The Story Behind the All New DGT 15 Amplifier

Posted May 21, 2024

Featured Stories / Behind The Gear

The Story Behind the All New DGT 15 Amplifier

Built in collaboration with longtime PRS artist David Grissom, we are excited to introduce the DGT 15! This vintage-voiced single-channel amp packs plenty of punch in a 15-watt design.

David Grissom Live with DGT 15

When it comes to gear, David Grissom is known for his discerning ear and incredible tone. David and PRS Senior Amp Designer Doug Sewell spent many years developing David's first signature amplifier the DG Custom 30. The DGT 15 is a more affordable alternative to the DG Custom 30 yet carries the spirit of the original - voiced to rival David's favorite vintage amplifiers. There are even some unique features on the DGT 15 that players will find useful, including onboard Tremolo and a set of versatile mini toggles. More on that below!

Below, hear from PRS Senior Amp Designer Doug Sewell about the build process and inspiration behind the DGT 15 design.

PRS Senior Amp Designer Doug Sewell

DGT 15 Amplifier Design History & Development

A Note From PRS Senior Amp Designer, Doug Sewell

The development of the DGT SE guitar paved the way for the concept of an overseas manufactured amplifier designed for David in the spirit of his fantastic DG Custom 30 amplifier. I had always wished that PRS would offer a more affordable version of his signature model, to multiply and expand the extensive R&D we put into the original to a wider customer base. It had been several years since David and I had finished working together and when finally given the opportunity to design the DGT 15, I approached it with extreme passion.

With the trend of lower wattage amps today, it was decided to do a nominal 15-watt amp in a head format—using a pair of EL84s where the DG Custom 30 uses a quad. Features for the amp would mirror its big brother, with a few enhancements that I wanted to suggest for consideration. I also placed all the controls on the front panel this time for easy access. The size of the head dimensionally matches our HDRX 20, which has now been established as the standard for our smaller wattage amps (5 to 30 watts). Voltages in the amp were adjusted to allow for readily available EL84s.

I had watched David demo the original amp many times and I noted how he set up his tones with it. He would generally use the amp with the Boost engaged, Bright switch off, set the volume to edge-of-breakup, and tailor the Master and Top Cut to set the highs for sweetness. He would then proceed to play from cleanish to various levels of overdrive using the guitar volume knob, picking techniques and pedals. For the occasional 60’s-American-Reverb-Cleans, he would turn off the Boost, switch on the Bright switch and turn the Master up. Seeing the effectiveness of this, I designed the circuit to achieve his Boosted settings vs. Clean settings with mini-toggle switch pre-sets on the front panel using the footswitch. Turning on and off the Boost via the footswitch, the player can emulate David’s Boosted vs. Clean settings. The three-way switches can also allow the Bright to be continually On or Off and the Master to be On or Off independent of the Boost function.

Since David’s guitar was called the DGT (David Grissom Tremolo), we had chatted about adding tremolo to the original DG Custom 30 design during its R&D and perhaps calling it the same. This never came to fruition, but I took the opportunity to research and experiment with tremolo designs to add to the DGT 15. I employed the type of tremolo circuit that varies the (cathode) bias of the output tubes which creates a deep, swampy tremolo that reeks of vintage.

Final tweaks of the amp requested by David only included a bit deeper reverb and a tad faster tremolo speed—a testament to the original R&D work we had done in previous years.

Below, watch as David Grissom showcases the DGT 15, and discusses his involvement with the development of his new signature amplifier!

Shape Your Tone

“When it comes to the tone and features, we did most of the heavy lifting more than a decade ago with the DG Custom 30. I‘ve really got to give it to Doug Sewell and PRS for how thoughtfully the DGT 15 was designed. Doug was very meticulous and creative with updating some of the features while remaining true to the DNA of the Custom 30. From the first time I played through it, I was blown away.” - David Grissom

Learn more about the DGT 15's specs here!