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ThorpyFX Scarlet Tunic review

One man’s quest for early Pink Floyd sound resulted in this stompbox emulation of a long-forgotten 1960s British amp

ThorpyFX Scarlet Tunic
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

If you’re looking for that Selmer sound or want to recreate early Floyd, then ThorpyFX’s latest pedal nails it. What’s more, it’ll get you into AC30 and Hiwatt territory, too.

Pros

  • +

    Solid build quality.

  • +

    Welcome revival of a vintage amp.

  • +

    Comprehensive control array.

Cons

  • -

    Silver legending on a silver background is hard to read.

It may not enjoy the same kudos as an AC30, Plexi or Hiwatt DR103, but the Selmer TruVoice Treble-N-Bass 50 was another fine British valve amp from the 1960s. This was the amp of choice of original Pink Floyd guitarist Syd Barrett, and can be heard on the opening notes of Interstellar Overdrive from the band’s 1967 debut album, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn

Roll on 55 years from that album and Lee Harris, guitarist with Nick Mason’s Saucerful of Secrets band, wanted to recreate the exact tones and looked to Adrian Thorpe for help – the result is the Scarlet Tunic Analog Amp Emulator.

The pedal is designed to integrate into your rig and give you those Selmer tones through your own amp. It has Master output and Gain knobs plus three knobs for tonal shading – Bass, Presence and Treble. 

To complement those is an array of three-way toggle switches that adjust various aspects of the tone: the Deep switch changes the bass characteristics, the Bright switch offers three different variations on the high-end, and the Sens switch alters the gain character, like having three different levels of input attenuation.

ThorpyFX Scarlet Tunic

(Image credit: ThorpyFX)

With so many controls all interacting there are plenty of sonics to explore, but the first impression is of a real sizzly top-end and a nicely percussive attack to the notes, offering chime-y definition when you dial in a clean sound or a bit of early break-up. And the pedal will actually cover from those tones up to full-on throaty raunch.

It delivers particularly potent sound with all the switches in the down position, and if you crank up the gain there’s an edge to it that’s simultaneously fuzzy and glassy. There’s great dynamics and clean-up characteristics, and the pedal reacts brilliantly to a treble booster in front of it – just as a vintage Brit amp should…

This may be named an amp emulator, but think of it as an overdrive pedal with a unique character. Gnarly and sparkly, it could offer an alternative yet complementary flavouring to your amp tone.  

ThorpyFX Scarlet Tunic

(Image credit: Future)

Specs

  • PRICE: £264
  • ORIGIN: UK
  • TYPE: Analog Amp Emulator pedal
  • FEATURES: True Bypass, internal voltage jump to 18V, internal transformer
  • CONTROLS: Master, Presence, Gain, Bass, Treble, Deep switch, Bright switch, Sens switch, Bypass footswitch
  • CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
  • POWER: 9V DC adaptor (not supplied) 30mA
  • DIMENSIONS: 106 (w) x 130 (d) x 54mm (h)
  • CONTACT: ThorpyFX (opens in new tab)

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Trevor Curwen has played guitar for several decades – he's also mimed it on the UK's Top of the Pops. Much of his working life, though, has been spent behind the mixing desk, during which time he has built up a solid collection of the guitars, amps and pedals needed to cover just about any studio session. He writes pedal reviews for Guitarist and has contributed to Total Guitar, MusicRadar and Future Music among others.