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Seymour Duncan SFX-03 Twin Tube Classic distortion

Seymour Duncan is one of the oldest and best-known names in pickup design and manufacturing, but the company is relatively new to the crowded pedal market. I guess the old adage “Better late than never” is applicable here, because the Seymour Duncan SFX-03 Twin Tube Classic (opens in new tab) is a little master-piece of tube tone.

The Twin Tube Classic has Rhythm and Lead channels built around a pair of micro 6021 tubes, which were originally devel-oped for use in military devices. The quality of their performance is outstanding, and because the tubes aren’t sensitive to vibrations or jarring, they should last the lifetime of the pedal.

Although most other tube-powered pedals run 12AX7 preamp tubes at low voltages, Seymour Duncan cooks these little wonders with a hot 240 volts. The resulting tone is smooth, warm and thick, like a great tube amp cranked to 10 (or 11). Basic features for this well-built, heavy-duty pedal include global bass and treble controls and individual volume and gain controls for the rhythm and lead channels. The pedal is true bypass when switched off and comes with the necessary AC power adaptor.

I tested the Duncan TT Classic with a Les Paul Custom, a vintage Charvel and a Fender Vibro-King. Playing just one chord through the Duncan’s Rhythm channel brought a big smile to my face. The tone was old-school, with the midrange bloom of a “Plexi” on 5 and the warm crunch of a pushed Bassman quarter stack.

Switching over to the Lead channel made things even better. The high-gain tones here were sweet, rich and extremely organic (think Duane Allman at Fillmore East). The fact that all this comes from a single pedal makes it all the more impressive.

The Twin Tube Classic produces beau-tifully thick and juicy output tube–style distortion, and its two channels provide everything players of classic rock, metal and blues could want.

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