Since its introduction in 1987, the Soldano Super Lead Overdrive 100-watt tube amp head has been the choice of a number of well-known players – plenty of them in the metal and hard-rock field, including Eddie Van Halen, but also the likes of Eric Clapton and Mark Knopfler.
Currently, you’d be looking at paying almost four grand for a new 100-watt head and a few hundred less for the 30-watt version. But if you want some Soldano in your rig at a more amenable price, there’s now the option with this new SLO overdrive pedal, which puts the company’s signature sound on your pedalboard.
Soldano says that the pedal uses the same cascading gain stages as its flagship amplifier. It also has the same control layout as one of the amp’s channels with Volume and Gain knobs and some tonal tweaking courtesy of Presence, Treble, Middle and Bass controls.
On top of these, there’s a Deep button on the side of the casing that gives you two options for the nature of the bottom-end: push it in and you get a real increase of robust low-end heft to bolster the sound with more of a 4x12 cab vibe.
Starting with the Gain knob at zero and placing the Volume knob anywhere above midway, you can dial in practical amounts of boost with a sound that’s just beyond clean with a nicely broken-up edge to it. Further movement of the Gain knob brings you into some classic crunch sounds.
The three-band EQ supplied by the lower set of knobs provides some very effective tonal shading, but it’s the Presence knob that offers the most influence here, adding a real crispness and prominence to the top-end as you turn it up.
Turning the Gain knob beyond the crunch sounds brings you right into the same territory as the amp’s Drive channel, recreating its fat, saturated lead tones with ease. It’s all brilliantly responsive to your touch, too – it feels right as well as sounding as you’d hope.
- PRICE: $/£229
- ORIGIN: USA
- TYPE: Drive pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Volume, Presence, Gain, Treble, Middle, Bass, Deep switch, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 32mA
- DIMENSIONS: 66 (w) x 113 (d) x 53mm (h)
- CONTACT: Soldano