Published 3 months ago on June 26, 2023

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Kernom Ridge Overdrive
MSRP: (UK) £269 / (US) $299

Nick Jennison reviews the Kernom Ridge—the world's first augmented overdrive, boasting an unlimited number of 100% pure analogue clipping options in one circuit. Built on Kernom's unique patented "Analog Morphing Core" technology, the Ridge features powerful pre and post-clipping EQ sections and full MIDI compatibility, giving it all the potential to replace any number of different overdrive pedals in your rig!

If there's something that unites all guitar players, it's the Indiana Jones-esque search for the ultimate overdrive pedal. Do I need symmetrical or asymmetrical clipping? Soft or hard clipping? Transparent or coloured? The quest is seemingly endless, and the Tube Screamer is always greener on the other side of the fence…

Enter French pedal builders Kernom - although, to be honest, the term "pedal builders" feels a little bit of an understatement considering the pedigree of the electronics engineers behind the subject of this review: the Ridge overdrive. Described as the "million moods overdrive", this pedal basically spans the entire spectrum of overdrive and distortion sounds, but rather unlike digital modelling pedals that attempt to do the same thing, the Ridge achieves this with an entirely analogue signal path.

At its heart is the "mood" control. This single knob completely changes the behaviour of the diodes inside the pedal, offering a clean boost, asymmetrical and symmetrical overdrives, high gain amp-in-a-box tones, and blown-out fuzz. Crucially, however, these aren't modes that you switch between: you can morph continuously through these colours, offering practically infinite voices. Whether you want a clean boost with just the tiniest hint of 'TS" flavour, or you want a face-melting 800-type sound but with a thuddy fuzz-like transient (or Kaon-like clarity), just turn the mood knob and it's there.

Aside from the usual candidates of gain and output level, the Ridge provides tone shaping in the form of a dedicated mid control and two tone controls positioned before and after the clipping stages. The latter ("post tone") acts like a more sophisticated version of traditional tone control, setting the overall treble and bass balance of the tone, while the "pre tone" control allows you to do the same, but on the way into the clipping. This is huge since the relationship of highs and lows you feed into the overdrive drastically changes the feel of the gain. Turn the "pre-tone" up; you get a tight and chiming sound that's akin to having a TS-style boost or a Treble Booster in front of the pedal. Turn it down, and things get fat, sludgy and thick like a blown-up low-wattage amp. And don't forget; you can do this with any position on the mood control.

As if all of this wasn't enough flexibility, the Ridge also has a "favourite" switch for quick access to a stored preset, as well as MIDI and expression pedal functionality, allowing not only access to 128 presets, but continuous control over any of the pedal's parameters. Conceivably, you could replace your entire overdrive pedal collection with this one pedal - something I'm very tempted to do myself.

Housed in a Red Dot design award-winning, medical-grade white enclosure, the Kernom Ridge might be the very last overdrive pedal you ever buy. It's very hard to imagine wanting a tone that this pedal can't produce, except maybe certain fuzz tones (although Kernom has a pedal for that very thing in the works), and for the price of a single boutique overdrive, you get the tones of every overdrive pedal under the sun. As such, I'm giving this one a new award I just made up - the Nick Jennison "I'm Buying One Of These" award. You should check one out too.

For more information, please visit:


Top magnifiercross linkedin facebook pinterest youtube rss twitter instagram facebook-blank rss-blank linkedin-blank pinterest youtube twitter instagram