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Along with the piano, the guitar is the world's most played instrument because it combines rhythmic and harmonic richness while remaining relatively affordable… and transportable. Whether acoustic, electric or acoustic-electric, the guitar essentially consists of a fretted neck and a body (or resonance table), over which 6 to 12 strings are stretched, that are plucked to produce sound.
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Diverse Overdrive Serves More than Just the Blues (Doc Music Station - Blues Delight II)
This pedal may be dedicated to the Blues (and the tones associated with the genre), but Blues Delight II certainly acts as an effective drive to push higher-gain amps, due to its very clean to dirty range in both distortion and drive. On a clean amp you can achieve full-bodied tonal improvement, but also get into the realm of crunch and edgy lead (this will depend on how clean your amp is, of course, and I demoed on The Countess’ clean channel, which is very clean and slightly glassy).
The reason for such broad responses is that this pedal has three positions (Clean, Soft and Hard) that affect the Drive knob. The Clean mode definitely is clean, offering very mild boost and fullness to the notes, particularly if the Drive is not up too much. The Soft mode pushes the signal somewhat hard, to add edge to the notes, ideal for crunch and moderately intense lead tones (relative to the Blues); soft mode uses MA858 diodes placed in the loop of the operational amplifier (chip). Hard mode increases drive and distortion for a more searing and saturated tone; it places the diodes at the output of the operational amplifier. In all, there are several combinations when you combine the three modes with varying degrees of drive and with a clean vs. driven amp channel. Moreover, like many amplifiers, there is a trim pot under the hood of Blues Delight II that allows you to adjust how much Presence you want in the signal, from very dry to very sparkling. Overall, Blues Delight II allows you to achieve varying degrees of tube amp warmth while respecting the character of the gear you’re using. I did not demo the Presence trim pot inside the pedal. I liked the setting at the half-way point, which added some sparkle, but did not make the guitars sound bright. When turned all the way down I found the pedal sounded a tad dark or dull, but all the way up it sounded too bright. Of course, that would depend on your pickups and preamp/cabinet choices, and so consider my preference in that regard.
There are a lot of options with this pedal, and so some experimentation is required with the Blues Delight II, particularly with different pickups (on the same guitar or other) and depending on the gear used. In other words, there are several options, which I’ll address in brief. The three knobs are straight forward enough, being Drive, Tone and Level. How much push, how loud and what EQ you want can be dialed in quickly. However, this pedal also has three settings of Clean, Soft and Hard, all accessible via the toggle switch and all of which need to be coordinated with the Drive (specifically). The Clean mode (center position) produces a very dramatic and open sound – very much like a clean boost, although with the added Drive as set by that knob. The Soft mode pushes the signal harder than Clean, in case you want that added energy in your tone. The Hard mode increases distortion and overdrive even further. Overall, the sound can range from very full and broad without adding any notable distortion and all the way up to edgy Rock lead. The Blues Delight II has one other trick up its sleeve… or in this case, under its hood. There is a Presence adjustment (a blue trimmer) that allows you to add sparkle to the signal. The demo included with this review has the Presence set midway. Blues Delight II does not run on batteries and requires a 9VDC power supply.
From Transparent to Just a Little Dirty, Bolt is a Versatile Drive (Ananashead Effects - Bolt)
Whether adding some clean boost, turning a clean channel into a crunch channel, or pushing a dirty channel for added bite and clarity in the mix the Bolt is a fantastic overdrive. What you will notice immediately is how transparent this drive pedal is, even when turned up full – it brings an amp’s character to life with very little coloring and without compressing or adding mid-humps. Guitar pickups or amps that are on the dark side tend to clear up and stand out in a mix much better, although if you like that darkness you can tweak the Filter on the Bolt or adjust your amp’s EQ accordingly. Pedro Garcia (the designer of Ananashead FX) relayed to me that he designed this pedal to act as a second channel for a friend’s non-master volume amp, a 1970s Sinmarc – it just so happened to work exceptionally well as a transparent Overdrive for other amps.
