Monday, December 27, 2010

Top Finds of 2010 / Jam Pedals Tube Dreamer 72

One pedal all us players can agree is a must on our pedaboards is the OD. As simple as these pedals are they can be used to achieve an enormous palette of tones, for just about any style of music. Overdrivers get along with anything from the cleanest of signals to the dirtiest and muddiest. Since the beginning of the stompbox revolution players have been hunting down, experimenting with, and hoarding many different breeds of overdrive boxes - All in the name of taking their sounds to the next level. It is the OD that is responsible for many of the signature tones of yesterday and today, and the favorite of many'a stompbox builder. Google overdrive and you will be sure to come across an endless sea of boutique, mainstream, and one-off creations. But of all these creations there is one circuit that is copied and tweaked far more than the rest.... the mighty TS808. If you've ever had a chance to run a proper old school Tube Screamer through it's paces you know just how and why these pedals are so special. Only problem with many of the modern designs is they come off more as distortion boxes than actual overdrives. A proper TS style pedal is subtle and pushes out a signal that works with your tone instead of  against it (which is where many builders miss). Well, here is a company that hasn't steered me wrong yet, and with this here design has been able to take the mighty 808 to rockin' new levels. I promise you one thing - you won't have to worry or be confused about what is or isn't an overdrive here. 


Tube Dreamer 72
Vintage Overdrive

* Controls: Level, Tone, Gain
* High quality components
* True Bypass Switching
* Power: 9V battery or standard 9VDC adapter
* Uses only 6mA of power when On
* Custom artwork available
* Point-to-Point version available
* Bass version available
* Lifetime warranty


The Jam Pedals Tube Dreamer 72 is a spot-on true to heart classic sounding overdrive pedal with some characteristics of it's own - and a look to die for. This baby was designed specifically for achieving that cranked tube amp tone at both high and low volumes. You won't have to worry about this pedal taking your tone hostage or coloring anything you stack it up on top of (thanks to a special secret chip). These pedals are hand built in Greece with the finest parts and components, and added upon each one is a bit of artistic flavor. The Tube Dreamer 72 sports true bypass switching for the ultimate in tone preservation, and like all Jam's pedals carries a lifetime warranty. A LIFETIME WARRENTY!!! But it's gets better? There isn't only one version of this pedal available, no siry Bob. Besides the 72 version which we will be looking at here, Jam also offers a 58 version based around the famous JRC4558 chip, an 88 which stacks the other two version together and adds a high gain switch, and last there is a + (plus) version which is a heavier version of the 72. Each one of these pedals can be built point-to-point and come with an array of different custom art works. And so the bass playing cats don't jealous - there are also bass versions of the Tube Dreamer ready at the helm. Pretty nice huh? Now for some tones.

Running the Tube Dreamer 72 through all of my amps was indeed an absolute dream. This was also true of my guitars, through every type of pickup, and with many other pedals. It sounded best with my tube amps of course but I was surprised to hear how well it sounded with a few solid states as well. When you got a pedal of this caliber in your signal path things are just bound to come out sounding awesome no matter what you plug it into. I began using the TD72 through a few different low watt amps, from 5-22 watters. I started with some super mellow pedal settings to see what kind of use I could get as a booster. With it's level at unity, it's gain at about 5-7%, and it's tone at noon - the TD72 let the amp's characteristics shine through beautifully. My root tone's nice'n'warm signal was converted into a more powerful version of itself, which let me dial in many more tones on the fly. I noticed that by turning up the TD72's level I could get plenty of punch and grit from tubes. Then with the pedal's gain rolled up even further things would only get sweeter and much much smoother. Something else you'll find quite nice about this pedal is it's tone control. With most overdrive pedals you get decent gain controls and even plenty output on some occasions - but when it comes to their tone controls they come off a bit too weak and unresponsive. What ends up happening is the builder either has to choose one sweet spot amongst the sweep spectrum. With the TD72 I was able to both maintain my amp's key tones and also help them into new grounds. Cranking the tone low I was able to hear a huge difference in the amp's tone, a difference that was usable and created a sweet and warm overall feel. The TD72 was able to kick out lots of sweet spots within every one of it's controls, giving all my amps new territory to walk upon. Another amp that worked quite well was a Fender 22 watt Deluxe Reverb. Completely dry with no verb and it's tone controls at noon, the Deluxe Verb was able to dish out some of the smoothest and meanest dirt sounds when combined with the Tube Dreamer. Being such a simple amp, all you really need to do is roll everything to noon and you're home free. Highlighting the Deluxe Reverb's capabilities was really something that brought upon some impress classic rock and blues guitar tones. An overall great match. From here I began exploring with higher gain amplifiers - first with some clean character amps, then with the big crunchy bad boys. My modified 4x10 Hot Rod Deville was a great place to start. Having a ton of clean headroom to play with really came in handy for dialing tons of different dirt tones at all levels. I was able to go from an inkling of grit to the smoothest grittiest growls. Alone it is damn near impossible to get an overdriven tone from my Deville - thanks to it's four 100 watt 10" speakers (I did do this on purpose though). With the pedal in the mix I had any dirty tone I wanted. I noticed that the louder I'd get, the more my picking attack was accented. This brought upon some very tasty sounds, harmonics, and wildness. As I'd push the 72's gain control higher, the grit would become dirtier yet the output would stay the same. And it sounded great at low volumes! With the gain at around 15% the pedal began tossing out these really nice mildly crunchy blues tones that brought my amp to life and had it singing like a little devil. Then there was converting the Deville into a true machine of dirt of growl - a very easy task when setting this pedal just right. Last came a Super Lead, one of my favorite amps of all time. Here the TD72 once again did things that sounding awesome. Taking the Suepr Lead's tone and accenting it, really brought to the amp to life in ways I thought were not possible. I found myself able to dial the pedal in in many different settings, leave it be, to have access to tons of tones on the fly. Working my guitar's tone and volume controls came in handy here, which made for some great tone shaping on stage. Semi-clean tones I was able to take to rich'n'thick overdrives, leaving me with a wider collection of overall dirt tones. At higher gain levels the TD72 was able to convert the Super Lead into an absolute beast! The sustain that came to be was very nice to play with and gave me new textures to play with. By the end of my demo with this pedal I had plugged in a handful of different single coil guitars, semi-hollow and solid humbucker guitars, and an array of others. Same went for amplifiers, from the lowest gain to the meanest. The TD72 got along beautifully with every piece of gear I through at it and gave back a killer results. We've had a chance to put a handful of Jam Pedals through their paces and are yet to be disappointed, and doubt we ever will. If you suffer from the same tone seeking sickness that I suffer from go out and grab yourself one of these Tube Dreamer versions, you're amps and guitars will thank you for it.

