The SE guitars are made completely overseas. The S2 models have some parts and maybe some assembly done overseas, but quality control is done in Maryland. The CE and Core models are manufactured in Maryland.
I have never played an SE or a Core model, so I can't comment on those. I owned an S2 Custom 24 for a month and currently own a CE24 which I've been gigging with for the last 6 weeks.
The fit and finish on these guitar is fantastic. Very well dressed frets, excellent finish, sturdy feeling switches and controls. When I got the S2 Custom 24, I was dissapointed in the tone since I was looking for something that sounded like a Les Paul at the time. The pickups were too hot for my taste and the 24 fret configuration felt weird to me. I returned it and got a great deal on a demo model Les Paul. That being said, there was so much to like about that guitar...I was really torn.
6 weeks ago I was browsing my local music shop and the sales person (a friend of mine) put a CE 24 in my hands. It felt great and I was impressed with the tones I could get out of it. It was very light, well balanced, solidly constructed, very well dressed frets, etc. What impressed me the most was the versatiliy of the pickups. I could get great sounding humbucker tones AND single coil tones using the coil splits. My LPs have this capability, but on them the coil split just makes the guitar sound wimpy. I don't get strat-like biting tones, but it comes close. The single coil tones are good enough for stuff like Clapton or Honky Tonk Woman.
It is significantly cheaper than the Core model guitars. It has a simpler carve for the top (control knobs are not recessed) and the neck is maple and is bolted on. Personally I like the look of the maple neck with the unfinished headstock.
I went home and mulled it over and decided to get it. Now I can cover all of the songs we play across all 3 sets with this one guitar. Previously I would bring both my LP and my strat. Now I bring my PRS and my Strat...and the strat comes along just as a backup.
The 24 fret configuration took me a bit to get used to...there were occasions where I'd lose my place on the fretboard and jump to the wrong place. No problem now. In fact, the extra room make it much easier to play. It has become my go to guitar for the moment.