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Impressions and questions:Blackstone

Discussion in 'Effects, Pedals, Strings & Things' started by KeithC, Jan 31, 2006.

  1. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    I picked up a used one. It is the S2 version I guess. I understand there is a 3 version that might have a buffer switch or something.
    Anyway, after not too long with it through my Pro Reverb and a couple Strats I think I like it.
    It cleans up like nothing else I have tried.
    Set to a kind of saturated drive with the guitar on 10 it will instantly clean as you drop it down past 8 1/2 or so. It is almost like you kicked in boost when you take the guitar that little extra to 10.

    Still playing with it but just wonder about some of the internal trim pot settings you all may suggest. The little time I had I ended up lowering the internal gain quite a bit and this let me push up the top side gains.
    Any thoughts, advice or tips would be appreciated.
    Thanks
     
  2. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    I just read the instructions!
    I totally misunderstood the controls on this.
    Still, I am looking for some good suggested settings.
     
  3. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I love my Blackstone. for a while I didn't. I almost sold it. Then I tried this setting: Turn the internal gain almost all the way up. adjust the internal treble to match the sound you want for your guitar. then turn the external brown channel gain all the way down and adjust the external tone control to get the tone that matches you guitar best and it gave me the best low gain overdrive. With the internal gain up, I got a fuller deeper sound. Also, go to Radio Shack and buy a bunch of different capacitors and try swapping them out till you like the sound.
     
  4. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    Thanks. I think I am close to what you advised. I did end up turning the internal gain up.
    Any particular caps you would recommend?
    Also, I haven't even looked at that yet but, how do they attach?
    Thanks again.
     
  5. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    Thre are two that are visible on the underside and you can just pull them out. One is for "presence" (high end) and the other for bass response...manual tells you how.

    I love this unit and use the Brown channel for slightly overdirven sound (Fenderish) and the Red channel all the way up for singing solo sound. It does takes a while to get it "right" and you can tweak with the internal + external knobs. Once set I found I play more and futz less than with other devices. A "keeper" for me...more like and amp than a pedal.

    It does clean up amazingly quickly and minimum differences in guitar vol have a fairly drastic effect. I find the sound of ths unit fairly on the "warm" side but this is pleasing to my ear. Getting two completely different sounds plus clean is great.

    The build quality is one of the best I have seen inside any pedal and there appears to be a LOT inside there. One of the few pedal I have seen that I feel is worthy of the higher price tag...some of them I open and go "WHAT...they MUST be joking!?!". ;)
     
  6. KeithC

    KeithC Silver Supporting Member

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    I just checked that out. Pulls right out! But, this one only has one visable cap. I knew it wasn't the latest version so maybe that's it.

    Just for a starting place, higher or lower values do what?

    Thanks again.
     
  7. Jumblefingers

    Jumblefingers Supporting Member

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    Latest version is 2SV3 and has two replaceable, buffer switch and two trimmers. Depends on which cap it is as I *think* the direction of values would be oppisite for the bass and presence.

    You should email John...a nice guy and helpful.
     
  8. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I just went to radio shack (that's what Jon Blackstone recommends) and bought all 6 or 7 different ceramic caps that they had. different values will increase treble or bass for both channels and one guitar might be brighter than the next, so you really have to expirement with what will work best for you and your guitar and amp. the caps are very cheap.

    the other cap is for the red channel. it changes the character -- thin or thick - warm - bright.

    I'll take a look at what caps I have in mine tonight.
    I'll post later tonight.
     
  9. amper

    amper Member

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    You can fiddle with the cap values? Wow, now I *really* have to order one. Has anyone tried any of the esoteric audiophile caps in one of these?
     
  10. jonny guitar

    jonny guitar Member

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    Can someone explain what they mean by "it just pulls right out".....how exactly is it mounted on the board?
     
  11. 6789

    6789 Member

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    each cap has two tiny wires sticking out and they fit into little sockets on the circuit board. no soldering is required. just plug in your guitar and start switching tha caps while you play and you'll hear the sound change.
     
  12. Guinness Lad

    Guinness Lad Silver Supporting Member

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    The cap on the Blackstone just pushes into two small holes on the back of the circuit board. I never changed the caps out, didn't feel the need. It was my favorite overdrive for 3 years + until my Guyton FV100 knocked it off my board.:)
     
  13. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I looked and I have the stock caps back in place again.
     
