When we originally set out on our quest to make the best Bass overdrive ever, we never imagined that it could also sound so amazing with guitar – but then we got to thinking about some of the classic late ‘60s/early ‘70s ‘Ya-Yas’ era tones and thought we should take a stab at them. And heck while we’re at it, it would be really cool if it worked for the more modern drop tuned heavy stuff too. Made sense since those tones were due in large part to guitars being played through amps designed for bass, right?
And what about the Bass tones? We wanted a pedal that FINALLY let you control the amount of grind solely based on your finger attack. You know the feeling - full and rich and clean when you brush lightly and some nice wooly edge when you dig in. At the other end of the sonic spectrum we wanted a drive pedal that could deliver bone-crunching grind and still hold together without sounding thin or turning into a sludgy mess no matter how hard you hit it.
So we did a LOT of listening – listening for the dynamics, how the pedal responds to pick or finger attack. The cornerstone of those particular amps is their dynamic sensitivity – the feeling that you plugged directly into the power amp, that there is always more potential on tap. It’s a big, lively, responsive tone – you feel completely connected to it and control it all through your hands, nothing gets in the way. So we worked on the input sensitivity until it turned our rather sterile solid-state test subject into a warm and responsive vintage-sounding tube amp.
We also listened for that classic EQ voicing – the ‘right’ midrange was crucial and it was absolutely critical that we got it right. So we scoped it out and found it, and it was good. Then we added some really flexible Treble and Bass controls so you can dial in the right amount of feel - if you wanted a more edgy grind or a looser bottom it was super easy to dial it in with a minimum of tweaking. And those were good too.
We had to get the drive character right as well – meaning that it had so be clean but really full sounding when you picked lightly, and blossom into that huge rich grind when you hit it harder. It had to decay in a certain way, no fizzy stuff as the notes or chords die off. It needed to respond in a very dynamic way just like the amps do – no generic smothering of the transients, it needed to breathe.
So after months of listening, testing, listening some more, and fine-tuning these are the results. The SFT was a real labor of love for us – we wanted a killer, super-versatile bass pedal the likes of which nobody has heard before, and for guitar we wanted a faithful recreation of those classic Taylor-era tones with the ability to morph into more modern heavy sounds and we finally feel we’ve nailed it.
The volume controls the overall output volume. Unity gain will differ depending on where the EQ levels are set, and the gain setting. However, there is still plenty of volume on tap no matter where the other controls are set.
The gain control ranges from a full clean sound to edge of growl to modern grind. The SFT is an overdrive that respects your instrument and your playing dynamics, so humbuckers will drive it more than single-coils, and playing hard will make the overdrive bloom, and will clean up just by playing softer.
The tone controls are a Baxandall EQ arrangement. A multitude of tones are available with just a treble and bass control, because the mids shift depending on where these two controls are set. Turning the treble and bass high scoops mids for an aggressive pick attack and growly lows. Setting the treble and bass low brings up the mid content. Park the treble and roll back the bass and the midrange scoop frequency shifts downward so you have complete control over which frequencies you are cutting. Roll the bass below noon and you start to add a bump to your midrange which is great for running into a hot amp.