If you need more info on these hand made Greek masterpieces go to or go to our direct links. We will continue bringing you guys more and more of these magical pedals as they come and keep giving you the best possible insight. Stay tunes for more from Jam Pedals. Pictured above is another version of the Tube Dreamer, the TD88. Just another of the cool and crazy creations from our friends at Jam Pedals.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Top Finds of 2010 / Ampeg SVX

Just think - A few years ago the only way to get a proper sounding vintage tone was to own some vintage gear of your own, borrow some, or build the gear yourself. But this is all a thing of the past thanks to today's wonderful world of plug-in software. Now anyone can own an impressive collection of both vintage and modern gear, all stored and ripe for the picking straight from your computer. Let's say maybe you want a classic Tweed or Blackface tone, or maybe you're after some of rock history's favorite stompbox effects. No problem! All you gotta know is the right place to turn and you're in there with the best of yesterday's tones.
And it doesn't end with amps and stompboxes either. Today you can find software
capable of mimicking anything from signal processors to microphones, and guitar cabs to micing techniques. And the list goes on. One of the champions on the forefront of this magnificent technology is non-other than the mighty IK Multimedia - creators of the popular AmpliTube programs. Today you will find it's damn near impossible to come across a studio and not find one of IK's powerful programs lurking in the cut. The reason for this is simple. Spot-on feel and spot-on sound. For those of you familiar with any of the IK Multimedia guitar orientated software, you know of what I speak. And for those of you multi-
instrumentalist/bass playing monsters, IK has also got some mojo for you. It's called Ampeg® SVX, and it is a must have for anyone looking for a professional proper Ampeg® bass sound. I have now been exploring and experimenting with the Ampeg® SVX software for a good 2-3 months and I will say I am quite impressed. The versatility, simplicity, and professional sound of the SVX software is perfect for every level of player and producer.

  • 4 Separate Modules: tuner, pedalboard, amp head, cabinet/mic
  • 8 Stompbox Effects
  • 4 Signature Ampeg® Bass Amps Modeled
  • 6 signature Ampeg® Cabinet Models
  • 6 Microphone Models
  • High Precision Tuner
  • Stand Alone and VST/AU/RTAS Plug-In for all Popular DAW's
  • Includes SpeedTrainer™ for Playing Along with your Favorite Recordings
  • Includes AmpliTube X-GEAR for seamless integration with all the other “Powered by AmpliTube” products, MIDI control and StompIO integration
  • Powered by AmpliTube® with Exclusive DSM™ (Dynamic Saturation Modeling) Technology for Award-Winning Sound and Realistic Feel
  • Mac OS X (including Leopard) and XP/Vista Compatible

Now, my partner and I may not have the biggest and most luxurious of recording setups. But where it lacks in size is it sure as hell packs in punch. And it is thanks to software programs like Ampeg® SVX that our sonic capabilities are as powerful as they are. I began meddling with the SVX software simply to just dial in and hunt for usable tones, just like I would with any bass amp. But unlike an amp I needed not worry about a beastly 300 watts of sound. Something both my ears and neighbors are very thankful for. For bass guitars I used a 70's reissue Jazz Bass and old Danelectro. I started by plugging the JB straight into my trusty Whirlwind IMP DI, then out into the mic pre, and on into DAW. I began with the SVT Classic head and matching cab, and Dynamic 20 mic (based on the Electro-Voice® RE-20). I dialed the amp's controls straight up the middle, with Ultra Hi/Lo switches out, and left the mic placement as it was. I let my fingers slide up and down the Jazz bass's fretboard, tapping on it lightly, and thumping with my thumb from string to string. I did this to see if I could get the software to respond just like an amp would. Right off the bat I was able to hear, and more importantly feel, all of the little accents and intricate frequencies that make a great sounding bass amp great. Next I pulled up a session and laid down a scratch bass track. Once I had the track down I went back and listened, and with little effort I was able to set the Classic SVT model just where I wanted it. Without leaving my seat I was able to experiment with a handful of different mic positions which all really sounded amazing. I'll tell you this much - with a tool like this finding tones has never been easier. In no time at all I had a rich, warm, and punchy bass tone that responded great to both my fingers and guitar pick. Later once I had my final take down, I had no trouble fine tuning the bass track with just a hint of eq and compression. In less time than one would imagine I had myself a killer classic rock bass tone which complimented anything I stacked it up with. All in all the SVT Classic model was able to deliver soft thumpy country tones, deep'n'punchy funk tones, and a world of different rich and aggressive rock tones. All which I was able to store away for future recording or live use. Along with the SVT Classic's Hi/Lo switches and the array of stompboxes that can be thrown into the mix - The possibilities are endless.  

Now, I won't get into every amp model that the Ampeg SVX has to offer, but I will throw down some props on another of my favorite's... The B-15R model (based around the classic Ampeg Portaflex amps). Talk about the perfect marriage between smooth and aggressive. I have been very lucky to have had access to these amazing amps in many of the recording sessions I have taken part of throughout the years. And of all the amps I have played the old school Portaflex's are amongst some of the best. Here I also used the Jazz bass to get some stellar tones, but the real treat was plugging in the Dano bass, which gave me some extremely cool and original bass sounds. To find the tone I wanted I went through the same process as before - throwing down a scratch track then fin tuning it. This time I found the Condenser 414 (AKG® C-414) mic worked quite nicely with this setup. I also threw in some of the software's stompboxes, as well as testing the program with some of my own. To dirty up the signal just a hint I found the Scrambler Overdrive worked beautifully. Here I must compliment on how simple and user friendly the interface of the software is. Everything is self explanatory which makes the entire program move really smoothly. Dialing in the SCP OD felt and responded just like an actual pedal, giving me the rush and satisfaction of having a new pedal! Playing through the software's pedals and using it's amps, mics, and cabs - I thought would deliver an overly processed sound (as it has been my experience with other software), but this was not the case. Running the Dano through the B-15R model gave plenty of super smooth lows and mids, tight focused highs, and a great level of response. With the software's SCP OD pedal in the mix, the tone jumped and thumped like a tornado. I only wished I could click it in & out like you would an actual effects pedal, which is where IK's StompIO and Stealth Pedal come into play. Another couple pedals from this software that I really dug were the Envelope Filter and SCP Octaver. Both of these pedals had lots of warmth, and versatility, which gave them that sweet sweet analog feel. Again, it would be if they were stompable. Next I went back to the B-15R's root tone and pulled out a few of my own pedals. Now. if ever you've had experience in running stompboxes through software, you know it can be quite tricky. Not all programs I have tried work well with effects pedals of other hardware But again this was not an issue here. Because of the Ampeg SVX's tone and feel, it took to everything I pushed through it and blended with it beautifully. Driving the amp model with one of my own overdrivers got me dead accurate overdriven bass tones which also helped in expanding the amp models overall tones. By this point it was pretty damn clear that this program wasn't going to disappoint. And it hasn't yet. When I ran the software's heads with no effects of any kind, I found they didn't mask the character of my bass guitars. Alone all of the amp models produced neutral and honest tones which made recording, practicing, and writing all great experiences. I have played both originals and reissues of the amps and pedals modeled in this program, and can safely say I know them inside out. . Nothing compares to these magical pieces of gear, and having this software on deck recreates many of those tones dead-on accurate. 

