Sunday, February 15, 2015

New Pedal Day: Blue

In the farthest reaches of Ebay, I found something I could not live without... more musical equipment.  (Surprise, right?)  I found some really nice pedals that are made with high quality parts, and are pretty inexpensive from Hong Kong.  I think the only reason they are not known or liked in the U.S. is their unfortunate name.  The name of the company is Biyang.  Again, a really bad choice for a name for the U.S. market.

I had been wanting to buy a Boss Blues Driver, but had never gotten around to it.  So I found the Biyang Tonefancier Blue BL-8 pedal on Ebay.  I looked up some reviews of it, and really dug it.  So I found a place in the U.S. that had one, and bought it for $45 off Ebay.

I haven't gotten to play it as much as I would have liked, but so far I like how different it is from my normal set-up.  I normally play British style amps with EL-34 tubes, so I have a lot of mids.  This pedal is more of a Fender (American) crunch with a heavy low end.  This pedal didn't really mesh well with my Laney amp.  However, I have an old solid state Rocktron amp that I bought for like $80 years ago, that this pedal just slays on it. 

This pedal is actually more crunchy than I would like in some cases.  I want just a bit of break-up, and it gets crunchy a little too fast.  The one thing I would recommend is to have your amp set as clean as possible.  That way, it balances out a bit better. 

So it's hard to describe sounds over the internet as everyone seems to hear things very differently.  The best thing I can say is that it sounds like the electric guitar in Jace Everett's "Bad Things," from the True Blood soundtrack.

There are a few things I really like about it.  It is adaptable for pedal-boards as it has the input for a Boss style adaptor, or 9 volt battery.  The casing is also a very durable metal.  It is also true bypass.  I really dig that the guitar cable input and outputs are extremely tight. 

The only thing I think it's missing is the overall "tone" control.  The Blues Driver has one, and I think this pedal could really benefit from it.  But if you want a very simple pedal this is it.  It has level (volume) and drive.  That's it.

To make up for having no tone control, I think this pedal sounds best with very clean vintage style pickups whether they are humbuckers or single coils.  I think filtertron pickups would sound really good through this pedal, but I don't happen to own a Rickenbacker at the moment.   

Biyang also makes other pedals.  I have been wanting a Reverb pedal for years so I bought one of their Stereo Reverb pedals.  I will review it when it gets here in a few days.  I have also been wanting a TubeScreamer clone, and Biyang makes one of those as well.  It's simply called the Overdrive OD-7.  They also make an OD-8 that comes with changeable chips, but that's more than I need.  I will be ordering the OD-7 later on in the week.

I know a few people will be asking, "Well, if you wanted a Blues Driver why not buy one?"  Well, the Biyang is anywhere from 25% - 40% cheaper than the Boss.  It is also made overseas.  They are both made with good parts.  So why pay more?  I have played both, and I like both in different ways.  But overall, I am happy with my purchase. 

So I will post more reviews once the pedals start coming in.

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