  14. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    I have been a non-stop Blackstone user since 2000. I had version 2 #4. Now I have a version 3. The Blackstone is marketed as an overdrive/distortion but really it is its own beast. I have only recently bailed out of the boutique OD pedal frenzy. After trying just about every major contender that is talked about on this and other boards (don't even ask how much money I spent), they just left me flat. I have all but given up on the notion of a clean-ish amp and pedal distortion. All my OD pedals are now gone except a Ge fuzz and the Blackstone. They survived the folly of the OD era because they are singularly more musical and dynamic than any pedal out there from any maker. I decided the other day that it is remarkable how similar the Ge Fuzz and the Blackstone are. While other OD's are compressed and smooth, like a violin, the Ge fuzz and the Blackstone are raspy and dynamic. Very musical. I now think of the Blackstone as a 4 stage Mosfet fuzz, not a distortion. It probably isn't a fuzz in the traditional sense to most, but compared to other offerings in the boutique world, it certainly isn't a traditional distortion either. I think it would compare favorably to the BJF PPF. That is one BJF pedal I honestly haven't tried, but from what I have read, that might be the Blackstones closest boutique cousin. But the flexibility of the Blackstone (a tweakers delight) and the 2 channels make it a clear winner in my book. But it isn't everyones cup of tea I suppose. I have no use for super-saturated sounds. I hate things that sound like they were designed to distort. Rock and roll is about rebelling and doing what your not supposed to be doing. An amp/pedal designed to distort doesn't fit that recipe at all. It is doing exactly what it was designed to do. That isn't rebelious at all. Tweed amps, fuzzes, and the Blackstone have the sound of something that is distorting because it is just too loud. Like an amp designed for Chet Atkins, being played by Ted Nugent. Make sense? I am rambling. But it is the character of the Blackstone that I just couldn't find in any other pedal. It works great with tweeds too! I have toyed with the caps on mine. I think I dropped from the stock 330p to 250p and it made a ton difference. Becareful swapping those caps though. That little socket is just stuck into the circuit board. If it sticks to the leg of the cap you are pulling out, you might loose it. And it is small! I don't turn the outside gains all the way down, but otherwise TedZeppelins advice on the gains is true. Inside high, outside low, to taste. That will keep it from being too boxey sounding. The outside gain adds lots of midrange past about 3 o'clock. So if you have to go past that to get your sound, turn it down and crank the inside trimmers to compensate.
    Some complaints (minor): I wish the treble trimmer was on the outside. I need to adjust that one for different levels, volumes, rooms etc. But I can find a good compromise and leave it there most of the time. Another complaint: Sometimes the switches are finnicky. I have hit them funny with my feet and gotten them stopped in an in-between position that left no sound coming from the pedal. I have to cycle through off and on again with solid presses to get the sound back. That is the switches fault, not Blackstones, but it seems to happen frequently enough to get mentioned. Overall, just a sorely underrated and overlooked pedal.
     
  15. 6789

    6789 Member

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    What's a Ge fuzz? is it vintage or a new pedal. who makes it? do you have any links to info about it?
    thanks
     
  16. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    Sorry, Ge = Germanium. Germanium is a type of transistor. I love a good germanium fuzzface clone. There are many to choose from, and no two really sound the same. Right now I have an old Diaz Square Face. I would love to have an Analogman Sunface Sundial or Addrock Fuzz. I had a couple London Fuzz's that were outstanding. Too many out there to list really. There are silicon transistor fuzzfaces as well, but I don't like those so much. Ge cleans up even better than the Blackstone, are maybe even more raspy, but far more finicky, and require a far more. They tend to be touchy about temperature, and like I said, no two are the same - even from the same maker.
     
  17. alguit

    alguit Guest

    I've used mine frequently over the last year and a half (usually into my Reeves Custom 50 head and my Univalve (it's meant to be run into a clean amp) and I love it.

    I've never swapped out anything from it, but I never do with pedals-if I like the stock sound, I buy it, and vice versa. I think stock settings are incredibly musical, and the playbacks I've listened to in which I've used it bear this out.

    It most certainly deserves more attention on discussion websites than I've seen; the magazines that have reviewed it, GP and Guitarist come to mind, couldn't have been more effusive in their praise.
     
  18. sstweed

    sstweed Supporting Member

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    I would love to see the Blackstone pedal get its due. But I guess it isn't a universal type of pedal. It doesn't give you crunch, or metal, or smooth Dumble sounds. It doesn't have any SRV or Hendrix tones in it. Also it is the only pedal Jon Blackstone makes to my knowledge. If he had an entire line of pedals of the same ilk as his OD, then there might be more buzz. It is such a unique pedal with its classy layout, metal plate label, and bullet proof coating. But the fact that it still consistantly sells used for $190+ when it sells new for $225 (80% of retail) says something.
     
  19. 6789

    6789 Member

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    I think the Blackstone is one of the best looking pedals and it is super small considering all the tweakable controls inside and out. Plus the outside knobs won't get bumped and change.
    [​IMG]
     
  20. TwangAndGab

    TwangAndGab Member

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    I have an early-ish model 1 and have always loved the tones you can get out of the thing. I put it in front of a SFDR for od sounds and it has always worked well. Often I just leave it on and use the guitar's volume control to go from clean to mean - very responsive that way. I can cop some nice Carlton-esque tones with it too. I never use the red channel as it is waaaaay too much gain for me, so I have channel two configured as a volume boost for the brown, and that is very handy when the rest of the band gets a bit rowdy. The thing is designed and built beautifully. Of course, it's not going to get used for a while coz I just got a Goodsell Super 17 and that is a plug-straight-in and wail box.
     

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