Listening back to the bass tracks I recorded didn't come across jagged or overpowering. I was able to hear all of my dynamics and accents like I would any killer amp. Some modeling and plug-in software can stick out like a sore thumb, causing you to work harder to correct it. The Ampeg SVX software does not introduce this problem in any of the applications I tried it with. IK Multimedia truly chose a fantastic collection of amps, microphones, and cabs to create a program that delivers an ocean of bass lovely tones. Having access to the tones available form this software can give a writing session a glimpse of what's to come - a demo recording the sound to inspire - and a live gig a taste of a studio's magic. Setups from the smallest home project studios to professional record producing giants, will find this a great source of magical sounding user friendly software. The Ampeg SVX program worked and sounded beautifully through all the hardware I ran it through, it worked great with other instruments such as keyboards and baritone guitars, and it did it all with a tasty organic feel. With an instrument like the bass guitar a thing like feel is  everything. It is the backbone and weight that carries a tune, and is the instrument that gets the crowd moving. Last I will say - This was only a scratching of the surface of what is possible with this software. Get in and dig for yourself.


For more info on IK Multimedia go to For more info on Ampeg SVX click here. You can also go down to our Youtube search engine at the bottom of our site and search for IK Multimedia demo videos and tutorials. Make sure to stay tuned for more Analog War Cry features on IK Multimedia to come in the very near future. See ya soon!!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Top Finds of 2010 / Apache Amps

Apache Amps

If there is one town fit for the musician it is Los Angeles, Ca. Living here in LA has always provided me with every piece of gear I have ever wished for - whether it be a guitar, amplifier, set up pups, or rare stompbox. But there is another resource that Los Angeles carries, one that if you ask me is worth more than gold. And this is?.... It's wide band of highly talented amp gurus. This last year I had a chance to meet one such cat, and this has been one of the-if not the most gifted builders I have ever met. This brother has not only introduced me to some new and exciting tone tools, but has also shown me to further appreciate the true meaning of passion for toneHis name is Tommy Aguilar, a laid back mellow individual with a keen insight on amp building and hot-rodding. Tommy and I's path crossed at one of my favorite local guitar shops (Time Warp Music) while doing a regular visit a few months back. What started as a just another gear chat with a fellow tone purist, ended in one hell of a treat. Within Time Warp's collection of impressive gear I would discover a handful of Tommy's hand built creations. Amongst these builds was a 50 watt JMP replica, a couple of hod-rodded amps and pedals, a killer sounding original Apache Amp and matching cab, and last - a curious little black box with a trio of vintage tubes sticking out from it. That little black box would end up being one of the most intelligently designed tone tools I would ever know. Ladies and gents, I'd like to introduce to you the...


preamp/clean boost/overdrive/fuzz

  • Power Transformer
  • 6X4 Rectifier tube
  • Compatible Preamp Tubes: 12AX7, 12AY7, 5751, 12AT7, etc...
  • Built-in Power Supply
  • Available Mods: Push/Pull Bright and Boost
  • Hand Built in the USA
  • Front Panel: Tone/Volume
  • Side Panel: Volume


Imagine being able to hot-rod your amp while at the same time having the option to leave it bone stock, as is, untouched, and untampered. When on a mission to upgrade or mod our amps, what is it we're trying to achieve? To put it simply the answer is - better tone. The hot-rodding of guitar amps is a ritual that has been regularly practiced since the birth of the tube amp, and one that continuously improves as time goes on. Sometimes the amps we choose to upgrade are budget builds, some simple boutique builds, and others DIY kits. But then there's those few that choose to modify their precious vintage pieces. And if there's on sure way to screw up the value of a vintage amplifier it is by opening it up to tinker away at it. So what is the alternative to this? Well, until now there really hasn't been many options. The Rectidrive puts this issue to r-e-s-t. 

