• The Gear Page Apparel & Merch Shop is Open!

    Based on member demand, The Gear Page is pleased to announce that our Apparel Merch Shop is now open. The shop’s link is in the blue Navigation bar (on the right side), “Shop,” with t-shirts, hats, neck buffs, and stickers to start. Here’s the direct link: www.thegearpageshop.com

    You’ll find exclusive high-quality apparel and merchandise; all items are ethical, sustainably produced, and we will be continuously sourcing and adding new choices. 

    We can ship internationally. All shipping is at cost.


Kingsley Harlot Review

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I received my Kingsley Harlot a couple weeks ago, but wanted to hold off on a review until I had spent some time with it and gotten past the initial Honeymoon.

First off, Kingsley customer service was terrific and, in my case, there was no wait for build-time as they had a few units on hand and ready to ship. Shipping from Canada to Washington State was pretty quick… (4 days if memory serves)

After using the Kingsley for the past 2 weeks, I feel comfortable commenting on the quality of this drive box.

- Build quality: Outstanding. Meticulous terminal strip wiring. Next topic.

- Gain Range & Drive Quality: With 3 gain “modes” available via a small toggle switch, it is possible to adjust the general voicing and gain range of the pedal to suit your needs before adjusting any potentiometers.

o The LEFT position is smooth, with a mild treble roll off that will suit players with brighter amps or those looking for a smooth legato lead tone

o The CENTER position is full frequency without any high attenuation

o The RIGHT position is a higher gain setting with full-frequency EQ and is well suited for heavier saturation, but also provides a slightly different voice for use as a low-to-medium gainer. (Slightly greater high-midrange content)

- Also worth mentioning: The GAIN pot has a beautifully gradual taper, and due to the nature of the 12AX7’s breakup there is a WIDE range of subtle dirt and shading available with the Harlot.

- EDIT: Forgot to mention... Clean-Up with the guitar's volume pot is exceptionally good.

- Equalization:

o The center position of the MODE switch is incredibly flat. I’ve been microscopically nit-picking this mode for a few days, switching between bypassed signal and the Harlot set to a light breakup (GAIN pot around 1:00) ---- This is a real selling point for me, as I was looking for a drive with its own breakup character but which DIDN’T shift the EQ of my amp or sound like a pedal.

o In the center MODE position, I find the EQ to be flat at right around 12:30 or 1:00 on the TONE pot when the DRIVE is set for a mild breakup (1:00)

o As with any tube amp, raising the DRIVE level will result in more treble content as the preamp tube breaks up more… Adjust TONE accordingly, etc.

o There are no diodes used in the clipping of this pedal, so the Harlot doesn’t suffer from the artificial breakup character found in most solid-state Overdrives. I can’t stress how nice this is. If you’re searching for an OD with natural tube breakup, a broad sweet-spot to the low-gain and mid-gain range, and a super gradual taper to the onset of overdrive --- The Harlot rules at all of this. (I still love MANY solid state ODs for what they do, so don’t get me wrong. For seamless “tube-like” OD, why not go tube, though?)

Overall, I feel like the Harlot stands outside of the realm of most overdrive pedals, simply because it IS a tube gain stage that is meant to be added to a tube amplifier. It’s not emulating tube breakup. It doesn’t sound artificial or hyped. It doesn’t sound like it’s “trying to be tube-like” as so many solid state ODs do. Given, there is a JFET in the initial stages that drives the 12AX7 into clipping, but it’s employed in such a way that it’s not imparting character to the breakup. In fact, I don’t ever hear anything except the breakup of a good tube preamp… So it’s a non-issue for me.

I have been running the Harlot with a Tele, Esquire, and SG Classic (P-90s) into a Vox AC30 and an amp I designed (Pentode preamp, Tweed Pro power section) at various volume levels and with other overdrive, modulation, and delay pedals. I find that I like the Harlot “sandwiched” between my two current overdrives (Menatone TBIAC & Bearfoot Honey Bee) like so:

Guitar > TBIAC > Harlot > HBOD > Delay > Modulation > Amp

Both the TBIAC and HBOD have lots of character to their drive, and adding the Harlot as the primary OD frees the other two up to act as color / shading boxes (which is where they excel). The Harlot loves to be hit by another OD for greater saturation (TBIAC > Harlot) and also excels at providing greater drive & sustain by driving another OD ( Harlot > HBOD) ----- Lots of versatility here.

