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The London “Bone” replicates the sound of the Tonebone Hot British distortion pedal in a compact, solid-state version. Though it shares more features with the Hollywood than the Texan, it couldn’t sound more different than either. Low and High tone controls, twin Level knobs, and a single Drive knob match the Hollywood layout, but here the two slide switches are labeled Bite and Kick. Bite pushes the upper mids from 0—which is to say, not at all, to +7, or +12, while Kick offers the same options in the lower mid-range. Adding a little Bite gave my Strat’s single-coil bridge pickup into a beefy humbucker girth, while Kick made a 1x12" speaker configuration sound more like a Marshall 4x12".
For me, the true test of an accurate British sound comes when you scrape your damped strings and get a kind of clanging effect. The London served this up quite nicely. Though it offers gobs of gain, if you turn the Drive knob down and back off your guitar volume you can get some cleaner tones. With the Bite on +12, the Kick at 0 and the Drive practically off, the Strat yielded some raucous Hendrix rhythm sounds. Putting the Kick on +7 and switching to the Tele on the bridge pickup sent me to Led Zeppelin territory, circa their first two records. Turning the Drive knob clockwise, I entered Thin Lizzy land, and once past noon I was in the land of Metal—but not just generic Metal. With both the Bite and Kick on +12 I celebrated the Sabbath—Black Sabbath that is. Pulling the Kick back down to 0 and cranking the Low knob scooped the mids for some modern Metal magic. By making all the sounds instantly recognizable, Radial has found the secret of offering a wealth of usable tones from across the pond, without scaring you into option anxiety.
You worship all tones British.
When it comes to grit, you buy American.
MSRP $159 - Radial Engineering - radialeng.com