Aclam Guitars has launched The Mocker, a retro fuzz pedal that challenges the notion that in 2023 you need generative AI to perfect Beatles sounds when all you need is some NOS Philips OA200 diodes. And maybe some love, too.
The Mocker is the latest in a series of Aclam stompboxes to be inspired by seminal electric guitar tones in pop culture. We’ve had the Woman Tone pedal, which is a Marshall amp-inspired overdrive pedal that is designed to nail Eric Clapton’s Cream-era tone.
We’ve had the Dr. Robert, a meticulous Vox UL730 amp-in-a-box drive pedal for Revolver and Sgt. Peppers-era Beatles – complete with Revolver cover artist Klaus Voormann’s illustration on the enclosure. Now this.
In a sense, The Mocker is a companion piece to the Dr. Robert, featuring an expanded take on the Vox UL730 fuzz circuit, and Aclam advises us that the pair of them pair up very nicely indeed if you’re looking for Beatles tones. But with Bias and Tone controls complementing the Volume dial, it might well prove to be more versatile than meets the eye.
“The Mocker empowers guitarists to explore a diverse soundscape; from the nostalgia of vintage tones to crisp modern sounds. Faithfully recreate classic effects or experiment with an array of textures,” says Aclam, promising epic levels of sustain and creamy saturation on tap.
There is no question that The Mockery looks the part. It features Sgt. Pepper-esque graphics on a gray Hammerite finish that doffs the cap to the finish found on many a vintage Tone Bender.
Aclam pedals always look good. The Woman Tone pedal featured art from Marijke Koger, the leader of The Fool Collective, who famously painted Clapton’s Gibson SG of the same name. Other very cool designs included the limited-edition Unknown Pleasures edition of the Dr. Robert, which celebrated Joy Division’s association with the UL730.
As with previous Aclam designs, this has the Smart Track Fastening System to make it easy to mount on your pedalboard. The jacks are mounted on the top of the unit, too. Each pedal is handmade in Barcelona and is sure to be a collector’s item; and not just for that paint job. Sadly, Aclam is not making many of them thanks to the scarcity of the parts.
Those NOS Phillips OA200 germanium diodes do not grow on trees. The NOS part of their designation stands for "new old stock", which means they have been sitting unsold for all these years, and the pedal designer has to conduct their due diligence to test each part’s values to check for consistency.
With that in mind, The Mockery is limited to 200 units worldwide, and available now, priced $299. See Aclam Guitars for more details. And check out the demo video above to hear it in action.
But please remember, despite what your ears are telling you, this is not the '60s. Sure, the pedal sounds like it's from a bygone era. And that voiceover on the video sounds like the Beatles – until you realize it is AI, and a cold shiver is sent down the spine...