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Old April 22nd, 2012, 12:52 AM   #1 (permalink)
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Tube overdrive pedals?

Any suggestions for tube overdrive pedals ala the BK Butler tube driver and EHX English Muff'n? And I know there are 50 billion different tube drivers, so I would also like a bit more info on them.

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 10:23 AM   #2 (permalink)
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I would suggest you to check out the Marshall Bluesbreaker II (it's a warm buttery overdrive with an included boost, and it's cheap). My two favourite pedals are the BB2 and the EHX Little Big Muff, so, seeing your avatar, we may be sharing tastes.

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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:25 PM   #3 (permalink)
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I think the OP is referring to pedals with *real* tubes in them.

Doesn't Ibanez make a Tube King or some such? Seems like i saw a Youtube vid on one of those some time back. As I recall it runs the tube at high voltage. It was uber gain and distortion as I recall.

I think the Butler pedals run the tubes at 25 volts or something in that area.

From a technical standpoint, I think a higher voltage is better, it gets the tube up into the operating region it was designed for. Maybe the excessive gain and distortion in the Ibanez can be tamed by going to a lower gain tube like a 12AY7 or 12AU7. Or maybe even some guys want that much gain and distortion?
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:30 PM   #4 (permalink)
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Hiwatt makes a tube overdrive according to their website, but I've never seen or heard one.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:33 PM   #5 (permalink)
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BiggerJohn
I think the OP is referring to pedals with *real* tubes in them.

Maybe the excessive gain and distortion in the Ibanez can be tamed by going to a lower gain tube like a 12AY7 or 12AU7.
Yeah, I'm not looking for Big Muff gain, as I have a Big Muff for that, I'm looking for a nice , light gain "real tube pedal"
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 03:58 PM   #6 (permalink)
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Originally Posted by bigmuff113 View Post
Yeah, I'm not looking for Big Muff gain, as I have a Big Muff for that, I'm looking for a nice , light gain "real tube pedal"
In that case, you might want to look into the Ibanez TK999OD, with a tube swap for a lower gain tube.

Alternately there is a booteek tube pedal by Effectrode called "Tube Drive" (who'd have guessed) which uses 3 tubes and is specifically designed to have tubes swapped in and out for different gain and Dist levels. Stock it looks to come with 2 12AX7s and a 12AT7. Saw a Youtube vid with the two 12AX swapped for 12AU and man did that sound better. Instant Keef. I suspect this one may be pricey.

Most of those pedals stock are like Dimebag Darrel levels of distortion.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:00 PM   #7 (permalink)
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I have, and very much like, three drive units. Two are very flexible and add a lot of color, the Damage Control Womanizer and Demonizer (yes, they are two different pedals for those unlucky in love who might wonder...). The other is more of a unity gain pedal design, the Buffer by Red Iron Amps, but there's a pot that lets a user (over)drive the signal, pushing the final stage amp(s) harder.

The Damage Control pedals add wide-ranging EQ controls as well as a very handy single-knob compressor, besides volume and drive. Unfortunately, they are obsolete, only on the used markets. I have tested the Mesa V-Twin, also well-regarded but now obsolete, has a nice clean setting but the grit is a little too uncontrollable, IMHO.

The Red Iron Amps's Buffer is still in production, uses tiny "pencil" or 6SN7GT octal pre-amp tubes rather than 12A_7s. At unity gain it's like adding a nice fire in a well-decorated living room.

Tubes add one or more gain stages, increasing "warmth" and roundness towards hair, grit, "curd" and distortion the further they are dialed up. They definitely contribute something beneficial to solid state as well as tubed amps, but add much more complexity to their brethren and sistren tubes in the end-stage amplifier or two if you're re-amping or running in stereo.

@bigmuff113: try one of the above, or the Buter, Blackstar, Seymour Duncan, etc. at or barely louder than unity gain, for a gentle contribution to your tone.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:10 PM   #8 (permalink)
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I was thinking blacktstar but I can't find any light gain demos
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:14 PM   #9 (permalink)
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Ah OK, BB2 has no tubes on it, but, anyway, is a subtle low gain overdrive.
Still think it worths a listen.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:23 PM   #10 (permalink)
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I agree with Enaitz. The Marshall Guvīnor pedal is also worth checking out due to itīs tonal variations.(Treble,mid,bass.)Even though I am a "Tube Guy" I think that there are a few SS pedals worth checking out like these and the Rat.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:36 PM   #11 (permalink)
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If you're looking to get the bluesbreaker II. PM me, I have one I'm not using.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 04:38 PM   #12 (permalink)
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I have a rat.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 05:13 PM   #13 (permalink)
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I've got a Dean Markley Overlord that I've had forever. It's probably the same thing as the RealTube pedal.

Five controls: Volume, Drive, Bass, Mid and Treble, so you get lots of options. I've had a few different tubes in it. They all sound different but I can't say which is "better".

A couple of drawbacks. There's no "click" in the footswitch. You can't feel it when tapped. And it requires AC power. Just something else to plug in. (And before I went to a three prong plug on my BF Deluxe it was 50/50 on getting the ***** shocked out of me.)

It's on the electric rhythm and lead, (with flange), on "Little Blue House"

I don't know if they're still being made, but it's an awesome pedal.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 05:14 PM   #14 (permalink)
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Most tube distortion/OD pedals don't really use the tube properly. A lot just stick it in and run it at 9v which really doesn't do much.
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Old April 22nd, 2012, 06:00 PM   #15 (permalink)
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Most tube distortion/OD pedals don't really use the tube properly. A lot just stick it in and run it at 9v which really doesn't do much.
True. However, the Ibanez runs the tube at 100 volts, the Blackstar runs its tube at 300 volts.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 12:36 AM   #16 (permalink)
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Any insights about Plush Valve Job and Hermida Nu-Valve? As they both using tubes and I'm also interested to try a tube overdrive pedal.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 11:29 AM   #17 (permalink)
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Seymour Duncan Twin Tube Classic. It doesn't get much juice around here but I like it better than my Zen and FDII.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 02:33 PM   #18 (permalink)
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Here's an early Chandler/Butler "Tube Driver" from around the mid-'80s. I found it in a pawnshop some years ago. Note the "side jacks", unlike the later versions which have them on the north side, and it's also a "patent pending" unit. A/C powered (2 prong-cord), ser. # and "BB" engraved on back. I'm not up to speed on the later variants of these. This one gets nice, tubey cleans at lower drive settings, and can start getting roadhouse rowdy around 9-o'clock, and from there on, full blown saturation. Doesn't like anything but a 12ax7. Never tried it in a live situation, as music is just a hobby for me.

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Old April 23rd, 2012, 02:36 PM   #19 (permalink)
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Hughes and Kettner Tube Factor. Its my favorite! Stage one is tube and stage two is solid state. Its the best of both worlds. I only use the first stage though because the volume of each setting is poorly matched.

See example: Herring, Jimmy.
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Old April 23rd, 2012, 02:37 PM   #20 (permalink)
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I like my Duncan Twin Tube Classic, and also my Real Tube Blue Tube.
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