Two wide-ranging op-amps with a delightfully rowdy edge.
A Patrick James Eggle Macon Single Cut (a Les Paul style guitar with PAF-style humbuckers) into a Friedman Small Box set for semi-clean, and a 2x12 cab.
0:00 – Pedal off, amp sound only.
0:06 – Gain at minimum, Tone at maximum, Volume at 55%, Clip switch down
0:28 – Gain at 75%, Tone at 6-%, Volume at 55%, Clip switch up
Can move from aggressive to surprisingly great low-gain tones. Quality handbuilt circuit. Nice price.
Not always the smoothest or creamiest distortion.
MidValleyFx Double-Amp Distorter
Ease of Use:
Oregon-based MidValleyFx is very much a home-brew concern, with Andrew McNicholas crafting pedals shaped as much by his own guitar-noise preferences as by classic templates, while his wife, Tori, designs the pedals’ graphics and manages other aspects of the business. The pair often dabble in the obscure and esoteric, but the twin-LM741 op-amp-driven Double-Amp Distorter proves they also make pedals of great utility. This stompbox boasts medium- to high-gain distortion capabilities with voicings ranging from clear and cutting to thick, meaty aggression.
The Double-Amp Distorter’s control complement is, in general, a classically simple interface, with knobs for gain, volume, and tone. But there’s also a 2-way switch to alter how the silicon 1n4001 clipping diodes do their work. (MidValley also uses 1n4007 diodes in the Double Distorter). The up position generates swift attack and extra clarity. The down position generates a spongier, more compressed feel. The pair of LM741 op-amps, meanwhile, will generate as much gain as most guitarists are likely to need.
The pedal is powered via a traditional 9V center-negative barrel jack, with no provision for an internal battery. The circuit itself is comprised of a perforated board that’s entirely handwired with discrete components. It’s very old-school and reassuringly well built.
A Distorter by Name…
And a distorter, most definitely, by nature. I tested the Distorter with a Les Paul, a Telecaster, and Marshall- and tweed Deluxe-style amps, and very much enjoyed the pedal’s truly broad range of distortion tones—which offer much more versatility than the simple control panel suggests. Everything from dynamic, touchy-feely classic-rock and blues lead tones to savage and jagged heavy and stoner rock sounds can be summoned from this circuit.
Though the Double-Amp Distorter can be subtle, it still generates a fair bit of dirt at its minimum gain settings. And while it’s often reminiscent of ’70s and ’80s drive pedals like the MXR Distortion+ and Pro Co RAT, it’s still very much its own thing, with the ability to color relatively run-of-the-mill distortion tones with an appealingly ragged edge when you want it.
In audible terms, the differences afforded by the clip switch are often subtler than you might expect. That said, the switches can result in perceptible changes in feel, with the increased compression in the lower position and sharper attack in the upper position guiding your playing approach in constructive ways. The tone knob is subtle, too, in lower- to mid-gain applications, but there aren’t any offensive extremes in either direction. It’s very user friendly and the taper and range are mostly just right.
With gain wound up around 1 o’clock, the Double-Amp Distorter produces raw, heavy-rock voicings with a ’70s-inflected edge. Beyond those gain settings, however, the pedal verges on fuzz—with spitty, snarly, sizzling sounds and rowdily fun and loose picking dynamics that can be fine-tuned with the clipping control. In these high-gain ranges, the tone control is arguably more useful, shaping everything from thick, bovine, grungy voices to eviscerating grind. It’s thrilling, fun stuff that opens up a lot of performance possibilities.
While the Double-Amp Distorter might not be a first choice for guitarists seeking the hyper saturation of modern high-gain lead tones, it’s more than capable of fat, edgy, versatile drive that can move across broad expanses on either side of the RAT and Distortion+ realms. And though it’s a touch retro in its leanings, it also enables very artful and original dirt tones that won’t get you pigeonholed as a backward-looking purist.
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Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters are designed to offer a fat midrange and a smooth top end.
Billy Corgan was looking for something for heavier Smashing Pumpkins songs, so Joe Naylor designed the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One pickup. Sporting custom artwork etched onto the covers, the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One Humcutters have a fat midrange and a smooth top end. This pickup combines the drive and sustain of a humbucker with the percussive attack and string clarity of a P90. Get beefy P90 tone plus amp-pummeling output with the Railhammer Billy Corgan Z-One.
Patented Railhammer Pickups take passive guitar pickups to a new level with rails under the wound strings lead to tighter lows, and poles under the plain strings offer fatter heights. With increased clarity, the passive pickup’s tone is never sterile.
Railhammer Billy Corgan Signature Z-One Pickup Demo
For more information, please visit railhammer.com.
Designed for utmost comfort and performance, the Vertigo Ultra Bass is Mono’s answer to those who seek the ultimate gigging experience.
Complete with a range of game-changing design features, such as the patent-pending attachable FREERIDE Wheel System, premium water-resistant and reflective materials, shockproof shell structure and improved ergonomic features, the Vertigo Ultra Bass takes gear protection to the next level.
The Vertigo Ultra Bass features:
- Patent-pending FREERIDE Wheel System that allows for wheels to be attached on the case in no time, giving you the option to travel with it seamlessly
- Upgraded materials, including a water-resistant 1680D Ballistic Nylon outer shell, plush inner lining and new reflective trim for maximum backstage and night visibility
- Enhanced protection with a shockproof shell structure and heavy-duty water-resistant YKK zippers for protection from the elements
- Improved ergonomics and functionality including added back support and load-lifting detachable shoulder straps with side release buckles
- Flexible storage options with added space for touring essentials
Mojotone will manufacture and market over 60 of their speaker cabinets and amp kits as “Licensed by Fender.”
This partnership marks Fender's recognition of Mojotone’s dedication to its craft, quality of products, and dependability of knowledge. Beginning November 29th and ranging from $327 - $1,016.
Amplifiers were among the first products to wear the official Fender seal. A qualified electronics technician by trade, Leo Fender developed his iconic amplifiers during the mid-1940s putting innovation at the forefront. To this day, Leo’s influence and innovative spirit can still be heard in today’s amps, as that same iconic, clean Fender tone continues to color new music around the world. As a result, the process for completing the exclusive licensing deal required Fender to carefully audit Mojotone’s amplifier kits, wiring diagrams, electronics, hardware, construction methods, and more to ensure this innovation carried on through the partnership. Mojotone’s many years of intense research, quality production, and favorable reputation solidified the deal.
Mojotone has always been determined to provide its customer base with the most sought-after parts with their insider industry-knowledge. They have spent the last 25 years helping musicians recreate what they deem to be the most famous and easily-recognized tones and aesthetics in the music industry. When purchasing Mojotone products, like Fender products, customers can be assured of unmatched quality and craftsmanship.
For more information, please visit mojotone.com.