Landgraff DO, Mosferatu, & Tim Shootout

Boutique overdrives, man. It gets really, really hard to keep up! A few years back, if you had a Tim or a Zendrive, guitarists would come from miles around just to get a glimpse of them. And you couldn’t even touch them if your hands weren’t deemed toneful enough, because everyone knows that human touch from un-toneful hands kills the tone fairies locked up in the boutique pedal boxes. That’s why they’re painted so pretty…to coax the fairies into them. And then wham! We trap them inside the Malaysian Texas Instruments RC4558 chips with the state of Texas outline on them. I remember when some guitarists I knew first ordered like, the first Tim pedals ever. And they talked about it in hushed tones, and even seemed like they were making me go through an audition before they gave me the Paul Cochrane’s number. (Which by the way, I must have failed, because they never gave me the number. I’m not sure how I could have failed, though. I mean, they weren’t impressed by the 9 analog delays I had all running into each other at the same time? And by my knowledge, that I shared quite openly, that ‘Where the Streets Have No Name’ could not be played properly without said 9 analog delays? Ya, I probably wouldn’t have given me the number, either.) But now it’s like, ‘Oh, the Zendrive? Ya, I’ve had a few of those. They sound great, but……don’t the Toneczar pedals cost more?’ The quality of the pedal hasn’t changed, and neither has the price……it’s just that new overdrives have come out that are now even more expensive, and even harder to get. And of course, if there’s one thing we know about boutique pedals, it’s that scarcity equals price, and price equals tone.

So this Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive  is going to sound spectacular. It’s expensive, hard to come by, and is one of the current ‘automatic tone’ pedals. You know, the ones that give an immediate pass to how your tone actually sounds? You’ve got a Landgraff? Your tone must be amazing! These are the types of pedals I rely on. I hear tone by what the internet tells me.

Vince Vaughn
(Sorry, it’s getting harder and harder to find good shootout pictures. I’ve already used Heat, Tombstone, and Hot Fuzz in previous shootout posts. So I figured I’d use Vince Vaughn in Mr. And Mrs. Smith, as the CIA assassin who lives in his mom’s basement. This is one of those movies that I would never be able to look anyone dead in the eye and say, ‘It’s a great movie.’ But yikes, do I enjoy it! Like Tremors.)

But in all seriousness, this Landgraff DO gets incredible reviews, and has some great clips out there. I’ve been wanting to try one for a long time. These are handmade by John Landgraff, who started out by building some great original TS-808 clones. And as far as I know, he only sells his stuff directly through Blue Angel Music. The Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive (Landgraff DO or LDO……for some reason, the cool factor on boutique pedals rises exponentially per initial added) is actually quite amazing with the different tones it is capable of. The gain knob is a gain stage knob, which for whatever reason, I tend to like. And then there is volume and tone. But is also has a switch that takes it into this crazy versatility territory. The middle position is just its normal overdrive voicing. But the top position shifts the mids up, and you can really get aggressive Marshall tones. And then the bottom position. Wow. Totally a fuzz pedal. Very, very cool.

Oh ya…and it’s painted like, awesome, so that raises the tone like, 50% right there. When your ears are taken away from you because the internet doesn’t have much info on a pedal, you can always rely on your eyes. John Landgraff is also a Christian, and each pedal comes with a tract. Which is cool. Well, except that they’re the cash-looking tracts. So you open the pedal up, and you’re like ‘Bonus round! A rebate!’ And then you’re like, ‘Oh.’ hehe But you don’t really think you’re getting a rebate with the pedal. And you gotta admire the guy’s heart for making a great pedal, and then doing his best to use his position to try to share an incredible gift. On a side note, though, ever meet with those Christians who give the cash tracts instead of tips? Like, ‘Oh, I don’t have to actually show God’s love to you by being kind and giving you money. I get to bypass that any real financial sacrifice for your benefit, because I’m giving you something better than money.’ Because Jesus definitely said, ‘Suck it up, I’m giving you something better than your physical needs’ when He was preaching and everyone got hungry. ;) No, He gave them free food. I’ve had some friends who have been servers at one time or another, and they all say they used to hate getting the Christian tables or the church groups after church, because none of them would tip. Way to go us. Spreading God’s love need not have any actions accompanying it, as long as you’ve got tracts, t-shirts, and words. And I’m just as bad, as I assume that typing this in a blog probably makes people assume that I’ve got the love thing under control; hence, I am exempt from actually doing it. ;)

