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Barber Small Fry

iamspartacus

Member
Messages
494
I used to own a SF, and I loved it! It was versatile and very natural feeling (w/ the dynamics knob, I could go from jangly to sweet cream). I sold it off to try other pedals that were hyped up by this forum, but none of them jived with me. Ever since selling it, I've been kicking myself for letting it go.

Recently I found a great deal for a Burn Unit EQ and jumped on it. Ahhh, there it is again. Versatile and smooth - just what I remembered.

I actually pair this pedal with a DD and it's a great combo. The BU is for slightly overdriven tones (ch1) and high-gain lead tones (ch2), while the DD is used for some nice crunchy marshall-y tones.

Great stuff!
 

oldhousescott

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,921
Got a SF for medium gain duties and it fits the bill perfectly for me. Toggle switch stays to the left, this seems to sound the most amp-like to me.
 

mc2

Member
Messages
1,032
I've had a SF for about 2 years. I recently picked up a zen and sold it within about 2 months. The zen was fine, but I couldn't find any usefullness out of the gain knob and the voice just made it fizzier, thinner.

As someone said before, the SF is great with teles strats and a DR (DRRI-in my experience). It thickens it up and was nice for cleaner grit and classic rock tones. For me, I think the SF is a pretty sensitive pedal relatively speaking, but I don't know what a Landgraff, KOT, Honeybee, etc. feel like-someday!

It took some time dialing it in, but I think I'll keep it until I get a KOT in 24 years or so...:jo
 

Mac-P

Member
Messages
968
I am another one who's Zendrive was not able to beat the Barber pedal off the board. :rolleyes:

I've had the Direct Drive SS, Small Fry, Burn Unit EQ & Tone Pump EQ.

I agree, the Small Fry is one of Dave's most flexible pedals. Had it on the board, but thought the Burn Unit (being the same pedal but with 2 channels) a better use of pedal board real estate.

The DDSS is more Marshall-y than the Small Fry (which can be set to sound pretty damn Marshally). The DDSS I found to be slightly scooped in the mids, which wasn't for me (even with the internal bass & presence trimmers adjusted). But the SUSTAIN that pedal has - oh my lord. Amazing. A fantastic distortion pedal if you like the voicing. Very very very amp-like.

The other Barber pedals have more mids, or can be set to have more 'control' over how much (or little) mid content you want. My "go to" OD box is the Tone Pump EQ - which I find to be a bit more open & less compressed than the Burn Unit/Small Fry (I love both & went back & forth with this for weeks & weeks, gig after gig). Other than my Boss DM-2 the TPEQ is the longest standing pedal on my board - nothing ever ends up knocking it off. :AOK

I also had the Zendrive on the board with the TPEQ, and I am able to get almost the same exact "Zendrive" tone with the Tone Pump (or Burn Unit/Small Fry). Dave does the "smooth" OD/Distortion better than anyone to these ears - at least the way I like to hear it. So the Zendrive had to go home with other pedals that I love and wont sell, but get the day off every day. :phones

For the record, I think the Small Fry sounds & feels very amp-like. Much more so than most other pedals. In general, I think David's pedals sound more like another channel of your amp more than any other maker I can think of (certain versions of the Eternity are great in that respect too in all fairness - totally different animal though). I set my amp for a slight Keith Richards-like grind, and push it over the top with "a" Barber pedal (again, for the last 3 years the TPEQ has been king of the hill).

I've said it before, if I was a pedal maker, my pedals would sound like David's. His "pre-amp" gain is tight, defined and organic sounding with no fizz. He just hears it right - to these ears.
:BEER
 

jamison162

Member
Messages
7,750
The SF is "amp-like", a lot more than most pedals, but my DDSS just sounds even moreso. But my DDSS also has 4 internal trim pots, it has the mids adjustment also (I think these were the Katrina Relief units). Between that and the ability to swap out opamps, it don't get no better.
 

phillygtr

Member
Messages
4,457
The dynamics knob is still not a backwards compression knob as some people think, it actually sets where the threshold for a secondary clipping circuit breaks into overdrive, and how"hard" that clipping sounds...ya know, to emulate cascading preamp stages!

Now; whether people agree with my observation of tone is another thing, to each his or her own, all opinions of perception are valid, especially to the observer! :)

The dynamics knob can be set from full up, to full down and never be wrong...if you find a setting that works for your situation, that is all that matters.
Thanks for the insight Dave. I'll have to tweak the Dynamics knob a bit more to experiment. Great Great pedal.

Dave, not to change the subject, but what is the vibe on the "B-Custom "Cool". Looks just like the Small Fry control wise.
 

iim7v7im7

Member
Messages
982
phillygtr,

I have had a B-Custom Cool for a week or two now. Excellent pedal! I have explored about 1/10th of its possibilities (found a sound aI like and have left it to play, you know....). Its definitely a very natural and dynamic sounding pedal. I have mostly used it in classic LTD-SR type settings to drive my Allen Accomplice.

