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This article was originally published in issue #65
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Quality and Quirky
9 VDC, Center Negative
Danelectro adds to its new line of 'vintage pedals' with The Breakdown overdrive. With Positions 1 through 3 designed to have 'leave on all the time' potential and positions 4 through 6 for more soaring lead tones, Sam Bell is here to take a closer look.
Danelectro makes some supremely awesome stuff, and now they have given us more with the new range of 'Vintage Pedals'. On my last visit to Guitar Interactive HQ, I had the utter luxury of messing around with one of these New 'Vintage' Pedals, the pedal in question is called 'The Breakdown', its highly affordable, incredibly well built, sounds amazing, feels amazing to play through and looks super cool. Like something from a Bioshock or Fallout game, this pedal features classic Radio style control knobs, it has a very art deco feel. The pedal is aged slightly and looks like an old block of concrete (any other review and you'd think it was bad, but it really isn't! It looks super cool!)
Anyway, that's enough about the LOOK of the pedal. What I really want to talk about here is how amazing it sounds. First of all, let's work out what it does. Its function is somewhat like a Boost Pedal that can go into overdrive by itself. You can put your amp on a clean channel and set it on its highest setting for incredibly satisfying saturation in your solos, on lower settings you can get an awesome glassy break up/crunch sound that has a subtle compression to it. The pedals operation is super simple, you have the 'Break Up' knob which lets us select between 6 levels of Break Up, 1 is very subtle and 6 tears your head off (in a good way) Then there is the volume knob, which controls the overall level of this pedal. It isn't set out like your standard overdrive, and its simplicity is really appealing to me! Did I also mention it has a SUPER satisfying switch that doesn't click, it just smoothly turns on as if you're never meant to turn it off!
The tone of this pedal is quite vintage-voiced, it can definitely be put in the classic rock/blues or even early fusion category for me (especially with single coils, this thing is spanky!) Looking on the Danelectro website with its Art Deco wonderfulness, there is a little bit of 'lore' behind the pedal.
Apparently, in 1968 a 'Famous Guitar God' used this pedal to record their first album, everyone loves it, and then the pedal disappears. I suspect some 'Back to the Future' business going on from Danelectro, but I couldn't find any more information about what it was, who it was, maybe when we buy the pedal we become that Guitar God? Either way, I know that I personally want one, it's epic. A simple, effective, quality Boost Overdrive that is well worth checking out, be sure to check out the accompanying video for this review to hear it in all its glory!