In Japanese, abunai means dangerous and risky. How fitting that this is the name of an overdrive pedal from Tone Freak Effects. The Abunai 2 pedal emits critical distortion tones that are indeed dangerous! It’s based on a classic overdrive circuit that is tweaked for higher gain, yet still maintains the classic OD character.
The Abunai 2 is 100 percent hand assembled with true bypass switching, and is easy to use. The three knobs control Level, Tone and Drive. The attractive, sparkly purple box contains Neutrik jacks, Teflon-coated silver stranded wire, military spec PCB and metal film resistors and capacitors.
This pedal features a mini-toggle switch that controls three different clipping variations. It goes between symmetrical, asymmetrical and no clipping, which provides a lot of flexibility and a variety of distorted tones. The first variation of clipping is symmetrical and utilizes a pair of LEDs. The second clipping variation uses three silicon diodes in an asymmetrical configuration. The third position of the switch doesn’t have clipping at all.
I tried out the Abunai 2 with a variety of guitars and amps, in many different combinations. Whether it was with humbucking or single-coil pickups, the Abunai 2 delivered massive amounts of thick, creamy overdrive. The distorted tone was warm and smooth, and very full sounding. After playing with the parameters quite a bit, I discovered that there is no way to get a thin-sounding, fizzy tone out of it at all.
It was easy to get a good variety of overdriven tones just by adjusting the parameters of the pedal and using different pickup settings. The added bonus was using the mini-toggle switch to go between the three different clipping configurations. The left position (Asymmetrical) is a classic wellrounded distorted tone, with crisp highs but a warm low end. The middle position has the most saturation of the three with no clipping at all, which results in a fatter distortion overall. The right position (Symmetrical) features a warm, tubey sound that produces a nice, clear distorted tone.
There is quite a difference in volume, especially between the middle position and the right (Symmetrical) position. However, you would most likely find the toggle position you prefer and “set and forget” it, as opposed to constantly switching between clipping variations during a performance. Also, the variations are a helpful tool in the studio. For example, you can record one pass of guitar with the no-clipping variation, and stack another pass with one of the other clipping variations. The combination will be a huge overdriven, massive-sounding tone.
The Final Mojo
Any guitarist will be happy with the variety of overdrive the Abunai 2 offers. Whether adding a subtle overdrive to a clean tone or wielding a deadlier high-gain tone, the Abunai 2 is definitely a dangerous weapon to add to your arsenal.
you want a variety of overdrive in one pedal.
you’re looking for a more basic overdrive pedal without a lot of tonal options.