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Archive for the ‘guitar pedals’ Category

KASHA KA-ODP-A

OMG!!! Just gigged with my brand-new KASHA Overdrive last night, and I was in tonal heaven! Even though I’d done a pretty good test on it in my original review, there’s nothing like using gear in a live situation. So here are my observations:

  • Incredible Dynamics – The one thing that is readily apparent is how this pedal responds to pick attack and volume knob changes. It is so amp-like, it’s uncanny! I set the pedal up in unity gain with just normal strums on my guitar. But if I dug in a bit more, the pedal responded just like an amp with a bit more punch and volume. Frankly, the volume swell surprised the hell out of me. It’s not huge, mind you, but the response is so amp-like, it really does take you by surprise. I totally dug that while gigging last night!
  • Plays Well With Other Overdrive Pedals – I love stacking overdrives, and the KASHA OD performs beautifully in this role. I set it up as a based OD pedal, then stack it with my Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2. Those two together are an awesome combination!
  • Lots of Tonal Variety – While my favorite channel on this is the Classic channel that adds a chimey mote to your tone, I also played in the Hot channel as well, and the grit and grind was super-sweet. But add to that the dynamic response of the pedal, and what you’ve got is a pedal that has a lot of inherent tonal variety. Last night, I ran it mostly through the clean channel of my amp. But later, I screwed around with it a bit more in my studio, with my amp set at the very edge of breakup. This is where the pedal just warms my heart! With its touch sensitivity, when my amp is set up at the edge of breakup, I can take my tone from gritty and grimy to sweet and chimey with just a touch of dirt simply by modifying my attack or adjusting my volume knob.
  • Open Distortion Characteristics – No matter what channel you use with the KASHA Overdrive, the overdrive never gets compressed. It just gets dirtier. The cool thing about that is that any kind of compression will then come from your power tubes. I’ve rarely liked that compression in pedals, save for my Abunai 2, which compresses in a very pleasing way, but for most overdrive pedals, I don’t want that at all, and thankfully, the KASHA Overdrive remains very open, no matter how hot you go on the channels.
  • Simple Design – Probably one of the best features of this pedal that I appreciate is its straight-forward design. Notice that it doesn’t have an EQ control. It doesn’t need it. It takes your signal, adds a voice to it, and that’s it! Set your EQ on your guitar and/or amp to where you want it, then set the gain knob on the pedal, and just play. What could be more simple?

All in all, I’m pretty much done with my search for an overdrive pedal. I knew it from the first time I played this; and combined with my other OD’s, I can pretty much say – at least for quite awhile – I’m set in the overdrive department!

I’m an overdrive pedal freak, and I can safely say that this is the best overdrive pedal that I have ever played! It’s hard to believe that this little black monster does what it does. I’m totally blown away by it, and I’ve only gigged with it once! I can’t wait to really start using it in all its modes!

For more information, go to the KASHA web site!

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Wanna slam the front-end of your amp with up to 50dB of gain, then be able to add some distortion? Then look no further than the Way Huge Angry Troll. I don’t have much information on it yet, but it’s a simple two knob affair. The left-hand knob controls the variable boost, while the right-hand knob provides 6 positions of “Anger” from no anger (clean boost) to a full fist. Here’s ProGuitarShop.com’s video demo.

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!stagetrix_riser StageTrix Pedal Risers

Summary: Definitely one of those “why didn’t I think of that” kinds of products. Elevates pedals 1 inch and makes reaching your back row easy. Routing allows you to keep your wires out of the way!

Pros: Very well made, with convenient fuzz to attach your Velcro’d pedals.

Cons: None.

Features:

  • Raises the second row of pedals to the perfect height.
  • Front, back and side openings enable effective cable routing.
  • Premium 18-gauge steel.
  • Attaches to board via heavy duty hook-and-loop fastener on base, which holds firm up to 200°F.
  • Designed to withstand temperatures of up to 200F without melting, so leaving your pedal board in your vehicle on a summer day won’t result in a gooey mess with all the Velcro peeling off.
  • Works with most pedalboards. To be sure, check that you have an extra 1″ of clearance when case is closed. The vast majority do.

Price: $16.99

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 – I dig these things. No, they don’t improve my tone nor technique, but they sure make it easier to tap dance on my pedal board!

