Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Top Finds of 2011/ Tone Blue Custom FX

Hello my dearest of readers. First let me say Happy New Year and I hope everyone had a great Christmas. I'm sure many of you got yourselves and got from your loved ones some pretty cool gear. Last year was an another amazing year for unique and marvalous music equupment, and I'm sure this year will be just as good if not better. I wanted to start this new year with some of my favorite finds of 2011, and this first feature I know you guys will absolutely love!


Every time I think nothing more can be done to the overdrive pedal comes along a stompbox  that turns my thinking in the opposite direction. Ladies and gents - let me introduce you to Tone Blue Custom FX. This my friends is a pedal company with some very impressive original and modified builds. On the TBCFX website you will come across everything from boosters, trems, verbs, loopers, fuzz's, to comps, chorus's, wah's, power supplies, and a handful of cool upgraded familiars. It's quite obvious these guys know what they're doing by the extensive and beautiful collection of stompboxes that they offer. Thank god for cool companies like these!


 Mighty Drive

My first encounter with the mighty world of TBCFX came to me in the form of a versatile little black box by the name of the Mighty Drive. Simple this pedal may be with it's Gain, Volume, Treble, Middle, and Bass controls - but I assure you it owns within it more than just one sweet spot giving you a wide range of useful and inspiring tones. For me it was the Mighty Drive's simple and straight to the point control layout that sold me from the start. The pedal's circuit itself being designed so well makes it one of the easiest dirt boxes to dial in and tweak, and one that works with many different setups and styles of music. For the hardcore tone purist guitar slinger this pedal will be an absolute dream come true.

The beginning of my Mighty Drive experiment started with a Les Paul Standard and 22 Watt Blackface amplifier. I began with a simple dry tone, no verb, and all of the amp's controls straight at noon. I began by setting the pedal's gain to a mild mellow setting. The pedal's eq stack I tried to match as close to the amp so I could get the most transparent boost possible. The Mighty Drive's volume I took to about 50%, which gave me an awesome amount of natural gritty yumminess. Right from the get-go the pedal worked beautifully as a booster and mild overdrive. The tones I got in it's mild overdrive settings reminded me of some of my favorite classic tube amps. The quality of the tone was rich, thick, and pleasing to the ear. I was able to convert the low watt amp into a grimy rock and blues machine. With the Les Paul's humbuckers thrown into the mix everything came together perfectly. I was able to go from bridge pickup to neck pickup and get a great balance of punchy highs and fat lows. The character of the pedal's sound came through with flying colors. As I went up into higher overdrive territories I began noticing the dirt getting tighter and fatter, making it sit in the mix beautifully and easy to work with. Cranking the 22 watt amp into a big and loud natural overdrive and stacking the Mighty Drive on top of it did a few cool things. First I used the pedal's volume to push the amp into a wonderful dirtier overdrive. Making it work more as a lead and distortion machine. With the pedal's middle and treble controls I was able to dial in tones that sliced through and punched with lots and lots of attitude. Rolling back the mids gave me some really cool heavy distortion tones. Along with the low watt Blackface amplifier I also plugged it into a 4x10 60 watt Hot Rod Deville with Jensen Blackbirds and Tornado's. Each of the 10" speakers in my Deville are 100 watters giving them lots of headroom which is perfect for a great sounding overdrive pedal. The Mighty Drive seemed to work like magic with this amp. I was able to crank in the pure tone of the pedal's mojo with just the amp's pure clean tone blended in. This brought out all of the pedal's feel and character. The big bouncing creamy sound of the alnico speakers mixed with the cutting edge sound of the neodymium magnets created absolute heaven. I plugged in a handful of guitars into this pedal and amp to see just what types of sounds I would get and to see if the Mighty Drive would work well with each pick and guitar style. I used a JR style guitar with a single Lollar P90, Les Paul with hand wound humbuckers, a Strat with top notch 60's style single coils, and a Tele with a classic style bucker in the neck and broadcaster style pickup in the bridge. It seemed as if the Mighty Drive were made for each guitar, pickup, and amplifier that I paired it up with. Each of the guitars' tonal styles came through and were accented by the Mighty Drive's unique and special circuit. In light settings the pedal pushed the amp's clean signal to give me more juice and more oomph. Using the pedal as an overdriver turned the amp into a rock and roll monster that worked for all typed of musical styles, including classic, blues, alternative, country, and punk. Cranking the pedal's gain to full blast, setting the volume at around 70%, then taking the eq stack and setting it to push the amp's highs/lows/ and mids made for a great experience. Strumming the strings I could feel lots of harmonics and sweet balance. The pedal sang with smooth and creamy overdrive/distortion. Last I did try this pedal with some other stompboxes, checking to see for noise or any other unpleasant ticks. I was very happy with the outcome. It it these types of pedals that a pedal junky like myself looks forward into running into to. In the end my experience with TBCFX was nothing short of amazing. The Mighty Drive was one that didn't take much effort to dial in nor did it eat away at any of my guitar's, amp's, or pickup's characteristics. I will say this - I am looking forward to see what more magic lies in store inside the Tone Blue Custom FX collection.


For more info on FBCFX go to Make sure to stay tuned for more features from Tone Blue Custom FX to come in the near future. Remember.... Let'em hear you scream!!!