Quick Hit: Keeley Sojourner Fuzz/Reverb Machine Review

Beautifully integrated fuzz and reverb conspire in a bubbling-over box of shoegaze delights.

All clips played with Squier J Mascis Jazzmaster and Fender Champ.
Reverb Types: Reverse, followed by two hall reverb samples and two shimmer reverb samples at various levels.
Reverse reverb – Heavy fuzz: Decay, Pre-Delay, and Blend at 2 o’ clock. Warmth at maximum. Level at 9 o’clock, tone at 10 o’clock, fuzz at 3 o’clock.

As far as I know, there’s no pedal category called “Kevin Shields in a Box.” If there were, the Keeley Sojourner certainly qualifies. It essentially combines Keeley’s Psi fuzz and Nocturner reverb circuits. But in doing so, it also combines a very creamy fuzz sound with reverse reverb—cornerstones of several My Bloody Valentine live and Loveless tone recipes.

Pink and purple shoegaze shades aren’t the only sounds on tap. There are also hall and shimmer reverb settings, although the latter uses a POG-like octave overtone path to “shimmeriness” that can sound less than seamlessly integrated. The hall reverb is more versatile, but neither is especially expansive.

The real beauty of the Keeley is the fuzz—and how naturally it dovetails and interacts with the reverbs. That’s largely attributable to Keeley’s hybrid op-amp and germanium output transistor design, which achieves a synthesis of midrange focus and presence and warmth that nestles sweetly with longer reverb repeats. With generous heaps of reverse or hall reverb, it helps generate an excellent facsimile of David Gilmour’s aggro but expansive Live at Pompeii tones—which alone (and with those Shields tones) will make the pedal worth it for many space-questing players.

Test gear: Fender Jaguar, Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Fender Champ, 1968 Fender Bassman

Ratings

Pros:
Fuzz and reverb work deliciously together. Makes small amps sound huge in recording sessions. Unique fuzz combines scathing ’60s buzz and warm Muff-like glow.

Cons:
Reverbs could be more expansive and offer more ambient extremes. Octave presence in shimmer mode lacks subtlety.

Street:
$299

Keeley Electronics Sojourner
rkfx.com

Tones:

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