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This article was originally published in issue #64
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Guitar Interactive star rating: 4.5
Inspiring and transparent tones.
Easy to operate.
Built like a tank.
No battery operation.
Thermion Gasoline and Heartbreaker
MSRP Gasoline (UK) £169
MSRP Heartbreaker (UK) £189
Effect On LED
Input and output: 6.3 mm jack
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Manufactured entirely by hand in Albacete, Spain using a careful selection of components and very high-quality standards, Thermion looks to translate the tone of a musicians dream and transport it into a product line away from mere reissue or improvement of classic equipment. Sam Bell reviews the Thermion Gasoline & Heartbreaker.
Thermion is right out of Spain and prides themselves on making some awesome Handmade gear. Today I have the pleasure of looking at two unique pedals which are designed to transform your amp into a different beast entirely. First up we’ll be looking at the Gasoline which is an angry high gain burning saturation machine, then we’ll be diving into the Heartbreaker which is a Blues Beast with a focus on a lower gain transparent sound but still with plenty of options for long sustaining leads. Both of these pedals can also be used directly into your interface using their SE2 technology, you can use these pedals in your DAW with some of Thermions Impulse Responses to get some truly monstrous tones in the comfort of your own studio! Today, however, I’ll be looking at both pedals through a clean valve combo to demonstrate how they would sound on a regular pedal board set up. Let’s get stuck in, first up the Gasoline…
This pedal is designed to voice that of a boutique high gain amplifier, you can go from crushing hard rock all the way through modern metal tones in the tweaking of a few knobs. And there are a few knobs! The pedal features everything you’d expect from the front panel of a high gain valve amplifier. You have your Level, Gain, Bass, Middle, Treble, Presence and Deep (Deep works like Resonance) then you have the option of changing the voicing of the drive by the toggle switch between Modern, Raw and Vintage. Modern gives us more saturation, a slightly tighter low end, pronounced upper mids without too much treble. Raw is like we have opened up the pedal and we’re hearing all the details, it’s aggressive and punches you in the face. Vintage, although not actually vintage sounding, means the pedal gets a bit more of a mid-range hump in the EQ with slightly more sag on the low end. The amount of gain that you can get from this pedal is terrifying, even past mid-way is enough to melt a few faces. The magic really happens when we start tweaking the Treble, Presence and Deep controls. We can really tailor our sound in this area of the pedal, the Deep control helps us add tons of low end to the sound or clean it up depending on what we’re looking for. The pedal is designed to be used with a clean amp, so if you had a Fender Twin for example but wanted to make it sound like some huge stack, using the Deep control helps us add a little bit more depth to the sound, we can also make it sound less nasal this way using the EQ. This, of course, could be different depending on the amp you’re going through! It’s great that these EQ controls are so responsive for this very purpose.
When these controls are combined with the Raw, Vintage and Modern toggle switch we can further shape the EQ and the feel of how the drive pedal responds to our playing.
Thermion has delivered some serious quality in these pedals, the construction is robust, and I really like the focus on making these pedals as diverse within their specified style fields as possible. If you’re a pedalboard and clean amp kind of player, these are definitely worth checking out as they could really transform your rig.