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This article was originally published in issue #50
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The LunaStone TOD-1 and 2 are well made high quality overdrive pedals with a unique design.
Simple useable layout
Good quality clear high gain sound
Colours your tone in a way that may not suit everyone
Could well have been a 2 in 1 pedal
Denmark's LunaStone has impressed us before with its effects pedals. But now it's given us a conundrum - Overdrive 1 and Overdrive 2. Which is it to be? We asked Lewis Turner to decide.
Give a budding guitarist a good guitar and decent amp, what's the next thing they are going to need? A Drive pedal of course! Be it a boost/overdrive/gain/fuzz they just want that 'loud' pedal straight away. The result, of course, is that the market is saturated with overdrive pedals and with so many on the out there, trying to find the right one for you is a challenge. Now here comes LunaStone, the Danish effects company, to make it even more difficult by offering two versions of its own take on the drive pedal, the TOD or True Overdrive.
The name explains what these pedals are all about: pure and true overdrive. The TOD-1 builds on the backbone of LunaStone's most popular drive pedal, the Big Fella (reviewed in GI 44), giving you the Big Fella tone without a built-in booster, meaning a smaller footprint and arguably a more user friendly pedal.
It is, in fact, the very definition of a plug in and play pedal with the most simple of layouts, offering just Volume, Tone and Drive. It's interesting how LunaStone has decided to set the controls in a diagonal position with a massive red light. The design not only makes this pedal stand out, but I suspect that making changes on the fly will be somewhat easier as there is plenty of space between the knobs and, in fact, you could probably turn them with your foot. Soft switching with Relay, as well as being True-bypass and an all analogue design makes these desirable pedals on paper, LunaStone also claim they sound and respond like a tube amp, which is a key attraction.
Plugging in the TOD-1 and turning it on with the controls around 12 the word that sprung to mind was 'modern'. It has a contemporary voice, reminiscent of high gain British amps, with plenty of gain to get a really saturated sound. The simple controls all worked as expected, and I was able to dial in some very usable OD sounds. Backing the gain down and controlling the tone from the guitar volume did give a valve amp type of response in terms of lowering the crunch (without losing too much top end), and responding to my playing dynamics.
This pedal really suited the humbucker bridge setting on the guitar that I was using, delivering plenty of bite but never sounding harsh, thin or fizzy. The bottom end was tight and responsive, meaning I could play chords and all the individual notes could be heard. However, I wasn’t able to really tune in a more vintage type smooth, less gainy, OD. Whatever gain level I had it on it still coloured my tone in a certain way, where as a good pushed valve amp would still keep your original sound.
The TOD-2 is essentially the same pedal but with a shade more gain and a beefed-up bottom end, which can be clearly head in the video. This pedal would be ideal running into the front of an amp that lacks a bit of bottom end beef or is a bit woolly, this is a tight clear low end with much the same gain sound as the TOD-1.
The LunaStone TOD-1 and 2 are well made high quality overdrive pedals with a unique design. They are simple to use and have a high quality OD sound that can be used for both single line playing and beefing up chords/riffs. I did find that they have a definite unique sound that may or may not appeal to all, but for high gain clarity these are great. I do think rather than making two separate pedals, they could probably have made one with a switch on it that delivers a bit more bottom end. Deciding on which one to use will depend on your personal tone taste and what type of amp you use, both will work really well in front of a clean amp to give it some grit and dirt that we all yearned for on that fateful day when we decided, 'I need a loud pedal'...