Danelectro Pedals

by Jerry McPherson, courtesy of %%Christian Musician%%

The Danelectro name has been around for several decades and has built a reputation with guitarists as making guitars that were cool and cheap. When the Evets corporation took over the Dano name they obviously wanted to keep that philosophy alive. Their first offerings are three battery operated stomp boxes. The first thing everyone comments on is the look. They look kind of like something that came off an old 50's Chevy or Buick. I've been using and collecting pedals for 25 years and I've never had musicians, engineers and producers go off like this about a pedal's looks. The second thing everyone seems to comment on is the low price. No one is complaining there either, but how do they sound?

The first Danelectro pedal I bought was the "Daddy-O" overdrive. Not many overdrives offer separate bass, mid and treble controls like the Daddy-O. My main complaint with most overdrives (including the highly sought after Ibanez Tube Screamer) is that when you kick them in, you lose low end. Having just a tone control doesn't fix the problem. The Daddy-O's bass control allows you to bring the lows back in. The mids control is very useful for getting a wide variety of tones. In fact, after using this pedal in the studio and live for the past six months, I can't imagine using an overdrive that doesn't have the control the Daddy-O has. The overdrive range goes from a slight drive to full out lead sounds. For guitarists this pedal is a must-have. And it won't cost you much - and you'll look good doing it.

For the past several years, I've shied away from chorusing. I've always associated that sound with the '80s. In the studio chorusing is still nice for ambient chordal swells and for shimmering parts. Because of the Daddy-O, I was back in the music store a couple of days later for a Cool Cat, the Danelectro chorus pedal. Instead of it sounding '80s to me, it sounded more like the Boss CE-1 and CE-2 from the late '70s. Viva La Retro! Just like my old CE-1, when you use it with two amps, one side is dry, the other is wet. It makes for a very wide sound. With the speed control maxed out and the chill (depth) up halfway, you get a fast Leslie type of swirl. Crank the speed to a minimum and you get a slow, subtle phasey type of chorus. Run the Cool Cat into the Daddy-O and you get a sound reminiscent of the late '70s ala Robin Trower. Run the Daddy-O into the Cool Cat and you can time travel into the '80s and early '90s when chorusing your distortion was legal and accepted (quick, switch it back!).

The last Danelectro pedal I snagged was the Fab Tone. Now when I see anything "fab" I think of the Beatles - the Fab Four. Okay, let me assure you, this is not a Beatle sounding pedal. It is however a fat distortion/fuzz pedal. It reminds me of across between my old vintage Rat pedal and the old ElectroHarmonix Big Muff Pedal. Even at the lowest drive setting this pedal is scorching. Crank it up and it just gets hotter (way quieter than my Big Muff too). I've used this on sessions for rhythm and lead parts. It smokes. Two of my tonal-guru buddies tell me the Fab Tone is their personal favorite of the three Danelectro offerings. My favorite, maybe because it has found its way to tape more, is the Daddy-O. But because of the low price, you can grab the whole tonal trilogy! Cool and cheap? You bet!