This will most likely be a short review because this product doesn’t do much at all – that’s not a bad thing, either… It simply elevates your pedals. But as an accessory, since I’ve installed a set of four on my board, it has proven invaluable to me! In one fell swoop, the StageTrix Pedal Risers made the back row of my board instantly accessible AND cleaned up my cable runs! Where I used to have to run my cables along the sides if my pedals, I now run them underneath the risers because of their built-in routing. My board hasn’t looked this good – EVER!

Admittedly, I was a bit dubious about their ruggedness when I first discovered them. But once I got them, that opinion changed quickly. These risers are heavy and it’s obvious a lot of attention was paid to the details in their construction. They won’t bend, and that’s a testament to their construction. I even stood on one (I’m not a small man), and the pedal riser didn’t budge!

On top of that, the Pedal Risers are set up for immediate and easy use. The entire base is covered with velcro out of the box, and the top is covered with a thin fuzz for attaching your pedals. No assembly required! I hate to attach velcro tape to stuff. It’s a pain in the ass!

Once I got my board set up, I hooked it up to my amp and started tap-dancing. I immediately started smiling because for the first time, I didn’t have to put my foot in an awkward position to engage one of my pedals in my back row for fear of messing up the settings of a pedal on my front line – or heaven forbid, engaging a pedal that I didn’t want to engage. Nothing like doing a clean solo, clicking on my vibe and simultaneously engaging an overdrive. No doubt, it’s a little unsettling. But that won’t happen any longer. The StageTrix Pedal Risers completely eliminate that possibility!

Currently, they’re sold out, so you can’t get them directly from StageTrix Products at the moment. But they should soon make it to retail stores. Check their site often, as they often update it with news!

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stagetrix_riserOne of the things that completely pisses me off when I’m gigging is when I reach my foot out to activate a pedal in the back row of my board, and I end up also activating a pedal in the front row. Aiiiyeeee!!! This happened to me recently at a church gig. I was playing a nice, sweet, clean solo, and want to texture my sound a bit by adding some reverb.

To give some background, my reverb pedal (Hardwire RV-7) is the last pedal in my chain and it sits right above my Holy Fire overdrive. Instead of a toggle switch, the RV-7 has a switch plate, and the travel before it actually activates is enough so that I have to really point my toe so I don’t brush my Holy Fire’s knobs or accidentally activate it. Well, in this instance, I did both: I somehow completely dimed the overdrive knob AND activated the pedal. The next note I struck not only startled me, but also startled the prayerful assembly – enough so that some people actually squeaked! Yikes! No doubt, it was a bit embarrassing…

Then today, I got a Twitter alert that a new user called StageTrix was following me, so I went to Twitter to do an exchange follow, and on StageTrix’s site, I saw a Twitter reply from Premiere Guitar. Intrigued, I checked out their site, and was greeted with a solution to my problem: An 18-gauge steel pedal riser that you can use to prop up the second row of your board to make your back row of pedals more easily accessible! What a great freakin’ idea! It’s one of those ideas where you slap your forehead and say, “Now why didn’t I think of that?” 🙂

I had the opportunity to chat with one of the StageTrix guys a few minutes ago to discuss StageTrix’s invention. They’ve apparently been developing it for about a year and a half, and doing prototypes with various musicians. And their reason for building it? Exactly for what I was lamenting just above!

Here are some details from their site:

  • Raises the second row of pedals to the perfect height.
  • Front, back and side openings enable effective cable routing.
  • Premium 18-gauge steel.
  • Attaches to board via heavy duty hook-and-loop fastener on base, which holds firm up to 200°F.
  • Designed to withstand temperatures of up to 200F without melting, so leaving your pedal board in your vehicle on a summer day won’t result in a gooey mess with all the Velcro peeling off.
  • Works with most pedalboards. To be sure, check that you have an extra 1″ of clearance when case is closed. The vast majority do.

If you go to their site, they’re doing a promotion by putting several of these units up for bid on EBay, with a starting bid at a $1.00. These pedals list for $23.99 on their site, so it’s possible that if you get the winning bid, you could get one for significantly less…

Right now, they’re only available through StageTrix, but they should soon be available in stores. I will be getting a review unit within the next week or so, and will do a review.

Check out the StageTrix site now!

