Any experience with a Blackstone Overdrive?

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by GM1, Aug 30, 2005.


  1. GM1

    GM1 Member

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    Was reading another post about MOSFET and I looked at the Blackstone web site. I'm wondering if any of you have one of these pedals.

    How much do you like the pedal...how would you rate it against other overdrive pedals

    Is there a trade off ( tone/feel) between the MOSFET design and a standard design....if so please describe.
     
  2. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I had one, it sounded good. I loved the yellow channel, but thought the red (lead) channel was too smooth. I also thought that the overall volume was lacking, which wouldn't matter if you were leaving it on all the time.

    I liked it with a clean amp as opposed to the slight breakup sound I usually like with other drive pedals. It sounded particularly good with my blackface amps.

    The OD cleaned up very well with the guitar's volume knob.
     
  3. GM1

    GM1 Member

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    So are you saying with a clean amp, when you hit the Blackstone pedal the volume increase from the pedal was not enough?

    I guess you didn't keep it, any paticular reason?
     
  4. jordanL

    jordanL Member

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    A very amp like pedal. Like Phil I found it works best with a clean amp which is How Balckstone recommends it. IT cleans up extremely well, when you back off the volume control. I agree that it cound use a bit more volume, though I find it satisfactory. Its not my number 1 overdrive but I use it occasionally for jams. I have a 2SV2 model.
     
  5. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    Yes, I thought it needed more volume if I was going to switch between my amp's sound and the Blackstone. However, if you're just using the two channels from the BS and leaving it on all the time this wouldn't be an issue.

    It was nice, but it wasn't as "mean" sounding as I like, so I opted out. Mine was the 2SV3.1. The previous owner had some updgrade done by Blackstone, but I can't remember what.
     
  6. 6789

    6789 Member

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    The blackstone has enough volume for an overdrive. It just doesn't have enough volume to use as a booster. The blackstone website says the pedal is intended to provide all of the overdrive rather than other pedals that rely on some amp overdrive mixed in. That's why it's not intended to be used as a booster.

    When the pedal is the first pedal the guitar is plugged into, rolling back on the guitar's volume cleans up the signal without much of a volume drop - at least with my guitars. It has internal trimmers to adjust treble and gain in addition to extrenal knobs for tone and gain. also you can swap out different capacitors internally to change treble response.

    It gets really subjective saying if one pedal sounds better than others. the blackstone website has sound clips. but every pedal will sound different with different guitars and amps and playing styles.
     
  7. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I had a blackstone for about 4 years and the only reason I sold it is because I bought a Guytron. The pedal has more then enough volume boost. Unless your trying to blow your amp up I don't get the comment about not being loud enough. When I ran the pedal I set the volume around 9 to 10 o'clock with the gain around 2 or 3 with single coils. You will have to run the volume higher when you reduce the gain (switching to humbuckers for example). The is IMHO the best medium to higher gain pedal I have ever used and believe me I used to go to Makin music in Chicago every year just to be sure. It may not work for you but if you like something that sounds real, has great dynamics at low to medium gain settings(at higher gain settings it does compress a bit) and cleans up well it's almost impossible to beat (unless you spend big money on an amp head).
     
  8. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    This is strictly your opinion, which is fine, but I found it to not be loud enough. So there.
     
  9. slacker

    slacker Senior Member

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    I bought a Blackstone new in Feb of this year. I've had a Fulldrive 2 (FM) since 2001.

    IMHO the Blacktone is 'better' with a clean tube amp and 'prefers' Les Pauls to Strats.

    The design of the thing is excellent. You can tweak it to how you want it (internal trimmers for gain treble and a switch ) Again IMHO you need to use it for rhythm/chords/riffing and use a separate booster for lead work. I always have a significant volume boost for lead breaks.

    It was bought to complement the FD2 and it does so. I would not use it as my sole overdrive.
     
  10. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    I'm curious to know how it wasn't loud enough? How did you set up the pedal, did you use it first in line after your guitar, how were the internal trimmers set or anything else that could explain why it wasn't loud enough. The pedal is not supossed to be used as a clean boost pedal, this could be the problem. The pedal has quite a bit of a jump in volume just as much as any of the following; Red Lllama, Green Rhino, OCD(blackstone has a little less output), fulldrive II, and many others. I have compared this pedal to over 30 different overdrives out there and overall it's very tough to find any real glaring weakness in this design.

    Phil, I don't know what you were trying to accomplish as far as an overdrive/lead tone but I couldn't even imagine not having enough boost for a solo. As I said earlier unless the gain was all the way down(essentailly off) then you might not get quite the boost you needed. Maybe you had a bad pedal, I could see the smooth comment because it does compress at higher levels of gain but any overdrive/amp I have heard do the same thing. By the way I owned the second iteration, perhaps he reduced the overall volume in the later versions but I don't know.
     
  11. Scumback Speakers

    Scumback Speakers Gold Supporting Member

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    It's first on my pedalboard...although I also have an OCD and a BluesBreaker II. The OCD is meaner, the BB II is just a clean boost. The Blackstone gets most of the solo chores, though.

    I use it as a light crunch for chords on an amp that's breaking up well, and for softer solo passages (the green channel). The red channel is just for over the top solos, and while it is smoother, it has enough volume for my tastes.

