While Univox was often perceived as a budget brand in its ’60s and
’70s heyday, the company built some legendary pedals. And while the
Super Fuzz and Uni-Vibe get all the love among the vintage cognoscenti,
the Uni-Drive holds a special place in rock history. This rare distortion/
booster was used by Jimmy Page in the early ’70s and has been
on many Zep head’s gear radar for decades. Unfortunately, the price
for an original model is often several hundred dollars—if you’re able to
find one at all. Enter Creepy Fingers Effects (owned and operated by Fu
Manchu bassist Brad Davis) and the Doomidrive, a clone of the super rare
Univox pedal, right down to the original button-type transistors.
A Modern Take on an Unsung Original
Oddly, the original Uni-Drive circuit was actually packed into a rocker
enclosure, similar to a wah or volume pedal. Davis’ design changes
things up by putting the circuit into a standard rectangular enclosure
with Volume, Bottom, and Drive controls and a true bypass footswitch.
The Doomidrive also uses a conventional potentiometer for the Drive
control, which lends more tone shaping flexibility than the 6-way switch
that controlled input distortion on the original Uni-Drive. And at the heart
of the stout little stompbox are three Matsushita 2sc859 NOS transistors,
the identical ones used in the original Uni-Drive pedals, and which now
power the Doomidrive’s internal gain and shape the overall voicing.
Start Your Engines
Davis recommends using the Doomidrive with a slightly driven amplifier
to get the full benefits of the pedal. The Doomidrive’s circuit shares a
lot in common with treble boosters that have a dirty edge, such as the
Dallas Rangemaster. Used with the proper amp rig, these devices can
give up some superb tones.
I tested the Doomidrive with a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom with Tom
Anderson H1+ and H3+ pickups, a Friedman Naked 100-watt head, and
Bogner 2x12 cabinet. After dialing up a slightly crunchy tone on the
Naked’s gain channel, I maxed out the Doomidrive’s Drive and Bottom
controls and dug into some Cream-inspired single-note runs. The result
was a furry, fuzzed out wall of sound that still retained all of the attack
and presence of the straight signal. That setting was too harmonically
congested for more complex chording, but backing off the Drive control
helped clear the muck.
What really sets the Doomidrive apart—and totally drives an amp into
oblivion—is the Bottom control. By generously blending the fat, gnarly
bottom boost with an appropriate amount of gain for a given guitar/
amp combo, you’re able to create huge, refined tones brimming with
upper-end harmonics. With its massive low-end frequency boost, the
Bottom knob is the Doomidrive’s secret weapon and a passport to
The Doomidrive is one of the few clones of the underappreciated Uni-
Drive on the market today. By utilizing the original transistors and incorporating
the circuit into a modern enclosure with rugged construction,
Davis has crafted a real prize for the vintage fuzz enthusiast. If you’re
looking to give overdriven tube amp tones a ton of bottom-end kick,
the Doomidrive delivers.
the sounds of the elusive Univox Uni-Drive are on your radar, but you’d rather
not spend hundreds of dollars acquiring
you need a modern, mid-scooped fuzz.