meaty—perfect for the kind of nuance in
Clapton’s Blind Faith leads. Rolling the tone
counter-clockwise really fattens up the low-end output, which works great for working
with a heavy rhythm section. Such settings
retain the essence of Fender amp overdrive,
while careful adjustment of the tone control
overcomes the loss of definition that some
players don’t like in 6L6 circuits. And it’s
easy to dial in a satisfying crunch that can
cut through any mix.
With a Les Paul in the stew along with
a Fender amp, you can keep the FAT’s
tone control just above the low-pass filter’s
shut-off point to deliver an almost tweed-like, Chicago blues tone. Dialing tone at
or below 4 o’clock delivers a TS9’s punch
and gives the midrange a little more room
to breathe. But rolling too far into the filter
really accentuates the inherent darkness of
a Les Paul’s humbuckers, which may be a
bit stifling for lead players. These extremely
dark tones are great in the right context
though, and it’s easy to see the FAT gaining
a foothold among the stoner-rock contingent that likes to drive high-power amps
and humbuckers into the sludgiest zones
Pros: Strong low end can really beef up a wispy tone. 18V
power boosts headroom and transparency.
Pigtronix FAT Drive, $139 street, pigtronix.com
Cons: Loses clarity with humbuckers. no battery option.
Ease of Use
possible—this thing will get woolly and big,
if that’s what you need.
With a 10-watt, EL84-driven CEC Toll
Free Express, the Pigtronix becomes a different
cat entirely. The amp already delivers massive
amounts of drive, so pulling down the FAT’s
gain and increasing its volume gives you a
natural-sounding boost for crunchier leads.
Engaging the effect kills a bit of the amp’s Vox-like chime but leaves the full-bodied Marshall
weight very much intact. And if you really
want to torque out a smaller amp, flip the
toggle switch into the more position. This had
the CEC howling with fuzzy, string-section-like sustain that accentuated lows and mids.
If you need a bit more than classic TS-style
fare from your overdrive, the Pigtronix FAT
Drive can take you into more expansive
territory without straying from timeless
overdrive tones or your guitar’s most basic
personality. It can move from campfire-
warm tones to blazing jets with the flip of
a switch, and the plentitude of tones and
sturdy build make this pedal a very fair
deal. Some minimalists may be turned off
by the lack of a battery input, but the 18V
adapter opens up the potential and head-
room of the FAT—a nice tradeoff for play-
ers who need a more transparent boost.