The folks at Mesa Engineering can certainly keep a
secret. We didn’t even know these pedals existed until
they showed up in the office, and, heck, we’re friends with the gang
in Petaluma, California. Sheesh. But
all was forgiven as soon as we plugged in these excellent tone machines.
This powerful overdrive/distortion box features Gain, Level, Bass, and
to give you a ton of control over a wide array of tube-sounding textures. The
can be used to slam a hot signal into an amp for classic overdrive, and at low
Gain settings its harmonically engorged distortion is great for grinding
“clean” rhythms and heavy rock chunk. The pedal’s
huge gain range accommodates
bluesy wails to searing shred, and its superb dynamic response
lets you go from clean to scream with a twist of your guitar’s volume
Armed with Level, Gain, and Tone controls the Grid Slammer delivers a
sound that’s in the wheelhouse of
a familiar green OD machine from the late’70s, but with more gain,
output, and bottom. A built-in midrange
bump adds a percussive presence to the tube-sounding distortion, and the Tone
from thick to slicing to suit single-coils or humbuckers. With abundant gain
range to give blues players, fusionistas, and hard rockers all something to
cheer about, and gobs of output at any Gain setting, the Grid Slammer
could be the all-in-one three-knob distortion pedal you’ve always
Extreme gain is the specialty of this pedal, making it the best choice
of the four Mesas for rock and metal.
But the Throttle Box also features a mini-toggle for switching between the low-
and high-gain modes
(the LED changes from yellow to red), which reins in its fury for blues, gritty
rhythm work, or anything not needing shred levels of sustain. A Mid-Cut control
attenuates the midrange for modern, just shy of “scooped”
a Tone knob rides shotgun over it all and a “hidden” Boost
switch on the circuit
board allows even further tweaking.
Though it provides only a small amount of grind when the Gain knob is
this potent preamp with Bass and Treble controls is ideal for beefing up
and giving humbuckers more punch and slice. The Tone-Burst has a ton of output,
so it can be used to push the front end of your tube amp into clipping, but
pedal’s ability to enhance the meatiness and vibe of a guitar signal
that makes you
want to keep its LED glowing full time.
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