Paul Cochrane Tim Pedal Review & Demo

The hallowed Tim pedal. Used to be the shangri-la of unobtainable tone, and is now bordering dangerously on the precipice of too many people having it on their boards. And of course, if too many people have it on their boards, the tone automatically dies. It’s a weird phenomenon…probably something to do with having too many of the same circuit in too close proximity to each other…and the tone of the pedal in question literally gets worse. I call it the ‘Fulltone Fulldrive 2 syndrome’, which the Paul Cochrane Tim pedal is like, two pedalboards away from contracting. However, the Tim pedal is one of the few pedals that I believe can actually back up its hype with tone and originality. And in this way, I hope that people will still dig this pedal, even if it starts to show up on every board of every indie band in existence. (I guess it doesn’t have to be just ‘indie’ bands…but it sounds cooler…at least for another two weeks. ‘Indie’ is also on a dangerous precipice. If three more bands call themselves ‘indie’, the term will officially have absolutely zero meaning. So I’m using it while I can.)

But the Tim pedal, handbuilt to order by gear genius Paul Cochrane, is what I think to be a very original idea. Or at least the first pedal to put it into practice this well. It’s a low to mid gain overdrive pedal, but it’s unique in that it pushes each amp into its own natural overdrive. It sounds like your amp. It sounds like your guitar. It’s your clean tone, just overdriven. The circuit is such that it integrates with your tone. You turn it on, and it overdrives the clean tone of your guitar and your amp that you’ve worked so hard on. And it pushes your amp into its own gain, almost like you turned up the gain knob. Not quite, and it is still an overdrive pedal which lends its own flavor. There’s no getting away from that. But for the most part, it sounds like your amp’s overdrive, and sounds quite different on each individual amp.

Tim pedal

However, before you buy it, make sure you like your clean tone and your amp’s natural overdrive. The Tim will do its job incredibly of overdriving your clean tone…it still sounds like your tone. So you better like your clean tone. And the Tim will push the amp to its own overdrive. So you better like your amp’s drive. This isn’t really a ‘fix it’ overdrive pedal for tone you don’t like, like say maybe a Matchless Hotbox or even a Zendrive 2 might be, or can be used as. It works with the sound you have. Which is fantastic for those of us guitarists who have spent countles hours trying to perfect our clean tone, only to never be able to find an overdrive that integrates with that clean tone rather than destroying it.

Now, this is the like, fifth, Tim demo. The first one suffered from suckiness. The second one rumbled the camera off the piano bench I had it sitting on at about 2 minutes through. The third one was 1 minute long, because the camera shut itself off…which would have been nice to know about earlier than when I actually finished playing. And the fourth…something else happened…oh ya…I hit like, the worst note in the history of man playing music, and decided that I wasn’t ready to be that humble yet.

So I give you this one. In which the lighting looks like a ’70’s B-movie horror flick (Piranha, anyone?), and for some reason, I decided to not actually focus on the Tim pedal itself. But by the time I finished this one, I was done. I simply could not say ‘transparent overdrive’ and ‘pushes your amps’ one more time. Apologies. But the fifth take saying the exact same things gets boring quick…even if you’re talking about tone. Now, if it was a delay pedal……

Piranha 1
(This is Piranha. It’s basically Ron Burgundy running through the ’70’s from paper mache fish. Oh, and a girl is helping him, of course.)

Piranha 2
(Yep. Those are the piranhas. And the lighting and picture quality does look eerily like my Tim demo video.)

Piranha 3
(Guess what’s gonna happen to this guy.)

Clean Tone

Prairiewood Les Paul (Wolfetone Dr. V pickups)–>

Paul Cochrane Tim overdrive–>

Divided by 13 RSA23–>65 Amps cab (Blue and G12H30)


Holland AC30–>Heritage cab (Jensen P12N)

I specifically used two different amps in this demo to show how the Tim pushes each one into their own unique overdriven tones. Neither are ever played at the same time, and no a/b box is used. I simply just grab the chord and switch amps. But you can really hear how the Tim drives each amp differently. Here’s the demo:

My camera skills rock. But you can hear how the Holland sounds like its natural EL84 drive. And the RSA23 sounds like its natural KT88, Hiwatt-type drive. With the same settings on the Tim. I do think this is one of the best overdrive pedals out there right now. I’ve yet to hear another do what this one does so well. I’ve heard some great overdrives excel in other places, but as far as pushing your amp and maintaining your clean tone, Tim. It can do the low gain sounds beautifully, and then kick on the boost switch for mid gain sounds. Or, it can even do the mid gain sounds quite well on the first channel if you wish.

