New Arrivals: April 2023

This month, I was able to tick off three items from my gear bucket list.

One of the things I’ve been (re)learning this year is this: the kind of gear I’m interested in trying is only getting rarer and rarer. If I see something, and don’t get it, there’s a very good chance that I’ll be waiting a very long time before I see another example.

And it’s always hard to tell whether or not an item was worth getting until you have it in your hands …

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First Impressions: Tone City Sweet Cream Overdrive

The Sweet Cream Overdrive, next to the GOAT of tweed-tone pedals.

Back in May 2021 (where did the time go?!?), I picked up a second-hand Tone City Sweet Cream Overdrive pedal. I’ve finally put it onto my pedal board, to see what it can do.

Is it a outright clone of the Sweet Honey Overdrive, or does it have something different to offer? Read on for my First Impressions.

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New Arrivals: October 2020

This month is mostly defined by constraints.

I had to replace the car last month. Unfortunately, with everything that’s going on in the world right now, there’s a lot of unusual shortages, and I just couldn’t get replacement parts to keep my car on the road. That puts a significant limit on how much I can spare to spend on hobbies for a bit.

Secondly, we’re back in lockdown. We can travel, we’re just very limited on where we’re legally allowed to travel to. [By the end of the month, the local lockdown had become a full lockdown once again – Ed] Normally, this time of year, we’d be visiting far-flung guitar shops to hunt for unusual items and surprises. That’s just not an option right now.

Finally, there just isn’t that much interesting (to me) gear hitting the second hand market right now. All too often, the items that do catch my eye are priced optimistically, and I’m not yet sure if this is a temporary thing, or whether prices are going to remain this high in the long term.

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One Control Baby Blue Demo

Mike Hermans has posted a demo of One Control’s Baby Blue Overdrive pedal.

This is a pedal designed by Bjorne Juhl. If you haven’t heard of him, you might have come across BJF or BJFe designed pedals from Mad Professor or Bearfoot FX. The guy’s a legend in the pedal community, and arguably one of the top pedal circuit designers of all time.

I’ve got plenty of his designs on my own board or close to hand in my pedal cupboard. Whether it’s the Sky Blue Overdrive, Sweet Honey Overdrive, or the Uber Bee, his pedals have been at the heart of my guitar tone for many years now.

So what about the Baby Blue Overdrive?

This reminds me a lot of the Amber Overdrive – a fuzzy overdrive pedal trying to sound like a cranked Fender amp. [The Amber Overdrive is actually chasing the sound of a vintage fuzz into a cranked Marshall stack – Ed] Both designs need to be first in your signal chain, like an old-fashioned fuzz pedal. In practice, the Amber Overdrive is challenging to dial in. I haven’t found that sweet spot yet on the two examples that I’ve owned.

The Baby Blue looks like it might be a little more forgiving. Had to say for sure without trying one. Speaking of which …

New for 2018, Bjorn is hoping to ramp up production of pedals based on his designs, and bring the prices down to more obtainable levels. He’s going to be doing this through One Control, and it seems that his long association with Bearfoot FX has come to an end.

Elsewhere in the same forum thread, Bjorn says that this new version of the Baby Blue OD is built using modern components (the original ones were built using NOS components that he can’t get any more). As a result, it does sound different, and he thinks it’s closer to the sound in his head than ever before.

Unfortunately, I can’t find one to buy just yet. I’ll keep looking. I really want to put this side by side with the Amber Overdrive to see how they compare.