The Bolt is highly transparent with very little coloring, even when added to a hi-gain amp. With the Drive very low there is obvious energy and depth added to the signal, but without sounding darker or brighter. With the Drive up (at different levels and depending on your needs) the effect is more of aggression and boosting. The Filter has a useful range – when turned all the way counterclockwise there is a nice tight bottom end, whereas turned all the way clockwise the tone becomes very clear without sounding trebly or harsh – more of a sparkle. Whether working with dark or bright amps I found the Filter could be cranked up in either direction without sounding out of place. Also, there is very little added noise in the signal, whether working with clean, crunch or dirty amps and largely due to the position of the Drive. Some pedals have a lot of hissing going on, but not the Bolt.
I found there to be three typical uses or (general) settings with the Bolt. If I wanted to give a clean, crunch or dirty channel a slight boost of energy (merely some added liveliness), then I keep the Drive turned all the way down while adjusting the Level (the Filter has no effect when the Drive is all the way down as it’s meant to select frequencies being distorted, viz., no drive = no filtering). If I wanted to make a clean channel into a crunch channel, then the Drive can range from 9-o’clock to all the way up, depending on how much crunch I want, but also how clean the clean channel is (some clean channels do have some grit or may already be considered a crunch channel, as is found with some hi-gain amps). In the demo accompanying this review I added the Bolt to the very clean channel of The Countess V4 preamp and could turn the pedal’s Drive all the way up, which resulted in both a nice crunch, but also sufficient gain to play lead. When added to the ‘clean’ channel of The Sheriff V4 preamp (which is more of a crunch channel), turning the Bolt’s Drive to around 12-noon was more than sufficient and added some nice grain to the signal. When adding the Bolt to the dirty channels of the two aforementioned preamps, as well as The Kraken V4, I preferred the Drive to be around 10-o’clock (a level that added some excellent energy with grit, but without over-saturating the signal). The Filter (which is a bass/treble knob) has a very nice range and its position varied depending on the preamp (The Countess is rather dark, whereas The Sheriff and The Kraken are brighter). You can order the Bolt with either top or side mounting jacks, a great option typically not afforded most pedals (I’m a sucker for top-mounted jacks, but different pedal board configurations have different needs). This pedal also can be daisy-chained (connected with the same power supply) with other pedals. The Bolt does not run on batteries and requires a 9VDC power supply while consuming approximately 100mA.
A Diamond in the Rough! (Fender - Deluxe 900 DSP)
Having played and owned many guitars and amps since 1968,this one is a keeper and I own 2 of them.The tube amp I believe that owns them all is the Fender Twin,whose clean is very similar to the Deluxe 900. Because of the twins weight,it sits at home as the Deluxe 900 is 33 pounds and is easy to pick up and go.
The great thing about the Deluxe 900 is the volume it has and will go from 0 to 60 in a blink of an eye and will blow the rocking chair right out from grandma 2 blocks down.The clean tone is unmatched,pure and sweet for any genre of music.
Most modeling amps with the various sounds are average compared to pedals and this is no exception,but this has parameter knobs that are decent and very helpful.I do use the reverb and delay on the Deluxe that are work well and have them on all the time.The drive 1 and 2 are very good as they can be set for a light crunch to an endless amount of gain with decent tone.Everyone likes a different distortion tone as do I and have a couple 3 pedal flavors to inter change when needed.Most solid state amps that distortion pedals are used with tend to sound fuzzy,buzzy and boxey.....but not on this ampas they sound very natural due in large to the sound of the Celestion speaker.
The tuner works well but I cant see it so I use a remote tuner attached to the head stock when playing which is right in the line of sight.
With the 2 channels,having an eq for each is excellent and very useful to sculpt your tone.The Timbre switch allows for different tones and I use the flat and bright most of the time...but tone is subjective and they are all there for the choosing.
Every amp has its own personality and this one fits mine just right...These can be picked up used for around 200 bucks,and when word gets out how versatile they are are,they will be hard to find...I cant stress enough how the Celestion speaker makes the amp sound so good....You might want to try one out...not just for an hour,but 6 months or so and you just might like it!...
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