Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Magic in a Box



Take a minute and look at this awesome logo from Greenhouse Effects... Anyone with this much creativity must have a talent for building great effects pedals. Once again I was so fortunate to come across such an awesome pedal company. I was doing some surfing on Youtube when I came across some Greenhouse Effects pedal demos. The videos were simple and straight to the point, but more important they sounded pretty damn good. I said to myself; "If these pedals sound this good through these videos they must sound amazing up close and personal". So my hunt began and I shot Greenhouse Effects an email. Later I would get an email from a cat named Roy, and he would inform me his little boutique company was stationed in Israel, that's right Israel! This just goes to show how far the pedal bug has really traveled. Like many of the great companies we feature on our site Greenhouse is also a one-man operation, ran by Roy, designed by Roy, and built by Roy. Turns out this Roy character is one of the most skilled mo-fo's we have ever come acorss. The pedal he ended up sending us? An overdriver. A simple 3 knob overdriver with a sound like no other. Now there are many many OD pedals available today, vintage ones, mass produced ones, boutique models, and rare out of this world designs. The only thing the Greenhouse OD pedal has in common with the list above is it's an overdriver. The Goldrive MkII brings 100% flavor, no-frills attitude, and a collection of splendid tones that'll turn your amp into a screaming box of magic tones. Try and get that from any old 3 knob overdrive pedal... Not gonna happen is it?


Greenhouse Effects
Goldrive
MkII

There are two kinds of pedals I can never have too many of, one being fuzz boxes, and the other being overdrivers. Having a collection of a great sounding overdrive pedals is like having a palette of endless colors, they are the tools I use to paint my songs with. Every now and then I come across an overdrive pedal that's capable of much more than one just one sound, a pedal able to sound-off in many different styles of voices, a pedal like the Greenhouse Effects Goldrive MkII. I won't lie, at first I thought to myself "Oh well, here we go again. Looks like another TS-808 clone..." Boy was I wrong. Not that the Goldrive MkII isn't capable of all the great tones of a vintage Tube Screamer, it's how much further this pedal was able to take my sound that had me impressed. With three knobs alone I was able to get clean boosts, semi-clean boosts, mild grit, smooth crunch, classic rockin overdrive, killer lead tones, and all-out saturated distortion. Looking at the Goldrive you'll find a Level knob, Gain knob, and Tone knob... the perfect recipe for dialing in magnificent guitar tones. There is no need for a manual here folks, if you can't figure out what these three knobs do you better go ahead and go back to stompbox kindergarden. The Goldrive MkII is true bypass, is built with nothing but the best components, is housed in a built to last enclosure, and comes with it's own beautiful velvet-like pouch with the Greenhouse Effects logo stamped on it. Simple and straight to the point, all tone and no filler.

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Strat and a '57 Twin

The night the Goldrive arrived at our studio one of my buddies had just gotten an insanely beautiful Fender '57 Twin Amp, he brought it over for us to rock and drool over, it was a reissue of course but damn was it gonna be a sweet match up for my Strat and the Goldrive MkII. My buddy was more than happy to break the amp's cherry with the Greenhouse Effects Goldrive MkII so we got to steppin. I set the amp just a hair before breakage, with the Presence to 7, Bass to 9, Treble to 4, volume between 6-7, and plugged into the Normal channel. I flipped the guitar's neck pickup and set the Golddrive to a slight boost setting. This sent the amp's tone into a perfect screaming blues tone! The '57 jumped, rumbled, and spit overdrive fire all through our tiny little studio. By just barely digging into the guitar's strings I could get the hairiest of notes, the more I dug the dirtier things got. Backing off on my pick attack landed me in a perfect blend of dirt'n'clean, and slamming down on chords broke the tone wide open into a rolling thunder of guitar tone. This showed me just how touch sensitive the Goldrive was. Slowly I rolled up the pedal's gain, matched the volume to the amp's, and left the tone right where it was. Again it gave me more harmonics, more size, and more attitude. Something my buddy pointed out was how intact the pedal's tone stayed. Some overdrive pedals get either too muddy or too icy as you turn their gain control up. The Goldrive MkII doesn't suffer from this problem, you can set the pedal's tone to either match or accent your amp's sound, once you've got it, you've got it. Before my friend left our place with his beautiful amp there was one last thing I had to try through the '57 Twin, a setting a famous singer songwriter once tipped me on. It goes like this; Set the amp's Treble, Bass, and Presence all the way up, the Volume at 8, and plug into the Bright channel. Take the guitar's tone knob and roll it back all the way, next place your favorite overdrive pedal in the mix (I threw the Goldrive in of course), and set the pedal's knobs straight up. I flipped the standby switch to On, positioned my favorite guitar chord, and let it fly.... All I have to say is OH-MY-GOD! I promise you have never heard a wilder classic rock tone in all your life. It was like a combination of a Neil Young and Brian May tone. By turning the pedal's tone up and down I was able to different shades of this massive sound, once I began turning the gain up it was all over. We had that '57 shaking like it had never shook before. My buddy was proud to have had his amp's virginity taken by the Greenhouse Effects Goldrive MkII.

