A super-minimal ticket to thick low-gain tones that can push an amp to glorious organic distortion.
Like much of the world, the modern guitar sphere often teeters toward brain-numbing maximalism—maximum presets, maximum amp models in a single floor unit, maximum nitpicking over minute differences in aftermarket pickups. On some days it’s enough to make the Shnobel Tone Clean Boost look like the most beautiful piece of guitar gear in the world. As it turns out, beauty is more than enclosure deep in this very practical exercise in design economy.
For starters, the Shnobel Tone Clean Boost is carefully put together. The small through-hole circuit board is immaculately arranged and soldered, and I/O jacks as well as the footswitch are mounted to the enclosure independent from the circuit board. There is no battery option, which may disappoint some minimalists thrilled by the notion of hooking up the fewest possible wires. That aside, there is little to fault in this super-streamlined design.
On the sonic side, there’s much to love, too. It’s an exceptionally quiet pedal, which is a good thing given how little it colors your tone. Mildly boosted sounds are about as near to clean as you can get, and if you don’t mind the absence of color, you should round our tone score up to the highest mark. What the Clean Boost does add is body and mass—particularly when you have to work at low amp volumes with single-coil pickups. That extra body also makes thin fuzzes sound mammoth, opening up cool tone-contrast possibilities. And at its higher reaches, the Clean Boost will drive an amp to thick, growling, delicious heights.