Many personalities inhabit this Dumble-inspired drive machine.
Dumble amps are like unicorns. Few have played with one. Most are probably locked away in stone crypts lit by dim torchlight and kept safe by esoteric spells. Such mystery leaves much to the imagination, and you get the sense that MXR’s Custom Shop Shin-Juku Drive (designed with Japanese pedal ace Shin Suzuki) takes advantage of the leeway imagination invites. That doesn’t mean the MXR doesn’t do Dumble-inspired sounds well. On the contrary, it delivers the combination of responsive, mid-heavy, harmonically excited overdrive that is the hallmark of Dumble performance with aplomb. But it also features dynamic, interactive controls that enable overdrive tones outside the Dumble canon.
While the dark button won’t suit every player’s taste, it enables fuzzy desert-rock tones at high gain levels that sound killer against bass riffs. The pedal also responds very well to guitar volume attenuation. But the most attractive feature might be the considerable range in the tone control and the way it interacts with the output and gain controls. It makes re-shaping the mid-forward character of the pedal easy—which also highlights its capacity as a wide-spectrum mid-gain unit. There’s much more than Dumble here, and at a very nice price, too.
Test gear: Fender Telecaster Deluxe, Fender Stratocaster, B.A. Ferguson Shirley, ’68 Fender Bassman, Fender Champ.
Effective, interactive, and rangy tone and drive controls.
Dark settings can sound heavily filtered.
MXR Custom Shop Shin-Juku Drive