#CoffeeAndKlon 38: Using The Klon To ‘Fix’ Other Drive Pedals

#CoffeeAndKlon is my (irregular!) Sunday morning magazine series, where I talk about whatever’s on my mind right now. There’s always coffee, and there’s normally chat about the Klon and its many competitors.

Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and Mad Professor Little Tweed Drive pedals

This week, I want to share a new (to me) way of using Klons and klones. I’ve just given it a go, and I just have to write up the results for the blog. I think they’re very promising!

Table of Contents


As I get ready to publish this, I’m drinking Union Coffee’s Maraba coffee. It’s my first cup of the day, so I hope you’ll understand if there’s any editing mistakes that have slipped through!

We’ve got three firm favourite beans / roasts from Union Coffee: Maraba, Yayu Forest (Kristi’s favourite) and Gajah Mountain (my favourite) are the three coffees. (Revelation is very nice too, but I don’t like drinking espresso blends regularly, as they often remind me of the kind of inoffensive coffee we find in our average UK high street coffee shop chain.)

Maraba’s kind of the middle child of the three: we both love it, but we’ve both got our favourites too. Gosh, I’d be a terrible parent!

Anyway, time’s ticking on, and I’m genuinely excited to share this technique with you.

So What’s This New (To You) Technique?

Full credit to TJ Walker (professional musician and YouTuber) for this. My apologies, I can’t find the exact video where he explained this technique, so all mistakes and misunderstandings are mine and mine alone.

The basic idea is to use a Klon (or Klon klone) after the main drive pedal, to help tame that main drive pedal a bit.

And boy, do I have the ultimate test candidate for that …

A Quick Recap

Regular readers (and friends from Twitter) may recall that I’ve never really gotten on with Mad Professor’s Little Tweedy Drive pedal.

When I first got mine, I didn’t know how to get a usable sound out of it. My (second hand!) example sounds more like a blown speaker than anything else. It certainly doesn’t sound like any of the official demos that are available on YouTube.

An Important Disclaimer

I bought my Little Tweedy Drive second hand. Most likely, mine is faulty in some way, and most of them do sound the official demos.

I’ve kept mine because I’m assuming it’s faulty, and I don’t think it’s right to flip anything that may not be working properly. Plus, it’s a useful tool for posts like this.

If another one turns up on the second-hand market, I’ll try and buy it, so that I can see if mine is a one-off or not. Until then, please assume that I’m writing about a faulty pedal!

Haven’t We Been Here Before?

Yes! Back in 2022, I wrote about using a Klon klone with the Little Tweedy Drive. It was one of the last posts I made before I started using the Axe-FX 3 for pedals. It even has some (very bad) audio demos where I mic’d up my speaker cabs!

In that post, I got a usable sound by running my Wampler Tumnus Deluxe into the Little Tweedy Drive. I used the Tumnus Deluxe to provide the overdrive, and ran the Little Tweedy Drive as a clean drive to provide the character.

(Sadly, I didn’t get a quality audio recording of it back then! I reckon those demos convinced me to try using the Axe-FX 3 for recording pedals instead … and I haven’t looked back since!)

This time, I’m going to do it the other way round, and see if I can use the Tumnus Deluxe to tame that blown-speaker effect that I get from the Little Tweedy Drive. And I’m also going to throw some toys from the Axe-FX 3 at this too.

My Rig Today

Today, I’m playing:

  • my PRS Silver Sky
  • into the Axe-FX 3 (for the tuner, and for EQ toys)
  • out to my pedalboard
  • back into the Axe-FX 3 (for amp, cab, delay and reverb)
  • out to my audio interface
  • and out to my DAW.

I’ve chosen the Silver Sky because Marko from Mad Professor is using his Strat in this official YouTube demo. I think it’s only fair to try and get as close as possible to his rig.

I will switch to my Les Paul at one point, just to demonstrate how far off the mark my Little Tweedy Drive seems to be. That’ll be GP, my Les Paul CR8 fitted with Sigil Pickups’ Snakebite pickups. They’ve PAF-style vintage-voiced, vintage output pickups. And yet, as you’ll hear, they really cause the Little Tweedy Drive to blow up (in quite a cool way, to be honest!)

