When I was younger, one of my best friends owned a vintage Silvertone Model 1484 Twin Twelve head.
Looking like a hi-fidelity preamp for my record player, it was the perfect garage-rock amplifier to turn up loud and get some pretty raucous tones.
Because of its scrappy sound, artists like Jack White, Beck and Coldplay along with a subterranean army of lo-fi bands have adopted this underdog of an amp when their music calls for a dose of raw power.
As a result, the 1484 has become fashionably hip, making it highly sought after. But guitarists no longer have to search eBay or hit pawnshops to find one thanks to JHS Pedals, who have managed to nail this amp’s rowdy attitude in a pedal with its Twin Twelve Channel Drive.
FEATURES: The pedal relies on four controls for volume, drive, bass and treble to deftly emulate the preamp/overdrive tone of a Silvertone 1484 amplifier. Since an original 1484 didn’t have a master volume, the Twin Twelve volume control works similarly but without clipping, providing maximum clean headroom and boost when fully clockwise.
Using the drive control in tandem with the volume imitates a master volume amp, introducing tube-like grittiness or full-on distorted snarl at manageable levels. The bass and treble are custom tuned to ensure every frequency value comes across in great detail, unlike the 1484’s fussy tone circuit. In addition, the Twin Twelve’s nine-volt power input internally converts it to eighteen-volts, which offers incredible touch sensitivity and liveliness.
PERFORMANCE: The Twin Twelve is not merely an overdrive—it’s a refreshingly unique preamp pedal that combines elements of fuzz, distortion and overdrive. With the volume up high and the drive set low, it acts like a buffered preamp that transforms your amp’s sound to closely duplicate the 1484’s inherent drive characteristics with greater clarity.
For some punk-rock dirt, I set the controls roughly midway, revealing a low-end growl and crumbly overdrive grind in the highs, with some velvety fuzz in the background. The sound is indeed very garage rock, but with more verve and controlled dynamics. I found some of the most articulate and spiky overdriven tones were when the bass is dialed back, the volume and treble at 2 o’clock, and drive around 11 o’clock.
LIST PRICE: $199
MANUFACTURER: JHS Pedals, jhspedals.com
THE BOTTOM LINE: The Twin Twelve Channel Drive is a punchy stompbox that convincingly apes the saturated tones and speaker breakup sound of the prized Silvertone 1484 Twin Twelve amplifier.