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December 2014
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Radial Engineering Bones Hollywood, Texas & London Review



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Bones Hollywood Dual Distortion
The Hollywood is a solid-state version of Radial’s American-voiced tube-powered Tonebone Classic distortion pedal. It is configured to choose between two output channels using the toggle footswitch. The Dual Distortion moniker is a bit confusing, because though the pedal’s Drive knob lets you dial-in the overall distortion, it is the same distortion amount for both channels. The second drive circuit is augmented in the mid-range to increase sustain and cut for solos, and each Channel does have a dedicated level control; so if you push considerably more level with the second channel, driving the front end of your amp harder, you could achieve differing distortion levels with each channel. That said the Hollywood offers barely enough extra level to do so.

Low and High knobs control the basic equalization, while a 3-position switch—that Radial mysteriously calls “Cut”—actually boosts the mid-range to help fatten single coil pickups. A 3-position Gain switch adjusts the drive range from slight overdrive to full on distortion.

The Hollywood is called a distortion pedal but can serve as everything from the aforementioned slight clean boost to near Big Muff fuzz. With the Cut on 0 (the lowest setting), the gain on Low, the Drive at about 8:00, and the Level at 3:00 it added a little extra presence to both the Tiny Terror and the Hellhound. Increasing the Drive created the smooth, slight breakup that is so hard achieve in both pedals and amps. Moving the Gain switch up to medium pushed the Hollywood into Dumble-like drive and sustain, especially with the Tele or the Stromberg.

But the pedal doesn’t stop there; with the Gain switch maxed out, and the Drive at 3:00, warm, almost fuzz-like tones were emitted, while still retaining an essentially American sound. At all the gain settings—up to the highest, the Hollywood was very dynamic, responding to how hard you play, and cleaning up when the guitar volume was rolled back. Like the best amps and pedals, increased attack at any volume brought out the extra high harmonics that let you color your tone with your touch.

Lovers of the Xotic AC, Hermida Audio Zen Drive, and Custom Tones Ethos pedals will want to check this one out. The Bones Hollywood Dual Distortion definitely belongs in that esteemed company.

Buy if...
American sounding dirt is where you live.
Skip if...
You are an Anglophile when it comes to tone.
Rating...
4.0 

MSRP $159 - Radial Engineering - radialeng.com