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How ’bout a completely different take on an overdrive pedal? Well KASHA is at it yet again, teaming up with Tone Box, Inc., with the brand-new Skull Crusher Drive! Utilizing KASHA’s RockMod technology, the Skull Crusher sports four voicings and a tone and gain knob. Plus with a 10db boost, you have 8 different analog overdrive possibilities in a single pedal!

Sounds hauntingly similar to the KASHA overdrive pedal I just tested last week. It is a bit different, as it has a Tone knob, which is different from the KASHA overdrive. But I can personally attest to the quality of the tone of the KASHA overdrive, so you can bet the Skull Crusher will have that same sweet tone itself!

BTW, my KASHA OD is in production and on its way. I got lucky, and will be getting one of the signed models with a handwritten serial number… Oh goody! Might be able to sell one of these for a grand in 30 years! HA!

In any case, I’ve never seen a pedal like the Skull Crusher before! This is a totally new approach to pedals, adding a visual as well as tonal touch to an effect. The pedal will be distributed by Tone Box, Inc. and will retail for $399.

As for the physical appearance of the box, each pedal is hand-sculpted stainless steel, and comes in four finishes: gun metal, stainless steel, aged and ancient. According to KASHA, there will also be 24K gold and Sterling Silver models as well. Damn! Imagine having a stomp box that’s worth more than your guitar! HAHAHAHAHA!!! I LOVE IT!

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!Kasha KA-ODP-A KASHA Overdrive

Summary: Just about the most amazing overdrive pedal I’ve ever had the privilege to play!

Pros: 4 “channels” provide different and amazing overdrive voices that add “spice” to your tone. No line noise from this pedal at all! Super simple operation.

Cons: None.

Features:

  • 4 channels with separate voicing and gain structure
  • Analog design
  • 10 dB clear boost
  • True bypass switching
  • Very low power consumption (3mA and runs on a single 9V battery)
  • No tone change, only enhances sound
  • Compact standard aluminum chassis (4 3/8″x2 1/4″ x 1 1/4″)
  • AC power jack (uses standard Boss DC power supplies)
  • High gloss mirror black powder coat
  • Hand made in the USA
  • Low noise
  • Crystal Blue LED (high intensity)
  • Weight: 1.5lb

Price: $200 direct from KASHA Amplifiers

Tone Bone Score: 5.0 – I’ve played through enough overdrive pedals to fill a large trunk, and the KASHA Overdrive is simply one of the best I’ve every played!

If you’ve read this blog with any regularity – and I know I’ve said this in the past – I just can’t get enough of overdrive pedals. I just love ’em! But over time, and as there are so many overdrive pedals being released on a regular basis, I’ve started to limit what I take a deep dive into researching. Lately, I’ve only focused on overdrive pedals that offer a “twist” on the overdrive, and not clones. One such pedal that I recently discovered (and now has a permanent place on my board) was the GeekDriver, that while based upon the classic ColorSound Overdriver, has a sound all its own!

And wouldn’t you know it, I came across the KASHA Overdrive, and its simplicity intrigued me so much that I just had to check it out! Here was an overdrive pedal that required no EQ control! For me, that’s a HUGE thing because the implication is that the pedal’s circuit doesn’t require you to compensate for tonal changes that often get introduced with other pedals.

In any case, if you don’t want to read any further, let me just say this, and have it done with:

The KASHA Overdrive kicks ass, and I will be adding it to my pedal board! Even if you’re not in the market for a new overdrive, you owe it to yourself to give this pedal a serious look!

Four channels, Two Knobs, One Switch and a TON of Ways to Enhance Your Tone

Notice I didn’t say, “tweak” or something similar that would imply that your tone changes once the KASHA OD is engaged. The reason for this is that KASHA built the pedal from the perspective of “voicing” much like an amplifier. Each “channel” on the pedal represents a different “voice.” It’s almost as if you have four amps in a box. In light of that, your input EQ remains the same; but just like plugging into different amps, the KASHA OD offers different kinds of “voicings.”

But it doesn’t just end there with the channels. The gain knob is incredibly expressive and just like an amplifier, provides different characteristics depending upon where you set the sweep. It’s f-in incredible! It’s also really difficult to verbally describe the effect. The closest I can get to an explanation of turning up the gain knob is that it is very similar to turning up the master volume on your amp and the effect that has as more juice is fed into the power tubes. Like I said, it’s hard to articulate…

And then if you didn’t think that the standard gain profile is enough, the “Turbo” switch will kick your amp’s ass even more by giving you a 10dB boost! 10dB may not seem like much, but sonically, it’s HUGE!