But I think Landgraff putting tracts in is cool. Because he’s not having you pay for a $400 pedal, and then sending you a tract instead. hehe He’s saying, ‘Here’s a killer product, and here’s what I believe. Throw it away if you want.’ So, anyway, on to the shootout. Apologies for my long-windedness. But for those of you who still come to this blog, I’m gonna go out on a limb and assume you’re used to it by now. You either read through it and laugh at my incredibly short attention span (even on things in my own head…which is really odd), or you just skip to the pictures and videos. (Probably the latter.) Oh ya, the shootout!

Landgraff 1
(It is physically impossible for bad sounds to come out of a pedal that looks that good. In the word of Will Ferrell, ‘Beautiful.’ Not sure why it had to be Will Ferrell that said that, but that’s the first thing that popped in my head. And I do have a habit, unfortunately, of typing or saying the first things that pop into my head. Mmmm…Landgraff.)

The Players

–Landgraff Dynamic Overdrive (tone fairies and sweet paint job included)

–Hermida Mosferatu (at 12 volts)

–Paul Cochrane Tim (at 12 volts)

The Clean Tone

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

Matchless Spitfire–>

65 Amps birch cab (Celestion Blue and Celestion G12H-30)

Possible Tonal Biases

–Not too many. They’re all true bypass, running through short cable lengths into each other, and the pedalboard is not in the signal chain in this video.

–I didn’t call Landgraff to see if the DO can be run higher than 9 volts. I probably should have done that. But it seemed to react very well and have enough headroom at its rated 9 volts.

–I’ve had much more time to set the Tim and Mosferatu to my rig.

Possible Personal Biases

–I got the Landgraff in a trade, and I know I have to sell it. It was supposed to double as cash for me. So…I might not want to like it. Or I might want to like it, so I can post here in my blog about how stupid I am when it comes to pedals, and then people will laugh and I’ll get more blog hits and my self esteem will rise as I check my stats. (Wow, this honesty thing should probably stop if I want to maintain any semblance of coolness.)

–Gotta admit that the Landgraff would look really cool on my board. Everyone will say, ‘What’s that pedal?’ And I’ll say, ‘Landgraff.’ And then they will worship my tone without me even having to turn the amp on.

And the Shootout:

The Results

Well, the Landgraff definitely did not disappoint. It is an amazing-sounding pedal. For what it is, absolutely awesome. Warm, full, glassy…and could do low overdrive Tim sounds as well as high gain Mosferatu sounds. And it has this nice treble shelf that makes it sound very crystalline. Extremely nice. Almost like a fuller and warmer OCD. And the versatility in unmatched. To be able to do low gain, high gain, Marshall, and fuzz? Rad. But it does take over your tone a bit. In a really, really good-sounding way, but I tend to prefer more transparent-sounding pedals…ones that let more of my clean tone through. And it had a mid shift that I couldn’t get to come out of the sound.

So I think I’m sticking with the Tim and Mosferatu. They may not be as cool anymore, but I still haven’t found anything I like better. The Mosferatu is the only drive I’ve found that is able to get high gain without changing your clean tone. And the Tim, well…it just completely cuts through thick, full, and cleanly at any gain setting, with any rig. However, in a different time and different place (meaning, if I had more money), I would absolutely be keeping the Landgraff as my glassy leads pedal. I’ve wanted to do that with an OCD for a long time, but could never get over the thinness in that pedal. But the Landgraff DO takes that glassiness and keeps its fullness. However, I can’t get over my lack of funding for it right now. Maybe someday. Which probably means sometime next week.

Splendid.
Karl.

19 thoughts on “Landgraff DO, Mosferatu, & Tim Shootout

  1. Tremors…. ah…. what a flick…!

    I always thought the OCD sounded a touch thin for some applications with my LP and my fender amp… until my buddy used it in a Mesa. WOW. Nice pedal.
    Then I used it with my Tele…. OH, that is what its supposed to sound like! Something about the LP and Fender amp combo just doesn’t work. Change the guitar or amp and its a beautiful pedal.
    Fun demo bro!
    Your next shootout should have a random pic from Shaun of the Dead i think.

