It’s difficult for me to head to a gig without a TS-style overdrive. There’s just something about knowing I have that midrange bump in my arsenal. Epigaze’s entry into the Screamer/Bluesbreaker field, the Civic Crown, cops more than enough of the most sought-after frequencies that made those storied designs so ubiquitous. Along with a 3-band EQ, drive, and level controls, there are also two internal DIP switches that add a bass boost and increased headroom.
Since guitar is such a midrange-focused instrument, the addition of the +/-15 dB mid control has convinced me that the standard 3-knob OD layout is outdated. My T-style Schroeder, which is particularly bright, matched up with the Civic quite nicely as I tried to cop some of Brad Paisley’s mid-gain lead tones. The gain control was able to go from subtle, almost-clean boost to a thick, barking crunch—quite impressive. On the low end, the bass response was tight without getting flappy even at the max levels.
The one slight in the EQ section was the treble control, which I found to be somewhat harsh at even medium levels. Even on the Les Paul, I found myself turning the control well below noon. So if your guitar tends to be on the bright side, the treble dial will require some extra attention. At $200, the Civic Crown hits the upper end of the TS market, but for a versatile handwired pedal, it definitely hits the mark for low-to-mid-gain stomps.
Test gear: Schroeder Chopper TL, Gibson Les Paul Custom, Fender Hot Rod Deville ML212, Fender ’64 Custom Deluxe Reverb