Mar 27, 2015

The smooth buzzsaw. The cloak of delicious grit surrounding a perfectly balanced warmth. The 1963 Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve is a classic pawnshop amp now rare and coveted. A favorite of many, including Beck and Jack White, this amp’s unique tonal qualities are now accessible at a reasonable sum (and a much smaller package) in pedal form, thanks to the good folks at JHS Pedals of Kansas City, MO, in their new Twin Twelve Channel Drive.

This lil’ monster duplicates the Danelectro-made amp’s classic Bandaxall EQ (with improvements to make it more usable for modern guitarists) and using a series of modern diodes, duplicating the original four-6L6 circuit, adding in a master volume to allow for big tones at lower volumes. But though the distinct wooly, bold and a little out-of-control tone of the original is faithfully reproduced, it is not a one-trick pony. For years, I’ve been searching for something that duplicates the unique sag and saturation of a real tube amp, the sensitivity of tubes heating up and big ol’ electrons pumping. JHS uses a charge pump, a special step-up transformer, to make this pedal run at 18v — off of standard 9v DC negative power — and thus giving that sensitivity I crave.

This is the kind of pedal that can be used as an “always-on” or general overdrive/boost, but for me the attraction is having tonal consistency depending on what rig I’m running through. As a side-person I’m always playing through different amps at different venues or in the studio. This seems like a great way to be able to get “the” tone wherever you are, as the videos on the JHS website demonstrate.

Old Twin Twelve heads are scarce these days, and cost plenty- and you can’t put them on a pedalboard! But: From what I’ve heard this pedal do, it’s accomplished something I’ve been wishing for – a sweet, cascading gain, organic overdrive — basically, a tube amp in a small box with buffered true bypass. I cannot wait to play with this pedal, and if it does everything they say it does, I’m going to bet it’ll earn a permanent place in my gig bag. – Mya Byrne

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