to the Oxford. But tonally, this pedal has
little in common with the Oxford, as it dwells
smack dab in the middle of Hiwatt-land. The
Character control has the widest tonal range
of the pedals I tested. It not only cleans up
significantly in the lowest registers, but it also
goes far beyond what a typical Hiwatt would
be able to serve up in gain. As the Character
knob spins to the highest settings, it really
sounds like a full-tilt stack with the bark and
bravado we’re accustomed to hearing.
To explore the Leeds, I plugged in my ’ 74 Les
Paul Custom and brought the Character knob
to about noon. This instantly transported me
into ’70s Pete Townshend tone. With just a
little movement of that knob, I could clean
up the sound to get that jangle and percussive attack Townshend is so well known for.
Though my ’ 74 has humbuckers, it was easy
to dial back the Low knob a little and bring
up the High control to mimic the mini-hum-buckers on Townshend’s guitar.
The Final Mojo
I spent a great deal of time with the Speaker
Simulation button engaged, and while it did
create a little of that direct tone, it was still
very usable, if not quite as explosive feeling.
Plugging into a Krank Rev Jr. Pro driving a
1x12 cab with an Eminence Governor and
disengaging the Speaker Simulation feature, I felt like I was playing through a mini
Hiwatt. It was really that good. The Leeds’
preset card states the speaker emulation
is based on a Fane cabinet, but since I’ve
never actually played through one, I can’t
verify the emulation’s accuracy. However,
given the flexibility of the 3-band active EQ,
we’d be splitting hairs to make a judgment
on that. Once again, the pedal offered far
more voicing control than an actual Hiwatt
head. The effect reminded me of dialing in
the tone of a mic’d amp using a good outboard mixer.
you want Pete Townshend-style tone
with more gain possibilities.
you prefer carrying a 100-pound
amp to get that tone.
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PREMIER GUITAR SEPTEMBER 2010 163