One of Portland’s Most Esteemed Luthiers Paves a Path to Boost/Overdrive Bliss

The PG Koll High-Rise review.



Great touch dynamics and responsiveness. Great capacity for note detail. Growling, not overbearing, midrange presence.

Fans of “transparent” boost may not favor the slight mid-bump.


Koll High-Rise


Ease of Use:



As a guitar builder, Saul Koll deftly walks a line between original and familiar. With his first stompbox, the High-Rise boost and overdrive, Koll strikes a balance between sonic surprises and functional accessibility. And though it’s simple on the surface, superb dynamic sensitivity and a wide range of tone colors make the High-Rise very versatile for a two-knob drive.

The High-Rise’s flexibility derives, in part, from how well the boost (steel) and drive (concrete) sections of the circuit work independently of each other. But they also interact to create many extra tone variations.

At higher gain settings, the extra mids translate to crackling explosiveness and great touch dynamics.

The clean-to-nasty range is occasionally reminiscent of a Klon—though the High-Rise has a touch more character and mid-range presence, and feels slightly more feral at high-gain settings. The slight mid-bump is typically most pronounced with single-coils in clean boost settings. But at higher gain settings, the extra mids translate to crackling explosiveness and great touch dynamics.

The pedal’s sensitivity to guitar volume and tone attenuation add more possibilities: You can essentially re-create unfettered guitar/amp tones—but with a touch of extra high-mid octane—by reducing guitar volume. Simple it might be, but the High-Rise is practical and thrilling, and for players that value economy and streamlined control of dynamics, it’s possibly the only gain solution they’ll need.

Test Gear: Fender Telecaster, Fender Telecaster Deluxe with Curtis Novak Wide Range pickups, Fender Vibrolux, Fender VibroChamp

A maze of modulation and reverberations leads down many colorful tone vortices.

Deep clanging reverb tones. Unexpected reverb/modulation combinations.

Steep learning curve for a superficially simple pedal.


SolidGoldFX Ether


A lot of cruel fates can befall a gig. But unless you’re a complete pedal addict or live in high-gain-only realms, doing a gig with just a reverb- and tremolo-equipped amp is not one of them. Usually a nice splash of reverb makes the lamest tone pretty okay. Add a little tremolo on top and you have to work to not be at least a little funky, surfy, or spacy. You see, reverb and modulation go together like beans and rice. That truth, it seems, extends even to maximalist expressions of that formula—like the SolidGold FX Ether.

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Megadeth founder teams up with Gibson for his first acoustic guitar in the Dave Mustaine Collection.

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Gibson 1960 Les Paul 0 8145 is from the final year of the model’s original-production era, and likely from one of the later runs.

The story of 1960 Gibson Les Paul 0 8145—a ’burst with a nameplate and, now, a reputation.

These days it’s difficult to imagine any vintage Gibson Les Paul being a tough sell, but there was a time when 1960 ’bursts were considered less desirable than the ’58s and ’59s of legend—even though Clapton played a ’60 cherry sunburst in his Bluesbreakers days. Such was the case in the mid 1990s, when the family of a local musician who was the original owner of one of these guitars walked into Rumble Seat Music’s original Ithaca, New York, store with this column’s featured instrument.

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