Tone Report Weekly Issue 114 - Page 63

THE DETAILS For this review, I played the second and newest iteration of the Minstrel. This one is slightly smaller and more pedalboard friendly than the original, too, thanks to a more standard nine-volt power requirement (versus 12-volt requirement). Like the first version though, it features a three-band EQ that’s absolutely fantastic for shaping and tweaking your tone. Word to the wise: Start with the EQ knobs at noon. This doesn’t work with every pedal, but it’s the best starting point with this one. The Minstrel features three modes that blend British and American tones with a hint of Dumble here and there. Mode one is the lightest overdrive, but there’s still a good amount of crunch if you crank the gain. Kicking into mode two adds more gain, thickness and a midrange punch that’s perfect for taking your guitar to the front of the mix for solos and leads. Of course, this can be tamed with the EQ knobs, but Mode two is more midrange-forward overall. Switching to Mode three adds even more saturation and a very pleasing sizzle. This mode is leaner, tighter and more aggressive than Mode two—and harmonics just drip off the fretboard. It’s very awesome. THE DEVIL Playing through this pedal feels and sounds like playing into a real amplifier. It’s that simple. And I know that’s something you’ll read a lot in overdrive reviews, but in the case of the Minstrel, it’s probably truer, because at its core, it is one. WHAT WE LIKE The Minstrel offers a lot of positives, but the threeband EQ and trio of modes are outstanding. Being able to dial in comprehensive range of drive tones is an awesome experience. CONCERNS The Minstrel is a high quality and great sounding pedal for sure, but it does cost a pretty penny—so be prepared to pony up some cash if you want one. Also, it needs a lot of juice. Even though it runs at nine volts, it requires 500 milliamps of power. Now, you’ll read pedal commentary on other pedals about how great the volume knob cleanup is or how the amp-like the touch responsiveness is, but in my journey to find a pedal that could do deliver a chimey low-gain grit as well as it could a thick highgain chunk—the Minstrel delivers in a way that no pedal before it has. It’s really good. 63