Saturday, October 2, 2010

The Sound We All Love

Tweed Overdrive

  • For Pros and Everyday Players Alike
  • No Clone or Copy Here
  • Hand Built with Top Notch Components
  • Versatility to the Fullest
  • User Friendly Layout
  • True Bypass Circuit
  • Heavy Duty Roadworthy Powder Coated Enclosure
  • Power Supply Included (standard 9VDC)
  • Works Well with Others


If there's one type of overdriver I've always thought there was never enough of, it's got to be the tweed voiced overdrive pedal. Those of you with vintage tweed amp experience know that when it comes to rich'n'creamy overdrive it don't get better than a proper tweed amplifier. I'm proud to once again feature the awesome brand of Bules Pearl, this time with their TO-1 Tweed Overdrive. This pedal was one that proved quite useful right from the get-go. Having a handful of "British" voiced dirt boxes it was nice to bring in something with super smooth feel. Like many of my favorite dirt pedals the TO-1 sports a trio of controls, being Volume, Tone, and Drive. This pedal's simple layout assures you will be able to dial in quick and spot-on tones. Other than the normal run of classic tweed style tones, the TO-1 is also capable of much much more. Just like all the rest of Blues Pearl's designs, the Tweed Overdrive sports the highest quality parts and components. A pedal built to last and last, and give and give.

There were two things I was really curious to try once I got the Tweed Overdrive into my clutches. One was to run it through a non-tweed style amp, and the other to stack it up with an old tweed amp. I began this trip with a Les Paul and my modified 4x10 Hot Rod Deville, setting the amp as clean as the good lord would let me (which was plenty), with no reverb, and just a cable between the amp and the pedal. The TO-1 I set with it's volume at unity, tone matched to the amp's, and drive at around 15% hot. Most pedals at a low gain or drive setting won't do much, or just end up giving you an unusable sound. This champion of a box came through quite nicely at this low setting. I riffed around while in the lead pickup, dug into some dirty blues licks, and picked out some big'n'heavy chords. The pedal delivered beautifully, giving me a bright yet warm tone that made me want to rock out! Next I took the gain control just a hint higher, and pushed the volume to about 2'o'clock. Right there in all it's glory, blended in with the Deville's big'n'bright clean tone, was the Tweed Overdrive's silky smooth grit making the sound tasty and flavorful. The nice thing though was that the pedal would only reveal it's grit when I dug in hard enough. This gave me the ability to really knock out some cool sounding classic vibe'd rock tones. Next I moved up the drive to about 30% and rolled the drive knob up just a tad. Again I still had plenty of clean signal along with the pedal natural tube-like grit. And just like an old tweed amp the TO-1 was able to maintain the amp's tonal characteristics perfectly. Kicking out a perfect mellow rock rhythm tone I pulled out some of my favorite classic rock licks and drove away. The touch dynamics were at the right sensitivity and the tone was unbelievably balanced. This made everything I played come off even and in harmony, which also let the pedal's sound sit much nicer in a mix when I used live. For me this is one of the most important qualities in a pedal, for it to deliver great string articulation. yes of course it takes a great set of pickups and a rockin hand. But if you've ever played an old tweed amp you know that they just give that to you no matter what you play them with. Up until this point I was getting grade A tones that worked for a wide range of music styles. But it was the next tone I dialed in that really had me drooling at the mouth. What I did was set the amp a bit warmer, then countered it with a brighter pedal setting. I dialed the amp's treble close to 9'0'clock, mids just behind noon, bass at around 3'o'clock, with a hint of presence and a hint of reverb. I also warmed up my guitar's tone by shaving off some highs with the tone knob and switching into the bass pickup. The Tweed Overdrive I set with the gain at noon, the tone just past 4'o'clock, and the volume quite hot to help cook the amp's tubes some more. This gave the tone a smooth but biting edge that reminded me of something between Neil Young's tone and Clapton's woman sound. Overall this tone wasn't all that hot, more like a medium grit tone. Even though I was able to break the signal up something awful just by digging and grinding down on the strings. Full gain, tone in the middle, and volume at about 3'o'clock was another awesome tone that the Tweed Overdrive was able to deliver. Here the pedal gave me a killer universal dirt tone that helped me with all types of situations and styles. Throwing a clean booster in front of the TO-1 helped to take the tone into lead territory. Within the first few licks I played I noticed the Blues Pearl box stacked up beautifully with other pedals. Next came out the 57' Tweed Deluxe (thanks to my buddy Art). Before I plugged it into the 57 I first plugged the pedal into a 22 watt Blackface style amp. I began by comparing tones back and fourth. First I'd dial in some semi-clean tones, then some brittle/gritty stuff, then some creamy dirt, and last full blast. All throughout the comparison the pedal was able to hold it's own and deliver the same feeling in the sound. Before putting this badboy away I finally went ahead and plugged it into the 57 Tweed Deluxe. First I did with the Tweed amp what it does best... dialing it in hot! I grabbed my single Lollar P90 equipped Junior copy and went to work. The amp and guitar alone dished what was one of the most spectacular tones I'd ever heard. Slowly I began to introduce some of the TO-1's gain and volume into the mix, with the tone matched to the map. At low gain and volume settings the TO-1 worked as a killer quality booster. It was able to help me take the amp's tone even further which created a world of harmonically rich textures and overtones. At about half way up on the gain and volume unity the pedal began to take the amp into a strange lead fuzzy/overdrive type of distortion. I was quite surprised how the pedal didn't mess with the amp's root tone or color the character of the dirt itself. Then even more impressive was how well the signal mellowed out when rolling back the guitar's volume knob. With both pedal and amp cranked pretty high I wasn't able to get a fully clean sound, but enough sounds to let me work some real magic on the fly. I had in my hands a proper tweed tone whether I used the Tweed amp or Tweed pedal. I really got to give it up to Blues Pearl for doing their research and delivering a product that does what it says it's going to. This pedal is a great choice for those of you who have been hunting down a proper classic tweed tone, or those of you who have tweed amp's that you don't want to take on the road. This is only the beginning of our Blues Pearl trip too, we will looking into many more of their pedals and making sure to bring you guys the best possible info. Stay tuned for more!


For more info on Blues Pearl go to or click the direct link in our sidebar. Blues Pearl is also in the works of designing their own line of amplifiers which we promise to try and get our hands on. Look for more Blues Pearl features in the near future.



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