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KillerTone Labs ToneCrafter
Overall Rating
Submitted: May 30th, 2006
by Phillip Cooper
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Sound Quality
I try to keep things very simple and have found that the only effects I like to use are wah, overdrive/distortion, reverb and delay. I use either a Peavey Wolfgang w/ Dimarzio Tone Zone in the bridge or a G&L Legacy w/ a Gibson Classic '57 bridge and Seymour Duncan Phat Cat in the neck. Next I use a Dunlop 535Q, then to the CloneZ, to either a Peavey Bandit or a Fender Hot Rod w/ a Danelectro Dan-Echo delay in the effects loop. As hard as it is, I am currently swapping out the stock speakers in each of my amp w/ the only Celestion Vintage 30 I have; it sucks but the Vintage 30 is MUCH better than the two stock speakers these amplifiers have. I don't consider any of my equipment to be high-end in the least. I just deal w/ what I have and try to get the best sound out of it possible. I have always had Tone Quest disease but I think I am getting close now. I could never be happy in the least w/ either of my amplifier stock tones. One a cheap solid state, the other a cheap tube amp. Somehow the CloneZ sounds really good through both of them; and this is saying alot. I have found that many overdrives sound good through one amp but never the other, and vice versa. The pedal has a wonderful open sound (not 'midrangey' (is that a word?) like other overdrives are). The pedal cleans up well w/ the gain knob on the pedal and the volume knob on the guitar. I have been able to emulate my very favorite artists, all quite well, w/ this one overdrive pedal. Joe Satriani, Larry Carlton, Joe Bonamassa, David Gilmour, Robben Ford.......I can get very close to all of these artist's tones w/ the proper tweaking of the knobs on the pedal, my amp and guitar, depending on which amp and guitar I am using. I change moods so often, I have to have options for different tones or I would just get bored and probably quit playing. This pedal really does them all for me. I do have to say that I am a tweaker by heart and did change the pedal's original design just a little on my own w/ a combination of Carlos' recommendations and one of my own. Through conversations on the phone (many times; great guy!!) I decided I would exchange one of the diodes in the pedal for a Germanium, which really gave me more of a 'tubey' sound. This really did the trick. But just the fact that the pedal allows you the option of doing anything you could imagine is great. This pedal is a must have for the hobbyist and tweaker alike.
I don't gig (maybe someday) but I have opened this pedal up NUMEROUS time trying different options; exchanging various diodes, capacitors, even opamps, and such and have never had a problem w/ the original design of the unit in the 6-7 months that I have had it. The only problems I had, I created myself through my limited lack of knowledge when it comes to electronics by putting things where they shouldn't be in an electrical circuit. But that's all a part of leaning, right!? Nothing has 'popped' out, though I guess it could if you threw the unit around all of the time. I did hear that Carlos hopes to be able to do permanent (soldered) units in the future and in smaller boxes....can't wait.
General Comments
I have been playing on and off for around 13 years. I used to enjoy playing stuff like Slayer, Forbidden, stuff like that when I was young, but the older I get, the more I really enjoy blues, and more mainstream rock. One really nice thing about this pedal I didn't mention above is if it is setup right, it is very touch sensative; an ability I have never experienced before w/ all of the gear I have had over the years. This adds a totally new dimension to playing for me. I think that is why this has to be my favorite overdrive pedal to date. I still have some Keeley pedals and a Mesa Boogie V-Twin which are all very good, but none of them give me the responsiveness this pedal does. This unit has been one of the very few pieces of gear I have owned that helped me to forget about everything else and just play! In my mind, you can't give a better compliment than that. Thanks Carlos for such a wonderful product.
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