Posted by
Aug 21, 2019

For those looking for something different in an overdrive pedal, the Jackson Audio incredibly versatile Broken Arrow may represent a pleasant surprise.

This stompbox makes clever use of its two footswitches (Drive and Boost) to give the player access to a series of tonal and dynamic options accessible without disturbing the upper limbs.

Warning: this is not an easy pedal to explain in writing. If you prefer a video explanation, you may as well jump to the manufacturer’s video at the bottom of this post (before the quoted text).

4 Clipping Diode Presets

The Broken arrow features four different clipping diode presets, which can be accessed by holding the Drive footswitch until it flashes (that’s called “clipping program mode”). Each extra push of the Drive footswitch will then load a different preset associated to a different led color, in this order:

1 – GREEN: Classic Screamer; two symmetrical silicon diodes.

2 – MAGENTA: Asymmetric Clipping; three asymmetric silicon diodes will clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform differently resulting in a more complex and interesting tone.

3 – BLUE: Symmetrical Clipping. Four symmetric silicon diodes will clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform evenly which gives a more focused and direct tone.

4 – AMBER: Vintage Marshall (high headroom). Two RED LED’s are used to symmetrically clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform evenly.

Once you arrive at a clipping preset that you want to use, press and hold the DRIVE footswitch for more than 1 second and clipping program mode will exit.

Gain Cycle (hold both footswitches)

Another innovative feature of the Broken Arrow is the “Gain Cycle,” a dynamic addition that overdrives your signal gradually and at your will. If you hold down both the footswitches, the overdrive’s Drive knob setting will be set at 1/4 of its current position, generating a low gain drive (the drive led will also appear dim). Hit both footswitched again and you’ll get a medium overdrive set at 50% of the gain, and then again for a higher gain at 75%, while the fourth push will deliver the full gain. This is definitely a great way to add dynamics to a performance by using just a compact pedal, although it remains to be seen how practical it is to hit both footswitches at once during the heat of a rock’n’roll performance!

Boost

As if this dynamic overdrive wasn’t enough, the Broken Arrow’s also features a Mosfet boost circuit (with its own Boost knob) to slam the front of the overdrive – this section of the pedal also has some tricks in its sleeve. Once again, pressing and holding the Boost footswitch will gives you access to four boost modes:

1 – YELLOW LED: Bright Boost.

2 – GREEN LED: Mid Boost.

3 – AQUA LED: Tailored Boost. A perfect setting that will complement most any overdrive setting in the BROKEN ARROW.

4 – BLUE LED: Full Range. No tonal coloring.

Of course, once you find your preset you can press and hold the Boost footswitch to exit the “boost program mode.”

EQ Section
The broken arrow also features a three way EQ section identical to the one found inthe company’s compressor/boost Bloom that lets you fine-tune your tone.

BOOST OVERVIEW
The boost circuit is in its own true bypass loop which means it can be used independently of the DRIVE circuit. The boost circuit in the BROKEN ARROW is a MOSFET based boost much like the AMP MODE found in our best selling PRISM Preamp pedal. To activate/deactivate the boost circuit simply press the BOOST footswitch.

One of the things that makes the boost in the BROKEN ARROW different from other boosts on the market is that it has 4 presets available. Each preset is EQ’d slightly differently to allow it to alter how it interacts with the overdrive circuit in the BROKEN ARROW or any other pedal you may have in your rig.

Preset 1 – YELLOW LED: Bright Boost. Very useful for creating a thinner sound or when boosting a thick sounding overdrive.

Preset 2 – GREEN LED: Mid Boost. Not as thin as the yellow mode, the green mode allows more lows and takes on the character of a mid boost.

Preset 3 – AQUA LED: Tailored Boost. Most people will find this a perfect setting that will complement most any overdrive setting in the BROKEN ARROW.

Preset 4 – BLUE LED: Full Range. No tonal coloring here! Just your guitars natural tone!

CLIPPING DIODE PRESETS

The BROKEN ARROW allows for 4 different presets of clipping diodes which themselves drastically alter the tone and feel of the way the overdrive clips and distorts.

To select a clipping preset, press and hold the DRIVE footswitch for more than 1 second and the clipping program mode will become active. When in this mode, the DRIVE led will flash to indicate that you are in program mode. A quick tap on the DRIVE footswitch will cycle the clipping presets and you’ll be able to hear these presets change as you cycle through them, assuming that the drive circuit was active when the clipping program mode was entered. Once you arrive at a clipping preset that you want to use, press and hold the DRIVE footswitch for more than 1 second and clipping program mode will exit.

Note: When clipping programming mode is exited, the selected clipping preset is written to the internal EEPROM on the microprocessor and that will become your default clipping setting when the DRIVE is engaged even after you power cycle the BROKEN ARROW.

Preset 1 – GREEN: Classic Screamer. Two symmetrical silicon diodes give the classic drive and compression that the Tube Screamer is known for.

Preset 2 – MAGENTA: Asymmetric Clipping. Three asymmetric silicon diodes will clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform differently resulting in a more complex and interesting tone. This sounds great when laying down aggressive rhythm parts!

Preset 3 – BLUE: Symmetrical Clipping. Four symmetric silicon diodes will clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform evenly which gives a more focused and direct tone. One notable pedal that uses this style of clipping is the Timmy.

Preset 4 – AMBER: Vintage Marshall. Two RED LED’s are used to symmetrically clip the top and bottom portions of your guitars waveform evenly. The LED’s allow MUCH higher headroom so your tone will stay more open and less compressed much like a vintage Marshall.