Veteran Owned and Operated: The story of how Buddy Lee Dobberteen went from suicidal Marine Corps Raider veteran to successful touring musician and then co-founder of Fallen Raider Audio offers hope to those who serve honorably yet return home disabled, feeling hopeless and suffering from PTSD. At his lowest point after returning from his third tour in Iraq in 2010, Dobberteen received a phone call from legendary Eric Clapton drummer Jamie Oldaker, who heard his song “A Soldier’s Prayer” on Myspace. This led to opportunities to participate in the all-star veterans-based song and storytelling Welcome Home Project tour and inspired Dobberteen to start a band, which opened for Chris Stapleton (when he was a member of the SteelDrivers), Kacey Musgraves and others.
Because funds were tight, Dobberteen would buy DIY kits and start building his own guitar pedals. His friend Donald Hatcher, who did Research and Development for the Navy, taught him electronics—and Dobberteen passed down his skills by teaching other disabled veterans he knew how to build pedals. Hatcher suggested they develop this into an official business, and Fallen Raider Audio was born.
Fallen Raider’s Unique Aesthetic: The Central Texas-based independent company employs disabled veterans and trains them to build high-quality guitar pedals and audio gear in service to their mission—reducing hopelessness and homelessness in the veteran community. As stated on their website: “Our strategic intent is to make Fallen Raider Audio a leader in high-quality pro audio gear that will not only excel in the industry but also provide income and counseling for veterans who suffer from PTSD. We intend to make Fallen Raider Audio an industry standard while changing the lives of veterans.”
Dobberteen says, “We only hire veterans who suffer from these afflictions. Even if they don’t have a specific skill set related to electronics, we hire them and train them. For every pedal sold, we pay for a counseling session.”
They used 90 percent American-sourced components. Also noteworthy is their warrantee pledge: if a product is found defective for any reason, they will replace it free, and if it breaks from routine use, they will repair it for $25.
The Pedals: One page of the website has a compelling headline: “We make pedals so good even the rock stars use them.” This is followed by a list of engineers, producers and artists who use Fallen Raider Audio products: Vance Powell (Taylor Swift, Santana, Chris Stapleton), Brian Moncarz (Alice Cooper, Our Lady Peace), Mike Gomez (the Christian Band Unspoken) and The Reed Brothers (Texas Americana Artist). Each pedal created is named after a fallen veteran, to keep their legacies alive. Their bestselling flagship pedals are The Fallen Raider, an overdrive distortion pedal with excellent tonal versatility, from subtle boost to heavy distortion (Dobberteen says it’s “the tonal equivalent of the classic Marshal Guvnor pedal); and the Bones, Fuzz, which offers a calmer, full-body fuzz with warmth, diversity, “sound you can feel on your chest” and is suitable for bass guitar, as well.
By the end of 2023, Fallen Raider Audio plans to double its product line with seven more pedals, and they are currently developing more studio lineup gear, including a line of preamps and compressors.
Contact Fallen Raider Audio, 949-212-0204