Now, there are a handful of different applications this gadget can be used in, and believe me I tried them all. You can simply run it straight into your amp, through your amp's power amp in/preamp out or effects loop, use it in conjunction with your effects pedals, with a power amp (example: Marshall EL34 100/100), and so on and so fourth. I won't get too scientific on how this little baby works but here is pretty much the gist of it. Unlike many "tube" driven gadgets you will find out there today the Rectidrive is actually capable of kicking out real tube voltages, meaning real tube tone. Two adjustable gain stages slam the front end of whatever you choose to run it through, resulting in thick rich tones and tube soaked sustain. Each volume controls it's own tube's results, with the first tube sending it's signal slamming into the second tube. Depending on how it's set the Rectidrive can deliver anything from clean boosts, semi-grit, and overdriven rock tones, to high gain distortion, scorching leads, and even fuzz signal territories. The end result on your tone's character lies on your choice of amp, which means all that hard work at perfecting your tone stays perfectly intact. This means a California amp will kick out more of it's rich good sound, a British amp more of that throaty growl, a Liverpool amp a jump in jangle and chime, and so on and so fourth. I began my adventure with this little gem with a DeVille and duel humbucker semi-hollow body. Before switching on the Rctidrive I dialed in my root tone and overall output level. Once my amp was thumping out plenty of rich tube goodness I began working in the Rectidrive. So as to use it as an overdrive channel and having the ability to switching it on and off, I went ahead and plugged the Rectidrive into a footswitch. As a clean booster this baby worked wonders! I was able to boost all of my amps tonal characteristics without any coloration or change in feel. The Deville's big sparkling clean tone became even bigger and much more focused. Warming up or brightening my root tone was also a cinch thanks to the Rectidrive's tone control. This would later come in handy when throwing in different types of effects pedals. Slowly I began adding in a little gain for dirtying up my signal. I started with some light bluesy rock tones and classic rock grit. At even the lightest overdrive settings the Rectidrive kicked out an impressionable amount of harmonics. This added great results to my picking attack, bends, and double stops. I could hear and even more importantly feel the amp's tonal character hitting me straight in my soul. Cleaning up the signal was also a cinch with a roll back of the guitar's volume knob, this making for a wide variety of tones on the fly. Another setup that worked quite nicely was my Les Paul and AC15 clone, which was one of my favorite amps to play this unit with. Playing the Rectidrive through a sparkling clean tone was really something special, but through a decent amount of tube grit things only got better. Setting the 15 watter to a light crunch and setting the Rectidrive to take it into lead tones got me just about every tone I needed. On it's own I was able to take the amp from it's light grit to velvety cleans. Adding in the unit widened my tonal palette by ten fold. At the tips of my fingers I held the ability to go from cleans to grit, and crunch to all-out sustain. And again, no matter how much or how little gain I pushed through my amp, it's tonal character stayed intact and held it's own. Beyond these two amps I also dove into a 100 watt Super Lead and Fender Eighty Five solid state amp. I was able to improve on the Marshall's tone (which I thought not possible) and able to go places I'd never heard before. For this giant of an amp I broke out my 70's Strat build. Pushed through both high gain amp settings or dialed in into high gain settings itself, the Rectidrive was able to hit these really cool fuzz-like arenas that were a sound all their own. The single soil pickups in the guitar created an entirely different vibe to how the Rectidrive's dirtiness responded. Through each and every pickup position I was able to pull out something tasty and totally different. Within these many tones was the control and tightness of a great sounding overdrive, only with a howling top-end and slicing midrange punch that beat the silence silly with attitude. Adding in a clean booster to this combo created even more possibilities - which I will leave to your imagination. Finally was the Fender solid state amp, where things got unbelievably better. The sharp clean tone that I usually dial in Eighty Five amp became a proper wall of tube saturated dirt'n'grime. Something I have achieved from this amp before but not without such ease. Once I had my fill of running this baby through a decent collection of amps came time to toss in some guitar pedals. Being a pedal hound myself and having many of you pedal players as well, I wanted to see just how well this unit got along with stompboxes. With dirt pedals of all kinds the Rectidrive worked perfectly, adding in a boost in harmonics and overtones that brought my pedal to life and gave them new voices. Like with my choice of amp - the choice of pedal also made a difference on my tone's end result. With modulation pedals I was to add a super tube richness which warmed everything up to a vintage-like flavor. This was especially true through chorus, vibe, and delay pedals of all types. But my absolute most favorite use for this little monster, the one that delivered the quickest golden results.... was the pairing of a loaned Marshall EL34 50/50 preamp. The amount of control that I had over my tone was stunning! There was a simple straight no-frills attitude to my sound that charged out from my speakers with pure grade A tube tone. My buddy who owns the EL34 50/50 power amp was really taken by the sound we were getting from his unit and the little black Apache Amps box. With it's one tone control and two gain stages the Rectidrive did what many other much more complex units are capable of, and then some. I tell you, there are many gadgets out there today capable of some great sounding guitar tones. And if you look deep into these products you'll learn it is tube grit and saturation that they are emulating. This is what players are after when modifying and upgrading their amps and rigs. This little box takes you straight to the source with no side tracking and extra components for dulling your sound. After about a week or so of experimenting with Tommy's genius design I discovered there was absolutely no wrong way to use this thing. It didn't matter whether it was amp, pedal, or power amp, and whether those amps were tube or solid state - the Rectidrive did it's magic and did it without breaking a sweat. For those seeking pure tube harmonics and sustain, and super charged overtones and undertones - this is it.


For more info on Apache Amps and the Rectidrive unit itself you can emial Tommy at or contact him here through my site. Tommy is also a genius at hot-rodding amps, building his own designs, and pretty much building you anything you want. You may not find a website leading you to this brother, but that don't mean jack! Stay tuned, I will try and bring you more from Tommy's Apache Amps in the near future.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Top Finds of 2010 / Voltage Guitar Pickups

As a gear fanatic and tone hound these are the things I love most - Upgrades and mods, a new piece of gear, and a proper gig or session. But there is something else which brings even more joy, something that stands out way above the rest. I call this "the mother of all rushes"... and that is - The discovery of a completely new and original product. In our history of gadgets, gizmos, and whatchamacalits, there are non more exciting than the coming of a new creation. Whether it be cosmetical, electrical, or for user friendliness. For those of you who have never heard of Voltage Guitar Pickups I implore you to please pay attention and make sure to visit their website once you've run through our post. I was blessed with a set of Voltage Chaos pickups earlier this year and the only thing I can say is... things will never be the same.

Voltage Chaos Pickups
(Strat Model)


Take a close look at these pickups. At first look they may seem like just another everyday normal run of the mill Strat set. But then you look closer and notice there is something you have never seen on a set of Strat pups. Builder and designer Ben Sheppard calls this his "Voltage" single coil design. Now, this cool mesh grill design may look cool (beyond cool if you ask me), but there is a purpose behind this hip look. Ben designed these pickups to provide the player with healthy jumped in both power and sustain. This gives the already slick and unmistakable "Strat" sound an even cooler and much more versatile tone. The Chaos pups are wound from 5.8k to 6.2k and built with the finest parts and components. Each pickup is also calibrated for use in it's proper position for the ultimate in tone shaping and pickup blending. I've had a chance to rock these pickups now for a good period of time, and I will say they are like nothing I have ever played through a Strat. I have gigged, recorded, practiced, written, and compared these pickups to many others. One thing is for sure... these baby's are an animal all their own. This was a product that at first glance had me impressed as well as curious beyond belief. And even cooler was how great these pickups looked once they were wired into my guitar. Many times a company or builder will use looks solely to sell his/her product, and many times this technique works. This is not one of those incidences, nor is this design a gimmick of any kind. 

