This is Centaur #001, built by Bill Finnegan in January 1995 and kept (never sold) by him. “This was actually the 19th unit I built—I had orders for 18 and I needed the money to pay a Klon invoice or two, so I numbered those eighteen 002-019 and built this one a week or so later.”

The reclusive pedal builder discusses the origins of his famed Centaur overdrive, the more affordable new KTR design, and how one pedal can inspire so much adoration and disdain.

If you've spent any amount of time on guitar-gear forums, you know they can often devolve into pretty abrasive battles of opinion. Even when a thread starts out with the best of intentions, it's not uncommon for it to morph into the online equivalent of a mythical Hydra. Forum administrators attempt to clean things up and lock out the more abusive commenters, but once they cut off one of the creature's heads, two more appear.

Of all the forum topics that can inspire such heated debate, few inspire more passion, awe, and vitriol than a guitar pedal named after a different sort of mythological creature. Launched in 1994 at the front end of the modern-day boutique-pedal boom, the Klon Centaur overdrive was immediately met with critical acclaim. So much so that it's ironic how much the pedal named after the half-human, half-horse creatures from Greek legend has since developed such a complex mythology of its own. And the fact that this seemingly mundane, 3-knob stompbox is used by such high-profile players as Jeff Beck, John Mayer, Joe Perry, Nels Cline, and Matt Schofield only compounds matters. Never mind the fact that the majority of the circuit comes encased in epoxy.

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