What is it?
Effectrode is a UK-based pedal company whose modus operandi is valve-driven pedals that range from boutique modulation such as the Phaseomatic Vacuum Tube Phaser or the Delta-Trem Tremolo, to clever little boosters like the Blue Bottle.
We say clever, but really the smarts are in making this design as simple as possible, to do a very simple two-knob enclosure with a hi-cut switch on the rear for sculpting your top end, with a -6dB/octave low-pass filter that rolls off top-end above 6kHz or 3kHz.
The Blue Bottle is a signature pedal for Argent guitarist John Verity, who wanted a pedal that would fatten up his single coils. As a Strat player, that could come in handy. Sure you could swap guitars – but if there's a compact pedalboard solution that can also give you to 18dB of gain? Well, it's a no-brainer.
For inspiration, Effectrode looked to valve-based Pultec equalisers, high-end units you'd find in a recording studio. The Blue Bottle houses a real inductor in the circuitry alongside its NOS Sylvania 6021 sub-miniature triode valve.
Performance and verdict
While the volume has your +18dB of boost on tap, with unity gain found around 11 o'clock, the Blue Bottle's Mid Boost control operates with a a flat response at its lowest position and adds up to 12dB of midrange boost centred around a frequency of 500Hz at its extremes.
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Into a clean amp, it's sharp, punchy and compressed, while into a distorted amp it gives you the kind of thick, tube drive tones that alt-rockers will love. That mid-boost is handy to push solos through a mix, too. All in all, a lot of fun.
That's a lot of mids, and when applied to the clean spank of a single coil pickup the results are impressive. Think of it as warmth on tap, and thickness, too, and with the natural articulation and clarity of the single coil beneath the mix it is a very musical effect, and not just for Teles, Strats and what not.
With P-90s, you can add some cream to that natural sizzle – and heat from the boost section's volume control – and it sounds incredible. It works well with humbuckers, too, when often you need, simply, more mids to make the mix work for you.
The hi-cut feature adds an extra level of functionality without complicating matters. We guitarists often fall through the rabbit hole of possibilities, but at heart we are simple beasts, and pedals such as this, which address the fundamental's of our guitar's tone and engage aggressively with the front end of our amplifiers, they are just the bee's knees.
MusicRadar verdict: The Blue Bottle works a treat as a fattener of single coils, but it's also a formidable sweetener of tone and could well be your go-to boost, or secret weapon in the signal chain.
- ORIGIN: UK
- TYPE: Boost pedal
- FEATURES: True bypass
- CONTROLS: Mid Boost, Volume, Hi-Cut switch, Bypass footswitch
- CONNECTIONS: Standard input, standard output
- POWER: Supplied 12V DC adaptor, 600mA
- DIMENSIONS: 92 (w) x 125 (d) x 55mm (h)
- CONTACT: Effectrode