J Rockett Audio Designs The Dude review

  • £169
  • €199

One hell of a Dude

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Our Verdict

The Dude is an excellent sounding overdrive that can endow any amp with overdrives right across the range to higher gain while offering some of that elusive D-flavour and mojo.

For

  • Solid build; quality sound; provision of some elusive tones and functionality that players want.

Against

  • Black knobs against a black background is not too clever.
Buying options

If we asked you to name two items of guitar gear that have a massive reputation among tone-fiends but are now out of production and so rare that used prices have escalated to the point where they are out of reach of even the most wealthy, chances are that the original gold Klon Centaur pedal and the Dumble Overdrive Special amp would be mentioned.

Original Klons go for silly money compared with most pedals, and if you could find a Dumble amp on the market... well, you could buy a decent terraced house in certain parts of our fair isle for the same money. Indeed, Alexander 'Howard' Dumble only made around 300 of these amps and is unlikely to make any more, while Klon designer, Bill Finnegan, has said he will never make any more Centaurs.

Not surprisingly, then, plenty of stompbox companies now build pedals that aim to get you close to those elusive tones, not least J Rockett Audio Designs (JRAD) whose new Tour Series pedals, the Archer Ikon and The Dude, respectively promise Klon and Dumble-alike tones.

Both are nicely compact and reassuringly heavy pedals that take a nine-volt adaptor, but will also run off batteries, although the four screws for battery access are small so you'll have to be careful with them. Today we're looking at The Dude.

Sounds

With a Dumble Overdrive Special probably the world's most desirable amp, it's no surprise that manufacturers are keen to distil some of that magic into a pedal, and there are already quite a few out there. JRAD's The Dude is the latest of these and was designed after close inspection of an original ODS.

The pedal's Level knob ups the output, introducing clean boost from about 10 o'clock, and if you want some dirtier sounds, the Ratio knob starts to blend in some gain to the clean boost until the sound is fully overdriven with some great blends along the way.

All this while retaining string clarity with tweaks available via a Treble knob and a Deep knob that operates around the lower mid frequencies and can put in a bit of a scoop or dial in a bit of 4x12 thump.

Playing through The Dude, you are aware of its sensitivity to touch and the rich harmonic content of the sound, both attributes of a Dumble amp. If you're into lyrical lead playing with plenty of fat sustain, there's definitely something for you here. Regardless of any amp comparisons, though, it's a thoroughly versatile overdrive pedal.

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