For my testing of these pickups I would plug into a handful of different amps, A/B them with a Strat sporting traditional pups, and would run them through a handful of different stompboxes. I began the adventure with a 22 watt 65' Deluxe Reverb reissue (on loan froma  good buddy) plugged into the normal channel, with a coily Bullet Cable and nothing else in the signal chain. The normal channel's Vol/Bass/Treble I set straight up the middle, this giving me a big'n'punchy blackface tone that sounded like absolute heaven. I began with the neck pickup, strumming away and a handful of different licks and chords. Right away the Chaos pickups chimed away with beautiful brute force and originality. It wasn't so much that they sounded extremely different or alien of a vintage Strat pickup. All of the snappy cutting power of a standard Strat pickup was there, only with more focus and clarity. The highs that these pickups let loose had a bell-like top end that shimmered and shined like diamonds. The bass was very present but not overpowering, with a smooth curve and tight corners. Then there was the midrange that these pickups produced (my favorite), a sound that slammed right in-between everything else and gave the amp a well balanced overall tone. The fact that these pickups gave more of everything made them very very versatile and also gave them a wider dynamics range. To warm them up I only needed to roll back on the guitar's tone control, and rolling back on the volume they would hold their own. Some pickups you start playing around with the guitar's volume control and you listen as your tone goes to all hell. Same goes for the guitar's tone knob. These pickups responded beautifully to this little trick, making them a prime choice for those of you who dial in & out on the fly. I also noticed how sensitive they were to my pick attack. This would later provide me with some tasty tasty sustain when matching them up with an overdriven amp and dirt pedals. Next I ran through a bunch of different chords, from the simplest to the most complex. Through every type of chord I played I was able to get stunning good balance. The pickups created great string articulation and clarity, had plenty of bite, and were easily tamable. Even the lightest of my touches I was able to enhance what the amp would dish out. I then pushed the Deluxe Reverb into a natural tube driven grit, and here is where these pickups did most of their magic. What had been projected through my clean tones was now flowing even stronger through a wave of gritty goodness. It seemed like the lows, highs, and mids became even stronger once I added in a little grime. Touching down softly on the strings produced light semi-dirty tones that bloomed in & out. The harder I dug in - the more the Chaos pickups gave me. Through very loud amp tones I was able to control and mold amp feedback as if pushing a paint brush. And still I took them further. It was time for me to break out something a little stronger, something with more wattage and output. My next choice would be a Super Lead slammed into a huge sounding rock tone. I wanted to see just how much these pups could do. To get an idea of the differences between the Voltage Pickups and a traditional vintage set of single coil pickups, I first played through my 60's Strat build. I ran through some blues licks, rhythm power chords, leads, and bends and double stops. Comparing the standard set of pickups to the Chaos set I easily heard the difference. It wasn't a matter of better or worse, nor did one set out weigh the other in any way. With the Chaos pickups everything was brighter, thicker, and meatier. Instead of softer, warmer, and spankier like you would get from a vintage set. The rockin good tone form the Super Lead made for great classic rock, hard rock, punk rock, blues rock, and every other type of rock I played. Switching from one pickup position to another was something quite special. Every pickup position kicked out a character of it's own, leaving me with an arsenal of golden tones to choose from. Here I broke out the pedals. First I plugged into some dirt boxes, then modulation, then wahs and the like. Through clean boosters the pickups were enhanced, never getting in the way of the root tone and only taking it further. Overdrive pedals were are something you will discover these pickups love most. Just like overdriven tube amps I was able to get lots of richness and clarity. With fuzz boxes I was able to maintain better string separation and huge amounts of sustain. Mixed in with a little delay I was able to shape some of the most epic sounding rock tones I have ever heard. I needed not blend these pickups with a compressor or EQ pedal. In the studio the Chaos pickups proved to be a very powerful weapon, as well as on the stage, and in practice. Anyone looking for pull more from their Strat's would do themselves nicely by wiring in a set of Voltage Pickups. Up until now I have played these pickups through more amps, pedals, and effects units than I can count. Each and every experience has been a positive one, a memorable one, and one full of inspiration. Hands down... there is no way to go wrong here. 


You can check out more info on Voltage Guitar Pickups by visiting Also make sure to stay tuned for more pickup features from this magical company in the near future. Keep on tuning in for the rest of Analog War Cry's Top Finds of 2010!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Top Finds of 2010 / Ddyna Music: Bass 10

Righty-O here we go. We all have our own tastes, opinions, favorites, and go-to's when it comes to gear. Whether it be an amp or pedal, guitar or set of pickups. This is what makes gear so special and what gives us all our own unique tonal voices. To me there is no such thing as better than - what might sound good to me or work for me may not work for another, and vice versa. This next collection of articles and reviews are our own personal favorites - pieces of gear that stood out to us in one way or another. There is not one piece of gear featured on this site that isn't special to us, which is exactly why I started this site - to share with ya'll my insight and experiences. I thought there'd be no better way to start this Top Finds than by hitting you with the long awaited Bass 10 from my good buddy Dan Simon of Ddyna Music. I can remember when I first became acquainted with Dan (some 2 years ago or so) and him running down his idea of what would become the Bass 10. I must admit that even way back then I was quite curious and eager to see the pedal come to fruition. Now that this pedal is in rotation amongst the world of us stompbox junkies, I will say it has surpassed every one of my expectations. The world of effects pedals is one that does not touch or work for every player. But for those that do choose to use these little metal boxes of magic and wonder, I say it does not get much better than this.... the Bass 10.


  • Switching: True Bypass (TPDT)
  • Input Impedance; 300k (min)
  • Output Impedance: 4K (max at 5Hz)
  • Input/Output Jacks: Neutrik 1/4" Phone
  • Current Consumption: (Operating) 60mA (max) - (Standby) 54mA @ 18DVC
  • Power: 12VDC AC Adapter (Supplied)
  • Voltage Range: 12.0VDC-18.0VDC 
  • Connector: 2.1mm x 5.5mm - Tip Positive
  • Dimensions: 4.87(W) x 3.72(D) x 2.25(H)
  • Weight: 0.92 lbs
  • 100% Analog Signal
  • Built with Top Notch Components in the USA

Many of you guitar slinging readers of mine may and see the word bass and instantly be turned off. But for those of you who have done your fair share of pedal experimenting - you know that bass pedals can sometimes do more than just the trick of working with basses. The Bass 10 certainly proved worthy of providing for more than just the bass guitar. In my guitar ventures this pedal did more than I thought possible, this goes for many other instruments as well - stringed and not. It is the array of versatile controls that linger on the Bass 10's face that make it capable of taking your tone up on high and just about anywhere you want it to go. The controls themselves are very intelligently laid out and work with one another beautifully. The top row of controls sporting the white markers work as four Bandpass Filters - there for precise dialing in & out of the selected frequencies. The bottom row of controls is split into two channels/sections - The controls sporting the blue markers are a top notch great sounding compressor, and the ones with the red markers are your overdriver. Last you will find two footswitches - one for engaging the compressor and the other for kicking in the overdrive. Together all of these controls come together to create one of the most powerful and versatile pedal I have ever come across. The Bass 10 is a 100% analog circuit, sporting true bypass switching, and can run off of anywhere from 12 to 18 volts. 