How It Sounds

So how does the pedal sound? In a word AMAZING, even when it’s on and you’re not playing anything, because unlike a lot of overdrive pedals, the KASHA Overdrive is dead quiet electronically. No hums, no buzzes, not a single electronic tick. The only noise it makes is when you play your axe through it.

I’ll let you read the documentation on the KASHA web site that describes the different channels – it’s pretty accurate. In lieu of that, I’ll write about my own perceptions of each channel as I experienced them. By the way, I played the pedal through a Fender DRRI and a Fender Princeton Studio, using my Saint Guitars Goldtop Messenger.

Smooth Channel

This channel is a simple boost stage, which ups your gain about 3dB. It’s an ideal channel to use if your amp is already at the edge of breakup, and you want to push it just over the edge to get a little extra bite. Of course, if you add the Turbo, then you get a full 13dB to start really working your pre-amp tubes. The impressive thing about this channel is that it demonstrates the pedal’s transparency. Setting the gain to unity, and switching the pedal on and off, there is absolutely no tonal change whatsoever. Quite nice.

Classic Channel

I loved this channel most of all, and as soon as I made my first strum on this channel, I was completely sold on the pedal. I didn’t have to hear any more. This channel is voiced brightly, and sounds like a friggin’ low-wattage EL-84 amp with all the chimey goodness that kind of amp has to offer. But at the same time, you don’t lose your lows. In fact, the full spectrum of your EQ is retained, but you get this incredibly dreamy, top-end chime that just works its way through your entire body! When I was playing through this channel, I just closed my eyes to listen to that sweet chime.

Hot Channel

Need even more grind? Now you have it. This channel slams your front-end with 11dB of gain, and gives you an added bass shelf. The tone from this channel is absolutely HUGE! And even with the big bass, you never lose any clarity at any time. Do a big power chord, and you’ll rip right through any mix. Pluck a single note and dig in, and that note will sustain – like Santana sustain, baby! And the cool thing is that at no time does your signal compress as often happens with other pedals, and we’re talking starting to get into some serious-ass gain when you’ve got the gain knob and guitar volume completely cranked! Then you hit the Turbo button, and WHOA! Singing sustain that just floats in the air and doesn’t come down!

Melt Channel

Here we’re getting into metal territory as the voicing gets a big, but tight bottom end plus a few more dB’s of gain. And just as with the Hot channel, you don’t lose any tonal clarity at all – you hear every single note, which is all the more amazing in this channel because you’re absolutely slamming the front-end of your amp! You just get a beefy, hairy balls sound that’ll shake the rafters when you’ve got it cranked up! Yeah, “melt” is an appropriate term to be used here because the thick, liquid metal tone in this channel will certainly melt you; of course, in a very good way!

Overall Impressions

Dammit! I wish I had more time to play with the pedal to really take it through its paces, but the store was closing up, and we were playing a bit too loud for the tender ears of the senior citizen sales people, though gracious as they were to let us bring in our own gear. What amazed me the most was how absolutely HUGE the Fender Princeton sounded with this pedal. This is a little 15 watt amp that combined with the KASHA overdrive could be used in a club. No problem cutting through with the KASHA overdrive engaged!

Yeah, I was sold on the Classic channel alone, but I’m just completely twitterpated and ga-ga over this pedal. KASHA claims that not a single person to date has had a bad opinion or offered “improvements” to it, and this includes some very big names in the music business (sorry, not allowed to mention them yet by request of KASHA). Based on even my brief experience with the KASHA Overdrive, I totally believe the claim. THE KASHA OVERDRIVE WILL KICK YOUR ASS!

By the way, I hate KASHA Amplifiers!!! I thought I was temporarily cured of my recent case of GAS, and now the KASHA Overdrive has me salivating, slobbering, and frothing at the mouth with an f-in’ GAS attack!

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Right now, it is an absolutely AWESOME time to be a guitarist! There is so much great gear out there nowadays, that it’s hard to choose what to get. But the great thing is that there is SO MUCH to choose from! For example, look at all the great overdrive pedals that are out there right now. It is freaking amazing, I tell ya!

