china-made farida gui­tars

The Star Malaysia - Star2 - - FRONT PAGE - By N. RAMA LO­HAN

WHEN Ibanez re­leased the (orig­i­nal) TK999 Tube King more than a dozen years ago, it was an in­stant hit. Sure, the de­sign wasn’t orig­i­nal and the Ja­panese man­u­fac­turer got in trou­ble with one BK But­ler, but what the Tube King did was pique the in­ter­est of gui­tar play­ers ev­ery­where.

Since then, the mar­ket has slowly bought into the con­cept of tube-driven ped­als, for over­drive/dis­tor­tion or other ap­pli­ca­tions.

Heck, it seems like any­thing with­out a tube these days won’t even get a sec­ond look. The Digitech Hard­Wire SC-2 Valve Dis­tor­tion pedal is built to raise a few eye­brows, though.

There’s noth­ing par­tic­u­larly mind-bend­ing about this Digitech. It’s built like a tank and comes with some of the most straight­for­ward con­trols – Level, Low, High and Gain. A tog­gle switch (right above a blue LED ... sexy!) al­lows users to cy­cle be­tween Crunch and Sat­u­rated (lead) set­tings. Best of all, this baby runs on any (well, al­most ... don’t try those cheap DIY store ones, please) nor­mal 9V wall wart or 9V bat­tery. How cool is that? Even the in/outs are so pre­cisely en­gi­neered.

The old Godin SP90 dual P90 pickup axe was hauled out for this re­view, along with SG (Chi­nese) and ES-335 (Korean) copies, and a Fender Cy­clone II. A cou­ple of heads and com­bos were used for am­pli­fi­ca­tion – Mar­shall JMP 1986, Ce­ri­atone 18w, Sil­ver­tone 1482 and Gib­son GA-20 Min­ute­man.

Un­like a few of the other tube-driven boxes I’ve fid­dled with, the Hard­Wire Valve Dis­tor­tion has some tasty break-up tones at the lower end of its throw. Plenty of room for ex­pres­sion com­bined with your gui­tar’s vol­ume.

This, of course, in Crunch mode, but on its nether set­tings, the best in the pedal comes out. This is what chunky 1970s rock is made of.

The lead set­ting pre­dictably does what you’d ex­pect it to do. Clean, smooth over­drive ... okay, dis­tor­tion. Heav­ier forms of rock would ap­pre­ci­ate this with the Hard­Wire Valve Dis­tor­tion but I wouldn’t go as far as to call it an out­right metal pedal.

It seemed dif­fi­cult to tame the drive set­tings mu­si­cally from the gui­tar’s vol­ume, too, but that’s if only to nit­pick. Within the pedal it­self, it pro­vides loads of room for dis­torted ex­pres­sion.

Shame that the two set­tings on the pedal can’t be ac­cessed via a footswitch in any way. Well maybe you can’t have your cake and eat it too, af­ter all. But it cer­tainly would’ve made this the most value-for­money tube-based dis­tor­tion pedal in the mar­ket here now. And that says a lot.

Rock in a box: The Digitech Hard­Wire SC-2 Valve Dis­tor­tion pedal is a no-non­sense dis­tor­tion stomp box.

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