We’ve all heard it, haven’t we? Eric Clapton’s ‘woman’ tone on Cream songs such as Feel Free and Sunshine Of Your Love is legendary.
Showcased by the man himself in the documentary of Cream’s 1968 farewell concert, it’s a fulsome rounded tone that sings with midrange while still being a touch edgy, and is achieved in part by rolling back the tone pots on the electric guitar.
In the documentary Eric demonstrates it using his psychedelically painted 1964 SG Standard through his Marshall stack, but Aclam has rightly concluded that we haven’t all got this vintage gear and designed a pedal to get close to the tone – whatever your guitar and guitar amp combination.
What’s more, the company considered that manipulating tone knobs on stage is a bit of a faff, so by including a footswitch that offered a similar effect they’d be creating a pedal that even the ’68 Clapton might have appreciated for freeing up his hands.
The pedal’s sound is the sum of two elements: an all-analogue pickup simulation circuit designed to reproduce the tone of a vintage Gibson PAF humbucker, combined with a Plexi-style overdrive governed by gain and volume knobs that can take it from gritty break-up to a stack at full throttle, with plenty in the tank for extra boost.
The knob that fine-tunes the ‘woman’ tone only comes into play when activated by a dedicated footswitch, which also increases the gain to mitigate any decrease in saturation brought about by the tonal shift, and brings in a little extra low-end.
Working much like a guitar tone knob, fully clockwise the knob offers full top-end so you can use the pedal as a two-stage overdrive, kicked in purely for extra gain and girth. Rolling it back from 10 towards 0 takes the top-end down until you reach your own sweet spot for the ‘woman’ tone (if you want darker, there’s an internal DIP switch for that).
Does it work? Absolutely. Your guitar and amp obviously make their own contribution, but we tried it with several different combinations and got pretty consistent results – that instantly familiar, smoothly sustaining distortion sound was always there in full voice.
- PRICE: £299
- ORIGIN: Spain
- TYPE: Tone and drive pedal
- FEATURES: Relay true bypass, Smart Track pedalboard mounting
- CONTROLS: Gain, Woman Tone, Volume, internal DIP switch (darker tone), Woman Mode footswitch, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 40mA
- DIMENSIONS: 137 (w) x 88 (d) x 55mm (h)
- CONTACT: Aclam Guitars