  2. I live in Tom’s home town. I’ve been toying with putting one in lay away till next month! :) I love Blues Angel Music. I go down and hang out about once a month for the afternoon to play and talk with the guys. You wouldn’t believe some of the vintage equipment down there. Tony the Tech (yeah, like tony the tiger, I hear ya chuckling!) built up my Tele for me. Thing flat out oozes tone!

  3. will it make you feel better if I tell you I read your site to find out what the cool pedals are?

    Larry has a point about his setup. Pedals/guitars/amps have such random combos, unless you try them all you can’t just assume a pedal is good or bad. I had this one pedal, ah um er a boss flanger, which actually sounded amazing with this beat up old gretsch amp I used to have. That same pedal sounded like a kids toy through a bunch of other amps I tried. The gretsch caught fire though, so no more magical flanger.

    It would be interesting to make a matrix of drives/amps to see what in general people like, what sound they are going for, and how best they achieved it. Might make time cruising forums to find similar info not so painful.

    I recently bought that new vox satch pedal. Sounds like crappo on my blues junior, and ok on my carvin, though I have a feeling it might sound just awesome on a marshall or similiar amp. Its just red and cool looking and I can’t bring myself to part with it yet. New amp?

  4. Karl, you crack me up…I know I have a problem with pedals but you have a serious problem…well, I’ve been debating whether I’m keeping my zvex super duper or going with a timmy…now you throw in a $400 pedal you bum! Anyway, you have just ruined my financial life…I’m selling an extra Pedal Pad board that I have and my zvex ooh wah pedal to be able to get some George L’s and a new power supply…I was going to keep my Fulldrive 2 and my super duper…but you messed that up…now I’m back on my knees begging for supernatural intervention.

    by the way, what’s the big deal about the 9v and 12v? explain please!

    and then, send me the pedal you don’t want to keep…chalk it up as a contribution to the work of God! whatever!

  5. Wow! That is all I can say about the looks.

    @Robin When a pedal is running at higher voltage it allows for more head room as well as a higher or heavier amount of overdrive or distortion.

  6. Larry–hehe Every time Tremors is on, I’m like…’This is stupid.’ But then I just can’t turn it off! hehe

    As for the OCD, I’m stoked you’re able to get some full sounds out of it. I’ve tried it with Les Pauls, strats, 6L6′s, EL34′s, EL84′s…nothing doing for me. But if it’s working for you, then awesome!! Because it does have a very nice glassy thing going on. I was just stoked to find the same glassiness in the Landgraff with a touch more fullness…although it is much more money and I can’t afford to keep it. Ah, gear. If only the perfect pedal, worked in my rig, had a killer paint job, and cost $15. lol

    And that’s right! Shaun of the Dead! Speaking of which, that new zombie parody with Woody Harrelson intrigues me. I might be the only one in the world, but I think he has some great comedic timing.

    Nate–I am so with you! Doesn’t ever seem to matter what you throw at it. It just gives your clean tone lush and dynamic drive. Paul has definitely put some magic tone fairies in there. It’s the only explanation.

    Sal–haha I know! I want to do that to all my stuff!

    Catfish–you’re making me jealous. You just described my idea of a perfect afternoon! lol And any clips of the Tele? Sounds like a killer guitar!

    Kenrick–lol That’s right! Because this blog is on the internet. So what I write must be true. hehe ;)

    And you guys are right, some pedals are quite specific to the rigs they’re played in. But personally, since I’ve worked so hard on my clean tone, I prefer pedals that are more transparent and let more of that clean tone through…even if it is insanely driven. I still want it to be my tone. The side benefit of looking for pedals like that, is that since they are transparent, they are a lot less specific about what rigs they are played in. So in a way, I’m able to bypass some of the wondering if a pedal is so good that I should buy a new amp to work with it better.

    And great idea on the matrix thing. Killer idea!