My first run-through of this magical pedal began with a Jazz Bass and Ampeg amplifier. I found this a great pair for hearing exactly what this pedal was capable of. I started by rolling the amp in straight up the middle, this giving me a neutral sweet sounding overall tone. The bass I played both with my fingers and pick. One giving me a warmer softer sound, and the other pumping out plenty of thump'n'boom. I dug into the bass, slapped the strings a bit, played soft jazz and R&B runs, and simple roots rock bass lines. I did this to get an exact feel of what the Bass 10 would do for me. Once my ear got adjusted to the clean amp tone I went ahead and set the pedal's compressor. First I set the ratio to my liking, then the sustain, and last I worked in the compression's volume. Before using the pedal's EQ section to shape and mold my tone, I first played around with it to see how easily I could match the amp's root tone. This in fact ended up being as easy as pie. Engaged, the Bass 10 gave my tone more clarity and control. I was able to hear the strings much clearer, the touch of my fingers, and the walking of the notes. Playing softly the pedal's compression created this pillowy sound that sounded spec-tac-ular. The notes would jump out at me as if alive and breathing. I was able to maintain the tone's character while at the same time fine tuning each corner and peak of the overall sound. This is where a killer sounding compressor can do you proper, and what no other effect will do. Once set to the Jazz Bass' liking and kicked in, I found no reason to turn this pedal off. I found the compression channel very easy to use and very friendly to my attack. Here I began playing with the overdrive section and tuning in the EQ section to a bigger feel. I set the drive first to about 10'o'clock, started with the depth control back near it's lowest setting, and last dialed in the overdrive volume. The EQ's bass I rolled well past noon, the low mids at about 9'o'clock, high mids between 1 and 2'o'clock, and the treble at noon. In this setting the pedal provided me with more of a boost than an actual overdrive sound. It was the depth control's position that made this possible. Rolling the depth clockwise converts the overdrive signal into a more of a square wave tone other than a round sound. This control alone makes the overdrive channel on this pedal very very versatile. Oh, and before I forget to mention - The overdrive section cannot be engaged unless the compression channel is in action. This keeps the overdrive signal in check, and with the EQ stack blended in the possibilities are damn near endless. Getting a dirtier bass tone from here was very simple. Just roll in a bit more drive and depth and you are home-free. With the depth right around noon, drive just passed 9'o'clock, and OD volume to my liking - I was able to get a nice balance of my root bass tone and th pedal's dirty/compressed signal. I found this tone this tone worked great for jumping the dynamics in tunes and making things in general just sound much bigger. Here is where I discovered the range and possibilities of the Bass 10's depth knob. By rolling th depth closer to 2-3'o'clock and rolling in a little more OD volume, I was able to take the same drive setting into even more of a grittier tone. With the EQ section things only got better. I was able to shape the overdrive signal into anything I wanted - a big fat dirt sound, or a thin bass cutting punching machine. Even fuzz tones were no problem wit this pedal. Before experimenting with other instruments I also did plug in a Danelectro bass and a active pickup ESP bass. With both of these basses ( as well as the Jazz Bass) I was able to shape them way beyond their character tones. Giving the Dano bass more aggression and softening the EMG's signal were no problem. This proved one thing - Dan did his homework, making this a pedal fit for many types of bass guitars. Next came my guitars. I ran the exact same tests with a semi-hollow body, Strat, Tele, and Junior. The pedal's compression proved to work much better than some of the guitar comp boxes I have come across, and the overdrive section did this really cool tight'n'gritty thing that blended really well with other guitar tracks ( both clean and dirty). One of my favorite though was playing this baby through a lap or pedal steel. Hands down one of the best tools for this type of instrument I have ever heard. In the end this pedal worked beautifully for both vintage and modern tones. As a tool for the bas guitar I could not recommend anything else. For those of you who dig multi-functional pedals this pedal is a dream. I myself am a huge fan of finding pedals that work just as good in the studio as they do on the stage. The Bass 10 is of this breed of stompbox. This of course is only a graze of the Bass 10's capabilities... the rest is for you to discover.


Find more information on Ddyna Music stompboxes at or click the direct link in our sidebar. Also make sure to search our other Ddyna Music reviews and articles. We will be featuring much more from Dan Simon's world to come in the very near future. Stay tuned and get ready for more Top Finds!!!

Monday, December 6, 2010

December Madness!!!

Hello hello hello! Hey guys, sorry about the small break there. Took some much needed time off there to focus on some song writing, and blog writing. I hope everyone had a great holiday this past November and hope y'll are planning a great Christmas and New Year. I had a chance to dig deep into the world of pedals and gear in general, and I must say it paid off with sweet sweet glory. This month is going to be an absolute dream of killer gear galore! I of course have the Top Finds posts, which will start the second half of this month and continue on into the new year, along with some more cool and interesting looks into some music making products you may or may not have heard of. I want to thank all you guys for writing in with yours thoughts and suggestions, keep writing in. With the year coming to an end there are many new toys just around the bend. Both small and large gear companies are planning some awesome treats for us gear addicted monkeys. I will try my best to get my hands on some of this gear to bring you some more killer insight. Hold on tight and get ready for one freakin' good month of golden golden gear fever.


Monday, November 15, 2010

Two Stunning Sequels


Controls (Both Channels)
  • Level: Controls overall output
  • Gain: Sets grit/crunch/distortion amount
  • Tone: Controls high-end roll-off
  • Normal/Boost Switch: Switch from moderate to high gain
  • Bypass Footswitch: True bypass switching

The release of this little doozy was one that for me made absolute sense. Like the original this new pedal also works perfectly for all types of rock - from alternative, punk, and hard rock, to blues, country, and classic rock. And also like the first Mudhoney this puppy is also an awesome tool for stacking up with other dirt boxes and overdriven amps. Only with this Mudhoney T-Rex has added a second identical channel for even more tonal range on the fly. Finding suitable amps, guitars, and pickups to match this pedal up with was a piece-of-cake. I was literally able to just plug in and go without any problems,  thanks to the pedal's responsive and versatile controls. I plugged this pedal into everything from Strat's and Les Paul's, to Tele's and semi-hollow guitars, and never found I wasn't able to dial in stunning tones. 

