TWA has announced its first ever signature overdrive pedal, the SH9, which has been designed for jazz fusion/blues maestro Scott Henderson.
The SH9 also represents the TWA’s first direct collaboration with Susumu Tamura, designer of the Tube Screamer and – more notably, in this instance – the original Maxon SD-9, on which the pedal is based.
The original SD-9 (Sonic Distortion) first hit the market in 1981 and built a reputation for sizeable, sweet, saturated distortion tones.
For Henderson’s take on the pedal, the guitarist wanted to iron out some of his personal bugbears, including the somewhat limited tone control (which has often been criticised for its lack of range) and the loss of bass frequencies when playing on the upper frets.
In addition, Tamura and Henderson’s collaboration has led to a few other tweaks, including an increased output level (to help cut through a mix) and a choice of 9V or 18V power input. Using 18V reportedly brings out a different character, tonally, and offers players more headroom.
“The SH9 is the best distortion pedal I’ve heard for live playing,” says Henderson of the finished result. “[It] sounds equally great on the bridge and neck pickups. It has all the compression and punchiness needed for legato playing, plus a versatile tone knob, a low, clear bass frequency, and an overall fat and musical tone. This pedal rocks!”
The pedal has a fairly complex story behind it, having been initiated under the Maxon Custom Shop range, which was conceived and distributed in the US by TWA owner Godlyke. However, Maxon pulled the plug on their relationship with Godlyke last summer.
As such, Henderson and Tamura’s shift to producing the pedal via TWA represents a continued show of support for the US firm from both the pedal designer and guitarist.
TWA says supplies for the SH9 pedal will be limited and the first production run consist of just 100 pedals, arriving around June, with a second batch due in July.
The TWA SH9 Scott Henderson signature distortion retails for $300. Head to Godlyke’s official site (opens in new tab) for more information.