often making it sound as if I had switched amps.
The lower settings were easier to differentiate,
offering focused bass sounds that went from
articulate, clean jazz tones in the Rebel- 30’s clean
setting, to creating creamy distortion through
the Egnater’s lead channel. The jazz tones were
warm and rounded, with none of the muddy
boom that results from rolling off most standard
tone controls through clean amps or channels.
Pushing the lead channel’s distorted tones with
settings 1–6 produced Fripp-like fatness, if not
the woody honk of the standard tone control.
ToneStyler, I was knocked out by how natural
sounding all the settings were; the Micro
Pedal never sounds like a “tone control.”
Sometimes the effect is like turning one guitar into a variety of different brands, types,
and models, while retaining the particular
playing characteristics of the instrument at
hand. At other times it made the Rebel- 30
sound like a different amp—a tweed Fender,
or a Polytone. This is not digital modeling,
but rather pure analog sound. Occasionally,
it just seemed to make the sound “better”:
subtly warmer or more present.
was amazed that I was able to navigate the knob
through the 16 incremental settings without overturning the pedal once. Moving the knob quickly
from low settings all the way around to true
bypass by foot was less comfortable. As there
is no footswitch to perform the bypass function,
I found myself preferring to plug it straight into
the guitar, or use a short cable and attach it to
my strap. This kept the knob close at hand, and
allowed faster access to wide-ranging settings,
including bypass mode. (A footswitchable bypass
model may be in the offing down the line).
There isn’t an unmusical notch on the pedal’s
knob, but neither are there any radical ones,
such as out-of-phase types of sounds or
high-pass reggae skank effects. As with the
The Micro Pedal proved surprisingly easy to
shift between adjacent settings on the floor,
especially considering its miniscule dimensions. I
The Stellartone system is a valuable tool for carving out sonic space in a live or recorded mix.
Even if you have trouble hearing the difference
between setting 15 and setting 14, you can easily find a minimum of five or six settings that you
will return to again and again. You may prefer
the jazz model, where the EQ range is extended
one octave lower, which is also touted as being
effective for taming bright single-coil pickups.
A bass model is available as well. Installing the
original ToneStyler may be preferable if you only
own one guitar, or have a stash of cash to put
them in your entire arsenal. The Micro Pedal is
the solution for those want a wealth of musical
tone variations for a vintage instrument whose
wiring they are loathe to touch, as well as those
who want the effect on their entire collection
while suffering through this economy.
you want the tone variations but
can’t afford a ToneStyler for each
guitar, or don’t want to rewire a
you’re happy with the standard tone
controls on your instruments.
Click here to hear sound clips
of the Micro Pedal in action at