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Elite Tone Fillmore Thunder
As legendary as the original Octavia octave fuzz is—especially to Hendrix disciples—it’s not a widely or readily understood effect. It’s a little bit hairy, alien, and random, which of course is why Jimi loved it—and why so few players in search of Jimi’s tone ever master it. The Fillmore Thunder (May 2010 web exclusive), a beautiful Octavia-style circuit from Elite Tone may not be much easier to get your head around, but a player with the patience to unlock this pedal’s many capabilities will find a wealth of Octavia tones that evoke Jimi’s sickest octave tones—and realms beyond, too. A Bias knob helps players dial in a less-compressed distortion than original Octavias, and a Gain control makes it easier to tailor the pedal to your guitar’s output. Together, they make the Fillmore Thunder a more expansive and capable take on the Octavia sound. Reviewer Kenny Rardin took this praise a step further, calling the Fillmore Thunder “the most controllable Octavia I’ve ever played.” He cited the unit’s exceptional flexibility, too, noting that “usually Octavias are used on the neck pickup and above the seventh fret; this one tracks well throughout the fingerboard and even works well on the bridge pickup.” Sounds to us like a true evolution of a revolutionary and timeless effect.
Godin has always packed a lot of value into their guitars, but the ICON Type 3—with its Lollar P-90s, rock-solid and super-clean construction, and clever High Definition Revoicer (H.D.R.) active-to-passive switching capability—is one of the most value-packed 6-strings we’ve seen in a long time. For starters, it’s a looker. It features a simple, elegantly sculpted mahogany body that steps off from Gibson design territory but employs an offset waist and smooth top carve to claim an aesthetic all its own. The chambered body also makes the guitar light and extremely comfortable to hold. Reviewer Gary Guzman found that the H.D.R. gave the ICON Type 3 (November 2010) greater punch and responsiveness in many situations and added presence and brilliance when needed. But he also found the simple combination of the Godin and the Lollar pickups a perfect match. “With or without the H.D.R., the Lollar P-90s had me hooked with their balance of midrange, clarity, and warmth. These pickups inhabit an ideal sonic space that’s brighter than a humbucker, yet has a fatter, thicker tone than a traditional single-coil that breaks up very smoothly with distortion.”
Kilpatrick Audio Vibro Man
Canada’s Kilpatrick Audio knows how to pack a lot of tricks into a single pedal. But few pedals by any manufacturer come close to packing as many truly useful and expressive tricks as the Kilpatrick Vibro Man modulation pedal (March 2010). Its ingenious circuit gives you not just delicious vibrato and tremolo effects, but also a vibrating bandpass filter that can be used in conjunction with the tremolo to produce mind-bending modulation madness. With such deliciously twisted modulations, it only makes sense that the Vibro Man also enables you to send your signal out in stereo for warped synchronization effects. It also includes a Touch switch that accentuates a given effect the harder you play. Reviewer Jordan Wagner said using the Tremolo and Vibrato together produced some of the coolest modulation effects he’d ever heard, noting that the Tremolo occupied a modulation sweet spot that was “not too soft, but certainly not too choppy.” But what impressed him most was the Vibro Man’s range: From subtle to seasick wobbly, its tones make it a “multi-function modulation powerhouse.”
Sometimes it seems tonehounds spend their whole lives trying to clean up their dirty tone. Fair enough. But sometimes we like our dirty a little more wild. That’s where the Lovepedal RedHead (September 2010 web exclusive) comes in. Steve Ouimette used the word “irreverent” to describe this pedal’s fiery voice. He also invoked the name of Billy Gibbons, a virtual patron saint of grease, sleaze, and attitude, as someone who would adore the RedHead’s snarling and delightfully boxy tone. In more aggressive settings, Ouimette used the RedHead to summon controlled harmonic feedback and create a bed for more Gibbon’s-like pinched-harmonic effects. Ouimette found the tone control very flexible and useful for adding bite and presence. He also found the RedHead to be the ticket for kicking his Stratocaster and Marshall into amp-blowing Blackmore territory, declaring with glee that the RedHead served up “the thickest, most badass attack I’d heard through my Marshall in years . . . the sound of the amp acting like it was going to give way at any second.” He also gave the RedHead what we consider high praise (at least when we’re in a dirty mood) when he emphatically declared, “This is not a subtle pedal!”