Donner DST-400

Seeing Green
Donner DST-400
Price: $189.99

If the pandemic had a silver lining beyond more time at home with our toys, it was the growth of our hobby, witnessed by the spike in gear sales and learn-to-play apps.

But, in weird times, newbs can be reluctant to peel open their wallets. Donner’s DST-400 might be one answer to a burgeoning market for affordable instruments that newer players won’t soon outgrow.

The DST-400 checks the right boxes for this mission: a 25.5″ scale, comfortable C profile on the adjustable maple neck, and good looks – the deep-green body’s alder grain shows beneath the poly (it’s also available in black).

Besides making the DST-400 attractive and easy to handle, Donner gave thought to its versatility. Sure, there’s a vibrato (other bells and whistles include strap, cable, and padded gig bag), but the main attraction is the pickup arrangement; an HSS setup with a five-way switch and a coil-splitting push/pull on the second Tone control yields (reviewer moves lips while counting fingers) 10 pickup configurations.

And those pickups were a pleasant surprise, with plenty of output, chime, bark, and quack to be discovered in the single-coils, while the humbucker offers enough gruff to get your Malcolm Young on. Players into any genre should find those tones – and playability – that inspire.

This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2022 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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