Gear Review: Rocktron Gary Hoey Intimidator Distortion Pedal

I first learned about guitarist Gary Hoey outside of a Robert Randolph show at the Starland Ballroom in Sayreville, New Jersey.

A friend offered me an extra ticket to Hoey's show the following night. I watched him play everything from instrumentals to classic rock covers, heavy metal originals, even Christmas carols.

It’s tough to put Hoey in a box, but Rocktron by GHS has done it. The Intimidator is Hoey’s signature distortion pedal.

The Intimidator offers five knobs to twist every which way but loose: Bass, Treble, Level, Gain and Punish. Punish acts mid scoop or boost. You can run the pedal on a 9-volt battery or external power supply. The switch is True Bypass.

If the name "Intimidator," the camouflage motif or a Punish knob wasn’t enough of a tip-off, this is a seriously high-gain distortion pedal. It doesn’t clean up well, it doesn’t return phone calls, it doesn’t whisper, it screams!

Check out the three clips below.

Clip 1: I tuned a Telecaster down to D and dialed in the manual’s suggested setting, titled "Metal Rules High Gain."

Clip 2: With the Gain rolled back and more mids added, or should I say, “I cranked up the Punish,” I was able to get a fizzy power pop distortion I really liked.

Clip 3: Once again I referenced the manual. Here’s Hoey’s favorite lead setting. I’m playing a Les Paul with the bridge pickup selected.

Street price: $120.99

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