Coming across the Blues Pearl Amp Company was definitely one of Analog War Cry's gold finds of 2009. Blues Pearl originally made their stand back in the 1980's having a strong go at building some of the world's top-notch hand built custom amps and effects pedals. Today the new team at Blues Pearl is making sure they keep all of the products just as desirable as they were when founder Bob Hudson ran the company. It was Hudson's talented ear, keen insight, and reputation for building extreme designs that first put Blues Pearl on the map. Many guitar heavyweights such as Buddy Guy, Chris Duarte, James Burton, and Jeff Cook had become hip to the Blues Pearl vibe. We had a chance to put a pair of Blues Pearl stompboxes to the test and were floored by their transparency, organic feel, and wide range of sounds. This is straight up/no chaser professional quality gear that will undoubtedly up your game a few notches. Come along as we take a journey into some of Rock and Roll's most desirable tones. Rrrrrrrrring, rrrrrrrring! Class is in session kids, now take your seats!
Blues Pearl Amp Co.
* Original Blues Pearl Design
* High Quality hand Selected Components
* Wide Range of Tones
* True Bypass Switching
* Heavy Duty Powder Coated Enclosure
* Power Supply Included
* User Friendly Design
The Blue Balls distortion is a serious distortion for a serious player, period! The Blues Pearl stompboxes arrived on our doorstep and right from the get-go we were all very impressed. Before we even plugged the pedals we knew we were in for a real treat. You ever just come across a piece that does that to you, that you just know is going to rock? The Blues Pearl Blue Balls is just that type of pedal. It's design is spectacular, built for long adventures of road use, studio use, song writing, and band practices. The Blue Balls control layout consists of the magic three knob configuration, Level-Tone-Drive. This is a knob layout that has seen some of the world's most sought after guitar pedals, the Blue Balls definitely being in that elite group of gear. The pedal is housed in a hardcore powder coated enclosure which is capable of enduring a lifetime of use and abuse. It sports a 3PDT true bypass switch and is flooded with the highest quality components for the cleanest and most versatile collection of tones. The Blues Balls can be powered by a single 9V battery which is housed in an easy access battery tray, and also runs on 9VDC power adapter which Blues Pearl includes in the package, huge plus if you ask me. All this makes for one versatile and easy to use stompbox, but the most important feature of this pedal by far lies in it's original design. The Blue Balls is not a clone, copy, or crossbreed of anything else, it is straight up and down it's own balls to-the-wall distortion pedal.
We wasted no time getting to work with this pedal. Right from the beginning were capable of dialing in a world of monstrous rock tones. It seemed like the overdrive and distortion sounds just got better and better with every amp we plugged the Blue Balls into. This is a pedal that absolutely loves a sweet sounding tube amp, and is even capable of warming up and bringing some organic feel to solid state amplifiers. We found not one pickup design that didn't get along with this pedal, which is probably how it was designed to work and the reason for it's wide range of tones. We started our Blues Pearl adventure with our 15/7 watt tube amp and 2x12 cab, and worked our way up to higher wattage setups as we got further along. The guitar of choice for the 7 watt setting was a single Lollar P90 equipped Junior copy, a nice choice that left us with our jaws on the floor. We slapped the amp into a flat eq setting, and dialed it in semi-clean with the volume knob at around 7/8. The P90 when attacked with force produced a thick'n'natural tube grit that sounded beautiful for ringing out jangly, hairy chords. The amp and guitar's natural tone reminded me of a Tom Verlaine's (Television) rock tone. The Blue Balls was set with the Level just a hair above the amp's for some extra tube push, the Tone was rolled back to about 10'o'clock to warm things up, and Drive was just below 9'o'clock. Once engaged the pedal drove the semi-clean tone into a snarling gritty overdrive. Wide open chording, palm muted chugging, and single-note lead runs all sounded wonderful through this Blue Balls. Next I pushed both the Drive and Tone knobs to 12'o'clock and got a nice cross between a fat overdrive and mild distortion. This tone could easily cut through any mix making it a dream setting for when having to compete with another guitar or when stacking duel rhythm parts on a track. When rolling back the guitar's volume knob I found that the pedal acted like a tube, holding on to the sound's character but cleaning up a bit of the grit. This along with a slight drop of the guitar's tone knob was able to get me back to the first tone I had dialed in. This meant I could go between both tone structures in one setting. A nice little trick for those of us who use our guitar's volume knobs to tweak in guitar tones on the fly. Before switching into the 15 watt setting and swapping guitars I flipped the pedal's Drive knob just a hair before full blast, rolled the Tone knob up to 4'o'clock, and turned the Level knob up a few notches above the amp. I took the guitar's tone knob and rolled it back all the way, a great trick for when you dial in extreme high/treble tone settings on a pedal or amp. To give the sound a bit of drama I added in a taste of reverb. The sound that came out of that amp is hard to explain, it was more of a feeling, a force that hit my bones and landed in my gut. It was like the lovechild of a woman tone and plexi sound, absolute magic. The aggression in the distortion could easily be controlled with the touch of my fingers. The more I dug the more it howled, the less I gave the less it gave. Talk about a stompbox that works with and for you. Now we switched into the 15 watt setting and broke out the Strat. We started with some mild settings first dialing in the amp to a spanking clean sound. The pedal was set to give the single coils a nice beefy boost, pushing the tone into a higher level of clean and holding all the root tone's natural qualities. I was actually stoked to discover I could get semi-clean boost settings from the Blue Balls. We quickly jumped into some higher gain levels by boosting the pedal's Level and Drive knob. To keep the sharpness and edge of the sound in check we throttled back on the Tone knob just a hair. We were able to get these lightening wild blues and classic rock settings when pushing the pedal to it's limits. The fact this pedal can go from subtle semi-clean boost tones to all-out scorching lead tones makes this a very helpful tone tool. The absolute ultimate tone experience we were able to get from the Blue Balls was running it through a 100 watt Super Lead and Les Paul, Jimmy Page world all the way! I was stuck rocking out to the meanest rock distortion for a good hour or so, floating in total tone heaven. There are only a few guitar tones we come across in our time that will make us see the light. Combine the right guitar, right amp, and this pedal, and you have access to some of those unforgettable tones. We took the pedal as far a we could take it and still the Blue Balls held it's rich, tight, rumble'n'growl. Some distortion pedals work great only when you turn them loud, others only sound good at low to medium settings. The Blue Balls works amazingly through it's entire range. This is a pedal that works with your amp's natural sound, your playing style and pick attack, and wraps it all up in the end to create exactly what you need. There's nothing like the feeling one gets when discovering a bad to the bone distortion pedal. If you need versatile, great sounding, and tuff built distortion box that will last you a lifetime, this is the way to go. We had a chance to check out another of Blues Pearl's guitar pedals and I tell you it doesn't end here with the Blue Balls. We will be looking further into the world of Blues Pearl stompboxes and keep reporting back to ya'll so keep your eyes peeled. We have a article on another killer dirt pedal coming up in the next few weeks. In the meantime do some investigating of your own and discover for yourself how awesome these pedal really are. Dig it and dig it some more!
For more info on Blues Pearl stompboxes and amps go to www.bluespearlamps.com or click the direct link in our sidebar. We will be back with more from Blues Pearl in a bit, hang tight.