Some might think that there’s too much gear out there right now. That may be, but it also means that if you spend the time evaluating gear, you’ll most probably find exactly what you’re looking for – at least for now. 🙂

I say “at least for now” because if you’re a gear freak like me, it’s not too long that you want to add something to your rig to enhance your tonal palette. It’s a bad disease, this gear addiction, but it is oh-so-incredible.

But back to the topic at hand, with this much gear, you might think that the likelihood of making a bad choice is also fairly large. But the interesting thing that I’ve found is that most of the gear out there is really high quality, and not only that, at great prices.

Take, for instance, handmade, hand-wired boutique amps. Traditionally, boutique amps have sold for thousands of dollars. But there are some boutique manufacturers out there that are creating great-sounding, high-quality, hand-wired amps for a reasonable price. Most of these are “entry-level” amps meant to establish the manufacturer’s sound and quality, and to provide inroads to their flagship products. A good example of this is the recently released Reason Bambino, an 8/2 Watt tone machine. Priced at $699 and packed with tons of features, this is one of those must-have amps for the studio, and for small venues; not to mention that the tone this amp produces is simply to die for!

Then there are manufacturers like Valve Train Amps and Aracom Amps who simply make reasonably priced, hand-wired amps. Period. Their philosophy is that great tone doesn’t have to cost a lot. And while they’d probably admit that their margins are lower compared to their more expensive brethren, they’ll be the first to say that they want to get their gear into as many players’ hands as possible. With Aracom’s VRX series, that has been the case. Jeff has found a real magical tone with the VRX series (they come in 18 and 22 Watts EL84/6V6 respectively). The heads are $895, and they sound absolutely KILLER! He has been selling these things as fast as he can create them!

But I believe the greatest stuff is coming from the pedal makers. There are absolutely killer pedals out there! And it seems each week brings yet another promising pedal to the industry. There are so many, I can’t keep up with them! Off the top of my head, here are some stellar pedals that have recently come out that are worth a look: TC Electronic Nova Repeater, The Original Geek GeekDriver, Kasha Amps Overdrive, Effectrode Tube Driver, Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret, Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2. Yeah, yeah, I’ve mentioned OD pedals. Well, you know how much I love ’em. 🙂 My personal favorite right now is the GeekDriver, and it will always be on my board. It’s not really an overdrive, and it’s not completely a booster. It’s something in between, and it’s freakin’ awesome, especially when it’s used to drive my Abunai 2, or Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire. As Geek explained to me, the GeekDriver was meant to be stacked. Very cool! And at $205, it is not out of this world.

Even things such as strings and picks are out there for us to enjoy! As far accessories are concerned, they actually start getting a bit more pricey at the “boutique” level, but they are so worth it! I swear by Wyres Strings and V-Picks and Red Bear Picks. Especially with the picks, I’ve paid up to $30 for a single pick, but they last a long time with care, and not only that, they feel so good in your hand that you don’t even notice that they’re there. And that’s what a great pick will do for you.

I could go on talking about great gear that out there, but I’ll just say this one more time: It’s a great time to be a guitarist!

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Kasha KA-ODP-A

Awhile ago, I was perusing a forum where one of the members mentioned in a reply that it’s a good time to be a guitarist. There’s so much varied gear out there that guitarists have all sorts of options to choose from. One area of guitar gear that certainly seems to get regular entries is the overdrive pedal.

The OD pedal is something of which I never tire. There are so many great ones out there – I just can’t get enough of ’em. One such pedal that has just recently caught my eye is the KA-ODP-A 4-Channel Overdrive Pedal from Kasha amps. This pedal promises to be something special. Check out its features:

– 4 channels with separate voicing and gain structure
– Analog design
– 10 dB clear boost
– True bypass switching
– Very low power consumption (3mA and runs on a single 9V battery)
– No tone change, only enhances sound
– Compact standard aluminum chassis (4 3/8″x2 1/4″ x 1 1/4″)
– AC power jack (uses standard Boss DC power supplies)
– High gloss mirror black powder coat
– Hand made in the USA
– Low noise
– Crystal Blue LED (high intensity)
– Weight: 1.5lb

Built By an Amp Builder

There’s something about gear that’s built by an amp builder, especially when it comes to pedals or other peripheral devices. Amp builders have an innate understanding of the electronics behind tone, and how peripheral devices interact with their amps. A great example of this is Jeff Aragaki from Aracom Amps and his brand-new attenuatore, the Power Rox PRX150-Pro. Jeff totally gets it with how an amp interacts with a speaker, and the Power Rox is a testament to that. The same may be said of the Kasha overdrive in front of an amp. I had a chance to speak with John (Kasha’s owner and builder) this afternoon about the pedal, and it was clear from our conversation that this guy really understands the interplay between effects and an amp – especially with respect to overdrive.

