Whether you need to restore vitality to a massive pedalboard, or want the immaculate boosting power of a Klon, this little gem is a compelling buy.

Buffer/preamp pedals are typically deployed to reinvigorate a signal sapped of its treble vitality by lots of circuit capacitance (e.g., tons of pedals or long cables). But they’re useful for far more than that—especially if you prefer tube amps dialed to the verge of breakup.

In this age of Klon worship, high-end buffers like the Crazy Tube Circuits Magnifier can often be a smaller, simpler, more affordable means to many of the same ends—particularly if the Centaur’s main allure is its ability to massively boost your signal without changing its essential character. When I stuck the Magnifier at the end of a board with only eight pedals (including a tuner and one of the best Klon clones on the market), its 20 dB of clean boost—courtesy of a front-end by Butler Audio (of BK Butler Tube Driver fame)—rejuvenated my signal in ways that were, frankly, revelatory. Sparkling treble crispness returned with the gain knob around 9 o’clock, and from there on up I could drive my amps to so many degrees of gritty or sizzling glory that I began wondering what box might make better use of the clone’s real estate.

Test Gear Various guitars, Mooer LoFi Machine, Mojo Hand Fx El Guapo, Dunlop Cry Baby 535Q wah, Ibanez ES2 Echo Shifter, Catalinbread Topanga, Tsakalis Audioworks Tremmatic, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21


Pristine, powerful boost. Sturdy, attractive craftsmanship. Internally selectable buffered or true-bypass modes.

Price could be more competitive.


Crazy Tube Circuits Magnifier


Ease of Use:



Diatonic sequences are powerful tools. Here’s how to use them wisely.



• Understand how to map out the neck in seven positions.
• Learn to combine legato and picking to create long phrases.
• Develop a smooth attack—even at high speeds.

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Knowing how to function in different keys is crucial to improvising in any context. One path to fretboard mastery is learning how to move through positions across the neck. Even something as simple as a three-note-per-string major scale can offer loads of options when it’s time to step up and rip. I’m going to outline seven technical sequences, each one focusing on a position of a diatonic major scale. This should provide a fun workout for the fingers and hopefully inspire a few licks of your own.
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Johnny Winter's Burning Blues by Corey Congilio

Learn to rip like one of the all-time masters of modern electric blues.

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