Review: Keeley Aria and El Rey Dorado

(Image credit: Keeley)

There are two things guitarists can never have enough of: money and distortion pedals. (Okay, actually three things, but this is a family publication!) Robert Keeley is making strong overtures to our hearts and wallets with two new pedals that offer different flavors of distortion: the Aria Compressor + Overdrive and the mysteriously named El Rey Dorado. If you love distortion as much as we do, you’ll want both of these boxes on your pedalboard.

FEATURES The El Rey Dorado (Spanish for “the golden king” or is that “the king mahi-mahi”?) hints at its tonal character with its gold and black color scheme. This pedal is designed to provide pure, unadulterated late-Sixties Plexi tone, specifically of the JTM 45/100 variety. Its control complement is straightforward, consisting of the requisite drive, tone and level knobs and the added bonus of a lo/hi “power” mini toggle switch.

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Chris Gill

Chris is the co-author of Eruption - Conversations with Eddie Van Halen. He is a 40-year music industry veteran who started at Boardwalk Entertainment (Joan Jett, Night Ranger) and Roland US before becoming a guitar journalist in 1991. He has interviewed more than 600 artists, written more than 1,400 product reviews and contributed to Jeff Beck’s Beck 01: Hot Rods and Rock & Roll and Eric Clapton’s Six String Stories.