Kudos to Dave!

Bob
 

mojovibes

Member
Messages
85
....In general, I think David's pedals sound more like another channel of your amp more than any other maker I can think of ....
.....if I was a pedal maker, my pedals would sound like David's.....He just hears it right - to these ears.
+1

DD, Tone Press, LTD here.

Cheers,
Dean
 

B.J.TELE

Member
Messages
3
For those of you that haven't opened up your Barber small fry to adjust the internal pots, be prepared to find Alpha pots for the vol.,tone,dyn.,and burn controls...Alpha pots are cheap entry level pots...what are they doing in this high quality boutique pedal! Personally,, I think internal controls just complicate things. I opened mine up and adjusted it for my telecaster and got it sounding decent, but now, my stratocaster sounds like garbage through it! This pedal is for "one" amp "one" guitar owners. And though the foot switch is boasted to have hundreds of thousands of on and off clicks, I wouldn't give a nickel for ? turns on those Alpha pots. Watch for mine..it's probably going up for sale soon.
 

whackystrings

Member
Messages
3,923
For those of you that haven't opened up your Barber small fry to adjust the internal pots, be prepared to find Alpha pots for the vol.,tone,dyn.,and burn controls...Alpha pots are cheap entry level pots...what are they doing in this high quality boutique pedal! Personally,, I think internal controls just complicate things. I opened mine up and adjusted it for my telecaster and got it sounding decent, but now, my stratocaster sounds like garbage through it! This pedal is for "one" amp "one" guitar owners. And though the foot switch is boasted to have hundreds of thousands of on and off clicks, I wouldn't give a nickel for ? turns on those Alpha pots. Watch for mine..it's probably going up for sale soon.
Wow. This is your first post and this is how you come in? ...Necro-posting, as well. Mate, this thread is 4.5yrs old. :)
Anyway, to your points, I can't begin to tell you how little difference the pots are to me or to a lot of other people. Hell, I don't even know what an Alpha pot is.
I would well imagine that the pots on the SF are similar/same to other Barber units and in all the time I have been at TGP I have never once heard a complaint about a failing pot. Not saying that it hasn't happened, just saying that I am not aware of it.
 

carltonh

Member
Messages
1,545
IIRC, there are two Alpha companies making pots. An American one that is very high quality, and a Taiwan Alpha company that is medium quality, certainly not bad quality.
 

David B

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
3,084
IIRC, there are two Alpha companies making pots. An American one that is very high quality, and a Taiwan Alpha company that is medium quality, certainly not bad quality.
The pots we use are from Taiwan.

For those of you that haven't opened up your Barber small fry to adjust the internal pots, be prepared to find Alpha pots for the vol.,tone,dyn.,and burn controls...Alpha pots are cheap entry level pots...what are they doing in this high quality boutique pedal! Personally,, I think internal controls just complicate things. I opened mine up and adjusted it for my telecaster and got it sounding decent, but now, my stratocaster sounds like garbage through it! This pedal is for "one" amp "one" guitar owners. And though the foot switch is boasted to have hundreds of thousands of on and off clicks, I wouldn't give a nickel for ? turns on those Alpha pots. Watch for mine..it's probably going up for sale soon.
Info on the pots: less than 1 failure per year (out of about 10,000 per year), including stock that that has been in service for 15 years, easy field replacement.

I should also note, we are not a boutique product, nor are we advertised that way...no interest in the title.

Replacements are readily available, and can be had for around $1-2 from vendors when you need one.


No actual problem with the pots?
 

78deluxe

Member
Messages
5,355
For those of you that haven't opened up your Barber small fry to adjust the internal pots, be prepared to find Alpha pots for the vol.,tone,dyn.,and burn controls...Alpha pots are cheap entry level pots...what are they doing in this high quality boutique pedal! Personally,, I think internal controls just complicate things. I opened mine up and adjusted it for my telecaster and got it sounding decent, but now, my stratocaster sounds like garbage through it! This pedal is for "one" amp "one" guitar owners. And though the foot switch is boasted to have hundreds of thousands of on and off clicks, I wouldn't give a nickel for ? turns on those Alpha pots. Watch for mine..it's probably going up for sale soon.
I'll be glad to take that piece of junk off your hands for $5

:rolleyes:


Your first post suggests you are out of your element here. The Small Fry is one of the best builds on the market, made to very high standards.

The parts Barber uses are anything but entry level. Very unlikely those POTs are going to fail.
 

keenan

Member
Messages
592
I would pay $200 for a "small fry deluxe" that had the trim pots uptop...

if anyone out there is listening ;)
 

78deluxe

Member
Messages
5,355
I would pay $200 for a "small fry deluxe" that had the trim pots uptop...

if anyone out there is listening ;)
That's more than a $50 aftermarket mod.

