Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Real Tube Goodness

ROD 880
Real Overdrive

Controls & Features
  • Powered by Hand Selected 12AY7EH Preamp Tube
  • Based on the TK999 Tube King
  • Switchable Noise Reduction Circuit w/Variable Threshold Control
  • Standard 9VDC Power Adapter
  • Heavy Duty Enclosure
  • Extremely Wide Range of Overdrive Tones

  • Bass: Controls boom and thump
  • Gain: Controls gain level
  • Mid-Boost: Controls punch and kick
  • Treble: Controls sparkle and brightness
  • Master: Controls effected output volume


To this this day I have never seen a Maxon effect pedal that didn't impress me in one way or another. And I have had experience with just about every type of Maxon pedal there is, from the vintage to the most modern. What's been impressive is that throughout all this time Maxon has always kept up to date on the gear scene, providing us with some of the most superb sounding effects a box can carry. A few months back I discovered and got to try the Maxon Real Tube Series, and again was blown away beyond belief. These pedals are built like tanks, sound like amps, and play like a dream. With the ROD-880 Real Overdrive I was able to dial in everything from classic Tubescreamer tones to some of the most insane snarling rock god lead sounds. The ROD-880 played off my pick attack and pickups just like a top notch tube amp, and gave me the same type of vibe and feel. The amount of flexibility this pedal owns should be against the law.

I first rocked and rolled the ROD-880 with a 15 watt amp and 1x12 cabinet. The guitar was a single Junior copy equipped with a single Lollar P90. I rolled up the amp to a subtle light crunch with the tone at noon and bright switch off. The P90 pickup spit out a tight punchy tone that sounded great for chord work. I set the ROD-880 with it's eq stack also at noon, gain at about 15%, and master unity to the amplifiers. The noise reduction circuit I kept off for now. With the pedal engaged I was able to take my tone just a little further, perfect for playing into a chorus and giving the overall sound a bit more life. I could hear and feel my notes hanging on a bit longer which was really nice for cutting through a mix. I also noticed a nice boost in my harmonics, which gave me more room and more grit to play with. By adding just a bit more of the pedal's mid-boost and lows I was able to get even more overdrive. Just like a sweet sounding tube amp. I then rocked the ROD-880's gain control up to about 30%, with the eq stack just past noon, and master control a bit louder to help push the amp even more. The combo of the tube amp's tone and pedal's preamp tube section worked together like a dream. The amp's tone already sounded pretty damn good on it's own. But with the pedal in it's path things became epic sounding. The medium crunch tone I was getting from the ROD-880 was great for all around work and all types of music. I played blues, classic rock, hard rock, alternative, and punk. Each and every style sounded killer! Next I took the amp to it's fullest, left the pedal as is, and let things fly. Here I got something really interesting. With the amp's tubes cooking it's full 15 watts and ROD-880 beautifully pushing it overboard. I was able to get these magnificent distortion/fuzz tones. Behind every chord and lick I played was a sizzling fuzzy tonal character that created a wild and creative dirt tone. A little analog delay thrown onto this tone and I was in solo champion arena. This motivated me to break out something with more power, something louder, and beastlier. My mind was on a 100 watt Marshall, but before going there I plugged into my modified 4x10 Deville and set is loud'n'clean. I wanted to hear just what kind of a tone I would get by playing through a completely squeaky clean guitar sound. In case ya'll don't know, my Deville sports four 100 watt 10"s speakers, two being Jensen Blackbirds, the other two Jensen Tornados. I am able to get all the clean headroom I want with these badboys, which lets me dial in the most precise clean tones at any volume level I wish. I started at around 3, with tone controls at noon, reverb at 2-3, and presence rolled off. The ROD-880 I had set with it's Mid-boost and Bass at 2'o'clock, Treble at 11'o'clock, gain at 50%, and master volume just a hint louder than unity. The result was mind blowing! The pedal kicked out a spot-on vintage tube amp crunch tone that had me grinning from ear to ear. The pedal's grit responded just like a tube amp, felt like a tube amp, and sung beautifully just like a tube amp. Rolling off the guitar's volume knob got me mellower tones which let me dial in multiple sounds on the fly. I also plugged in my buddy's Les Paul which also sounded quite nice through the pedal. The character in the sustain and overdrive's smoothness adapted perfectly to the guitar's thick'n'meaty humbucking pickups. Last I broke out the Super Lead, set it hot, and stacked the ROD-880 right up against it. I also wanted to hear what a clean booster in front of the pedal would sounded like so I also broke out my Xotic EP Booster. First I ran the 880 through Super Lead's crunchy sound. Instantly I got epic classic and heavy rock rhythm tones. The harmonic content, richness, and tonal quality all stood out beautifully. My chords were all balanced with every note coming off with killer clarity. I then stomped on the clean booster and watched the tone go from powerful rhythm, to powerful lead. I swam through a bunch of different licks and riffs and got nothing but grade A crunch and sustain. I also really dug how the pedal broke up the overdrive and created usable awesome sounding feedback. Really it was incredible just how much more size the ROD-880 was able to add the Super Lead. With a lot of these so called "tube pedals", you find out they get in the way more than they do good. This pedal worked with every sound I blended it with, and played off of my playing and dynamics. This is a pedal that sits in the "Last overdriver you will ever need" class. The possibilities are endless when you have a dirt pedal that can adapt to any amp, guitar, and pickup. Right before putting the ROD-880 away that first day I had it I decided to plug it into my Fender solid state amp. With a little eq adjustment and tailoring of the pedal I was able to get some damn impressive guitar tones. Now, what does that tell you? Get yours!!!

For more info on Maxon Pedals you can go to either www.maxonfx.com or www.godlyke.com There you will find tons more info on all of the Maxon lines. Make sure and stay tuned for more from these cats. Like us, we're sure you also can't get enough of these pedals. We will be back with more killer features shortly.


No comments:

Post a Comment