    And just my personal opinion…if you like your clean tone, I would never sell an amp because a pedal doesn’t work with it. There are plenty of pedals out there that like Blues Juniors, Carvins, and Marshalls, at the same time. But that’s just my opinion. You could also go buy a Hiwatt, stick the gorgeous red Satch pedal in front of it, and then just kill my opinions with tone! hehehe :)

    Robin–lol Apologies all around! But how can I not tell about wondrous Landgraff pedals, once I have the information firsthand? ;) hehehe It is a killer pedal, and I might have been tempted to give it away were I even in a financial situation to keep it myself right now. lol It’s already on its way to Canada.

    But hey, I think there’s a couple on Gear Page right now. A Fulldrive with a Landgraff? Sounds pretty good to me! And of course worship is dependent upon the best possible tone, right? hehehe

    And Sam is correct, higher voltage just gives the pedal some more headroom…makes it sound cleaner and less boxy. But too much voltage, and it gets too saggy. So, twelve volts is a happy medium…and not to mention that to jump up to 18 volts would take two slots on the pedal power, and I need ‘em all! hehe

    Sam–great point about the voltage. Thanks! And yes. The Landgraffs look absolutely amazing. Better than some people I’ve known. :)

  7. I’ve got to try a Tim or a Timmy. I’m using an OCD (As a stacking drive) and have had a love/hate relationship with it since the day I bought it. One second it sounds great and the next….not so much. Running it at 12v has definitely helped it. Removed the fizz from the top end(Which his holliness Sir Mike says is my amp. Yes, I actually spoke to him once when purchasing a TTE. Where upon he informed me that my amp was crap. I’m spending $1100 and he’s telling me I’ve have a garbage amp. It is a 68 Fender Princeton which most guys think is a pretty usable amp.Whatever.). Well…I went off on a tangent there.

    • Mark -

      That really was a tangent. Interesting sales approach he had going there.

      +1 on getting a Tim/Timmy.

      I got a Timmy last year and have it stacked with an FD2 that I’ve had since 2002. As Karl would say .. Splendid!

      Tim

  8. “The Hidden”, “Bad Boys II” & “Shooter”(go figure) all have some good shootouts. “The Hidden” is especially novel with Michael Nouri & Kyle McLaughlin vs. Claudia Christian. You could also check out the duel near the end of “Barry Lyndon” if you wanted a period theme.

  9. Sam–lol Fantastic!

    Mark–absolutely. I love the Tim/Timmy deal. And 12 volts helped the OCD’s I’ve owned, too. Interesting marketing tactics from Mr. Fuller. hehe

    TimH–hehe I think ‘splendid’ definitely does the Tim/Timmy justice. hehehe

    Scott–score! Thanks, bro. Definitely gonna have to rent some movies before the next pedal shootout! lol

  10. Hey Karl,
    Have you checked the Danelectro Cool Cat Drive and the Cool Cat Transparent Overdrive? They get rave reviews on the Orange Forum, and are supposedly copies of boutique drives (I think somebody mentioned the OCD and the Tim). Sounds like the Bad-Monkey-Syndrom to me.
    If you come across one of these pedals please let us know what you think,
    cheers
    ben

  11. Hey Ben!

    I’ve yet to try them, but I have been hearing the hype. I’m definitely inclined to agree with you on the Bad Monkey syndrome. After my amp craziness dies off, I’m planning on getting a couple just to see for myself. I’ll be sure to post some vids! :) Cheers!

  12. Is it o.k. to run the TIM at 12 volts and how will it improve the sound?Also what type of power supply would one use?Thanks!Keep up the good work.

  13. Yes, you can run the Tim safely up to 24 volts, I believe. The more voltage, the more headroom and the more the pedal sounds like it’s ‘breathing.’ But, you also get more sag and sometimes less responsiveness as you increase the volts. I run mine at 12 because I find it to be a good balance between good headroom and good responsiveness, and because the Voodoo Labs PP2+ supplies 12 volts readily. Or you can buy an AC adapter that is rated at 12 volts. :) Hope that helps!

    • Yes,thank you very much!I happen to have a 12 volt power source that I use on some of my other pedals to bump them up a bit,I will give it a try.Also are you familiar with the Rockbox Boiling Point od pedals.I have got one coming in this week and I hope I made a right decision given the price of it.I was going by the vids and reviews I have seen and they all say it is one of, if not the best pedal they have ever used.Thanks!

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