I'll start with my 15 watt head and neck bucker Tele, which I later used with the Mudhoney II on a small gig and ended up being the perfect little tone machine for knocking out all of my overdrive and distortion textures. Later I would discover this would also be quite an impressive setup for studio and recording sessions. With the amount of range that this pedal's gain and tone controls have to offer, it made it possible to dial in everything I needed. Then add in the pedal's boost function and a little meddling of your guitar's controls - and you got yourself a whole new range of tons to play with! Having the ability to set one of the pedal's channels to a light boosted grit, and the other channel to a hotter drive - really made this one of the most useful dirt pedals. Using the pedal to slam into the tubes I was able to get these traditional punchy clean/dirty AC15 tones with lots of highs and smooth mids. Then once engaging the pedal's second hotter channel I was able to push into more distorted and aggressive rock tones. All without loosing the amp's characteristics and maintaining my root tone feel. I was also easily able to control how and when the tone broke up by the dynamics of my picking and strumming. A light touch would provide a sparkling clean tone with gritty undertones, and digging in would take the amp into a howling growl. With ease I was also able to get back to the amp's clean tone by rolling back on the guitar's volume, all without any coloration or drop in tone. Next I experimented with one channel as a clean booster and the other cranked full blast. Here the pedal created an authentic rich'n'smooth golden rhythms and ruff'n'rugged leads. Most awesome was how each pick would respond. In the Tele's bridge pickup the overdrive signal was able to slice and cut with great definition and spank. Ringing out chords never sounded so beautiful! I got great note separation yet still had plenty of attitude to punch out massive sounding chord work. With the neck humbucking picking it was more of the same. I got all of the same note separation and aggression, only with even more smoothness and low bottom thump. I thought to myself "Here I am not even ankle deep into this pedal and it's already pushing out tons of awesome tones." This was something that the first Mudhoney pedals had, and why so many players love them so. Another amp/guitar combo that works nicely with this pedal was my 4x10 Deville and P90 equipped Junior copy. Here also tried the clean booster channel/fully cranked lead channel thing and it was marvelous! The throaty P90 tone cut through like a deadly samurai sword. It was obviously going to be no problem getting this pedal to adapt to whatever pickup you played it through. I was could take the sparkling Fender clean tone into just about any dirt tone I wanted. Through this amp I also got hear what the Mudhoney II sounded like through super loud levels. If you guys have ever played the Hot Rod amps you know how knarly they can get. And with mine sporting four 100watt ten inch speakers, a revamped tone circuits, and a few other tweaks - it gives it enough clean headroom to spare and makes it the perfect amp for running dirt pedals through. With the amp cranked loud enough and the Mudhoney set just right, I was also able to convert it into a Marshall-like demon. The four 10's sounded like a wall of rock god heaven. This amp is also another piece of gear I use a lot for gigs, and with the Mudhoney II it was really nice. On stage the pedal was able to give me the perfect blend of clean to distortion, and able to provide me with those blaring screeching lead tones. Using this pedal live also gave me the opportunity to stack it up with some other pedals... hehehehe. Just for kicks in the middle of a riffing good break down I decided to stomp on the Mudhoney, while already playing through a blaring smooth fuzz tone. The Mudhoney took the fuzz pedal's grimey sound and twisted it into a mothership of psychedelic harmonics and overtones. Then there was pushing this pedal though an already overdriven signal, which was probably one of my ways to use this pedal. Through both pedal overdrive and amp overdrive the Mudhoney II came through with flying colors. After playing around with the Mudhoney II for a couple days I would safely describe it as a pedal capable of a huge range of dirty tones, a pedal that plays well with other stompboxes, and a pedal that thrives when matched up with tube amps.... and just a kickass pedal PERIOD!




  • Mix: Mixes the dry and the wet signal. Set at 12 you can hear the guitar go through
  • Decay: Determines the length of the spring, that is emulated
  • Hicut: Cuts the high notes on the tail of the reverb. Giving the tail a smooth sound
  • Level: Controls the output volume
  • Gain: Controls the level on the input signal. With this knob you can turn down the input signal, if it is too power full. The green light on top of the pedal will go red, if the input signal is too high and makes the pedal distort
Reverb Types
  • Spring: Sounds like an old vintage Fender amp with the typical spring based reverb
  • Room: Typical room reverb. Like a clinic in a small room
  • Hall: Sounds like a big concert hall
  • LFO: Reverb with chorus
(Pedal gives stereo output through the left and right output jack plugs)


I could very easily describe this pedal in one sentence simply by writing - The end-all be-all reverb pedal for the masses. But I won't stop here. First let me say I honest to God thought there was no way T-Rex could improve on the Room-Mate... boy was I wrong. I myself never owned a first version Room-Mate but nontheless I am quite familiar with the pedal. The first Room-Mate is a pedal that many cats that I know use in their studios and gigging pedalboards. For this reason I must admit that when I first heard there was going to be a new Room-Mate hitting the streets, I got giddy with excitement. Never did I think it would end up being as amazing as it is. Features I won't go into, if you want to read up on the new Room-Mate's features look above or click here. It is all about how this pedal works with you and your tone, and how versatile of a reverb box it is. 

I'll start with some honest to goodness classic spring reverb tones. For this I plugged into my Super Lead and Telecaster. The big booming sound of the 100 watt Marshall in fact ended up being the perfect canvas for the new Room-Mate's awesome tones. To achieve a vintage voiced spring verb sound was indeed very very easy. I simply set the mode switch to spring, dialed in it's controls to my liking, and that was that. Right there swimming out from my amp was a lush sparkling classic reverb tone that had my guitar sounding pretty damn hip. I had the perfect blend of British attitude and classic American verb, which made for one very cool tone. I slowly went from a clean tone to pushing the amp into a light grit. With the pedal's decay and mix controls I could dial-in just the right amount of effect and feel. It was nice having the ability to have a big decayed reverb only mixed in lightly. This created this strange reverb that sat intensely behind the amp's root tone. Lots and lots of fun. When I first demo'd this pedal I had done it through a Twin Reverb (the king of all reverb amps if you ask me). This would later lead to comparing both of the reverb types. A/B-ing the amp and pedal's reverb tones I must say was quite tuff, and I will have to honest here - I did choose the pedal more times than I did the amp. Later when getting deeper into this pedal I knew exactly why this was - It is the Room-Mate's tone quality. Even at low almost undetectable rverb settings the pedal gives your root tone a little bit of sweetness. This is one of those pedals that holds all of the mojo that makes a great vintage tone great, yet takes this tone into higher grounds. This let me pull surfy psychedelic 60's verb tones and light fluffy whispers, with plenty of warm and definition. All literally a breeze for this pedal. With the pedal's wide range of controls I could pull a bunch of variations on each reverb tone I dialed in. This automatically makes this a killer gigging reverb. Anyone without a on-board reverb would do themselves proper by snatching up one of these pedal's.  Then there was using this pedal as a studio tool (which is where the fun really began). Not everyone can afford expensive rackmount reverb tools or has room for big bulky reverb tank units. This pedal is a perfect alternative to all of this. I'm the type of cat that when recording uses the best tool for the job. Not always what might work best for one application work for another. Sometimes I like to use something flashy, sometimes I use a plug-in, and sometimes I use pedals. With the new Room-Mate I was able to get all types of uses out of it. One of my favorite was using it's room reverb effect in recording sessions and live gigs. With drums and vocals this especially worked best. I was able to give my drum tracks a big, sweet, forgiving room sound that added size and muscle to the overall sound. I recorded these hi-hat/kick/snare tracks with a stereo overhead and mic in the kick, that in the end sounded pretty damn impressive (thanks to my micing techniques and skills, hehehehe). Later when adding the Room-Mate's room reverb things got even sweeter. I was able to hear and feel all of the room's characteristics and sweet acoustics. This possible with both hall and room settings. Adding the pedal's hall reverb also sounded great with fuzz pedals and high gain distortions. I myself really enjoy using an exaggerated hall verb with fuzz for adding spooky and psychedelic layers to tunes. It's a great way to create background noise and make your fuzz notes trail on forever. Then last came the super cool super hip LFO reverb mode. Oh mama! I've heard and played many different takes on this type of reverb before, and thought either they were too much or just not interesting at all. With this pedal it is not like so. The LFO mode really takes your tone and turns it into something wild and special. I was able to get these beautifully aquatic-like reverb/chorus hybrids, then take her all the way up to trippy warbling madness. Again, having the amount of control that that this pedal offers made it a cinch to get tons of different variations. From one end of the reverb spectrum to the other - I was able to cover just about every sound you could imagine. This is one of those pedals that really needs no help in speaking for itself - a pedal that will for sure become a collector's in years to come. 

