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Walrus Audio: the Messner Stage-One Overdrive


When you have climbed all 14 of the worlds tallest peaks, you know just how crystal clear and pure the air can be. When you have the internal fortitude and strength to forge your way up summits that most wouldn’t dare and all on your own faculties, you prove to the world that you are the genuine article. Only 15 people in the history of humankind have done this, of whom Reinhold Messner was the first. 

The Messner Stage-One Overdrive is the latest creation from Walrus Audio and is by far the pinnacle of tonal transparency and dynamics. No intricacies to deal with here just straight forward controls; Output, Gain and Color. It’s simple, want more of your guitar’s attack and presence? Turn up the Output and you get your guitar louder and nothing else. Want more girth or saturation to fatten up your tone? Easy, daily up the Gain and you get your guitar with more attitude and character. 

“Stage-One”… what is that? Hmm, well.. some guitar players like to think of their drive, distortion and fuzz units in the form of stages; 1 stage is there to beef up or accurately present your guitar’s pickups and your touch to the amp. 2nd stage being filled with distortions and higher gain’d drives and a possible 3rd stage for amp-like units, fuzzes or more distortion depending on your tonal needs. Having a stage-one drive that is both transparent and dynamic to your attack and playing style is essential for hearing what you desire from your rig. In the 1st stage, we don’t want to muddy up our signal to the point we lose all definition. No, we want to accentuate the guitar! The Messner OD is perfect for this application, providing exactly what you need and also having the adjustability to maintain it, too.

Just as every peak a climber ascends can be different, so can a musicians gig and/or rig. The color knob is great for dialing back some of your top end so you can sit comfortably in the mix or to add a little extra sparkle for your humbucker to shine on a killer lead line. Another useful tool the Messner comes with is the toggle which adds clipping diodes in the “closed” position. This feature is great for those of us playing with a piano or acoustic guitar on stage! Adding some diodes for clipping to a transparent and dynamic platform like the Messner is perfect for just the right amount of sonic separation that will assure your tone is heard and loved by all. Make sure to boost the level when you do engage those diodes though as the output can sound a little compressed.

How long will it take for you to ascend the tonal peaks of awesome? could take a life time but with Messner on your board you will have a faithful friend that wants your tone to stay intact and be pure. Looking for a solid stage-one overdrive or anything else to help support your tonal quest? leave a comment or hit me up and we will keep you equipped for the journey.


Stay fresh my friends,