The Joy of Stacking Honey Bee ODs

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
The Honey Bee is one of my all-time favorite overdrives, and I've owned several Bearfoot versions as well as a BJFE original. I love to swap & try new drives, but the Honey Bee is such a natural fit for me that I always end up coming back to it.

In my quest to find great ODs to stack with it I've come across many. In fact, there aren't many pedals I've found that DON'T stack well with a Honey Bee. Especially as the last drive in the stack, the HBOD just smooths and glues everything together.

After all these years, I finally got the chance to stack two Honey Bees together and I'm really sold on the combo. I wondered if the two running in series might be too much of a good thing, but it turns out that this isn't the case at all. Even with the knobs set identically on both units I don't get any perceivable frequency build up or unnatural EQ exaggeration. The way the gain cascades is really something... the stack maintains great midrange clarity, sustains nicely, and by adjusting the Nature knobs it can get as thick or thin as you like.

Whats kind of cool is that I have one HBOD that is from the original run that Bearfoot did, and a newer HBOD that is from 2015. The early one is a bit smoother in its breakup and has a really warm bottom end... The more recent one seems to have a touch more drive and a little more "rasp" in the high end clipping. This is probably just due to minor variations in part values, but it provides a nice subtle variety that also means that the newer (raspier) HBOD ---> older (smoother) HBOD sounds incredible.

This experience has led me to the conclusion that Bearfoot should release a Double Bee Overdrive

Anyone else run a two HBOD setup?
 

Bobby D

Member
Messages
11,821
I love the Bee, but have never had the luxury of having two around. I have stacked all sorts of stuff with the Bee, and one of my favorite stacks is the Snow White fuzz with the Bee, or a Dyna Red Distortion with the Bee.

I am doing the Bearfoot low gain Bee tourbox soon, so I will be making some demo vids with FOUR versions of the Bee circuit!
 

morgan918

Member
Messages
3,387
I love the honey bee! I have a BFE original, probably from 2002-3ish, bought new. And yeah, almost anything stacks into it. Just an amazing pedal and I love it to death. I've had the fortune to have two originals at one point and was able to stack them and thought it worked well as long as you went easy on the nature control and not set them both fully ccw. For a while I used a Red Rooster Booster into it, a rangemaster clone and a few other things.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I love the Bee, but have never had the luxury of having two around. I have stacked all sorts of stuff with the Bee, and one of my favorite stacks is the Snow White fuzz with the Bee, or a Dyna Red Distortion with the Bee.

I am doing the Bearfoot low gain Bee tourbox soon, so I will be making some demo vids with FOUR versions of the Bee circuit!
Bobby D,
I'm on the High Gain box list, so it'll be fun to see what kind of trouble I can get into with all this Honey.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I love the honey bee! I have a BFE original, probably from 2002-3ish, bought new. And yeah, almost anything stacks into it. Just an amazing pedal and I love it to death. I've had the fortune to have two originals at one point and was able to stack them and thought it worked well as long as you went easy on the nature control and not set them both fully ccw. For a while I used a Red Rooster Booster into it, a rangemaster clone and a few other things.
Yes, I should state that I don't run the Nature below 9:00 very often. Right now I have both set with Volume 10:00, Nature 10:00, and Drive 1:00. Sounds incredible stacked... just a thicker, throatier Bee---> And the clean-up is still there at the guitar Volume.

I should also mention that I run Teles into a Voxy / Tweedy amp with British voiced alnico speakers. I have my midrange dialed in to my liking, and the Honey Bees just play so well with my setup by accentuating frequencies that aren't already pushed naturally by the amp / guitar combo. Sounds very natural for that reason.

And I totally agree... RRB or a Treble Booster into the Bee is awesome.
 
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Figaro

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
12,768
The Honey Bee is one of my all-time favorite overdrives, and I've owned several Bearfoot versions as well as a BJFE original. I love to swap & try new drives, but the Honey Bee is such a natural fit for me that I always end up coming back to it.

In my quest to find great ODs to stack with it I've come across many. In fact, there aren't many pedals I've found that DON'T stack well with a Honey Bee. Especially as the last drive in the stack, the HBOD just smooths and glues everything together.

After all these years, I finally got the chance to stack two Honey Bees together and I'm really sold on the combo. I wondered if the two running in series might be too much of a good thing, but it turns out that this isn't the case at all. Even with the knobs set identically on both units I don't get any perceivable frequency build up or unnatural EQ exaggeration. The way the gain cascades is really something... the stack maintains great midrange clarity, sustains nicely, and by adjusting the Nature knobs it can get as thick or thin as you like.

Whats kind of cool is that I have one HBOD that is from the original run that Bearfoot did, and a newer HBOD that is from 2015. The early one is a bit smoother in its breakup and has a really warm bottom end... The more recent one seems to have a touch more drive and a little more "rasp" in the high end clipping. This is probably just due to minor variations in part values, but it provides a nice subtle variety that also means that the newer (raspier) HBOD ---> older (smoother) HBOD sounds incredible.

This experience has led me to the conclusion that Bearfoot should release a Double Bee Overdrive

Anyone else run a two HBOD setup?
Have you tried an Uber Bee? Maybe it can be adjusted to sound close to the stacked Honey Bees?

And I think a good name for the double Honey Bee is Honey Beez!
 
