DGN Blaster

Jerry in a Box
DGN Blaster
Price: $165

DGN Guitars’ Dan Neafsey is known mostly for his guitar craftsmanship, notably the Kalos and Terrapin models inspired by Jerry Garcia’s one-off axes, as well his Paragon series (VG, August ’11).

Ever the tone-tinkerer, Neafsey also makes pedals, pickups, amps, and intra-guitar circuits. His latest is the Blaster, a pedal based on the booster Garcia built into the guitars known as Alligator and Wolf.

Designed to evoke the tone of early Jerry Garcia exemplified on cuts like “Dark Star,” “Franklin’s Tower,” and “The Music Never Stopped,” the Blaster is stone-simple – just a knob for Gain designed to react with your amp and playing attack. Naturally, a tube amp will give you a more-organic experience, but the Blaster also improves the sonics of solid-state and modeling amps (DGN also offers the Blaster as internal circuit for those who don’t mind modding their guitars).

Running on a 9-volt battery or standard power supply (not included), the Blaster can be used as a “set it and forget it” preamp to liven overall tone, or specifically as a booster for solos. There’s no wrong way to use it, but in our tests with both a tube Vox clone and a modeling amp, it simply made a flabby tone sound better.

While inspired by Jerry Garcia’s beefy-but-none-too-overdriven sound, the Blaster can be used for any guitar (or bass) style and music.

This article originally appeared in VG’s April 2023 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.

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