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Creepy Fingers Effects Doomidrive Pedal Review

October 20, 2010

Download Example 1
Drive maxed
Download Example 2
Drive at noon
Clips recorded with a 1978 Gibson Les Paul Custom into a slightly dirty Marshall JCM800 2x12 combo.
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 stoner-rock heaven.

The Verdict
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.

Buy if...
the sounds of the elusive Univox Uni-Drive are on your radar, but you’d rather not spend hundreds of dollars acquiring an original.
Skip if...
you need a modern, mid-scooped fuzz.
Rating...


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