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

The PG Koll High-Rise review.

 

Ratings

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

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

Street:
$225

Koll High-Rise
kollguitars.com



Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

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


How jangle, glam, punk, shoegaze, and more blended to create a worldwide phenomenon. Just don’t forget your tambourine.

Intermediate

Beginner

  • Learn genre-defining elements of Britpop guitar.
  • Use the various elements to create your own Britpop songs.
  • Discover how “borrowing” from the best can enrich your own playing.
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When considering the many bands that fall under the term “Britpop”–Oasis, Blur, Suede, Elastica, Radiohead’s early work, and more–it’s clear that the genre is more an attitude than a specific musical style. Still, there are a few guitar techniques and approaches that abound in the genre, many of which have been “borrowed” (the British music press’ friendly way of saying “appropriated”) from earlier British bands of the 1960s, ’70s, and ’80s.

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"'If I fall and somehow my career ends on that particular day, then so be it," Joe Bonamassa says of his new hobby, bicycling. "If it's over, it's over. You've got to enjoy your life."

Photo by Steve Trager

For his stylistically diverse new album, the fiery guitar hero steps back from his gear obsession and focuses on a deep pool of influences and styles.

Twenty years ago, Joe Bonamassa was a struggling musician living in New York City. He survived on a diet of peanut butter and jelly sandwiches and ramen noodles that he procured from the corner bodega at Columbus Avenue and 83rd Street. Like many dreamers waiting for their day in the sun, Joe also played "Win for Life" every week. It was, in his words, "literally my ticket out of this hideous business." While the lottery tickets never brought in the millions, Joe's smokin' guitar playing on a quartet of albums from 2002 to 2006—So, It's Like That, Blues Deluxe, Had to Cry Today, and You & Me—did get the win, transforming Joe into a guitar megastar.

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