Collection Chronicles #1: 'DGT of DOOM'
As always, you can see the accompany Youtube video here. If you wish to continue in the realm of the written word, please scroll below
The PRS DGT is one of those guitars that no one has anything negative to say. It occupies a unique spot in the PRS line-up, more traditional than the Flagship Customs, more off-beat than the traditional McCarty’s and building a stellar reputation with many renowned guitarist.
In a nutshell, a DGT is a lightly modified McCarty. The McCarty is PRS’s original take on the classic Les Paul, with PRS touches like a double cut body (slightly thicker than a Custom 24), 25 inch scale length and a different bridge design. The DGT replaces the fixed bridge with a tremolo, possibly the biggest differentiator between the models, gets its own uniquely voiced pickups as well as a unique neck profile with a narrower width and bigger frets. There are other differences as well such as binding, special lightweight tuner buttons and a nitro finish, but the bridge, neck and pickups are the most significant.
You can refer to my video review of the DGT for more on the model specs and all that wonderfully nerdy stuff. But for today, we shall focus on my journey with this 2018 Charcoal Purple Burst example.
Not all of my guitars have an interesting story nor been through a journey but this one is a bit of an exception. There have been a few chapters in the tale leading it to be monikered the ‘DGT of Doom’ but few have been obvious.
Take for one the DGT pickups. Lusted after many, as you can't get them outside of the guitar (PRS won't sell them to you). Said to be the perfect one guitar to sound like anything. A holy grail neck. A Tele like Bridge. Er..I swapped them out. SACRILEGE!
But we step too far into the story so let's leverage the time machine that prose affords us and start at the beginning. As with many guitar stories these days, it starts with an epic deal on Andertons. At least for me, I'm seriously suspecting that I am responsible for half their overseas sales.
The time was December 2018. Yes we were all flush with Christmas cheer. I had watched enough videos on the DGT , from Five Watt World to the guitarist from Jamiroquai, to be suitably intrigued about the model. Well, what would happen if a purple one just happened to go on Special. Of course I jumped on the thing.
It arrived soon enough (in those days when shipping was faster) and to celebrate, the wife and I made an Andertons made me do it video where she pretended to be angry with me. It's the first post on my Instagram channel if I am not mistaken (Dig it up if you want. It's the same name @ministryofguitar). But after the monkey business was over, it was down to figuring out what was what.
It was one of the rare times when the internet was exactly right. It came with 11s but with large frets it felt like 10s. Very true. The neck pickup was as sweet as proverbial syrup. True. The split sounds and adjustability to knob settings were to die for. I did not disagree. And the bridge was a bit of an Angry tele, read bright, lots of upper mids. Great for low to mid gain. Terrible for high gain and da-djent.
Despite this I spent some time with the guitar and quite liked it. I did a video review and even compared it to my beloved 594, concluding I would choose the DGT as long as I could change the bridge pickup.
Things were all wonderful for a while and I tried to keep convincing myself that the Bridge pickup was passable for high gain metal with the right EQ. But like any inconvenient truth, you could only ignore it for so long. Which left me with quite a dilemma. Should I swap out the pickups on such an expensive guitar or should I sell it for something more suited to my usual applications.
Complicating matters was this particular guitar had a bit of magic about it. I seemed to write a new song I liked everytime I picked it up. Now I buy a little less into the guitar salesman snake oil of 'guitars have songs' (I'd like to believe it's up to the human playing it) but there was undoubtedly something special about this guitar.
Finally I don't exactly remember what it was (perhaps something new and shiny that caught my attention), so I caved in to put the guitar up for sale. Unsurprisingly many were interested and one gentleman made the winning offer of close to what I had paid for it. The appointment was set (He would come to my house) and the guitar would be off
I remember that the appointment was in the evening so after work, I decided to have one last play, just to remember the guitar. Little had I even strummed a chord, that my hands fell into a few modified Bm, A, G, F# based formations that I had never heard before. Two seconds later, the words and melody popped
"Don't let me go
Keep me for a while
Never let go
Don't change that smile'
Within five minutes, I had a full song down, with more lyrics and a seperate progression. It was ridiculous. I have it here in plain guitar + vocals form so that you can get a sense
Now I was feeling really terrible. The guitar was literally telling me not to let it go. And I was just about to sell it.
Well serendipity is a thing. As it turned out, the prospective buyer just ghosted me. He did not turn up. No response on the phone. It was a day later that I got a sheepish message saying that he had been delayed or some other reason. But at that point, as you can imagine, my mind was made up.
The serendipitous run continued with a Bare Knuckle pickup sale ( that was a first and I have never seen one since) by the local importer. I spotted a couple of Aftermaths in Chrome with exposed bolts that would do really nicely and with a visit to my friendly guitar tech Goose, of GWorkx Singapore, the DGT was on it's way to becoming the DGT of Doom
Let me detail the changes to the guitar
- Pickups swapped out for Bare Knuckle Aftermaths. This is a wonderful combination of an extremely sweet if high output neck humbucker and a very high output, tight bridge designed for palm muting. The splits work really well for ambient music, pushing through the effects, particularly in the bridge and middle positions.
- The Guitar is now tuned to C# standard/occasionally Drop B. I use 12-54s which are on the lighter side for the tuning but the guitar handles it well. I can just about squeeze a 56 perhaps (the tuner post width and the saddle width are the constraints)
- I swapped out the white pickup rings for black. Ditto for the tuner buttons which went from ivoroid to ebony
The DGT of Doom occupies a special place in my studio. It is one of the guitars that is out all the time and is my go-to for it's tuning. I also tend to use it whenever I am in a very ambient music mood which typically requires down-tuning but feel like the ergonomics of a regular guitar instead of a baritone. I am not planning any further modifications and it goes without saying, I am not going to make the mistake of trying to sell this guitar again.
Here are some more pictures to sign off. Till next time