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e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Have you tried an Uber Bee? Maybe it can be adjusted to sound close to the stacked Honey Bees?

And I think a good name for the double Honey Bee is Honey Beez!
I have tried an Uber Bee, and liked it very much. Stacking Honey bees definitely gives the option for more gain than the Uber. I've also owned the Honey Beest and Model G (similar, but tweaked) and liked them all.

The thing I'm really liking about the dual Honey Bee stack is that the character of the drive stays the same, rather than the character being modified by another type of OD (which I like, too! :) )

I also love the fact that I can get a good amount of dirt and sustain out of the stack, but I don't encounter any midrange congestion, and I can still clean the sound up at the guitar's volume knob. I'd say the level of gain available with this stack is more in the range of the Honey Beest, but with greater midrange openness and clarity available. I certainly loved the Beest, but I think this is the coolest high gain Bee experience I've had!
 

morgan918

Member
Messages
3,387
Yes, I should state that I don't run the Nature below 9:00 very often. Right now I have both est with Volume 10:00, Nature 10:00, and Drive 1:00. Sounds incredible stacked... just a thicker, throatier Bee---> And the clean-up is still there at the guitar Volume.

I should also mention that I run Teles into a Voxy / Tweedy amp with British voiced alnico speakers. I have my midrange dialed in to my liking, and the Honey Bees just play so well with my setup by accentuating frequencies that aren't already pushed naturally by the amp / guitar combo. Sounds very natural for that reason.

And I totally agree... RRB or a Treble Booster into the Bee is awesome.
I also use the HB through Voxen (AC30TBX and AC15TBX), and for a while used teles. But it's one of the few light gain overdrives that literally works with everything, both amp and guitar wise, at least for me.
 

Don Rusk

BearFoot FX Owner
Vendor
Messages
7,238
Yes , Bee stacks are amazing, I still test every BearFoot pedal myself, and put them on the test board three at a time - and 3 in a row sound even more amazing ... sounds closest to the Model R .... we hope to start doing some deluxe / multiple pedals this year... I think a Double bee, one Bee stacked into the other, could be called the Horney Bee ;)
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Yes , Bee stacks are amazing, I still test every BearFoot pedal myself, and put them on the test board three at a time - and 3 in a row sound even more amazing ... sounds closest to the Model R .... we hope to start doing some deluxe / multiple pedals this year... I think a Double bee, one Bee stacked into the other, could be called the Horney Bee ;)
I will keep my eyes peeled for these, Don!
3 Bees in a row? That's a whole lotta honey :aok
My current HBOD > Earth Drive > HBOD setup has been so much fun... I can see how 3 Bees would totally work.
 

Don Rusk

BearFoot FX Owner
Vendor
Messages
7,238
I will keep my eyes peeled for these, Don!
3 Bees in a row? That's a whole lotta honey :aok
My current HBOD > Earth Drive > HBOD setup has been so much fun... I can see how 3 Bees would totally work.
Yup, ive done 6 before, and it sounds very usable ..... just moving the nature controls gives a lot of variation with them in various combinations of alternate positions ....
 

seth3

Member
Messages
946
I, too, am on the Low Gain Tourbox and am stoked to stack the Bees. My HBOD is, by a huge margin, my favorite pedal. It's truly the only pedal I feel like I need.

Side note, @e-flat -- doesn't your Maxon need 12v? I just don't want to see it get hurt by a wrong voltage. But, I'm probably wrong on that.

Anyhoo... This thread made me that much more excited for the Tourbox!
 

KennyPatrick

Gold Supporting Member
Messages
2,349
for a few months I did the Honey bee, Uber Bee, Honey Beest stack. It was awesome. It was so much fun. I have switched around alot since then. But those months I did it, I had tone for days. My great friend @CrustyHarp loves the Bee and stacks it and its his main drives.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
I, too, am on the Low Gain Tourbox and am stoked to stack the Bees. My HBOD is, by a huge margin, my favorite pedal. It's truly the only pedal I feel like I need.

Side note, @e-flat -- doesn't your Maxon need 12v? I just don't want to see it get hurt by a wrong voltage. But, I'm probably wrong on that.

Anyhoo... This thread made me that much more excited for the Tourbox!
The AD999 runs at 9V... You might be thinking of the AD900, which I believe is 12V.
 

Liquid_Mojo

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,366
Stacking a Model G into a HB sounds pretty good. They're in the same vein, just the G is a little brighter.
 

e-flat

Silver Supporting Member
Messages
1,731
Stacking a Model G into a HB sounds pretty good. They're in the same vein, just the G is a little brighter.
My BF Model G isn't like a HB at all. It has a Marshall (Hiwatt) sound and sounds much clearer than the HB.
I've owned a HBOD and Model G at the same time and really liked both. Ultimately, I think my preference is really determined by my amp & guitar choices.

With my homebrew amp (EF86 Vox style front end / 5881 Tweed Pro power section) and Teles giving up plenty of mids & treble, the Honey Bee has set the standard. The only thing that is as good with this amp is the Emerald Green OD.

I love the Model G as well, and may pick one up to try again now that I have a second amp that's a little more neutral / slightly dark (old Bell Pacemaker PA head that's Tweed Deluxe-ish through a Weber P12N clone)... Ithink this setup would really benefit from the Presence nudge that the Model G is capable of.
 




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