On the pedalboard, I’ve got the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and Little Tweedy Drive in separate loops on my Gigrig G2. Whenever the Tumnus Deluxe is off, it’s completely out of the signal chain, so that its buffer cannot colour the tone at all.

Whenever I change the order of the pedals, I’m physically recabling them (i.e. unplugging them from one loop and plugging into a different one). My G2 probably does have the ability to reorder the loops, but I can never remember how to do it – and I’d probably forget to undo it afterwards too. Recabling is slower, but leads to less chance of a mistake 🙂

I’ve gone with the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe because it has that unique 3-band EQ. That’s going to become very important when I try to dial in the tone that I want. (If you want a Klon klone for invasive tone surgery duties, I think the Tumnus Deluxe is the one to get.)

In the Axe-FX 3, I’m running an experimental version of my next pedal platform preset. I’ve started documenting the thinking behind this preset if you’d like to know more. The amp and cab are setup for a 65 Fender blackface-style sound.

All delay and reverb that you hear is from the Axe-FX 3. The only processing that I’ll do in post is level matching. (I’ll do a blog post about level matching soon.)

Here’s A Better Audio Demo Of The Little Tweedy Drive

Thanks to the magic of the Axe-FX 3, I can finally capture some good audio demos of how my Little Tweedy Drive pedal sounds on its own. I haven’t heard this myself before now, so this’ll be interesting!

First off, here’s how it sounds with the bridge pickup of my PRS Silver Sky. For settings, I’m copying what Marko has in this YouTube demo at 58 seconds as closely as I can. (They’re very close to the settings that Teemu uses in this YouTube demo at the 35 second mark.)

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3

Ignore the EQ differences between Marko’s demo and mine. They’re not responsible for that broken-speaker raspiness that you can clearly hear in my demo. It’s nothing like the overdrive character that Mark gets out of his pedal.

Just for the record, here’s how the Little Tweedy Drive sounds with my Les Paul. I’m playing on the middle position here, just like I would with my beloved Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive.

Gibson Les Paul CR8 (both pickups) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3

What a gloriously, utterly fuzzed-out tone. There’s got to be a use for that somewhere, one day. It’s worth hanging onto for that alone.

Hopefully, we can all agree that my particular Little Tweedy Drive doesn’t sound like the ones in the official demos. So what can I can do about it?

Recreating 2022’s Solution

Back in 2022, I dialled a clean into my Little Tweedy Drive, and used the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe to provide the overdrive. I want to repeat that experiment, so that I can compare it to the new (to me) technique that I’m writing about today.

First off, here’s how the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe sounds on its own. I’m back on my Silver Sky’s bridge pickup, and I’ve got the Tumnus Deluxe dialled in ready to use with the Little Tweedy Drive.

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Axe-FX 3

And now, let’s kick on the Little Tweedy Drive, and then just drop the volume on the Tumnus Deluxe so that it doesn’t cause the Little Tweedy Drive to blow out. Here’s how that sounds.

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3

To my naive ear, I think the Little Tweedy Drive is adding that small speaker boxiness to the tone, while the Tumnus Deluxe is providing the dirt. I’m hearing a little bit of raspiness added too, which I like.

It’s such a completely different sound to just the Little Tweedy Drive on its own. I think it’s got this lovely vintage character to it now, thanks to what the Tumnus Deluxe is doing to the mid-range. I’ve no idea how it compares to the sound of one of those old, small, vintage tweed amps – but I like it all the same.

And it’s nice to have a better quality demo to share with you too.

Now that I’m completely caught up on what I did two years ago, I’m going to try the new (to me) technique.

New Technique: Little Tweedy Drive Into Klon Klone

I’ve swapped the order of the pedals on my board. The Little Tweedy Drive is now first, and it’s running into the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe. I’ve dialled in the Tumnus Deluxe to be pretty clean, with the mids turned down a bit, and I’m trying to get most of the overdrive from the Little Tweedy Drive.

Everything else (for now) is the same; I’m still on the bridge pickup of my Silver Sky, and I haven’t touched anything in the Axe-FX 3.

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Axe-FX 3

Ooo – I like that a lot. Compared to where we started, it’s a night-and-day difference. The Little Tweedy Drive is bringing that raspy character, while the Tumnus Deluxe is adding a nice level of detail and attack to each note, along with a mid-push that makes everything sound much more like how I imagine a vintage small tweed amp might.

