Paul Reed Smith DGT
Paul Reed Smith DGT
Paul Reed Smith DGT
I’ve been using this model guitar since its release back in 2008. I believe I’ve owned about 12 DGT guitars over those years. Yeah, that’s crazy. I’ve been using various models of PRS since I purchased my first one back in 1991. That first one was a CE in electric blue. I’m not going to go on a PRS rant here but I’ve had the chance to own and play almost every model.
For some reason, PRS seems to be the most hated guitar I’ve come across in the guitar player community. I understand some of the reasoning behind this attitude toward them. Personally, I think PRS makes some of the best quality guitars around. When I purchased my first PRS I was searching for a guitar that I can call my guitar. Taking a PRS guitar off the wall and playing it for the first time resonated with me. I was coming out of the 80’s guitar craze where every guitar I owned had to have a Floyd Rose on it and I was getting tired of that. The PRS trem took some time to adjust, but I liked it. Anyway, PRS released a model called the McCarty model, which suddenly became my favorite guitar. The McCarty model came with no tremolo and after playing that model for a while I realized that I wanted a trem on my guitar. I asked PRS if they would put one on for me but they said it would only be available in Private Stock. $$$$… Can’t do it. I knew of David Grissom back then from the John Mellencamp record called Whenever We Wanted. That first chord on Love And Happiness just smoked me..haha… Well,I became an instant David Grissom fan. David has been working with and using PRS guitars for a long time and I kept my ears and eyes on what he was doing. Then it happened, The PRS DGT was released, I believe it was in 2008. It was essentially a McCarty model (I really think Dave designed the Mcarty model first) with a tremolo. BINGO! I had to have one.
So, what’s the big deal?
Out of all the PRS guitars I’ve owned over the years the DGT is just in another zone. I always hear that the DGT is a Les Paul killer well, not exactly. I have a Les Paul guitar and compare them all the time, so I have some experience with that statement. My opinion is that nothing kills a Les Paul, nothing. The same goes with a Fender Strat. These guitars are icons for a reason and just out of respect, I can’t go there. Nothing sounds or plays like them. Ok, let’s get back to the DGT.
The DGT has so much character to it and sometimes I forget how versatile this guitar can be. I do believe it has a lot of Les Paul tonal properties to it but it also dips into the Tele sounds just as much as the LP sounds. I call it The Swamp Tone. The notes are very big and defined, the chords have this clarity to them that the LP doesn’t have. The LP definitely feels slinkier and looser in the string tension and I would say it’s due to the 24 3/4 scale length whereas the DGT has a 25-inch Scale. The scale has its own effect on the feel and sound. The DGT has so much sustain to the single notes that I feel lacks in the LP. The DGT has a darker sound maybe more low mids but when you roll back the volume it gets brighter and a more tele-like character comes out of it. The split sounds are really nice, I like rolling back the volume in the full humbucker mode and that seems to do the trick for me. I like setting the action up with a straight neck and balancing it between 1/16 and 3/64 at the 12th fret. I love having the birds on the fretboard, it seems to be a PRS trademark that I grew custom to having with PRS guitars.
Some issues I've had with the latest DGT versions I've owned since 2020:
Major tuning issues with the new nut. Ever since PRS switched over to this new bone nut I've had nothing but problems with the tuning. The first DGT I received with the new nut had a major ping/string hangup problem. It actually went back to the factory twice for a new nut replacement and even after that, there were problems. I wound up selling that guitar and waiting a few months to get another one. I thought maybe they were working on that issue and I would give it time to clear up. I purchased another DGT months later and guess what? The same issue existed with the new guitar. I tried dealing with it but again, I wound up selling it. I waited a year before I purchased another one and again, tuning issues. I decided to change the nut to the old black nut and wouldn't you know, absolutely no issues whatsoever. I recently found another DGT-Gold Top (2023) that I like and fresh out of the box it plays great with no nut/tuning issues whatsoever. The store that I purchased it from shipped the guitar detuned which caused two stress cracks, one on each end of the body where the tremolo rests on the body. I don't know why anybody would detune the guitar down for shipping, I've handled thousands of guitars over the years (Yes, that's thousands) from all over the world and never had an issue due to keeping the guitar fully in tune. It also had a funky pickup selector switch that would not connect properly in the bridge position. I made some adjustments and so far so good. The switch also moves around and I can't seem to tighten it enough without doing some damage to the finish. Another issue I'm having is the tuning buttons are loose, so when you play the guitar they vibrate enough to be annoying. I contacted PRS and their advice was to put some LocTite on the threads of the button screws. I hope this isn't a new standard for PRS quality control.
Update: I was able to fix the button screws by tightening every button. If you don't hold onto the button the screw won't tighten.
This turned out to be longer than I expected.
The PRS DGT is one of my favorite all-time guitars that I own and I hope to be able to keep one for a long time. It’s just a great all-around guitar to have and I just keep going back to it. I got over all the negative things that have been said about these guitars and just enjoy them for what it is. It’s inspiring to play and now I have that McCarty with trem I was looking for.
Thank you to David Grissom for all the inspiration.
Go check out some pictures of the PRS-DGT guitars that I’ve owned over the years in the guitar photo section.
You can also hear me playing the DGT on my new album, Somebody, on such tracks as Remembering, Bear, and Over Mountains.
It's also used on the track Vomit Face from the album Ambience In Guitar Sounds
Check it out in the Practice Room where I do some interesting jams with it.