Mateus Asato's signature overdrive / distortion pedal is here and it sounds pretty spectacular

There's no doubt in our minds that Mateus Asato is one of the most gifted guitar players out there, so when he works with a company for two years on developing an overdrive / distortion pedal with his ear for tone, we're very interested.

Overdrive buying guide

And it's here – the Jackson Audio El Guapo. And as expected, Asato makes it sound pretty special in the wide selection of demos you can see here. 

As you might expect, but the legendary amp influence on the El Guapo is hard to argue with. 

Its creators go into detail on its development and spec in the round table below  with Jackson Audio's Brad Jackson and musician Nigel Hednroff looking at the prototype version of the El Guapo alongside Asato. 

If the El Guapo name sounds familiar it's because Jackson released a Marshall-inspired amp called El Guapo with Josh Smith in 2015 and this is the pedal that was developed afterwards for Asato's signature.

(Image credit: Jackson Audio)

Its 'Marshall-in-a-box' character includes a surprisingly high gain JCM800-inspired capability for a player some will know more for cleaner and lower gain tonality. But the versatility here speaks volumes about both the player and the pedal. 

The round table above was shot in 2018 and due to lockdown Asato wasn't able to fly back to film a chat about the finished article that featured some small changes. But alongside the demos you can get a clear picture of the potential here.

The El Guapo features a high-gain distortion circuit to recreate the revered detail of the JCM800 amplifier, and the pedal's overdrive channel delivers the "smooth overdrive and touch sensitivity" of a vintage Plexi. A very persuasive combination indeed. 

(Image credit: Jackson Audio)

Controls include four Clipping Styles for both circuits, a 3-band Active EQ , with a Gain Cycle circuit and full MIDI control over the pedal's parameters. 

The El Guapo is available now for £349 / $349. Head over to Jackson Audio for more details and check out more demos from Mateus Asato below. 

Rob Laing
Guitars Editor, MusicRadar

I'm the Guitars Editor for MusicRadar, handling news, reviews, features, tuition, advice for the strings side of the site and everything in between. Before MusicRadar I worked on guitar magazines for 15 years, including Editor of Total Guitar in the UK. When I'm not rejigging pedalboards I'm usually thinking about rejigging pedalboards.