Fast track your way to Jimmy Page drive sounds.
A compact, convenient means of gain staging. Thick, characterful, Page-style overdrive sounds.
The controls are simple enough, but the cryptic labels may frustrate some.
Imperial Electrical Zeppelin
The new Zeppelin preamp and overdrive by Imperial Electrical is an enthusiastically executed and thoughtful attempt at achieving Jimmy Page’s tones in an effects pedal—no mean feat if you can pull it off. In general, it does its Pagey magick by approximating the function of an Echoplex-style preamp and amp-style overdrive in a single box. Simple as that may sound, it gives the player a bundle of gain-staging capabilities.
Lead Balloon Takes Flight
The Zeppelin—like much about the band that inspired it—isn’t immediately easy to decipher. Two-letter acronyms beneath each knob are rendered in Zep’-inspired Art nouveau fonts. The knob to the far right labeled PL controls the gain of the Echoplex preamp, which is essentially a pre-overdrive boost. The right-side footswitch engages this circuit independently of the overdrive. The next three knobs from right to left are PO (plexi output), TO (tone), and PR (preamp, or plexi drive/gain control). The left footswitch engages this section. The status LED at the top-center glows red when the plexi side alone is on, green when the Echoplex alone is on, and orange when they’re running together. Coded control legends aside, it is a practical, streamlined array. And though the compact dimensions might be the cause of an occasional stomp on the wrong switch, most will find that risk a small price to pay to get this much effective gain staging into so little space.
Interestingly, though, it doesnail the throaty, thick, midrange overdrive tone achieved by pushing a Valco-made Supro amp into distortion.
Unsurprisingly, perhaps, the printed circuit board fills the whole of the enclosure, with nary enough room to squeeze a gnat in around the edges. That also means there’s no space for a 9V battery, so it’s adaptors only for the Zeppelin.
The Zeppelin’s big, ’70s-inspired, arena-rock-grade rhythm and lead tones are heavy, gutsy stuff. The overdrive side arguably sounds best with its PR (gain) control in the 11 o’clock to 1 o’clock range, where it generates low-to medium-gain overdrive sounds with a lot of body and clarity. Turning up the gain from there makes the tone denser and more saturated. But it can also sound a little bit raspy and guttural, and some note separation goes missing when this control is maxed out. This sound can be a lot of fun, but it’s a gnarly, heavy voice, for sure.
Although billed as a plexi-style overdrive, the Marshall-inspired side of the pedal doesn’t sound especially Marshall-y to my ears. Interestingly, though, it does nail the throaty, thick, midrange overdrive tone achieved by pushing a Valco-made Supro amp into distortion, which is, of course, the type of amp Jimmy Page used to create the sounds of Led Zeppelin I. Regardless of my perceptions, the result is substantial and grittily Page-like.
The Echoplex side of the pedal works really well, and the pedal often sounds best with a little of this pre-OD boost added to the overdrive. Modest-to-judicious overdrive levels respond highly to a bit of kick from the boost. And they rarely yield mud. Instead, the combination tends to add sweet saturation to the overall tone.
In classic Page style, I experimented with a Les Paul and Telecaster as drivers for the Zeppelin. The Telecaster’s single-coils were the best pairing when I wanted to highlight the eviscerating clarity in the Zeppelin’s overdrive tones. But, as you’d expect, there’s still a sharp edge to the tones you get from a Les Paul, and the Zeppelin is more than articulate enough to keep the fatter guitar distinct at reasonable gain settings.
The Zeppelin takes a creative approach to replicating Jimmy Page’s early Led Zeppelin tone recipes. It packs both a thick '70s arena-rock-inspired overdrive and a very agreeable preamp boost into one compact, well-made box. And though my ears hear the overdrive as more Supro than Marshall-plexi-like, the Zeppelin’s voice is no less enjoyable, practical, or Page-like.
- Effects Pedals - Premier Guitar ›
- Imperial Electrical Zeppelin | NAMM 2022 - Premier Guitar ›
- Hooked: Dirty Honey on Led Zeppelin's "Whole Lotta Love ... ›
Looking for more great gear for the guitar player in your life (yourself included!)? Check out this year's Holiday Gear Finds!
D'Addario XPND Pedalboard
DR-05X Stereo Handheld Recorder
Wampler Pedals Ratsbane
Outlaw Effects introduces their next generation of NOMAD rechargeable battery-powered pedal boards.
Available in two sizes, NOMAD ISO is a compact, versatile tool that offers the convenience of a fully powered board plus the additional freedom of not having to plug into an outlet. NOMAD ISO is ideal for stages with limited outlet availability, quick changeovers, busking outdoors, temporary rehearsal locations, and more!
NOMAD ISO builds upon the legacy of the ultra-convenient and reliable NOMAD rechargeable pedalboard line originally launched in 2018. The brand new NOMAD ISO editions feature eight isolated outputs (1 x 9V DC, and 1 switchable 9V/12V DC) for even more versatility and clean, quiet power. With an integrated lithium-ion battery pack boasting 12800mAh capacity, NOMAD ISO can fuel a wide array of pedals, and will last over 10 hours* on a single charge.
Each NOMAD ISO pedal board includes adhesive hook & loop pedal-mounting tape, eight (8) standard DC connector cables, and one (1) reverse polarity DC cable, giving you everything you need to build your ultimate "off-the-grid" rig. A rugged, road-ready padded gig bag with shoulder strap is also included, to safely protect your gear while you're on the move.
NOMAD ISO S: MSRP $309 / MAP: $249
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 5 ¼"
NOMAD ISO M: MSRP $349 / MAP $279
Dimensions: 19 ¼" x 11"
More info: https://www.outlawguitareffects.com.
Dunable announce new Minotaur model featuring Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners.
The Minotaur's DNA is rooted in their classic Moonflower model, which Dunable discontinued in 2017. However, they have long since wanted to create a fresh take on a carved top guitar design, and various attempts to rework the Moonflower led them to a brand new concept with the Minotuar.
Dunable's goal is to give the player a guitar that plays fast and smooth, sounds amazing, and gives maximum physical ergonomic comfort. The Minotaur's soft and meticulous contours, simple and effective control layout, and 25.5" scale length are designed to easily meet this criteria.
- 25.5" scale length
- Dual Humbucker
- one volume, one tone, push pull for coil splitting
- Grover Rotomatic Keystone tuners
- Grover Tune O Matic bridge with brass Kluson top-mount tailpiece
- jumbo nickel frets
- 12" fretboard radius
This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
Adding to the company’s line of premium-quality effects pedals, Missing Link Audio has unleashed the new AC/Overdrive pedal. This full-amp-stack-in-a-box pedal – the only Angus & Malcom all-in-one stompbox on the market – brings a new flavor to the Guitar Legend Tone Series of pedals, Missing Link Audio’s flagship product line.
The AC/OD layout has three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone. That user-friendly format is perfect for quickly getting your ideal tone, and it also offers a ton of versatility. MLA’s new AC/OD absolutely nails the Angus tone from the days of “High Voltage” to "Back in Black”. You can also easily dial inMalcom with the turn of a knob. The pedal covers a broad range of sonic terrain, from boost to hot overdrive to complete tube-like saturation. The pedal is designed to leave on all the time and is very touch responsive. You can get everything from fat rhythm tones to a perfect lead tone just by using your guitar’s volume knob and your right-hand attack.
- Three knobs to control Volume, Gain and Tone
- Die-cast aluminum cases for gig-worthy durability
- Limited lifetime warranty
- True bypass on/off switch
- 9-volt DC input
- Made in the USA