Kasha has been around awhile, having been building the famous ROCKMOD line of amps since the 80’s, so they know something about amps, and their tone is well-known. Guitarists such as George Lynch and Davey Johnstone (Elton John), and tons of session guitarists have been playing ROCKMODS for years. So when John decided to build an overdrive pedal, he didn’t want to model it off of traditional circuits, so he created his own. The result is the 4-Channel Kasha Overdrive.

What’s very intriguing about this pedal is that it doesn’t have an EQ. John designed the pedal in such a way that it preserves the tone going in and outputs it with some OD “flavor” as John puts it. The thinking is that you don’t need an EQ if you’re not doing anything to the EQ of the signal. Smart.

The Kasha overdrive is a lesson in simplicity, having only two knobs: An overdrive selection knob to choose from one of the four different overdrives, and a gain knob. Very simple. But it also sports a “Turbo” switch at the top which will add a 10db clean boost to slam your pre-amp tubes with even more gain. But despite all that, this thing operates on 3 milliamps and only requires a standard 9V power source! That is incredible! My beloved Holy Fire requires a special 48V power supply! So what John has created is definitely special.

I’m going to be trying this pedal out in the next coming weeks, and I’m excited! I’ll keep you posted!

For more information, go to the Kasha product page (scroll down to the end to see the overdrive)

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5 Tone Bones - Gear has stellar performance, value, and quality. This is definitely top of the class, best of breed, and it's a no-brainer to add this to your gear lineup!

GeekDriver by the Original Geek

The GeekDriver by the Original Geek

Summary: Is it a booster? Is it an overdrive? No! It’s the GeekDriver.

Pros: From gorgeous, slightly fat boost to searing, face peeling overdrive with tons of overtones and harmonics, this pedal does it!

Cons: None.

Features:

  • Hand-wired and soldered in the US
  • Volume, Treble, Bass and Gain Controls
  • Neutrik and Switchcraft jacks
  • True Bypass

Price: $205 direct

Tone Bone Score: 5.0. I’m absolutely blown away by this pedal! I can’t say for sure, but this is a pedal that I’d almost always have on.

I don’t give 5 Tone Bones away lightly. I have to be so totally blown away by some gear that I have to give it my highest rating. When I first heard the GeekDriver on Geek’s Premier Guitar Video, I immediately became intrigued. Then when I finally met the Geek himself at the shop he shares with Tonic Amps, and he demonstrated the GeekDriver in person, I knew I had to have one, so I told him I wanted one, and tonight I picked it up.

What exactly is the GeekDriver?

As the Geek will tell you, the GeekDriver is based upon the ColorSound Overdriver that was popularized by Jeff Beck. At its core, it’s a clean booster, but the Gain knob changes the game significantly, giving you anywhere from mild breakup to ugly, snarling dog overdrive, replete with tons of overtones and harmonics. At high gain levels, it’s like the ugly dog that’s so ugly you can’t help but love it, if you catch my drift.

One thing’s for sure, it’s not transparent, nor is it meant to be. When active it adds a slight compressive fat boost at all volume levels. The effect is incredibly subtle, almost visceral, in that  you “feel” that coloration more than you hear it. This aspect alone made me give this pedal the 5 Tone Bones. The effect is so sensual and appealing. I know I’m using a lot of flowery adjectives here, but it’s because it’s so hard to articulate the emotional effect that compressive boost has on me. When I get that feeling, I know I’m onto something good.

Then you turn the gain up, and in addition to that colored boost, you get layers of overdrive which become this ugly fuzz as you increase the gain that’s total ear candy. But despite the cacophony of distorted signals, the tone is still incredibly defined and articulate. Unlike a pedal like the OCD which can get pretty muddy when you crank the gain, the GeekDriver just oozes thick fuzz, but never gets muddy. Nice.