If you are willing to pay $200 just for the mod itself, you might get some help.
 

keenan

Member
Messages
592
That's more than a $50 aftermarket mod.

If you are willing to pay $200 just for the mod itself, you might get some help.
I meant a production model that had a 2x4 array of knobs, uptop.

I would pay $50 for someone to rehouse a small fry as such though...
 

whackystrings

Member
Messages
3,923
...Your first post suggests you are out of your element here. The Small Fry is one of the best builds on the market, made to very high standards.

The parts Barber uses are anything but entry level. Very unlikely those POTs are going to fail.
I get the feeling we've just been punk'd and we fell for it. A necropost with an opinion that a Barber pedal is junk? Tweaked for his Tele and it sounds crappy with a Strat? Hmmm. I smell something here.
Maybe the dude is being genuine...perhaps he bought a failed home-modded unit where someone royally FUBARed the circuits.
 

B.J.TELE

Member
Messages
3
I was indeed out of my element today! I apologize to all on this forum, and especially to Mr. Barber for my caustic post.

I'm having some serious personal issues and went to my guitar as an escape. I decided to open up the small fry and tweak it, saw those alpha pots which I may have unfairly judged and that was the proverbial straw that, well you know what. In all fairness, I confess that I have had no issues with my small fry. I confess also that multi-knobbed gear gives me anxiety(yep, you guessed it, I'm not gifted with patience). So, why did I buy it?...because of the incredible clarity it's been reputed to have, and indeed does. What I need to do is continue to tweak,and give it another try, even if I have to have someone assist in turning knobs while I play and listen.

So, I deeply apologize again to all whom I may have rubbed the wrong way, especially to you Mr. Barber...in all likelyhood, I'll be having crow sandwich soon. I leaped before I looked and took my bad day out on this forum and am truly sorry. Believe it or not, this is unusual to rare behavior for me, as I'm actually a very meek person. I sure don't want anyone cringing when they see any future posts by me. Thank you for being as kind and patient with your replies as you were, as I understand, because there is to much unprofitable bashing going on on so many forums I've been on and it affected me adversely as well. Forgive me?
 

whackystrings

Member
Messages
3,923
I was indeed out of my element today! I apologize to all on this forum, and especially to Mr. Barber for my caustic post.

I'm having some serious personal issues and went to my guitar as an escape. I decided to open up the small fry and tweak it, saw those alpha pots which I may have unfairly judged and that was the proverbial straw that, well you know what. In all fairness, I confess that I have had no issues with my small fry. I confess also that multi-knobbed gear gives me anxiety(yep, you guessed it, I'm not gifted with patience). So, why did I buy it?...because of the incredible clarity it's been reputed to have, and indeed does. What I need to do is continue to tweak,and give it another try, even if I have to have someone assist in turning knobs while I play and listen.

So, I deeply apologize again to all whom I may have rubbed the wrong way, especially to you Mr. Barber...in all likelyhood, I'll be having crow sandwich soon. I leaped before I looked and took my bad day out on this forum and am truly sorry. Believe it or not, this is unusual to rare behavior for me, as I'm actually a very meek person. I sure don't want anyone cringing when they see any future posts by me. Thank you for being as kind and patient with your replies as you were, as I understand, because there is to much unprofitable bashing going on on so many forums I've been on and it affected me adversely as well. Forgive me?
Since you are new - not that I am quite up to standard of being a senior member - I'll share with you a few tips from my book...
If you come out fists flying in a new thread post, you are setting the stage for emotional and forceful replies.
If you pose things such as "I have my trimpots set as x,y,z, and it sounds great with a Tele but sounds really {fill in detailed description here} with my Strat - any tips you guys have?" you will likely get a helpful response.

BTW, I located this - maybe worth looking at if it can help you...
http://www.barberelectronics.com/Small_Fry_manual.pdf

Me, I think I left the trims at 'factory' settings, I pretty much keep all the top-of-enclosure knobs at 12:00 (I adjust "Burn" to whatever level of drive I need at the moment anywhere from 11:00 to 5:00) and the selector switch is thrown all the way to the left IIRC. It sounds great with my H/S/S Strat (all pickups) and my Les Paul (both pu's)
 

Blues Lyne

Member
Messages
3,463
Yeah, there is a lot that you can adjust on the Small Fry, but if you are one that doesn't like having so many options (or it induces option anxiety) I think the factory settings on the internals are around noon, and the pedal sounds great with them all set stock. Just close it back up and pretend they aren't there. When I was using mine, I found most settings worked with both my Strat and Tele, but some sound much different than each other and some more similar so YMMV.

B.J.Tele, welcome to the forum. Public apologies aren't easy. Kudos for taking the humbled route. Hope your personal issues resolve soon.
 




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