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Humbuckers, Single Coils, P90's, Oh My!

One thing I really wanted to do with the Goldrive was run it through as many different guitars as possible. So my partner and I went ahead and pulled out all of our favorite guitars, our All-Star collection we call it, we felt this would give us the best insight on what this pedal was capable of. The first of the champs to put the Goldrive to the test was my Custom Tele, her name is Lady, and she alone can dish out some pretty awesome tones. I set Lady to her neck humbucker (untapped), and set the Goldrive MkII straight up the middle. The amp used was a 100 watt Super Lead with everything set up the middle and plugged into the top 1rst channel. Alone the amp pumped out a nice'n'thick semi-clean tone, once I added the pedal things would once again change... and change for the good. With the Goldrive engaged it pushed the Super Lead into perfect rock rhythm tone, think early Jimmy Page sound. I flipped back and fourth from the Rothwell CLK coil tap knob installed into my guitar and was able to take the pedal into milder, much softer overdrive tones. One thing I learned from the first demo with the '57 Twin was how touch sensitive the Goldrive can be. Combined with your playing and it's three knobs this is a pedal capable of much more than you might think. I switched down into the middle pickup position to see how it would respond to a humbucker/single coil mix, to be honest there are not many pedals that can work with this pickup combo. But the GD MkII surprised me again. Next I took the amp's level down and turned the pedal's volume up, without much gain the Goldrive was able to push the amp into a nice overdrive with the volume knob alone. I always like to see how much an overdrivers volume can do on it's own before I test it's gain control, this is a useful tip for when shopping for a OD pedal. It was time to take the amp into classic hard rock city. To do this I bumped the amp's bass to 8, middle also at 8, treble down to 4, presence at 7, and plugged into the second channel turned up to 8. I took the pedal and set the volume just a bit louder than the amp, took the tone to noon, and slammed the gain to about 90-95%. My buddy took out champ #2, his Les Paul Standard named Jimmy. Even before he struck a note you could hear the amp eeeeeeing and ooooooing wanting to just scream out to the rock gods. All it took was a few Zeppelin riffs to send me into a state of nirvana, I can say that amp was very very happy that day. As my friend played on I turned through the entire Goldrive's gain range and found no bad tones, every stage of it's gain knob has a usable, professional sound. Lead riffs sounded tight and clear, rhythms banged out warm and smooth, and clean notes rang out with ease, life, and character. There is no dead spots in this pedal like you might find in others, this is not a one trick pony, nor will it rob you of your root tone. Last I pulled out my Gibson Junior copy, a single Lollar P90 equipped guitar by the name of El Nino. A good overdrive pedal and good P90 is something that has always been a favorite of mine as a weapon for the studio. The P90 when driven the into the right amount of overdrive can sound huge. I was able to dial-in some of my favorite tones with the Goldrive and also landed in some sounds I thought weren't possible from old El Nino. I'll tell you something, Greenhouse Effects is not a company you'll find much info on, but then again that's why I'm here. Like I said before, there are a few Youtube videos which you can check out on our Analog War Cry Youtube search engine at the bottom of our site. Roy is in the middle of revamping his website and is also stripping his line and creating/building some new designs. I am happy to say that the Goldrive MkII will not be going anywhere, so you guys still have a chance at getting your hands on one of the rarest OD pedals I have ever come across. This will easily become one of those cool collector piece's our kids will hunt for when they begin to play music. I'm stoked I came across Greebhouse Effects and even happier to have the Goldrive in my arsenal.







The new Greenhouse Effects website will be found at www.gheffects.com In the meantime you can reach Roy at Goldrivepedal@gmail.com Make sure you let him know we sent you. Make sure and check out the Greenhouse Effects demos at www.youtube.com/user/royzic

3 comments:

  1. I can vouch for that. I have been on Tone-Search for the last 16 years... and now I've found it in this monster pedal!!

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  2. I second that!!!!

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  3. awsome pedal!!
    best for blues & rock
    love mine!

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