NPD - Vertex Steel String Clean Drive

Discussion in 'The Stomp Box' started by NorthenLights, Jan 23, 2020.

  1. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

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    Considering the strong feelings Vertex seem to arouse on the internet, I'm prepared to get flamed for this, but whatever.

    Got myself a Vertex Steel String the other day. This pedal is meant to emulate a Dumble SSS and the tones from players such as John Mayer and SRV. I bought it as I play a 100w Ceriatone OTS, which is of course based on the Dumble ODS, but lately I've been craving that clean, chimey SSS tone. I've been wondering how close to that sound I can get with my OTS, and therefore this pedal seemed interesting.

    After playing around with the Vertex for a little while, I was positively surprised with how good this made my amp sound. With the gain knob set low and the volume high, I landed right into Continuum-territory. It made my tone livelier, and added a beautiful shimmer to the highs. When the gain knob is cranked, I got that clean-but-not-really type of tone, that enhances the dynamic and expressivess of the amp.
    I always play the OTS with the preamp boost engaged as the amp always sounds better that way, and this pedal kinda has the same effect, but with a different flavour. I'm hoping I can use this as an always-on pedal for when I can't use my OTS to bring some of the Dumble vibe out from other amps.

    So far, I haven't gotten a bad sound out of it, but on the other hand it doesn't do to many different things. It basically goes from super clean boost to pretty clean boost, so adjusting the knobs never does anything drastic. I also find that it works better with single coil guitars than with humbuckers, probably because they put emphasis on the highs. Having a 100w amp probably helps in giving the pedal the required head room for this type of sound.

    So overall, I'm very happy with this pedal. Vertex get alot of crap on forums, but justified or not, credit should be given where credit is due, and the Steel String is such a great pedal that does exactly what it promises.
     
  2. RetroTeleRod

    RetroTeleRod Poster Extraordinaire

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    Congrats! Enjoy.
     
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  3. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    I have the SRV version pictured here:
    IMG_1702.JPG

    and you can see how I have it set (white marks from previous owner.) I don't know the difference between this and the silver one but its probably minimal. I use my as a thickening boost of sorts - it helps fill out the low-end with my Zendrive and the high-end sparkle is handled by my FoxCatcher.

    Hopefully you don't get flamed and congrats on the pedal. If you like the sound the box makes, thats all that matters.
     
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  4. Spexicola

    Spexicola TDPRI Member

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    I'd really like to have one to compliment my Ultra Phonix, but I'm starting to get lousy with OD pedals






    ...again.
     
  5. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

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    I got the golden version! Limited edition, only 200 made, yada yada. Don't care about any of that, but that one was what was availible to me. I think I would have prefered the regular silver for the looks, but as long as it sounds good I'm happy. Can't imagine that they sound any different to each other at all.
     
  6. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    The SSS into the Ultraphonix is a great sound - they really pair together well. The only reason I ditched my ultraphonix was in favor of a ZenDrive, as they did similar things, but the Zendrive removed less low end than the Ultraphonix and had a little more EQ flexibility.
     
  7. Spexicola

    Spexicola TDPRI Member

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    I'm glad you brought up the Zen as I'd been looking at it. I'm actually kind of partial to the low end rolloff. It helps tame the "Nashville Thunder" on my low E string. I need to look into a SSS, but I'd have intuitively went the opposite way with UP > SS. I'll be sure to reverse that and use the SS as the clean boost. I bet you can get some super creamy OD with that orientation!
     
  8. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    The SSS was a reference to your Vertex SS (or my SS SRV) - If you put the UP second, it will roll-off that thunder, if you put it first, the SS will increase the low end. I have not tried the Zen > SS SRV. I just recently read somewhere about order of drives and to put the fattest ones last - might cause me to re-arrange some things as I like to have some thunder.
     
  9. 4pickupguy

    4pickupguy Poster Extraordinaire Silver Supporter

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    I think the SSS reference would be the Dumble Steel String Singer. I saw a demo Robben Ford did for this pedal and it sounds great. Congrats!!
     
  10. Switchy

    Switchy Tele-Meister

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    I'm curious about this because it popped up when I was checking out John Mayer's rig. He uses commonly available pedals.
    And then of course this Vertex Steel String pedal pops up in the feed, so I was left wondering, can you not achieve the same tone with something basic like an equalizer, etc, and choice overdrive? Why get another pedal if you have the tools already?

    I'm just asking.
     
  11. bluesholyman

    bluesholyman Tele-Afflicted

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    The answer is probably yes. But all these "similar" pedals have slight variations to the sound that player A likes in one pedal and player B likes in another.

    One could go nuts with this stuff, one pedal may be inspiration where another may be ho-hum, and they both essentially do the same thing.

    From a personal note, I like a Dumble-esque sound. I have owned The Dude, Ultraphonix, Zendrive (kept) and have tried the Euphoria, Simble, and others I am sure. They all kinda do the same thing but are different.

    John Mayer has hundreds of pedals in his arsenal, most just stay in storage I think. At about 1:15 in this video, you get a glimpse of his collection that he brought in to record "In Repair" from Continuum - he used the POG - not sure about any others.

    That was a while ago, but I imagine he still has those, and tours with what he needs....
     
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  12. NorthenLights

    NorthenLights TDPRI Member

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    Well, for starters, while he uses some commonly availible pedals (and other super rare ones like the Klon), he uses a bunch of original Dumble amps, which are about as rare as you can get, and those are what are responsible for the biggest part of his sound imo.
    As stated I use a clone of the Dumble Overdrive Special amplifier. It is geared towards a thick overdriven sound, and the clean channel is quite flat tonally. I really like the clean ODS for jazzy stuff, but those chimey, glassy, powerfull cleans that JM/SRV are known for are not really what this kind of amp is made for. I haven't been able to dial in that kinda tone on my amp, but even if I could, I would still rather get the SSS. As I said, it gives me a second cleans channel, allowing me to switch between the bluesey flavour of the SSS, the jazzy flavour of a clean ODS and its dynamic overdrive on top of that. Much cheaper and easier than to buy an amp that does the SSS thing.
     
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