Last year, TC Electronic released a line of sleek dirt boxes—the MojoMojo, Dark Matter, and Röttweiler—in the same unique type of enclosures used in the company’s Tone Print series.

Last year, TC Electronic released a line of sleek dirt boxes—the MojoMojo, Dark Matter, and Röttweiler—in the same unique type of enclosures used in the company’s Tone Print series. The tones were plentiful and superb, and they helped pave the way for the latest addition to TC’s crunch spectrum—the Spark Booster. Chock-full of tasty tones and control options, the Spark can clean up or dress down your tone for any musical occasion with a flexibility that might just enable you to streamline your pedalboard a bit, too. It’s also capable of up to a whopping 26 dB of boost.

Smooth Lines, Dirty Soul
Like its predecessors, the truebypass Spark Booster is housed in a rugged, low-profile enclosure with some very thoughtful design elements. For instance, accessing the battery compartment simply requires a coin (a flathead screwdriver or a beercan tab will do, too) to unfasten the single screw on the undercarriage. A 9V barrel adaptor will also power the unit.

Four knobs—gain, level, bass, and treble—give the Spark impressive flexibility that belies the straightforward design. Gain yields crunch and compression in varying amounts, while the other knobs enable you to flatten out the Spark’s active EQ (say, if you already love your amp’s character) and raise the level for increased tube saturation.

The cherry on top is a 3-way switch that allows you to toggle between frequency settings. In the fat position, the Spark rounds out your sound for booming rhythm tones or a girthier lead. Clean mode boosts all frequencies equally, and mid mode focuses on midrange frequencies that can help you scorch through a mix in a live situation.

Got a Light?
A ’65 Twin Reverb reissue was an excellent starting point to test the Spark’s clean mode. Coupled with a Fender Jaguar, it delivered a very transparent volume spike with all four knobs set at noon. Getting clean, Ventures-style leads over a loud band—where single notes are both loud and the Twin retains its clear voice—is no problem at these middle-ofthe- road settings. And getting dirtier is as easy as giving the gain knob a clockwise twirl.

Ratings

Pros:
Transparent but versatile, with great EQ options and plenty of boost power.

Cons:
Fat mode can get muddy with humbuckers.

Tones:

Ease of Use:

Build:

Value:

Street:
$129

TC Electronic
tcelectronic.com

If your single-coils aren’t quite burly enough, fat mode will make a world of a difference. You can dial-up a portly dish of low end that’s great for muscular blues-rock chords if you keep the gain up, but it’ll stay very clean and round if you dial gain back. Guitars with humbuckers will typically require lower gain settings in fat mode, though, as the tone can become a bit lost when playing with a full band.

The Spark Booster also works very well with amplifiers that have a lot of their own natural gain, and it’ll help bring out the bite you want at much lower volume levels. A Fender Bassman, for instance, found its inner garageband voice at half of the ear-splitting volume usually required to generate that kind of grit. And moving gain to its nethermost regions even yields convincing British overdrive without getting too fuzzy. The Spark works great with other pedals, too –– throwing it after your favorite overdrive or fuzz can add additional character, EQ versatility, and a volume boost.

The Verdict
Many boost type effects keep a simple circuit design with minimal control (usually just a gain knob) for easy, out-of-the-box use. That’s all well and good—it suits many playing styles—but if you’ve found yourself needing a bit more control over that basic approach, the Spark Booster will expand your EQ-tweaking capabilities significantly. And with all those knobs within reach, you’ll undoubtedly uncover uses that may find you replacing your old boost—and potentially a few other pedals in your chain as well.

Kick off the holiday season by shopping for the guitar player in your life at Guitar Center! Now through December 24th 2022, save on exclusive instruments, accessories, apparel, and more with hundreds of items at their lowest prices of the year.
We’ve compiled this year’s best deals in the 2022 Holiday Gift Guide presented by Guitar Center.

Read MoreShow less

Recreating the preamp in Silvertone’ssignature ’60s amp results in a surprisingly multifaceted overdrive.

Great drive sounds, ranging from characterful boost to low-gain overdrive. Unique personality. Powerful, flexible EQ.

Arguably a bit expensive for what it does.

$249

Jackson Audio Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve
jackson.audio

4.5
4.5
5
4

Once harvested for peanuts at garage sales and pawn shops—or free for lucky dumpster divers—the Silvertone Model 1484 Twin Twelve amplifier of 1963-’67 graduated to legend status over the past couple decades. Like a lot of ’60s gear with department store catalog origins, Silvertone amps and guitars provided great bang for the buck when they were new. But perhaps no Silvertone product—apart from the company’s Danelectro-built guitars—is as revered as the Twin Twelve. Mudhoney’s Mark Arm and Steve Turner discovered their charms early in their career, and Twin Twelves and their siblings remained backline fixtures for punks, garage rockers, and indie kids. But once the likes of Jack White and Dan Auerbach got on board, the market heated up considerably.

Read MoreShow less

Mystery Stocking is coming soon! Sign up for PG Perks below so you don't miss it.

Read MoreShow less

Featuring the Adaptive Circuitry recently introduced on their Halcyon Green Overdrive, Origin Effects have brought us a pedal with a character all of its own and a new flavor of drive.

Read MoreShow less