Since I have a ton of old 12AX7s, I did some swapping to see if there were any tubes that I liked better than the Russian Tung Sol that comes stock from Kingsley. I have to say, the Tung Sol is a pretty nice sounding tube --- There’s no need to go spending a bunch on NOS. That being said, I really like an old Black Plate RCA 12AX7 in there, and also found an old Amperex Bugle Boy and a Telefunken with long plates to sound great as well. If you have some old tubes laying around and like to experiment, it might get you that “extra 5%” that we gear junkies obsess over…. The Harlot is terrific with the stock tube, though.

I also had some Oxblood Red Davies knobs laying around so I swapped those on... Perfect match! :)

I would recommend this unit to someone who is looking for a foundational drive tone that they can incorporate as a part of their amplifier’s existing gain stages. While it CAN add color, I find that it’s real strength is seamless integration into an existing amplifier --- And its ability to work with the amp AND other drive boxes to add new textures and colors makes it stand out from most solid state drives I’ve tried.
 
Last edited:

teleluvver

Member
Messages
1,596
So this may not be ideal if i'm running into clean amps and wanting to use an overdrive pedal as my dirt sound?
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
So this may not be ideal if i'm running into clean amps and wanting to use an overdrive pedal as my dirt sound?
It would be ideal for you IF you're not looking to achieve a drastically different timbre / color /sound. The Harlot CAN add color & texture, but it's not tuned for drastic shifts like many "amp-in-a-box" type drives. The Harlot also has PLENTY of drive in the High Gain mode ... Hope that makes sense.
 

FreeBlues

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
838
Great review!

I bought the Harlot once, sold it, then bought it again. As a low gain, edge of breakup kinda thing into a clean amp (Tone King Imperial in my case) I find it without equal. It can easily be an always on pedal.

However, if it's only operating in that low gain role, I felt it was perhaps a bit too much money to tie up that way. So I sold it.

Dumb, dumb dumb! But I only discovered how much I missed it after I sold it, so I got another.

THEN I took the time to really experiment and try different (higher) gain levels. Holy moly, this thing can almost do it all! Selecting the HIGH mode will get to way more gain than I can usually use, but still very, very musical. So many levels in between. Stacked with other pedals (TS808 and OCD in particular) it is fantastic.

I keep thinking about the cost, then try something else and realize nothing else comes close. I wish I could afford two of these, set one to low gain, use the other for the heavy stuff. If you are even remotely interested in this pedal I'd encourage you to take the leap. yes, it's that good.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Great review!

I bought the Harlot once, sold it, then bought it again. As a low gain, edge of breakup kinda thing into a clean amp (Tone King Imperial in my case) I find it without equal. It can easily be an always on pedal.

However, if it's only operating in that low gain role, I felt it was perhaps a bit too much money to tie up that way. So I sold it.

Dumb, dumb dumb! But I only discovered how much I missed it after I sold it, so I got another.

THEN I took the time to really experiment and try different (higher) gain levels. Holy moly, this thing can almost do it all! Selecting the HIGH mode will get to way more gain than I can usually use, but still very, very musical. So many levels in between. Stacked with other pedals (TS808 and OCD in particular) it is fantastic.

I keep thinking about the cost, then try something else and realize nothing else comes close. I wish I could afford two of these, set one to low gain, use the other for the heavy stuff. If you are even remotely interested in this pedal I'd encourage you to take the leap. yes, it's that good.
Agreed on all counts. I'm especially loving the stacking capabilities of the Harlot, as it really works wonders with other ODs.
 

Webfoot

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
2,890
Can you name what type of drive tones you can get for solos and rhythms?

For example with a single coil or humbucker guitar, going into a fender clean amp, can you get ZZ Top or Robben Ford rhythm or solo tones?
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Can you name what type of drive tones you can get for solos and rhythms?

For example with a single coil or humbucker guitar, going into a fender clean amp, can you get ZZ Top or Robben Ford rhythm or solo tones?
Boy... I am probably the worst qualified person to answer this question! I don't listen to either ZZ Top or Roben Ford and don't feel qualified to address their guitar sounds. I also don't own a Fender amp! :) As my kids would tell me, "epic fail" on my part. Sorry!
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,920
I need a smaller box version of my Minstrel that can run off 9V power supplied by voodoo lab pedal power. I think the Harlot fits the bill. My Minstrel is too big and must use the wall wart, but it's the most amazing OD pedal ever.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I need a smaller box version of my Minstrel that can run off 9V power supplied by voodoo lab pedal power. I think the Harlot fits the bill. My Minstrel is too big and must use the wall wart, but it's the most amazing OD pedal ever.
Hey Gallery, does the Minstrel V2 fit the bill for you as well? Looks like it requires 9V / 500ma and appears to be the same size as the Harlot!
http://kingsleyamplifiers.com/products/pedals/19/
 

MogwaiBoy

Member
Messages
3,734
Yep, a smaller box version of the Minstrel that runs off 9V power = the Minstrel V2!

