A Sort of Homecoming

Welcome home, my sweet Varidrive! I know I said I didn’t care, but I do! I care so much.

Please, for the love of everything that’s good in this world, remember that you’re a guitarist. That means you’re never done with a pedal until you’ve bought it back at least 3 times. I sold my SIB Varidrive black version with gain switch last year, in a failed attempt to do away with overdrive pedals. (There’s been a lot of those.) And I am just now getting it back, after a year of searching. It doesn’t help that this dominionator (yes, that’s exactly what I meant to type) of all solo pedals, that wouldn’t sell used for $100 two years ago, suddenly shot up to around $300 the day after I sold it for $175. This will always happen too. It’s part of the perils of being a guitarist. But if those perils weren’t so painful, the joys would not be so devouringly sweet. What is ‘devouringly sweet’ joy? It’s quite simple. Hitting a two note rhythmic solo on a SIB Varidrive black version with gain switch and a modded ECC81 tube. (Gotta say ‘modded’…sounds way cooler.)

Who’s ready for the first day of the rest of their lives?


P.S. I know I just posted this video like, last week, but such is the devourocity (again, yes) of my joy. You’re gonna have to deal with it. (Which means…well…just not clicking on that little sideways arrow in the middle of the video. Means play.)

22 thoughts on “A Sort of Homecoming

  1. good and fun post…tomorrow I’m going to post about returning to my “first love” of my acoustic 70’s era Martin D-41. I’ve played around with other acoustics, even saying another guitar (a great Anderson Crowdster Plus) was my fav a while ago…but now I’m publicly saying, “I’m sorry Marty…I’m coming back to you”…I’ll send you the link tomorrow!

    Keep up the great work bud! Love reading the blog…makes me smile!


  2. bad question that i’m pretty sure how your going to answer. is it worth it to get a boss sd-1. i’m fairly confident i can get one on craigslist for about 20 and i only have distortion pedal and i need an overdrive. thanks

  3. Always great to see there are other people just as obsessed with U2 as I am… 🙂

    Have you had a chance to mess around with the damage control liquid blues OD? One is up for super cheap on eBay, but I hate buying pedals that I have not had a chance to get my hands on and try…


  4. Dude – I’m dying to see you review/demo these pedals:
    Skreddy Screwdriver
    Kingsley Jester
    Ethos Overdrive
    Anything by Pete Cornish (you could rob an armored car and elude Al Pacino).

  5. Robin–haha That’s awesome. And I so talk to my gear, too. Man, a 70’s Martin? I’ve only gotten to play one of those a couple times, and it was…well…amazing. 🙂 You’re a lucky man!

    Nater2–anything’s worth it for $20! 🙂 But seriously, it just depends on what sound you’re going for. Sure, I may think a Zendrive or Tim is better than the SD-1. But for $20? The SD-1 is a very decent pedal, and is pretty much the exact same circuit as a new TS9, except that it already has the JRC4558. So ya, that’s probably a steal for $20. 🙂

    Adam–haha Same here! Nice to know I’m not the only one, brother.

    And the Liquid Blues is a great pedal. I would say only second to a Tim. And even so, the Blues can do some high gain stuff that the Tim can’t. Only reason I don’t have one on my board is that 3 DC pedals would take up too much space and power. But it’s a great pedal, and I think highly underrated. Hope that helps! 🙂

  6. Jeff T.–lol Don’t tempt me!! You just totally made me want a Pete Cornish pedal, just because you associated it with Heat. haha

    In all seriousness, I’m not sure if I’ll ever be able to bring myself to buy a Cornish, but an Ethos will probably be on its way in a while, because I just can’t get some of their philosophies in making it, out of my head. They really seem to know what they’re doing, and I’ve gotta see for myself. Don’t you play an Ethos?

  7. The Kingsley has me real curious because nobody knows anything about it, it’s British, and it’s expensive. That equals awesome!

    I don’t have an Ethos but I’m very, very tempted to get one.

    Right now, my “herd” consists of a KoT4, TIM, Maxon VOP-9, Keeley Sparkle Drive, and an OCD4.

    I’ve owned a DC Womanizer and Liquid Blues (in addition to my Timeline) and I gotta tell you – the Keeley Sparkle Drive does everything the Liquid Blues does in a much, much smaller package. It’s a truly great rhythm pedal (along with the TIM).

    • oooooh, you have pretty much what I have settled on: KOT4, OCD 4, Zendrive, TIM, and a Railhead Effects IO (super distortion).
      ALL rock. All are my favorites, for different reasons.

      I’m still waiting on my email (AAANNNYYY day now) for my Toneczar Dove.

  8. Hmm…British and expensive. You’re so right, bro!

    Oh, and you’ve got the KOT…for some reason I thought you had the Ethos. Ya, tempted to get one as well.

    And the Keeley Sparkle is doin’ it for ya, huh? Might have to check that one out. Thank you!! Great collection of drives too, there.

  9. i just found this video, it’s ridicules


  10. Larry–wonderful collection of od’s as well! hehe How long you been on that Dove list? I respect all of you who have that kind of patience. hehe

    Sal–haha Wow. Good thing, for sure! I’ve seen those fetch over $500…sometimes for the pots only! hehe That’s a great closet find for sure.

    Nater2–that is pretty awesome, I gotta say. I even watched the whole thing. 🙂

    • I have been on the Dove list for over a year now… When I got on it there was a 3-4 month wait. Ed let me know his distributor for parts was having problems/out of business… and he wasn’t able to get all the parts for his pedals and that drove ALL the pedals waitlists up! Now the Dove is a year or so…
      I was notified I would be in the next build. Still waiting on the “build completed email.”

      Its one of those things- no rush, I’m happy (very!) with what I have, and if I never get the Dove, I’ll still be happy. But am anxious for new gear!

  11. Hey karl do you have any posts on how you mic’ your amp for church? Or do you just use your amp unmic’ed? If anyone has any good references or instructionals on getting tone when mic’ing an amp I’m all… eyes…

  12. Larry–gotcha. Ya, that’s what I’ve heard from others with the pedal, or on the list.

    And ‘happy with what you have’?! That’s awesome. I’ve heard of this emotion, but have never experienced it personally. hehehe 😉 But seriously bro, good times for your Toneczar.

    Ben G–I don’t have a post on that, although it’s in my head to set one up with recorded demonstrations and stuff. A basic rule of thumb is that the sound will get more trebly the closer the mic is to the center of the speaker, and more bassy the farther the mic gets from the center of the speaker. So there’s a balance there.

    And then a second general rule is that the sound will be more upfront and focused the closer the mic is to the grillcloth, and more full and spacious as you move the mic away from the grillcloth. So, a balance there, too.

    As far as mic’ing straight on or at an angle, I have no idea. I’ve heard it done well both ways, and you’ll get people arguing to the death on both sides. hehehe

    Me personally, I mic straight-on, towards a lower corner of the speaker but not too low, and about a centimeter or two off of the grillcloth. Seems to work for me. And if you’re really happy with your tone, and don’t think you need an SM57 or some other instrument mic to help it sit in the mix better, try a S58 or comparable vocal mic. The vocal mic’s have a better harmonic range pickup, and I find that I really like using them to mic guitar amps. 🙂 Hope that helps a bit!

    Andrew–haha Man, I wish I’d take that advice every once in a while! hehe

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