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.
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.
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