Nice review by the way. Another convert :D
 

ripgtr

Member
Messages
9,670
Can you name what type of drive tones you can get for solos and rhythms?

For example with a single coil or humbucker guitar, going into a fender clean amp, can you get ZZ Top or Robben Ford rhythm or solo tones?
Go to the Kingsley website. The guy who builds these is a really good guitar player, he plays a lot in a fusiony kind of style (so you get the Ford sound covered) but plays a lot of other stuff too. He has great demos, because they are by a guy who understands the pedal, and can really play.
 

DaveKS

Member
Messages
16,704
Yep, great in depth review, thanks.

I'm a Page user, it's next to last in my chain and it just works with any pedal in front of it or any amp after it. Just a more tubes button that seems to Vulcan mind meld with your amp and add a extra foot switchable tube stage.

And I agree that tube choice does give you that extra 5%. Was good with stock tube but a Philips Heerlen 12ax7 made it perfect for my uses.
 

MogwaiBoy

Member
Messages
3,734
I haven't felt the curiosity to try and change the tube in my Harlot - why mess with perfection? : )
 

Nick

Member
Messages
86
Nice review e-flat. I have the Harlot and like it a lot. Thinking about adding either the Jester or the Minstrell. Have any of you guys tried them ? I like the clips of the Jester a bit better than the Minstrell.. Maybe it´s a little to compressed ??
 

zztomato

Senior Member
Messages
11,394
Wow, stellar review! I wish every user review I read was so detailed.

Quick question. I too use a HBOD (v1 BJFE version) and use a Archer (Klone) to boost it for higher gain sounds. Can the Harlot be used this way or do you use the TBIAC to get your boost?

BTW, what kind of music do you play?
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Wow, stellar review! I wish every user review I read was so detailed.

Quick question. I too use a HBOD (v1 BJFE version) and use a Archer (Klone) to boost it for higher gain sounds. Can the Harlot be used this way or do you use the TBIAC to get your boost?

BTW, what kind of music do you play?
zztomato-
I use both the TBIAC and Harlot to goose the HBOD into higher gain... Both are great, and the Harlot certainly blends well with the Bee. The Harlot likes to have a drive in front of it, too... So I'll bet Archer > Harlot > HBOD would give lots of options.

As for styles of music I play, I'm not really sure. I'm not a blues or straight ahead rock guy... I used to play bass in bands that ranged from punk to roots rock & Americana, and as a guitar player I guess those styles still get some air time :) I also dig shoegaze / ambient sounds, classic era jazz and lots other types of music too, though.
 

zztomato

Senior Member
Messages
11,394
zztomato-
I use both the TBIAC and Harlot to goose the HBOD into higher gain... Both are great, and the Harlot certainly blends well with the Bee. The Harlot likes to have a drive in front of it, too... So I'll bet Archer > Harlot > HBOD would give lots of options.

As for styles of music I play, I'm not really sure. I'm not a blues or straight ahead rock guy... I used to play bass in bands that ranged from punk to roots rock & Americana, and as a guitar player I guess those styles still get some air time :) I also dig shoegaze / ambient sounds, classic era jazz and lots other types of music too, though.
Ok, great. Sounds right up my alley. I play a pretty broad range of things as well.
Cheers,
ZZ
 

Gallery

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
7,920
Hey Gallery, does the Minstrel V2 fit the bill for you as well? Looks like it requires 9V / 500ma and appears to be the same size as the Harlot!
http://kingsleyamplifiers.com/products/pedals/19/
It does from the power supply perspective, but not so much from the smaller box. The V2 box size still takes up a bit more pedalboard realestate than I would like. I need to decide if losing the full tone stack is worth the saved space.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
It does from the power supply perspective, but not so much from the smaller box. The V2 box size still takes up a bit more pedalboard realestate than I would like. I need to decide if losing the full tone stack is worth the saved space.
Looks like the V2 Minstrel is 3 7/8" by 4 3/4"... Same size as the Harlot! So you wouldn't have to sacrifice any more board space for the tone stack. (I'd love to try a Minstrel some day...)
 




Trending Topics

Top