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 …
Last month, I made a very unplanned purchase – the Custom Shop Les Paul Special. I got it for less than a brand-new Gibson USA Standard costs (not the first time that’s happened), but still … The next few months are going to be about exceptional bargains or rare items only – or things I need for gigging.
Not that it really matters. The 2nd hand gear market seems to have dried up quite badly this month. Even eBay “sell for £1” weekends haven’t had their normal impact. Will things pick up in May?
Here’s a list of all the new gear that arrived in April, along with my first impressions of each item. I’ll post a separate, detailed post about each item when I’ve had a bit of time to get to know it better.
Chappers and The Captain have done a shootout between ten Klon-like pedals.
If you’re not sure what all the hype around the Klon is all about, let me explain …
The Klon is low-gain pedal that (in its day) did something unique. Set as a clean boost, it lifts the guitar in the mix (or in a live setting) thanks to the way it increases the upper mids. And yet – it also does something to the bass response that makes clean tones sound fuller, without making drive tones muddy or boomy.
The hype is partly because, for many years, the only way to get this tone was to get a Klon Centaur. They were hand-built by Bill Finnigain, and due to limited availability they started changing hands in the second hand market for eye-watering amounts of money.
Eventually, klones (with a ‘k’) started appearing. Bill himself created the Klon KTR as a mass-production version of the Centaur, did a deal with JRAD to make them, before JRAD went on to create their own klones.
The most important klone is the Soul Food. It wasn’t the first klone, and I’d argue it is amongst the worst, but it did bring awareness and availability to the mass market. Since then, there’s been an explosion of interest in klones and the Klon thing. Today, there’s plenty of choice to suit all tastes and budgets.
I’ve got three of these on my boards, including the (for me) unmatched Klon KTR. It’s the only one that I’ve tried that doesn’t add a huge bass bump to overdrive tones. That’s something that doesn’t come across in this demo, to be honest.
Watch the video to choose your favourite, and then please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment..
Burgs has posted a great demo of RYRA’s The Klone pedal. Not only does he make it sound really good, he shows off how to go beyond the Klon thing and many other great sounds out of this pedal.
Despite the name (and despite how others have covered it in the past) the RYRA Klone isn’t actually a straight-up Klon klone. I have one, and not only does it sound different to my Klon KTR, the controls react differently to. I actually have both on my board atm, because of how different they sound.
This video has lots of great advice in it that I need to go away and try! Might just inspire me to rewire my board to make permanent room for the Klone too …
Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed this video.
Sweetwater have posted a demo (from Dunlop’s Bryan Kehoe) of MXR’s Sugar Drive mini-pedal.
Looks like MXR are joining the Klon klone party … and in mini-pedal format too. It’s a very short video, making it hard to gauge how this will stack up against the other klones. But at least we know to look out for it now!
I’m tempted to get a bunch of klones and do a demo of how well they perform in the Klon’s main role. I’ve got a genuine Klon KTR, plus a couple of klones, and so far, while the klones sound good in their own right, they don’t do what the KTR does. I’m interested in seeing if there’s any out there that do.
Please head over to YouTube to leave a like and a supportive comment if you enjoyed Sweetwater’s video.