Saturday, December 5, 2009

Time to check in to detox!!!

To me HomeBrew Electronics has always been one of the heavyweights of the boutique pedal world. The reason being the attention to detail of their designs, HomeBrew's hard work and skill has always led to stunning performance and sound from their pedals, a fact you will learn for yourself if ever you come across one of their stompboxes. Visiting HBE's website you will find an infantry of awesome pedals that range from boosters, overdrive, distortion, fuzz, compressors, real time effects, wah wahs, switchers, and even a few amp heads that will floor you. If there's a effects pedal you're lacking or are in need of, HBE is a great place to start. Not too long ago HBE starting producing their own line of Signature Series pedals, pedals designed by and for some of today's top players. Artist series pedals from a boutique pedal company... what smart artists. Most artist series pedals you see out there are mass-produced over seas, 9 times out of 10 it being a marketing scheme with the artist never having any input. We were curious to see what some of these pedals were capable of, and curious to hear what today's top guns are in need of. I present to you the HBE Paul Gilbert Detox EQ, a slick little pedal with a world of tonal options. Got an amp that's just not giving you what you want? This is the pedal for the job.

Detox EQ
(Paul Gilbert Signature Series)

* Input: Instrument in
* Output: Output to amplifier
* Treble: Adjusts amount of treble boost or cut
* Bass: Adjusts amount of bass boost or cut
* Mid: Adjusts amount of mid boost or cut
* Level: Controls overall output level
* 9VDC Jack: Use - center power supply

EQ pedals have always been a kind of savior for me, in those times when I've been recording and needed to get different sounds out of an amp or guitar, in live situations when a room is not giving me my amp's tone, and in times when I've just needed a little more or less girth from my sound. The HomeBrew Electronics Detox EQ is capable of all this but can also pull-off a few other tricks that I've never heard from an EQ pedal. It was obvious I had something special in my hands, something alien, unique, and just right-down awesome. I really have to give it up to Paul Gilbert and the HBE team for coming up with this killer tone tool, I literally haven't stopped playing with this pedal since it landed on my doorstep. You're probably thinking to yourself "What's so special about this pedal, it's only an eq?" Well before we get into what the Detox EQ can do let's take a closer look at it. The Detox EQ rocks an active three band eq with each channel capable of dishing out around 5db of boost or cut. The pedal sounds great with just about every stringed instrument you run it through, and with it's overlapping frequencies there are no gaps in the overall sound which give you a balanced, clear tone. The Detox EQ can pull off everything from traditional eq shaping, overdrive tones, and what I like to call underdrive tones. The reason for the Detox EQ's organic and wide range of sounds is it's mighty Burr Brown IC that the pedal is built around, this along with it's overall design of course. The pedal has Treble, Bass, Mid, and Level controls, and runs on a 9V battery or center - 9VDC power adapter. My first runthrough of this pedal was on it's own with everything at noon, through an overdriven amp, and rocking it with my custom Tele. I rang out some AC/DC style hairy chords then went ahead and engaged the pedal. I noticed things got a tad mellower, smoother, and cleaner. As if my hairy tone had gotten a haircut. In this setting the pedal worked like a reverse overdriver, almost as if shutting off an overdrive pedal itself, but it did it without loosing any of the tone's intensity. This was awesome compared to just having a guitar volume and tone to roll down, we all know how muddy and dead our sound can get when we do this. This gave me an idea. I have an old 5 watt tube amp that I sometimes use for getting big sounds out of at low volumes, you should hear the sounds I can get out of it by throwing it in the shower and sticking a 57 in front of it. The only problem is the amp is literally a one-trick pony, only capable of a mid-rangy dirty tone. I've always thought "If only I could get more from this little monster." Well I thought maybe, just maybe, that by playing the Detox EQ through it that I'd be able to pull a few more sounds out of it. So I do so, stomp the pedal, and low and behold... an entirely new collection of sounds to play with. It was freakin kickass! By setting the Detox EQ's level below noon, and pulling back on it's three band eq, I was not only able to clean up the amp's sound, but also mold it into some perfect tones for layering guitar tracks. I wanted to see if the pedal would do the same through a big boy amp so I plugged it into a 100 watt Super Lead and let her rip. Just like I expected the pedal came through like a champ! Here is where things got really fun, I set the amp to my root tone and used the Detox to bump, push, and slam certain frequencies into an exaggerated version of my sound. It was like my sound on steroids, like the Incredible Hulk had jumped in. I could just push the lows to get some fatty brown sounds, push the mids to get a classic Brit sound, or mix it up to match the pedal to my amp. Another sweet little trick I discovered with this pedal is you can fatten up single coils to sound more like humbuckers, and shape humbuckers to sound like just about everything imaginable. This is perfect for those of us who carry around more than one guitar for gigging, or have to step on a handful of pedals to get a similar effect. I must say, for a pedal with four knobs, one being a level control, the Detox EQ is extremely versatile. I'm really curious to know how Paul Gilbert uses this pedal since it is his design/idea. I can't see HomeBrew ever disappointing me or letting me down. I remember the first time I ran into their pedals at my local guitar shop, I had pulled one out, then the next, then before you know it I had run through every HBE pedal they had in the shop. There's talent, and then there's gift. The cats at HBE own a bit of both, and with the vision they have to build pedals like the Detox EQ they have a one-up on the game. I am looking forward to checking out more of these signature pedals and cannot wait to see what else they have in store for us. For now we'll all just sit back and let them brew.

For more info on HomeBrew Electronics go to There are a handful of awesome pedals to check out on their website and HBE is always cooking up something new. Make sure to stay tuned for more from this killer company. Rock on folks!



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