Compressor pedals can be black sheep within the confines of guitar pedal world. I’ve often heard players wonder out loud why anybody would want a pedal that “squashes the sound and makes everything sound even?” But even the biggest studio and stage musicians in the world usually have one on their pedal boards at all times.
The problem, it seems, is that few players know how to get the most out of a compressor. A good one, dialed in right, facilitates a trade off between lending a boost and sustain to a good tone and removing dynamics. It’s a little like adding reins to your guitar tone while lending power if need be. Rothwell’s Love Squeeze compressor covers those fundamental functions but offers a lot of tonal variation. It’s also a great pedal for those players who like simplicity that want to get into the world of compression.
Lovin’, Touchin’, Squeezin’
Rothwell took a no-frills approach to designing the Love Squeeze. There’s only two knobs on the front of the pedal— Compression and Volume. He simple feature set has nothing to do with the pedal’s range, however. Rothwell put a lot of effort into designing the Love Squeeze from the ground up, rather than just simply cloning past designs. At the heart of the Love Squeeze is an FET-based design, which Rothwell uses to keep background noise issues to a minimum. The company claims the design gives the Love Squeeze its own character, and improves clarity and response. The Love Squeeze also doubles handily as a line buffer, which is great for players that use a lot of effects. Just place it at the end of the signal chain, lower the Compression knob to the minimum setting, and adjust the volume knob to taste. Cranking the volume knob and adding a slight amount of compression effectively transforms it into a simple booster pedal, ready to launch lead passages into the stratosphere.
Love Me Tender
The Love Squeeze’s major strength—other than its great sound quality—was how magnificently simple it was to use. I set the Compression knob up halfway, and matched the pedal’s Volume control with that of my amp. With a 2006 Fender American Stratocaster Deluxe, the Love Squeeze kicked the front end of a Vox AC30CC2 quite nicely with a subtle, smooth hold on volume dynamics. It was a really refreshing experience to play with such a simple device that had such a smooth and immediate effect on the tone, all simply having to turn a couple of knobs.
Rothwell’s claims that the circuit doesn’t succumb to uneven frequency peaks were completely true. And slide and hammer-ons were especially smooth. Not only that, but notes were noticeably fatter, if a little less tight on the low end. The boost function was especially tasty-sounding too. After I turned the Volume knob up to its highest setting, I gingerly bumped the Compression knob to the 10 o’clock vicinity, and let loose a bevy of tight, percussive riffing that kicked the Vox into high gear. The Love Squeeze did induce some feedback during transitions between chord and lead work. Yet considering how much drive that I had dialed up—in addition to the single coil pickups in the Stratocaster—I’m surprised that there wasn’t more noise and the feedback was very musical, manageable and cool.
I can’t remember ever having this much fun with a compressor pedal in the past.
This pedal had enough smooth compression and available volume to satisfy pretty much any compression connoisseur. Yet the real strength of the pedal lies in its simplicity, which makes it perfect for players who are new to the compression pedal game and want to really hear—and feel—what a great compressor can do.
you’re after a great sounding compressor with simple controls and rugged construction.
you need a compressor that can control other variables, such as threshold.