My DGT SE Experience and impartial review


New Member
Mar 23, 2024
Dayton, OH
Hello All,

New to the forum here and new to PRS. I've always admired Paul Smith, the PRS story and have spent mega hours going down the rabbit hole on youtube watching PRS related content. I've got a bunch of guitars, but never owned a PRS and couldn't justify the jack for Core models and the long wait. I'm not a pro, just a long-time player and guitar/gear enthusiast. When the DGT SE was announced and having been a big fan of David G and all the rave over the new DGT SE, I had to have one. Like many, I jumped on the Sweetwater waiting list in 2023 and finally received my tobacco sunburst last fall after 6-9 months and a long journey on a slow boat from Indonesia.

My story hasn't been quite as blissful as many I've read, and I'll explain. This isn't a rant or anti-PRS fake news, just my humble experience. Like cars and everything else we buy, sometimes the quality of an individual unit just doesn't hold up to the hype and we get a lemon. I hope my experience is an exception to the rule, and I suspect it is. I was thrilled with the look and feel of the guitar upon initial unboxing. Beautiful instrument, great feeling neck! Then the not-so-much-fun part emerged quickly. I had several issues right out of the box. First was loss of signal. I removed the control cavity plate and one of the soldered ground connections on a pot housing had popped off. No biggie I thought, and fixed it.

Next issue was major tuning instability and I quickly learned that the infamous 3-over-3 G & D strings were hanging up in the nut slots. Badly. I do most of my own setups and guitar maintenance, so tackled that next and after a little filing and lube I was able to rectify that situation. Next was losing signal in the neck pickup and trying to isolate whether it was wiring, bad pot or bad 3-way. This problem was very intermittent and hard to troubleshoot. When not working, tapping firmly on the neck volume pot made it work. Weird and a new one for me. (I pray this issue doesn't re-surface). At this point, I was super frustrated and setup an RMA with Sweetwater to return to PRS USA for a look-see. I put it back in its case and life got in the way and I never returned it...yet. Shipping guitars is such a hassle. I play every day and have several go-to guitars that get my love, so I marched on.

Fast forward a few months and I recently pulled it out of the bag to re-evaluate and to decide what my next step is with this instrument. I was presented with the worst case of fret sprout that I've experienced on any guitar I own...from a Gibson CS R0 LP to a $500 el-cheapo. I keep an acceptable humidity in my house and have owned over 25 guitars and never had this happen as bad. It was now unplayable. By this time, I'd decided that I wasn't going to hassle with returning it, and had I had it to do over again, I should have just returned it to Sweetwater and called it a day. Longtime customer of Sweetwater, but I think their 55 point inspection is more hype than value. They should have caught the nut issue. Anyways, I have the tools and know-how to fix the fret sprout up and down the neck, top and bottom.

Now I can finally play the guitar again and try to get to know it and decide how I feel about the PUPs, trem system, tone, etc. If I don't learn to love it, maybe I'll hang it on the wall and call it art. Or give it away on Reverb and take my lumps. I sure hope that the rest of you DGT SE owners are satisfied and don't have the quality issues mine is cursed with.

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You certainly have been more than patient. Have you tried calling PRS customer service? I’m curious what they will say, especially regarding the intermittent loss of signal.

The input jack on my SE DGT got loose and had to be tightened. Before I did this, I would get intermittent connection problems.

I’ve heard people talk about using deoxit to fix problems with intermittent loss of signal. They spray it on the pick up selector switch.

I do have some deoxit and will try that if the intermittent loss of neck p/u signal does return. And reach out to tech support if need be. Great idea @Markcari. Thanks.

I believe you are right @bodia. I think I’m an outlier. That’s why I didn’t want to come across as bashing PRS. I think I just got bit by the combination of the pandemic, supply chain/worker issues and huge volume of orders for this model. Whether I keep it or not, the guitar will be better than when I received it.
This might be a dumb question but do you have a Fender/PRS dealer around the area? Usually, Fender/PRS dealer stores have luthiers and techs that went to some training at Fender to work specifically on both brand guitars. They could probably trouble shoot in an instance.

My Santana SE model that I got a couple months ago is a strange work of PRS overseas factory. The pickup selector had broken toothpick on the inside to keep the metal pieces from turning out of position, if I remove the toothpick, the bridge pickup signal disappears and the selector becomes more of a killswitch.

There's a few questionable things about my Santana SE, as there were dings and other strange things that don't appear normal. But I just unboxed my Silver Sky SE last night and it is perfect. I do hear that their quality control is more hit or miss than Squier, so there's that.
Thanks Steve. Yes , I do have a little mom and pop PRS dealer close by, but haven’t been too impressed with the guitar tech on prior jobs he did for me. I think after putting my own time into fixing the issues, it’s now in a much better playing condition.

That’s just bizarre about the jammed toothpick in your switch and I do believe it’s hit and miss out of any guitar factory any more, short of the smaller boutique brands. I’ve bought several new guitars in the past few years, ranging from USA Fenders on down to imports. I did my first Kiesel build recently and it’s been the best by far for me from the standpoint of factory build quality.
I have bought a new SE SAS, and the SE DGT. Both guitars are having issues with the pickup selector. Will usually not engage the bass pickup, or fully engage the treble pickup. Took the SAS to my trusted luthier for a set up and it came back so bad, I had to return to S/W. They sent another, still pickup selector issues. I'm done with PRS overseas for the duration. Someone should tell the owners to stop installing cheap components on a moderately priced guitar. A new low for PRS.
I’ll pipe in and say my DGT SE, bought in January is having intermittent selector switch issues as well. Must be a loose or partial solder joint, a quick tap on the back control cavity cover fixes it. May re melt all the solder joints this weekend but need to clean up my shop/ sump pump room first. Otherwise, I’m quite happy with the guitar. Complements the Silver Sky SE I bought laat year.
I purchased a new SE DGT from Sweetwater in February. It was good right out of the case. It was built in January of 2024. I have no complaints with this guitar. It plays and sounds great. I don't have any electronic issues but I have a wire harness being built which consists of CTS and Switchcraft parts.

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I’ve applied DeOxit a couple times. Will pull the cover and snoop around after a dog walk.
Check the tabs on the back of the switch. Could be that as well. The tap on the cavity is interesting. Although I've had taping on the guitar help.

Just double checking. When using DeOxit, did you work it in good flipping back and forth? Rinse and repeat. Might as well hit the pots while the can is out. Can't hurt! Which did you use? D5 or F5? I do a combo of both.

Good luck with the chase and inspection.
Put a multimeter on the output. Wiggling the wires causes a short or different resistance. Romoved and resoldered the 2 white wires going to the push/pull switch. Still doing it. Resoldered the 3 way switch connections and think its fixed, letting it cool. Ice cream stands open today daughter is working the one down the street. Gonna go grab one and check back later.
My SE SE was not played for a few weeks (3.5) as I got some new SE basses that I’ve been spending a lot of time in. When I picked my SS it had the worst fret spout I’ve ever experienced. Unplayable. And not because it hurt my hands because I would be able to put up with that. The high e string kept getting stuck under the sprouted frets every time I attacked the strings with any kind of regular force. This on top of me having to change the 3 way switch already all within the first year of having it. IMO the Korean SEs are unquestionably superior guitars to the ones made in Indonesia. Even the Chinese prs feel better to me than the indo ones. My SE HBII piezo (made in China) is unbelievable and puts the SS quality to shame.