Recently, while joking around with Scott in the warehouse I grabbed two Klon clones and said, “hey! the Klone Wars!”. This sparked a great idea to do a blog on the classic sound we are all dying to get on our board. Back in the day (like the 90’s, wow i’m getting old…) a gentleman by the name of Bill Finnegan designing and built the Klon Centaur. Now a guitar player’s holy grail as they can reach upwards of $3000 online, many builders have started making “Klones” to fill our hearts and ears with that glorious transparent drive we are all crazy for.
There have been quite a few Klon clones to hit the market and I wanted to let you in on a few of them…
Electro Harmonix “Soul Food” - Hands down best bang for the buck. At $78.20 this box is at least half of what you will spend on the others. That said, the tone when compared with many of the other "klones" was very compressed; like i had a Klon inside a wood box. However, for anyone out there trying to save a buck or two, this is a serious pedal with some killer tone that you won’t find anywhere else for the money. There is even a JHS mod for the unit that you can buy or simply send your Soul Food in and Josh will put in the “meat mod” for you at a very reasonable price.
J.Rockett Pedals “Archer” - A Klon Killer for sure. The ease of dialing in any classic tone I desired was right at my fingertips. Very open and organic when the gain knob was dialed up; like a cascading honeycomb of saturation as the sustain carried out. With the gain knob down, in what most people like to call “boost mode”, it wasn’t as open or transparent as a couple of the other “klones” were. All in all though this is a great unit and I wouldn’t hesitate to put it on my board.
Keisman “Klone” - Do you like to have control at your guitar? Like setting something and never having to worry about it again? the Klone is a killer little box that is easily manipulated by your guitar’s own volume and tone controls. Sure, all Klons are like this but the Klone sure takes the cake. After goofing around for a bit, the pedal was telling me to just crank everything… I did and was thoroughly pleased. I was able to step away from the pedal and get almost any desired drive setting with just the guitar knobs and my playing style. Not as much saturation on tap from the gain knob as the other units but who needs a ton of drive from a 1st or 2nd gain stage.
VFE “Merman” - Not packaged inside the typical gold box like most “klones”, the Merman from VFE will have you swimming in a big blue ocean of guitar tones. Hands down my personal favorite but, then again, i love tweaking knobs and switches. the Team at VFE has given the player all the controls that are usually hiding inside the pedal, right on top and within tweaking distance (big thumbs up). The “warm" and “bottom" controls make the Merman very usable pedal for any guitar and amp combination. Open and transparent to thick and squashed; wonderful.
Teletronix “Mulholland Drive” - I have heard from a lot of players who are rocking a British styled “crunch” amp, this is their "Klon". A little darker in nature when compared to the others, i found the MHD to be great for big chords and fat, cutting lead lines. Also, the fatter low end provides a sweet growl that i always want out of my drive boxes. P90’s and AC’s are what this pedal was created for… or at least that is where i found this pedal to shine.
Matthews Effects “Architect” - Right on par with the Archer. However, I really liked the clarity and openness in “boost mode” better on the Architect. I did notice the pedal get kind of squishy and muted as i rolled my guitar volume down. That’s ok though because all i had to do was flip the "clipping" toggle up and all the transparency was back. That’s right! with the clipping toggle, you can go from squashed and compressed to crystal clear at the flick of your wrist. This, like the Merman, is a great choice for players with multiple axes and amps.
Well the battle is over and I am slayed by all the killer tones I had to endure to bring forth this write-up. Got any questions? Want to know about other “klone” pedals? Shoot me a message firstname.lastname@example.org