friendly and versatile modern instruments.

PRS Guitars Background

PRS Guitars started their work in the 1980s. The founder, Paul Reed Smith, eventually led the company to join the best of two worlds. I’m talking about traits of Fender and Gibson guitars.

Throughout the years, the company stuck to its basic formula. There was a double-cut or a single-cut body. And most guitars came with two humbuckers. Of course, there are some variations to this, even hollow-body designs.

After all these decades, they’re not only going strong but are seriously taking over Fender and Gibson fans. And not just that. They have cheaper instruments that are also taking customers from the Epiphone and Squier markets.

Body shapes and headstocks are like a blend of Gibson and Fender. Meanwhile, bridges are either Fender or Gibson-style. The pickups are inspired by classic Gibson’s P.A.F. humbuckers. However, they usually have coil-split options, allowing for those sharp twangy tones.

Some Notable PRS Models

Sure, there are plenty of models in PRS’ collection. However, as I said, they keep to their usual formula for the most part. There’s some versatility to them but it’s more nuanced. Here are some of the models that are worth noting:

  • SE Custom
  • McCarty 594
  • Hollowbody II
  • Special Semi-Hollow
  • Mark Tremonti Signature
  • Fiore
  • Silver Sky

The SE Custom is a cheaper yet super-reliable guitar. It comes with the classic double-cutaway body and two 85/15 humbuckers. It also comes with PRS’ tremolo bridge and a coil-split option.

PRS’ McCarty models pay homage to ex-Gibson CEO Ted McCarty. The McCarty 594 is one of the best variants, bearing some incredible design features. Aside from two 58/15 LT humbuckers, it also has a two-piece hardtail bridge made of zinc and brass. It looks great and sounds as great as some old Gibsons. But it’s super expensive.

To address the elephant in the room, Silver Sky caused some controversy when it came out. This is a Strat-like instrument and John Mayer’s signature model. It’s one of the rare PRS guitars with a different body design. And it’s easily one of the best classic Strat alternatives on the market.

Special Semi-Hollow is another high-end traditional model with some interesting twists. Aside from a semi-hollow body design, we have three pickups. There are two usual humbuckers with an additional Narrowfield humbucker in the middle. Aside from a vintage-ish tone and great sustain, you get additional controls. The instrument is incredibly versatile despite its overall traditional orientation.

Mark Tremonti of Alter Bridge has his signature model with the company. This is mostly a classic metal-oriented instrument. However, it’s capable of a lot of things. Think of it as a Gibson-inspired single-cut that works the best in high-gain settings.

Kiesel Vs PRS Guitars: How Do They Compare?

It doesn’t really take much effort to see the obvious differences between Keisel and PRS. Of course, it’s kind of hard to define it with Keisel due to their incredible diversity in designs. On the other hand, PRS sticks to some basic principles, gravitating towards vintage stuff.

And that’s the main difference between these two brands. Keisel is a modern-oriented guitar brand with an incredibly versatile arsenal. There are no standard models as they rely on diversification.

But despite an absence of strict rules, all of their guitars are virtuoso tools. It’s what you’d expect to see in hands of progressive metal, fusion jazz, and experimental guitarists. And, these are all fairly expensive.

PRS takes the old classic features of Fender and Gibson to a whole new level. Additionally, they offer a wide choice in price categories. Some overseas models are pretty affordable, yet keep all the decent qualities.

I could go on about both brands for days. However, it’s kind of like comparing apples and oranges. Honestly, PRS and Kiesel aren’t very similar brands. It just depends on what you’re looking for.

If you want a simpler traditional electric guitar with some versatility, go with PRS. They’ll usually serve you well for classic rock, blues, hard rock, metal, and jazz. You’ll get Fender’s playability and Gibson’s grittiness. And you’ll also have the option to choose from some cheaper models.

Kiesel guitars are more experimental. They’re daring enough to go into weird places and are incredibly versatile. However, they might be too weird for traditional players. And they’re not exactly cheap either. But they’re one of the best choices for modern prog musicians.   

Kiesel Vs PRS Guitars: Conclusion

I hope this article has helped clarify some of the differences between these brands!

And if you want to read more about electric guitar brand comparisons on this blog, check out:

Lastly, feel free to leave a message in the comments below if you have more questions about this or another guitar-related topic!

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