How it sounds…

In a word, it sounds awesome. It is very hard to describe what it actually sounds like. It’s like a colored overdrive with fuzz attached. In any case here are a couple of clips (BTW, both clips were recorded at bedroom level using my Aracom PRX150-Pro attenuator. That thing ROCKS, retaining all my tone and dynamics):

In this first clip, I was just noodling, switching back and forth a couple times between the clean tone of my amp and the GeekDriver. Note that I set the Gain pretty high on the GeekDriver on the first section to show how ugly it can get – I love that sound!

In this next clip, I start the solo out only with the GeekDriver, with a very light pick attack. In the second part of the solo, I add my Abunai 2 to the chain to demonstrate how delicious the GeekDriver sounds when another overdrive pedal is stacked on top of it.

I believe the GeekDriver was meant to be stacked. I placed it first on my board, then ran my Tone Freak Effects Abunai 2, and my Creation Audio Labs Holy Fire after it. With both pedals, the GeekDriver just FREAKIN’ ROCKED THE HOUSE!!! Oh, it’s sounds f-in’ awesome by itself, but used as a “base” pedal in front of another OD or distortion pedal, and the mix is like nothing you’ve experienced!

Overall Impressions

As you can tell, I freakin’ love this pedal! I’m not surprise why Jeff Beck dug the original ColorSound Overdriver. This is definitely Geek’s unique take on that classic pedal, and what a unique take that is! It may not be for everyone, especially if you’re looking for a transparent boost. But if you’re looking for something totally different from your typical boost or drive pedal, the GeekDriver has a voice all its own. Like I said, it freakin’ rocks the house!

About the Original Geek

Meeting Geek was pure serendipity. I originally was going to Tonic Amps to meet Darin Elingson about his cabs and Fane speakers. I didn’t know the Original Geek shared a shop space with him. That’s serendipity for you.

For those who are familiar with Jeff and his creations, he is known as “GeekMacDaddy,” and for years, his pedals have been by GeekMacDaddy. But his company has gone through a recent name change, and is now known as the “The Original Geek.” But who cares about the name? I certainly don’t. I just know his pedals kick f-in’ ass!

For more information, and to order one, go to http://www.geekmacdaddy.com.

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minutiae

I asked myself this question this morning while having my morning cup. I was ruminating on various ways to make my signal chain a cleaner. It’s pretty clean as it is, and I pride myself on having little to no electronic noise when my rig is at rest. But I still want it dead quiet. I don’t know if it’s entirely possible, but I knew there were things that I could do. So I started coming up with a punch list of things including getting high-quality cables with good shielding; replacing any non-true-bypass pedals on my board that often cause noise; things like that.

Then I stopped and asked myself, “Where am I at with my tone? Am I reasonably satisfied with it? Is there any specific thing that really needs addressing?” And the answer to those questions was no. I looked at my list and decided they were nice-to-have’s but not really addressing and particular problem or “hole” in my tone. Truth be told, as of late, I’ve been using pedals A LOT less as of late. While I may kick in an overdrive pedal occasionally, and usually have my reverb on, I’ve been doing without pedals. In fact, for the past couple of gigs I’ve played, I haven’t used pedals at all, except for a tuner!

I guess this is the dark side of being a gear slut; it’s really a borderline addiction; an urge akin to an itch you can’t scratch, a unicorn that can’t be caught. Like the cursed pirates in the Pirates of the Carribean, the desire for gear is a lust that is never slaked, or at least easily slaked. At times it gets to the point of not even having a reason for getting the gear – I just have to have it! 🙂

I was actually surprised by my moment of lucidity, and actually relieved that I pulled myself back from the brink of investing yet another few hundred dollars into gear. I also realized that as far as my rig is concerned, I’ve sort of reached a point where the law of diminishing returns is starting to kick in. Yeah, it would be nice to have high-end, expensive cables (I still may do that just for my pedal board), but at this point, it doesn’t really buy me much – even my pedal cables. And while I believe I would get an improvement in my tone, I think the improvement would be more subtle than anything else.

So here’s some food for thought: The next time you want to buy some gear, ask yourself if you’re already satisfied with your tone. Be honest. You may be surprised to find that you are.

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