Another year another PRS SE release that blows other brands out of the water.
I think I’ve become a PRS SE fanboy? And that is super concerning because I kind of hate the whole “blues lawyer” gag that gets associated with the brand. But quite frankly, every PRS SE guitar I try ends up being of the best releases from the year. The SE Silver Sky, the SE 24-08, and the SE Piezo Hollowbody were all huge winners in past years, and now the SE DGT can join the list.
PRS just nails these sub-$1000 guitars, they seem to have perfectly figured out what to cut and what to keep within the budget. If you compared the new SE DGT to the original, you’d notice there are only subtle changes. The tone wood choices are nearly identical (I can’t speak to the specific quality of the wood however). The DGT pickups in this model are DGT “S”, which are clearly an overseas produced version. Similarly, you have molded hardware, for the PRS tremolo bridge, instead of the high end machined bridge on the US model.
But the core features are pretty similar, 3-way switch, coil splits on each humbucker, 25″ scale length, 22 frets, though the bone nut is replaced here by a synthetic nut.
Take a listen to these clean tones though…
The most impressive part of this SE DGT is the pickups AND the coil split sounds. They feel authentic, rich, and sustaining. These coil split single coil sounds are undeniably some of the best I’ve heard on a guitar under $1000. Snappy, articulate, and never too thin or buzzy, they actually bring genuine versatility to this guitar.
No, the SE DGT is not a flawless or perfect guitar. You are missing the locking tuners from the original, and I think the tremolo bridge is firmly above average, but does shift out of tune eventually. Again, it’s not perfect, but for $850 it is exceptional. And I’m not just saying that, sonically this guitar would be at the very top of my short-list of go to instruments.
Here’s some more diverse tones…
As I kept exploring the guitar, adding new pedals or styles of music into the mix, I was really pleased with the end result. The playability on the DGT is great, despite a slightly wider feel than the Fender C-shaped necks I’m used to, I still never felt like any notes were out of reach. I think that shorter 25″ scale length is a real sweet spot that PRS makes its money off exploiting (and I mean that as a compliment). You can have a wider, flatter neck and still be comfortable and accessible up and down the fretboard.
The only thing that has really ever kept me from fully diving into PRS was the designs of the guitar, which are not bad at all. But I’m a traditional guy and prefer Strats, Teles, and Les Paul Juniors. However, this double cut McCarty-derived shape really works for me. It felt a bit more natural than the SE 24-08 shape, and looks fantastic with this gold top finish. For me, this is a PRS SE guitar that I would buy and actually want to use instead of my Les Paul Juniors.
I like it. And I see this placing very high in the 2023 guitar rankings for a variety of reasons. You have supreme versatility with actual, usable single coil sounds and rich humbuckers. The SE DGT neck is comfortable, fast, and feels familiar (never too foreign compared to Gibson/Fender). And so far, the tuning stability, even with the tremolo, is gig ready. You might need to tune up after 4-5 songs, but that’s perfectly acceptable to me. It probably sounds like a sales pitch from me, but for $850 this is a legitimate bargain and is another reason I would probably only ever buy PRS SE and never invest $2000+ into a core model.