I got my BBE MB-2 on the cheap from Musician’s Friend’s “Stupid Deal of the Day.” So while I paid $49 for it, it’s still a value at $149 as you’re getting 2 vintage analog effects for the price of one, and BBE quality. Its got that sexy metal smell (at least until dripped on by months of sweat and beer) that gets me giddy in the same way the warmed-up tubes in my amp do.
In true analog fashion, it uses a bucket brigade delay. The controls consist of speed and depth knobs, and vibrato/chorus and on/off footswitches with corresponding LEDs to indicate the active effect – even when the pedal is off. This is very helpful for when it’s time to switch it back on. The rate is indicated by an additional LED up top. It also has an easy-access battery compartment – like the old DOD pedals from my youth… no screws for you folks who don’t have a power supply. It’s true-hardwire bypass, and I was quite happy to get little-to-zero noise, on or off.
Playing with the chorus first, I got Andy Summers with the dials both set at around 1/3, Nirvana “Come as you are” at 1/2, and after that everything was underwater or science fiction sound effects – not really something you’d use for rock music. On to the vibrato: low on the dials achieved a nice new-age jazz or possibly a surf vibe, about midway gave you sci-fi, alternate dimension, MST3K backgrounds, and fully dialed in gave you something in between spaghetti-western and kung-fu movie sounds. Again, those over-the-top sounds are better suited for effects than rocking out. But that’s okay because there’s lots of possibilities in between to create your own next new sound. I found a nice bend sound in there somewhere between chill and crazy, and this box is great at both.
While this pedal has been around a while, the MB-2 is a recent update – its exterior a bit more classic and appealing in its metallic water-blue finish. It is the winner of a Guitar Player platinum award, which obviously lends some credo, but you decide. – Adam Lippmann
Here’s a video outlining the birth and development of the pedal:
And here’s a demo, showing what this pedal can do: