Posted by
Dec 12, 2019

The Keeley Electronics Sweet Spot Super Drive is a new, simple overdrive designed in collaboration with country-blues legend Johnny Hiland. It delivers clean, warm tones from boost to overdrive and has “a tube-like response with an elegant JFET discrete transistor input.”

A toggle switch gives you access to two gain settings:

With the gain toggle switch, you can get anything from light pre-amp clipping to organic, searing, power tube breakup

Here’s what Robert Keeley has to say about the Tone control:

…not only [it] gives you full-strength country-coffee like highs, it reduces the load on your guitar’s tone, letting it sing a little sweeter!  The midrange shines through and you get beautiful tones throughout the entire range of your guitar neck.

Here’s the first video of it:

You don’t get a chance to design an overdrive pedal for legendary guitar player Johnny Hiland very often.  When you get the opportunity to craft for such a legend, you provide them with a conduit to serve up the tone dripping from their fingers.  You want to set the midrange tone for clarity and definition.  You want to dish up a versatile range of drive that will do country, rock, and blues.  You want to season it with a slight amount of compression so that playing is effortless and smooth.  You make sure it provides full strength output; enough to fill any amplifier to full saturation.  You make sure Johnny smiles at you and shouts, “You hit the Sweet Spot boy!”.

Johnny’s Sweet Spot is that perfect blend between clean warm tones and overdrive, giving you singing sustain.   One of the many tone-secrets for reaching the sweet spot is to cut a little bass and boost the midrange a touch.  You also roll off a little of the high-end to avoid any harshness.  What you’re left with is the recipe for the Sweet Spot.  A full course meal in tone – Johnny’s Sweet Spot Super Drive!

Johnny’s Sweet Spot Super Drive creates a tube-like response with an elegant JFET discrete transistor input.  Designed to work like tubes, if you push the Sweet Spot, it simply sounds better!  At the center of the design is the workhorse 4558 amplifier.  We have used this IC in many places where you want a smooth overdrive.  Diode selection around the op-amp is designed to give you an asymmetrical clipping that again, sounds like a tube amp!

The Tone control on something called the Sweet Spot has got to be special right?!  It’s got to be like the time I ate biscuits and gravy and a heap of bacon with Johnny, and all cooked by his Aunt JoAnn…it’s got to be mind blowing, tasty, and hugely satisfying!  The Sweet Spot features a tone control circuit that not only gives you full-strength country-coffee like highs, it reduces the load on your guitar’s tone, letting it sing a little sweeter!  The midrange shines through and you get beautiful tones throughout the entire range of your guitar neck.

Johnny’s Sweet Spot Super Drive gives you a lot of flexibility in setting a gain range.  With the gain toggle switch, you can get anything from light pre-amp clipping to organic, searing, power tube breakup.  Solo effortlessly with a pedal that nails compressed sustain. Set the tone for a sultry mix of high frequencies generated by the clippers and then set the level to push the front end of the next pedal or amplifier in your signal chain.  With Johnny’s pedal, you’re always in the Sweet Spot.