    I run mine with an AC adaptor, and it's a model that's 2.5 years old. Can't remember the exact version off the top of my head, but it's a keeper.
     
  12. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    I wasn't using it as a boost (or at least the way I've used clean boosts and ODs to boost amps). I was using it to make my clean amps into 3 channel amps. I found that even with the volumes cranked, my clean amp sound was louder than the yellow channel. Like I said, had I kept it, I would've just left it on all the time.

    I'm not slagging it though, I thought it sounded good, there are just so many pedals and I couldn't keep them all. I certainly wouldn't be disappointed if it was my only drive/dirt pedal! I've said it before, I wish he made a single stomp version of the pedal with just the yellow channel.
     
  13. GM1

    GM1 Member

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    I find this interesting

    No fizz. Like a good amp, the Mosfet Overdrive imparts harmonics that seem integral to the tone, as opposed to a disconnected fizz. This is not just filtering after the distortion, but a tailoring of each stage to prevent the generation of high-order harmonics in the first place. It's glassy at low settings, becoming fat and midrangey when cranked. This is the opposite behavior of most pedals, which get thinner and fizzier at high settings.

    from the Blackstone web site.

    The fizz he mentions really bugs me, but I have learned to live with it. All my pedals have it even the Fulldrive. Sometimes it will blend more with certain speakers but it is something you really can't dial out of the effect.
     
  14. Phil M

    Phil M Supporting Member

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    You know what? Today would be a good day to have it! I have to go to a rehearsal but I don't have my amp. They have a Roland JC-120 for me to go through though. Blackstone would've been perfect for that...
     
  15. malabarmusic

    malabarmusic Member

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    Blackstone -> JC-120 was my live rig for over a year. Second most trouble-free rig I've ever used, after the Line 6 Vetta + FBV. I moved on after I set my sights on a "toothier" sounding drive, but there's no denying that Jon makes a first rate tone box.

    - DB
     
  16. gkelm

    gkelm Supporting Member

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    I recently picked up a used one and like the sound...natural crunchy tone. I didn't even realize there were internal trimmers...thanks guys! Tonight I'll try to roll off a bit of the bright edge I'm now hearing.

    BTW, I'm getting pretty good tones into a semi-dirty marshall head.

    Greg
     
  17. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    I have had both the version 2 and version 3.1 Blackstone, dating back to 2000. I love the pedal but it is a strange cuss to deal with sometimes. It took me a long time to learn to tweak the thing. It always had a boxy midrange. But then one lonely night I just sat up tinkering with it and hit paydirt. First off I learned that turning the external gain down and compensating by turning the internal gain up, laid waste to the annoying midrange. Then it was a matter of adjusting the external tone and internal treble to taste. Then I played with caps until I settled on a 250pf cap in the feedback socket. Magic (with a strat/tele into a '70 Vibrolux). It doens't have a tight modern sound, but it has a cool raspiness to it. I would never use the word smooth to discribe either channel of the Blackstone. Think saxophone, not violin. Also a little extra bonus is that it stacks very well into the Timmy pedal. If set right they don't fart out like most stacked overdrives, but compliment each other to give the Blackstone that little extra bite it tends to lack, should you need it (Timmy set med light with both internal dips off). Another cool thing about the Blackstone/Timmy stack is that the Blackstone cleans up so well but the Timmy really doesn't. So by using the guitars volume you sort of fade the Blackstone in and out of the mix, taking you from the light drive of the Timmy to the fairly hefty roar of the two together, and all points in between.
     
  18. GM1

    GM1 Member

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    Thanks for the info. Seems like a lot of work to get to a sweet spot. Do you notice the lack fizz as mentioned on the Blackstone sight.
     
  19. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    I have been through sooooo many OD's in the last 5 years, and yes I definately hear the lack of fizz. The Blackstone is the most dynamic pedal I have played except for Ge fuzzes. It is also one of the most tweekable. It has quite a range of tonality, yet of course always sounds like a Blackstone. The only question is whether you like the texture or not as to whether it will work for you or not.
     
  20. 6789

    6789 Member

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    Thanks for the tip! I was ready to sell my Blackstone pedal - I even shot photos for Ebay. I didn't like how the low end was dissapearing from my sound with the Blackstone. Your suggestions to turn up the internal gain trimmer up (almost all the way clockwise) and turn the external gain dial down (brown channel - fully counterclockwise) works wonders! I never tried that before. It gave back all the low end. I have the external tone dial set fully clockwise for the flat setting. I love the sound now.

    I also found that if I take out the capacitor (completely removed without placing another capacitor in its place) for gain II, and have the external red channel gain turned fully counterclockwise - the red channel sounds pretty much identical to the brown channel. now I can switch beween the brown and red channels and have a different volume set for a slight boost or cut.

    The Blackstone has become my favorite overdrive now. I don't notice any volume drop like the other guy did. something must be wrong with his pedal.

    It sounds great when my amp is set to clean and also sounds great when the amp is starting to overdrive the tubes.
    my guitar is a 1965 hagstrom - single coil, set to the neck pick-up. the amp is a Victoria Regal.
     

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