Once again, here’s how it sounds when the pedals are the other way round:

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3

I definitely prefer the new approach (Little Tweedy Drive into Tumnus Deluxe). The new approach has more detail in the top-end and more warmth in the low-end. That’s thanks to the reduced push in the mid-range.

This technique rocks!

Let’s dive into my bag-of-EQ-tricks in the Axe-FX 3, and see what else I can get the Little Tweedy Drive to do.

Can I Tame The Raspiness?

Recently, I bought a pedal where the characteristic of the overdrive went from fuzzy to more attack simply by reducing the amount of low-end that went into it. My theory is that low-end clips sooner than other frequencies; feed in too much bass, and the drive circuit fuzzes out.

What happens if I use an EQ in the Axe-FX 3 to cut some of the low end from the guitar, before the signal reaches the Little Tweedy Drive?

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Axe-FX 3 (reduced low-end filter) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Axe-FX 3

Sadly, that doesn’t change the overdrive characteristic at all. Maybe not a surprise – I am on the bridge pickup of my Silver Sky after all, so there isn’t a huge amount of low-end to cut out. I think we can safely say that it isn’t excessive low-end causing my Little Tweedy Drive to rasp out like it does.

Okay. Next thing to try …

When I’m using a fuzz pedal like the Wampler Velvet Fuzz or Fender’s The Pelt, I like to starve them of input signal. What I mean by that is that I like to reduce the volume of the signal going into the pedal. That reduces the fuzziness to a level that an overdrive addict like me can enjoy.

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Axe-FX 3 (reduced output) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Wampler Tumnus Deluxe > Axe-FX 3

Well, that’s disappointing. It doesn’t seem to make any different to the raspiness at all.

Until / unless new information comes to light, it doesn’t look like I can affect the Little Tweedy Drive’s overdrive character by EQ’ing or manipulating the pedal’s input signal.

But I’ve got one last trick to try today …

What About A Virtual Klon Klone?

To finish off, I’ve going to dig even deeper into my bag of EQ tricks, and swap out the real Tumnus Deluxe for the Axe-FX 3’s Klon klone drive model.

There’s two reasons why I want to try this:

  1. (to my ears) the Axe-FX 3’s Klone Chiron has a very smooth top-end, and
  2. I can go under the hood and change where the mid cut is being applied.

Together, they allow me to be a bit more picky in the sound that I’m dialling in.

Here’s the settings that I’ve gone for:

Klone Chiron settings for the Little Tweedy Drive

And here’s how that sounds:

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3 (digital Klon klone)

I think the differences are subtle.

To my ears, there’s a difference in the mids, resulting in more lower-mids than I dialled in with the Tumnus Deluxe. I like that very much.

When I recorded it, I thought the top-end sounded a little smoother too. But listening back to it with fresh ears a day or so later, I’m not sure that’s actually the case.

For my final experiment, I’m going to kick on my PRS Mary Cries compressor (which might smooth out the top-end) and then dial in a little more treble on the Klone Chiron to compensate. Not too much, mind, because the treble control does act a bit like a tilt EQ.

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > PRS Mary Cries > Axe-FX 3 (digital Klon klone)

Listening back, the differences are even more subtle than before. I think I did dial in a little too much of that treble control after all!

Tell you what, though, the added compression improved the feel far more than I expected. This is very nice to play through now.

Final Thoughts

Using TJ Walker’s technique, I went from this:

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > Axe-FX 3

to this:

PRS Silver Sky (bridge pickup) > Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive > PRS Mary Cries > Axe-FX 3 (digital Klon klone)

I’m happy to call it: using a Klon klone after the main drive pedal is a seriously useful technique. It’s turned a (probably broken!) pretty unusable drive pedal into something that I’m really happy with.

It’s also given me food for thought.

I was surprised at just how much I prefer the Axe-FX 3’s Klon klone model for this trick, even over the fantastic (and, dare I say it, de facto standard Swiss Army knife of tone sculpting) Wampler Tumnus Deluxe.

I’m going to have to find a way to fit this into the pedal platform preset that I’m building atm.

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