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Night of the Living Fuzz

Spencer Amps
Distortion Processors/Modifications

That's right kids, we've got another extra special treat for you from the awesome mind of Bill Spencer. Earlier this year when I discovered Spencer Amps I had no idea what I would be in for. In this life of a tone conscience/tone hunting fool - I come across and am introduced to lots of different gear. Some of the time the finds are real gems, and other times it is just more of the same. With Bill's gear it was a refreshing combination of familiar and wild'n'crazy tones. For those of you didn't catch our Spencer Amps feature on the Mystique Overdrive click here and come back to us once you've finished. You'll be glad you did. So what is it that makes these pedals a force of their own? Well, it appears Bill has a knack for uniting distortion tones with killer sounding fuzz. This is a talent that has led Bill to modify and design some real champion stompboxes. Below Bill has taken what in my opinion is not all that great of a pedal, and converted it into a spectacular one. You players that dig swimming within the distortion and fuzz box realm will ab-so-lut-ely dig this one. 

Supra Zombie Distortion
Mixfuzz (Total Conversion Mod)

  • Level: Controls overall output, with enough on tap to send your amp into a fierce overdrive
  • Tone: Shapes your overdrive's tonal character - From smooth to sting
  • Gain: Dials in grit amount and overall aggression
  • Mix (Zombie): Works to blend in a second distortion circuit for a world of dirty tones


This is one pedal I have been very very excited to share with you. I have always thought DOD pedals could be easily improved on and always wondered why more builder hadn't done so. Bill Spencer's "Zombie" modification of the DOD Supra Distortion is one that not only converts this pedal into a higher quality stompbox, it also provides it with the ability to deliver tons more tonal possibilities. What was once a normal run of the mill dirt pedal, is now a beast of many many faces. The Supra Zombie is capable of hitting you with everything from gritty boosts and overdrives, to distortions of all types and fuzz's of all colors. But dirty signals isn't all this pedal can do, no sir. In the right settings this pedal is also capable of synth-like tones, gated overdrives, and even controllable noise and feedback sound effects. Exactly how this pedal does this I won't get into. If you'd really like to read up on the specs and techs of the Supra Zombie you can click here. Instead I will share with you my experience with this saucy demon.

One of my favorite amp's to push with the Supra Zombie was a mighty fine ol' 22 watt Fender Deluxe. This amp's ability to go into naturally smooth and silky overdrives, makes for a great painting canvas. The Deluxe is an amp that on it's own is capable of great clean, semi-clean, gritty, and all-out distorted tones. By playing the Supra Zombie through this amp I was able to add to and accent everything the amp created. Guitars of all sorts were also something this pedal worked with magnificently. Through the Deluxe amp P90's and Strat pickups were my favorite. With the Strat I was able to get awesome Texas blues tones, super sustain soaked lead tones, and Hendrix-like fuzz tones. With the P90's I was able to some of the most aggressive and brutal dirt tones ever! And getting all of these tones was a cinch too, all thanks to the Zombie knob. Some dirt pedals you will wit with for hours trying to find and dial in sweet spots. Many dirt pedal you will plug into and just end up with the same old thing. With this baby that ain't so. In one direction the Zombie control will act much like an overdriven tube amp, giving you plenty of dynamics and letting you control the character of the crunch with your pick attack. At the opposite end the Zombie knob will take you into non-traditional dirt tones. I began by experimenting with the pedal without it's Zombie circuit blended into the signal. I Set the pedal's level and tone at noon, and the gain at 9'o'clock. Here the pedal pushed out a spot-on Pete Townshend rhythm tone that sounded amazing through all types of chord work. No matter how strong or soft I pushed the strings, the signal would dish out balanced and defined notes. It was something quite special actually, and it really took me my surprise. Strumming lightly the Supra Zombie kicked out perfectly clean notes that had plenty of sparkle and chime. Whenever I wanted more from the pedal I had to do was dig into the strings and I was home-free. With every bit of gain that I added to the signal I would get more crunch and more attitude. Once I got to about noon on the gain knob, the pedal began producing these harmonically rich super charged under/overtones that sang and howled with every little touch. This was really noticeable when chugging down on the strings, playing up on the higher frets, playing harmonics, and bending and playing double-stops. Here I was able to dial in a killer sounding David Gilmour lead tones. Then by adding in a hint of analog delay only made it that much better. Last before getting into the Zombie knob I went ahead and cranked the gain to full blast. Just like I expected the pedal's grit stayed intact with killer note articulation and smooth sweet compression. But even with the gain at full blast the pedal wasn't done doing it's magic. By rolling off on the tone knob I was able to get even more tonal characteristics and colors.And then, it was time to mix in the Zombie control.I started slowly, rolling it up while playing a chord. At low levels the Zombie control created these light synth-like tones that only got in the way enough to give the tone some extra sizzle. I began crunching down on a bunch of complex huge chords, and just like magic the pedal was able to hold it's own. Everything from riffing to bending sounded spectacular! Then I rolled the Zombie up a little more and the pedal began creating these killer sounding gated overdrive/distortion tones. But unlike sticking a normal gate pedal into your signal, this baby made things much more user friendly. The Zombie control was able to maintain and tighten the guitar's overall signal, yet produced a smooth enough roll-off that things didn't sound too choppy or robotic. Then I set the Zombie control at noon and things really started getting interesting. Here is where the signal turned into something other than just an overdrive or distortion tone. It was synth city all the way.And once this started the possibilities were endless. I was able to shape and mold the tone with my guitar's volume and tone, with my picking, and with my feedback. It was lovely! A little trick I found to be quite fun was playing way close to the bridge, with the volume rolled back half way, and the tone at full blast. Talk about a stinging hot signal. Passed noon the Zombie control began to blend a perfect balance of the first distortion stage into the second one. I got plenty of sizzle and zap, lots of smooth overdrive, and a hell of a lot of weird overtones. The type of pickups I played with the Zombie circuit engaged also made a huge difference on it's outcome. High watt amps, overdriven signals, through clean boosters, wah pedals, dirt boxes, etc... all sounded rock and roll. What was really cool though was how the pedal's dirt signal would stay defined and balanced no matter how much gain or Zombie I introduced into it. For anyone on the hunt for something a little bit different, a little bit strange, yet capable of getting back to the traditional - this pedal is it. If any of you out there have a stock DOD© Supra Distortion laying around the house collecting dust - Do yourself a favor and contact Bill Spencer for a proper mod. You'll be stoked you did!


For more info on Spencer Amps go to or click one of the Spencer Amps links. Make sure to check out our other Spencer Amps reviews and look out for more from this company in the near future.