Nail Stevie Ray Vaughan’s blues tone with Crazy Tube Circuits’ new Crossfire preamp/overdrive pedal

Chasing after the juicy raunch and spanky bounce of the late great Stevie Ray Vaughan’s electric guitar tone is a rite of passage for any budding blues guitarist.

We all know the ingredients that will get us in the game; a Fender Stratocaster, vintage Fender guitar amp, a Tube Screamer overdrive pedal, and not forgetting and the gilded hand of genius to manipulate the strings in all the right ways. But pulling this sound together is another matter. 

Crazy Tube Circuits’ latest design might made it a little easier. The Crossfire is an preamp and overdrive pedal that combines the tone mojo of vintage black panel Fender amplifiers with a modded TS circuit, and then affords you plenty of latitude when it comes to tweaking and combining both sides.

Crazy Tube Circuits Crossfire

(Image credit: Crazy Tube Circuits)

Let’s look at the drive side first. Here, we have a familiar three-knob layout with dials for Volume, Gain and Tone, but look-see! There is  a toggle to select between symmetrical clipping as per the original 70s units and asymmetrical clipping for enhanced touch-sensitivity drive characteristics.

There’s also a gain toggle that adds a bit more dirt into the signal and changes the low-frequency response, an effect which CTC promises is a little like stacking two overdrive pedals in series. And if you venture inside the enclosure, you’ll find a switch for supplying the overdrive circuit 18V DC for extra headroom. 


Over to the preamp side, and you have controls for Volume, Bass, Middle, Treble and Gain, but here we have a High/Low toggle switch for selecting how much headroom you want. There’s also a Bright toggle switch that adds a little extra treble sparkle in your sound.

Each circuit has its own footswitch and you can bring your pedalboard to the party via the passive effects loop. The Crossfire is available now, priced €219. See Crazy Tube Circuits for more details.

As for playing like Stevie Ray Vaughan? Well, thats when things get really tricky. But you can check out our SRV guitar lesson, which breaks the Texan great's style down into five key components. 

Jonathan Horsley

Jonathan Horsley has been writing about guitars and guitar culture since 2005, playing them since 1990, and regularly contributes to MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitar World. He uses Jazz III nylon picks, 10s during the week, 9s at the weekend, and shamefully still struggles with rhythm figure one of Van Halen’s Panama.