Revv has expanded its effects arsenal with the Chatbreaker overdrive pedal – a stompbox conceived in an attempt to discover the extent of ChatGPT’s pedal-making skills.
It’s not the first time artificial intelligence has been used to develop electric guitar effects – it was used to create a Tube Screamer plugin with surprising success last year – but it is the first time a major brand has used it to help create a physical stompbox.
The term “help” is used loosely here, because although the Chatbreaker Overdrive started as a mission to find out if ChatGPT can design an overdrive pedal, the experiment wasn’t all that successful, prompting Revv to take matters into its own hands.
As the company’s President and Head Designer Dan Trudeau explains, “No matter what we prompted, we couldn’t get ChatGPT to put a functional pedal together. But I was looking at what it was returning and realized – it’s a Bluesbreaker! Well, it’s trying to be a Bluesbreaker.”
In a continuation of ChatGPT’s best efforts, Revv sought to build upon the Bluesbreaker clone concept, and after “some major redesigns and testing” ended up creating the Chatbreaker.
As such, it’s said to be “inspired by AI Tech”, and in practice vows to embody “pure sonic power with its versatile tone-shaping capabilities”.
There's a true bypass footswitch for engaging the effect, and Bluesbreaker-faithful Gain, Level and Tone knobs for sound sculpting. Sonically speaking, its circuit promises everything from “classic crunch to gritty distortion”.
Tones and controls aside, the pedal’s form factor is also much smaller than that of an original Bluesbreaker – as well as Marshall’s recently reissued variants, which retain the larger footprint – making it very pedalboard-friendly indeed.
To that end, those faithful top-mounted jacks will account for even more room, and will make its pedalboard compatibility even more potent.
If the Chatbreaker Overdrive exercise proved one thing, it’s that artificial intelligence isn’t yet quite smart enough to set up its own effects pedal business.
“So did the experiment work?” Trudeau concludes. “Not really. I don’t think AI is ready to replace all of us just yet. I guess this is more of an Artificial Idea with Human Intelligence.”
It’s a conclusion that can largely be extrapolated into the rest of AI’s numerous gear exploits. When Guitar World put ChatGPT through a rig-building bootcamp, the results were… less than ideal.
But the Chatbreaker itself is a good ol’ fashioned overdrive pedal in the truest sense of the term and, if the demo videos are anything to go by, a fine take on one of the most iconic guitar sounds in history.
The Chatbreaker Overdrive is available now for $199.
To find out more, head over to Revv.
In other Revv news, the brand recently relaunched its Dynamis amp series with the Two Notes Torpedo-equipped D25 combo.
As for artificial intelligence, its ever-increasing involvement in the guitar and music worlds has rapidly increased in 2023. Earlier this month, Paul McCartney confirmed he’d used artificial intelligence to help complete the “final Beatles record”.