Now, I run the Tim at 12 volts, which I do with every overdrive and boost I have that can handle it. Increases the headroom quite noticeably, and I like that sound. The Tim can be run safely up to 18 volts, so if you have the means to try that, might be really cool. Also, I have to mention this again, even though I did in the video, too: the bass and treble knobs are cut knobs. They work opposite of normal eq conrols. So all the way counter-clockwise is all the way open or ‘on’ and all the way clockwise is completely cut or ‘off’. Sorry if that’s old news to everybody, but it has to be said, as it has caused a lot of confusion over the years and people have actually sold their ‘broken’ Tim pedals because of this. In reality, it’s pretty cool because it’s more like you’re cutting out the frequencies you don’t want, rather than adding in. For whatever reason, that starting point seems cleaner to me.

And I have to mention this, too. The Tim also has an effects loop, which allows you to put any pedal or combination of pedals you like, after its preamp stage and before its post-amp stage. I don’t use it because I use the Tim as my main overdrive for my amps. But if you want some crazy sounds, stick a phaser in there, or a fuzz or a something. Can be really fun.

And lastly, Paul Cochrane also makes the Timmy overdrive pedal. Now, this is the source of much debate, but the Timmy ‘should’ be just the Tim pedal without the footswitchable boost section. Technically. And that’s exactly what it sounds like to me. But there has been many a heated debate that the circuits are actually different. So have fun. But to me, it sounds like the Tim just has a boost switch.

So go buy one. It’s to order. Put it on your board, and then give terrible reviews of it so that nobody else goes and buys one, and the tone starts to die. ‘Unobtainable’ equals ‘tone’…this is one of the few universal truths of gear. But I must warn you…it will be very, very, very difficult to give this pedal a bad review. It sounds amazing…or, at least, I personally love the tone of it. But that is the sacrifice we have been called upon to make. We have to keep tone out of the hands of the masses. Otherwise, we will no longer be the cool, boutique, indie, bourgeois, tone-by-association-with-pedals-nobody-else-can-have-no-matter-how-we-actually-sound guitarists. And that is unacceptable.


50 thoughts on “Paul Cochrane Tim Pedal Review & Demo

  1. I’ve never tried the Tim, but my Timmy is pretty much always on. Even when I just want a pure clean tone, I’ll leave the Timmy on and roll back the volume. It’s a little sparklier than just the amp.

  2. My TIM will never leave my ‘board. Even if it becomes over-used by the populus. I don’t care because I’m indie enough to use a mass-consumed product and use “irony” as the explanation. So.. yea.

    It’s also worth mentioning that the TIM is probably the single best pedal for rhythm parts on the planet. Whereas most boutique pedals will still flirt with muddiness during rhythm parts, the TIM stays transparent and that’s what makes it special.

    My love of Paul C’s mad skillz is what lead me to buy a Heritage Victory. If you want the truly great tone that people are overlooking right now, that’s it. Let me put it to you this way – hearing it made me sell my DB13 JRT. ‘Nuff said.

  3. Yeah, Mine is in the mail currently. Only bad thing to say is don’t trust Paul’s estimation skills when he says “your pedal will be done about….” give or take about 8 months! :)

  4. Brian–sure, brother! That’ll make a great shootout. :)

    Phillip–nice. I have yet to integrate it into my clean tone like that, but I do agree that it does clean up very nicely and is amazingly responsive. Sometimes, if I need to hit other pedals, or sing, or anything that keeps me from turning the Tim off when I want to, I can just lay off on my pick attack, and it cleans up almost just as if it was my clean tone. I probably should have included that point in the review. So, great point, brother!! :)

    Dan–lol You made it! Better play it quick. hehe :) And glad you’re diggin’ it. Same over here.

    Jeff–whoa, whoa, wait. You sold your Divided by? That’s absolutely impossible. You’re in the process of buying another one, right? hehe 😉 But seriously then, wow! I might have to give Heritage another shot. I played one of their lesser known models about a year ago and really didn’t like it. But I keep hearing great reviews, and the fact that you liked it over your 9/15 is huge points for it.

    Oh, and I totally agree about the Tim for rhythm parts. And yes, I’m keeping it on my board even if every other board in the world ends up having one! lol I only joke about that because when I first saw these on other people’s boards, there were a couple guys who were hesitant to give me Paul’s number. Almost as if I hadn’t passed the ‘cool guitarist’ test yet with my EH and modded-Boss majority board, and so I wasn’t worthy to order a Tim or something. 😉 Of course, they grossly underestimated the pedal resale market, and I promptly went home and found one on e-bay. But, that’s the reason I like to poke fun at guitarists like that. Because of course, once my Tim came in off of e-bay, I wouldn’t tell anyone else Paul’s number either. hehe But that was moreso because I didn’t know it, and pretended I was too cool to give it out rather than copping to the fact that the ‘tonal holy grail’ was in fact, available on e-bay. :)

    Larry–haha Ya, I’m the most impatient person in the world when it comes to tone, so I always just buy these things secondhand. But ya, not only are the waiting lists crazy, but I’ve heard like you said, that they are often longer than they appear. hehe Oh, well. From what I’ve read, Paul is a standup guy, and it’s just hard sometimes to keep a day job and keep up with the demand for his pedals.

