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This article was originally published in issue #14
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Want a genuine '57 Tweed? Who doesn't! Can't afford one? Who can? To the rescue, US pedal guru Brian Wampler who reckons he's crammed that magical sound into a pedal. Oh, and while we're at it, how about a genuine sounding spring reverb but with no springs attached? It can only be Wampler again! Rick Graham investigates.
Brian Wampler is well known for his exceptional ability to recreate celebrated amp tones in pedal format and although his company's 'Amp in a Box' series emulates legendary high-gain tones in such delights as the Pinnacle, Plextortion and Triple Wreck pedals, Wampler is equally at home producing more vintage tones, exemplified by their 'heritage' series of pedals, which include the Plexi-Drive, the Black '65 and the newest addition to the range: The Tweed '57.
The new Tweed '57 pedal comes by way of a unique collaboration between Brian Wampler himself and his Facebook Page fans, enabling him to not only reach his own personal goal of taking what he achieved with the Black '65 even further but also to satisfy the desires of even the most die-hard tone fanatics by recreating the golden tones of the classic Fender Tweed amps of the '50's, whilst also including some up-to-date features.
The Tweed '57 comes with a full three band EQ which has been meticulously voiced, enabling a wide variety of tonal possibilities in harmony with your particular choice of amplifier, as well as standard volume and gain controls (the latter not being a feature of the original tweed amps). The pedal also features an input selection toggle switch which simulates three differently voiced inputs: Normal, Bright and Linked. The linked option is a simulation of bridged Normal and Bright inputs and will no doubt be a feature welcomed by many.
Hooked-up and ready for action, the Tweed '57 impressed right from the outset. Starting out with conservative settings, the pedal immediately added more attitude and character to the sound and a quick flick of the input toggle switch opened the sound up really well, adding more top end and slightly more volume - especially with the linked option engaged. Turning the gain in a clockwise direction (a favourite hobby of mine!) allowed the Tweed '57 to really stretch its legs offering a wonderfully thick, tube-like tone coupled with a remarkable responsiveness which tracked my playing dynamics all the way from lower gain settings right up to the maximum. The three band EQ complemented the input voicings beautifully, offering a huge range of tones which would keep even the most tweak-happy tone freaks occupied for quite some time.
There's no doubt that this pedal has been designed to emulate a variety of amps from that classic era, not just one specific amp, and that fact alone makes it a winner in my book. Add into the mix the high build quality, unique features and stunning tones on tap that would turn even the most lacklustre of amps into class acts and, well, it's a no-brainer.
Expensive? Not for a handmade, US-built pedal. Put it like this - how much would you expect to pay for a workable, reliable vintage Fender?