Can a 40-buck dirt box really put plexi tones on your board?

While it’s admittedly a tall order for a box that streets for about as much as a middle-of-the-road guitar strap, Outlaw Effects’ Chinese-made Deputy Marshal promises British plexi tones via a bright/normal toggle, a gain knob, and mini pots for level and tone. The Deputy starts things off right, though, with true-bypass switching that yields a clean through-signal when the effect is disengaged.

The Deputy also boasts a pretty wide-ranging level control: Depending on how much dirt you dial in, unity gain is achieved with level anywhere from 8 to 10 o’clock. The distortion itself piles on quite fast, though, going from corpulent classic-rock tones at 8 or 9 o’clock to thick, sustaining hard-rock sounds you can easily coax into feedback at max.

But while the Deputy does have pretty healthy bass and treble response (with the toggle helping to tailor the sounds to the chosen guitar), the single tone control avails little midrange variability, making it difficult to get tones that are full, clear, and dimensional rather than either thick and dirty or trebly and shrill.

Test gear: Squier Vintage Modified Tele with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, ’76 Fender Vibro Champ with Warehouse G8C speaker, Jaguar HC50 with Weber Gray Wolf speaker, Goodsell Valpreaux 21 with Weber Blue Dog and Silver Bell speakers


True-bypass switching. Lots of boost and gain on tap.

Bumps to pedal housing loudly audible through amp when effect is engaged. Tones lack midrange articulation and depth.


Outlaw Deputy Marshal


Ease of Use:



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