    Speaking of which, aren’t you on the like, 15 1/2 year Toneczar waitlist? hehehe

    Tom–haha Wasn’t it something to do with Monty Python?

  5. Karl: Yeah, Toneczar was supposed to be end of April/start of May. I got the story of “using rare, hard-to-find parts and my distributor no longer carries them… I’m currently looking for another source, I apologize this build will take longer than I estimated.”

    That said, give or take 2 months, my Analogman KOT is ready about August. I’ve been committed to that wait list for YEARS. I seriously don’t know what I will do when my I receive that one!

  6. Ah nostalgia :) This is the first pedal I bought from one of your demos, followed by Fralin Blues (which I ultimately didn’t keep), the Timeline, Zendrive, and a Blue.

    I never actually use the Zen. Can’t figure out how to set it. But you know how it feels nice to have more than one overdrive on the board, especially popular ones?

  7. Your FD2 syndrome observation is totally spot on.
    Unobtainable equals tone…except when it comes to Lovetone and FoxRox flangers :)
    My friend bought and sold a Doppelganger after a couple months. He was telling me how the Toneczar Halophaze was going to be able to do similar sounds in a smaller footprint.
    In my head I was thinking – but is that pedal coming before the next Olympics? :)
    Looking forward to the Musket demo!

  8. Now you’ve got me really, really curious about that video with the epic bad note. Send it to me, I can keep secrets very well.

    Dude, don’t even talk about Indie…that’s my second most hated genre behind self-important, over-glamorized pop. A friend once talked about Indie bands like the Fray…I had very little to do with it after then.

  9. Larry–bro, you’ve got more patience than I do. Longest I’ve ever been able to do is a couple months. After that, it’s off to pay 200% price used! hehe

    Hope the King of Tone is spectacular! :)

    James–hehe Well, of course! These pedals aren’t to ‘play.’ Tone is in how cool your board looks. I promise, if you take that Zen you never turn on, off of your board, your tone will get worse. 😉

    But, seriously, glad you’re diggin’ the Tim, Timeline, and Blue. Me too! :)

    Dan–hehe Ya, every time I hear the Fulldrive, I’m like, ‘Whoa. How come I don’t have one of those?’ And then I remember, ‘Ah yes. It’s because everyone else does.’ And then I’m like, ‘Wait, that’s not a reason!’ hehe Ya, I think most of us guitarists are idiots to the ‘unobtainability’ sometimes. Or, at least I am.

    And lol at the Halophaze story! That’s awesome. And when you’re selling Doppelganger’s for Halophaze’s and the like, life is good! 😉

    Oops, that Musket fuzz was kind of more visible than the Tim. I’m so awesome with a camera. The Musket sounds great, but does have a good deal of ground floor noise. I’m trying to get another Foxey Fuzz and maybe another Top Fuel and a stock Little Big Muff to do a shootout.

    Colty–haha I think I deleted it. Gotta make sure the incriminating stuff ‘never existed.’ hehe

    And someone said The Fray was indie? hehe The term indie is so overused now. I mean, it was kind of cool 7 years ago that ‘independent’ bands started to be able to actually make a splash in the music scene; but then record companies started catching on, and signing and marketing ‘independent’, and then ‘indie’ became an actual genre. Which isn’t necessarily a bad thing if the music is still good. But now, it’s getting extremely overdone. And I’m just as guilty…I buy jeans with tears already in them, and I have my razor set perfectly so I can shave my beard in order to carefully look like I’m too poor to buy a razor…you know…indie stuff. 😉

  10. Yeah, when I heard the Fray described as Indie, Indie died for me. All my friends were super in to The National, MGMT, and all those stupid, self-insistent Indie bands. I did the worn-in jeans thing before I knew about indie, but I have been guilty of the beard thing. Haven’t smoked the clove cigarettes, though.

  11. haha Ya, I’m gonna go with ‘no’ on The Fray as indie. hehe I do like MGMT, though. I have no idea if they’re jerks in real life, but their songs are interesting and catchy. Kind of like John Mayer…I love his music, even though he’s a complete jerkface, it seems, in real life. I mean, how can you not dance to, ‘Shock me like an electric eel…’ hehehe 😉

  12. ok – YES. It is a Monty Python Reference. One of the all time greatest movies ever, Monty Python and the Holy Grail. Here’s a clip:


    The answer to this should have been easy – it’s in the instruction sheet that’s included with a Tim or Timmy.

