Saturday, March 27, 2010

*DMB* Pedals

Mike Blakmore and Daniel Minton, the gifted two-man crew that make up the DMB Pedals company. I say gifted because of the splendid tone quality and very hip look of their stompboxes. In the last couple years I have come across a handful of DMB effect pedals, all of them impressive, and each one very versatile. These are pedals that get straight to the point, offer no-frills, and make your tone quest an easy one. Any true to-the-core tone junky will appreciate the wide range of killer designs that DMB offers on their website.


(3 knob version)
Stellar Drive

* Handmade in the USA
* True bypass circuit
* FET based IC chip design
* Extra bright LED
* Built with high quality components
* Runs on 9V battery and 9V power supply
* Heavy duty enclosure


I can never ever get enough of a great sounding tri-knob overdrive. To me these have always been the workhorse type overdrive pedals, overdrivers you can push and push and always get great results from. The Stellar Drive sports the magical Drive, Tone, and Level control layout that so many champions before it have had. At the heart of this pedal you will find a FET based IC chip design layout. This gives the Stellar Drive an enormous sound your amplifier will thank you for. You can run this pedal off of a single 9V battery or a standard 9Vdc power supply. The pedal is housed in a built to last enclosure and sports true bypass circuitry. The Stellar Drive is topped off with simple yet catchy artwork, and a turquoise sparkle paint job. I was able to dial-in some great sounding root tones, mild dirt tones, very hairy grit tones, and stunning lead tones. This pedal is all about one thing... quality, quality, quality!

I must tell you, running the Stellar Drive through my main setup was an absolute dream! I dialed in my root clean and dirty tones, broke out my two favorite guitars, and worked it in with my #1 pedalboard. The Stellar Drive was able to perform and play beautifully with every piece of gear I stacked it up with. My rig consists of a modified Hot Rod Deville which I use for clean tones, and a 7/15 watt head (secret weapon) and 1x12 cab which is dialed in nice'n'crunchy. The amps are controlled by a A/B/AB switch which lets me choose one or the other or both. The rest of my setup consists of a bunch of effects, some on a loop strip, some on their own. The two guitars I used for this demo were my precious Lady & Erica, a custom Tele, and Hagstrom Viking. I ran the Stellar Drive through my clean signal first, rolling back the pedal's Drive close to zero, Tone rolled more towards the low side, and Level just a hint passed unity gain. The Tele was first up to bat. This setting gave my clean tone a big'n'beautiful boost, with a hint of grit, and jump in bass'n'boom. The perfect tone for shaping with your pick attack. Playing lightly produced sweet'n'bright clean sounds, the harder I dug in the more spank and aggression the pedal put out. With the Tele's neck humbucker the Stellar Drive produced a thick'n'jazzy blues tone, perfect for sitting in the mix of any jam, or layering guitar tracks in the studio. I was able to darken up this tone even more by rolling down the guitar's tone knob. With the Tele bridge pickup it was an entirely different story, I was able to get lots more spank, twang, and slice. A sign of a versatile and high quality stompbox. I was able to knock out perfect southern classic rock, and country blues tones. Next I switched to the dirty amp and played the same run of licks and riffs. My root dirty rhythm tone is something I do like to mess with, not in the least. If something throws it off even a bit, or if I find myself down on my knees playing and tweaking with stompbox knobs, it's time for that pedal to take a hike. The Stellar Drive did not take a hike, no sir it did not. Instead I was able to push my rhythm dirt tone into a bigger, beefier version of itself. Everything stood out more, became richer, and was easier to control. While in the neck humbucker position I rolled down a bit more of the pedal's Tone knob, and low and behold! Woman Tone City baby! This was beautiful, I was able to get both thick'n'smooth, and stellar classic hard rock tones from one pedal. Here I pushed the Drive control to about 50%, and Level just passed 12'o'clock. I ran this signal through both amps and got a sweet rumbling, roaring overdrive sound that shook and made the speakers work their magic. The combination of both amps was epic! Through the clean signal I got the pedal's pure gritty overdrive, letting me hear what the FET based IC chip design was capable of. Through the dirty amp both overdriven sounds blended to create a huge and epic rock tone. Next I plugged in Erica, my sexy sweet sounding humbucker equipped Hagstrom Viking. I worked the guitar through the clean tone first, with the pedal set to a mild grit. This produced a creamy, earthy tone that complimented the semi-hollow sound of the guitar. I got a perfect blend of dirty and clean sounds, with lots of warmth and bite. If you're big on using humbuckers for achieving your tone, you will love this pedal. Even better was setting the Stellar Drive to a higher overdrive tone and switching over to the dirty amp. The sustain became violin like and super smooth. The quality of the signal's break-up and amount of compression felt just like a great sounding vintage tube amp when overdriven naturally. To get a mellower dirt tone from this setting all I did was roll down the guitar's volume. The eq balance stayed intact and all of the tone's character was still present. There was literally no way to get a bad sound out of this pedal. I could flip both amp's controls to any setting, plug in any guitar, and set the Stellar Drive to any level of grit. DMB Pedals has really created a timeless classic here. With the many many pedals that are out there today it can be tuff knowing which one's to choose. This is a pedal you can take anywhere with you and always get great results from. The Stellar Drive's design is simple and familiar, meaning working out your favorite tones will be a cinch.


For more info on DMB Pedals go to You'll be sure to find the perfect pedal for the job, and pedal you can hang onto forever.



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