Thursday, October 29, 2009

The One Knob Wonder

The clean booster, probably the most important stompbox behind the overdrive pedal. There are many out there and yet it seems like it's still the one pedal that is hard to pin down onto your pedalboard. When we're hunting for a clean booster we look for something that won't hide and blemish our key tone. This is the one pedal that needs to be on point or else everything after it will be affected, from your tone on down to your dirt boxes. Lizard Leg Effects is a name I have been hearing for a couple years now and a brand that seems to have sparked up some interest amongst the gear loving community. Lizard Leg Effects is the brain child of Steve Miller, he designs all the pedals, his wife Brandi handles the artwork, and their son John helps out around the shop making sure we get our pedals. It was time for AWC to get their hands on one of these pedals, put it to the test and report the outcome to the masses.

Lizard Leg Effects
Flying Dragon

* 9-18v DC Operation or 9v Battery Powered w/heavy duty ABS battery snaps
* Gold Plated Molex Battery Connections
* True Bypass
* 100% Noiseless Designs with Star Grounding
* Vishay/Sprague Orange Drop Caps
* 1% Vishay/Dale Metal Film Resistors
* Switchcraft or Neutrik Jacks
* Mil Spec'd Wire used exclusively
* Standard LED - UV Purple/other LED colors available
* Reverse Polarity Protection
* 4 Different Knobs to choose from
* 18-8 Stainless Steel Enclosure Screws
* Custom Labeled for each player
* 2 Year Guarantee
* Custom Configurations Available
* Hand Built in the USA

Now that is a list of features that screams quality, class, and customer service. These are pedals that are part of that elite group gear companies building us tone junkies the awesome gear we love so much. I have never been so entertained by such a simple pedal. One really cool thing that stood out to me was how these pedals are shipped. Other than the box it comes in you also get a velvet pouch to keep your pedal from scratches and dings, and to top it off you also get a little toy dragon, collect them all!!! The graphics are killer and the finish is just stunning, you can feel the quality in your hands. The Flying Dragon can be powered in a number of different ways, 1. By a 9v DC adapter, 2. By a 18v DC adapter, or 3. A good old 9v battery. Being that you have the 18 volt option gives you insanely good quality and headroom, which I think is a great idea for a clean booster. The sweeter you can keep your boosted tone the better your overall sound will fly out of your amp. It was time to plug the Dragon into our 15 watt little gem. We started with some clean tones and low volumes to see just how much the pedal could push the signal. Set the pedal's knob to about noon for unity gain, from noon on down the tone stayed perfectly intact and added that little bit of grunt that works great for blues and classic rock. Through single coil pickups it delivered a slight but powerful grit, definitely enough to solo with once engaged. Played through buckers the pedal handed over everything from a subtle dirt to an massive hairy drive. We pushed our 15 watt amp into a tone we have never been able to get out of it, it was beautiful! Lots of boosters once you max them out they tend to blanket your tone and start either jumping the EQ or stealing your root sound. This is honestly one of the only clean boosters I have ever played that kept my sound intact from the lowest to the highest settings. Even when using it to lower your tone it did it's job stunningly. We also plugged it into my modified 4x10 Deville, don't mean to brag but probably the best sounding Deville on the planet. I worked so hard to get the sound I wanted from this amp, from having the EQ reworked, making the volume roll easier, swapping out the speakers, and some other secrets I won't share just yet. I have always been a huge fan of 4x10 setups, I like the sound they produce much more than 4x12 any day. This was the true test, to see if the Flying Dragon could keep my sound pure and intact. I set it at noon/unity gain to see if it would change my root tone. It passed with flying colors, the tone stayed just as I set it. Next I rolled up the knob slowly listening along the way and boosting it until I maxed it out. From around 3'o'clock down you start to hear a sweet and rich natural overdrive, my amp loved and ate it up. It seemed to bring my pickups to life, every little touch was heard perfectly and all my licks clean and transparent. Next I set up my rhythm tone, my absolute baby. This is the sound I have worked the hardest to get, you all know what goes into dialing in a great dirty tone. I set the Flying Dragon just passed noon and got the greatest Neil Young tone I have ever heard come singing from my amp. You know that sound, that gritty, chunky sound Neil plays that sports that hint of clean in it. It was lovely! Every setting I dialed in and all the pedals I stacked up against it sounded great. This is easily one of the best pedals I have had the pleasure of playing this year. This isn't the only way to use a clean booster no sir. Stack it up with a single overdrive pedal and you can hit up to four different tones, let me explain. To keep things simple I pulled out a TS808 style pedal, set the Flying Dragon first then the overdrive. Here is a great way to save on pedalboard space. Tone number one is your root tone, unaffected, no pedals, no nothing. The next tone is your boosted root signal, slap on the Flying Dragon and you have your exact tone only louder. Next slap off the Dragon while stepping on your overdrive at the same time (not as hard at it seems). Last throw on your booster and you have a killer tone for soloing, and if you're a cat that rides his guitar's volume knob you can even get even more sounds. I was very very impressed with how well the Flying Dragon worked with other pedals, especially overdrive, distortion, and fuzz boxes. The boosted signal really brings other pedals to life and adds the perfect amount of harmonics and juice. A few days after having this pedal I had to write Steve to let him know how killer his pedal was, I haven't been impressed like this my a clean booster in a long long time. The work Steve put into this pedal can really be heard and felt from your amp. Other than using with guitars we also plugged it into some keyboards, bass guitars, lap steels (which worked wonders), some oscillators, and used it to boost weak overall weak signals from odd little toy instruments we have laying around and other cool gadgets. This simple design kept us busy for quite a while, a true keeper. I can only imagine what the rest of Steve line sounds like, he has definitely mastered the art of boosting signals.

For more info on Lizard Leg Effects and the rest of the line check out their website at Look for more to come from this killer company!



No comments:

Post a Comment