    I still love my Timmy.

  13. haha Great clip! :) And actually, I don’t have the Tim’s instruction sheet, as I’ve bought all 3 of mine used because of terrible impatience on my part. And no, I don’t currently own all 3; I’ve bought and sold it three times now. I’m also an idiot. hehe

  14. Tom–thanks a ton, brother!

    Mark–lol But then, where would the fun be in buying new equipment? And there really isn’t anything more fun than buying a Tim pedal. hehehe

  15. Karl did you pulll the video it didnt come up for me its 3:53 here in MI. and we got no video of the TIM ???????? WENDSDAY thanks .

  16. Hey Craig,

    It’s working for me as we speak…maybe youtube went down for a little while or something? But try it again, it should be there. I only pulled the first one I uploaded, not this one. hehe :)

    Edit: Oh, just saw your latest comment!! Cool! Glad it came back! :)

  17. Karl,

    Have you tried the Barber Small Fry pedal? I’m really diggin’ the Barber pedal right now over the Tim.

  18. Argh.

    Karl. You’re like a dope dealer. You know that right?

    I have a Timmy. I love my Timmy. I have a KOT. I have a Zendrive, a Mosferatu, Distortion, and an FET Dream. I have several other od’s that aren’t on my board – all really cool boutique stuff. I LOVE my sound!

    Why then is it that I can’t get it out of my head that I need a Tim??? I mean really? I listen to your video, and I even think, “That’s the sound that I’m getting and it’s great”. But that little nagging voice in my head keeps saying, “maybe there’s some sort of sonic dynamic that I’m missing because of internet quality clips…”.

    I’ve got to tell you – it’s taking every ounce of effort to not place my order for a Tim, even though I can’t afford it right now!

    Do me a favor Karl. Respond to this post with a “If you have a Timmy you don’t need a Tim”.

    If you can that is… :-)

    p.s. – by the way, the Timmy stacked in front of the KOT using the boost side of the KOT = wonderful.

  19. Jonathan–over the Tim? Nice! I haven’t tried a Small Fry in years, but I remember it having a very good sound. Way cool!

    Tom–lol It’s that youtube compression playing tricks with your mind! haha

    The only thing I like about the Tim over the Timmy is that I can have a boost pedal, in essence, that I don’t have to run separate cables for, a separate loop for, and separate power for. But with the King of Tone and it’s boost section, I’d think you’re good, bro! That’s an impressive set of overdrive pedals for sure! I’d say if you buy a Tim, then sell the KOT or the Timmy. hehe 😉

  20. Ah, my Tim has been at my house for almost a week. Its all round juicy. THe best part is it only enhances your amp– I don’t feel like I have a pedal on. Oh, and it really shines more with single coils then with bumbuckers.

    As for the Small Fry- Its one of my favorites, and I use it for more gainy applications, but for low gain, I do like the Tim.
    Right now I’m try to figure out which stays on the board: Zen, Tim, or NuValve.

  21. You got the Tim in?! Fantastic. Is your life completely and irrevocably changed? :) I know mine was. hehe

    And maybe the Tim just shines more with Fralins. 😉 (I’m a little partial, I’m sure.)

  22. How is Tim true bypass wise? Any tone suckage? I am about to replace my Keeley Rat with the Tim after noticing major tone suckage from RAT…

    As for being waitlisted, I have two more months to go for my Skreddy Screwdriver. Looking forward to seeing how it stacks up with Tim when I get it in 2010! LOL

  23. The Tim is true bypass, and it does really well. No noticeable tone loss. I’ve yet to try the Screwdriver, but I did have the Top Fuel for awhile, and Skreddy makes some great pedals. I’d love to know how they compare, too. I will say that the Tim will change your life. hehehe :)

  24. Hey Terry. If you go to Paul Cochrane’s myspace at , there is a link at the top called something like ‘How to order’. His phone number is in there, and you can order it directly from him. :) Also check Harbor Music online; every once in a while they have them in stock. Cheers!

  25. So really, honestly, how often to you use the “boost” channel on your Tim? Often? Sometimes? Never? Is it always on boost? The whole loop feature seems impractical to me.

    The bottom line is that it’s hard to decide between a Tim and a Timmy.

  26. I actually use it quite often. Just the general clean verses, overdriven choruses, overdriven + boosted solos. Or some variation thereof. So, having the boost switch already in the Tim just saves me from having another pedal. :)

    As for the effects loop, ya…I’ve never used it. But I eventually went with the Tim because I use boosts often enough that it ended up being cheaper to go with the Tim, rather than the Timmy plus another separate boost pedal.

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