Quick Hit: One Control Honey Bee Review

Bjorn Juhl’s sweet Supro-inspired circuit evolves again, with options to make it more open and aggressive.

  Clip 1 — Vintage Mode: Fender Stratocaster, '68 Fender Bassman. Rhythm track played with all pedal controls at noon. Lead track played with drive and nature controls at 12 o'clock, 2 o'clock, and maximum levels consecutively.
Clip 2 — Modern Mode: DeArmond Jet Star with DeArmond USA Gold Tone humbuckers. Rhythm track played with Drive at 8 o'clock, Nature at noon and Volume at Noon. L Lead track played with drive and nature controls at 12 o'clock, 2 o'clock, and maximum levels consecutively.
 

Ratings

Pros:
Beautiful combination of oxygen and compression. Useful variations in vintage and modern mode. Makes a fantastic low-gain boost.

Cons:
Compression at highest gain levels in modern mode sucks air and dynamic range.

Street:
$219

One Control Honey Bee
one-control.com


Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

Bjorn Juhl built the original BJF Honey Bee with the sound of a crunchy Supro amp as his guiding light. Since the coveted 2002 debut version, the Honey Bee has moved through many iterations. This new edition, built by Japan’s One Control (and redesigned with Juhl) is the most versatile—gathering most of the many improvements Juhl made to the pedal, including the +6 dB boost in modern mode, and a more wide-ranging EQ control.

Honey Bee is very colorful, with a distortion signature that lives in that perfect space between a silky purr and a throaty growl.

The Honey Bee’s most striking attribute across most settings is a near perfect blend of oxygen and compression—especially in modern mode. Compared to most popular overdrive types, the Honey Bee seems to dovetail more seamlessly with a given guitar’s voice. That doesn’t mean it’s transparent—Honey Bee is very colorful, with a distortion signature that lives in that perfect space between a silky purr and a throaty growl. To my ears, the closest equivalent in sound and function is a Klon. But Honey Bee has a slightly rawer, leather-tough personality that can make a Klon-style pedal feel uptight and clinical by comparison. Sure, it’s expensive. On the other hand, you get a well-built pedal, derived from a truly great design that could relegate all your other low- to mid-gain pedals to the shelf.

Test gear: Fender Telecaster Deluxe with Curtis Novak Widerange pickups, Fender Jazzmaster, ’68 Fender Bassman, Fender Vibro Champ


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