Today I pitted 4 different Skreddies against each other – in the end, I swear I got all 4 of them to sound close enough to call them “the same”. Believe it or not.
Pedals – Screwdriver Mini Deluxe, Supa Tone, Rover, and Kusanagi (And a Skrecho at the end to add some space, everything set very low).
Initially the goal was to compare the Rover and the Kusanagi, as both are Tonebenders by Skreddy. We used both a Strat and a Tele. We’ve all been learning early Zeppelin lately, so the riffs and licks are there, and that’s why the initial focus on Tonebenders, to get that last bit of the sound right. I brought the other 2 pedals just because, and I’m glad I did.
Frankly, YES, the Rover is just as good as the Kusanagi in practice. I’ve never played a proper Tonebender, so I can’t say how accurate his versions are, but they DO sound like the first Zep album, and they sound essentially the same as each other. They’re both 3-knob Tonebenders. After a while I started to equate the Gate knob on the Kusanagi to the Wool knob on the Rover – both “smoothen” the tone. But the Kusanagi Gate offers some sounds that the Rover can’t do – except then you play something else into the Rover and there’s the sound!! It was very frustrating – often the Rover would seem “thicker” and “darker” (and the Kusanagi would seem “thinner” and “lighter”), then a slight adjustment on the Rover‘s Level knob, or playing a different lick (or even just varying playing dynamics) and suddenly they sounded the same. This happened all night. Shifty.
Particularly interesting was the Tele, it had a specific personality, a tang, and that came out loud and clear through all the pedals, where the Strat seemed to merge with the pedals, if that makes sense. I knob fiddled all night, and for all intents and purposes the Rover could be made to sound exactly like the Kusanagi. I still want to say the Kusanagi had something else going on (another guy said this independently, too), but again then something would get played into the Rover and the sound was there. Slippery. I guess that the Kusanagi can get some “zippery velco” sounds that the Rover can’t quite do. But an audience would never notice a difference.
Also with the Tele on a Bridge setting and the Rover on, I noodled some G&R Nightrain and the sound was PURE RAWK, people perked up and commented on it instantly. I’ve never spent any time with a Tele before, it was interesting. I like the sounds, I don’t like how the controls are set up.
Now to the Supa Tone and the Screwdriver. With the Screwdriver, I upped the gain and the pregain and balanced the levels, and that was REALLY CLOSE to the Rover/Kusanagi sound, playing the same licks. (Assuming you can play the parts, which I figure is 90% of tone anyway, whether we admit it or not – a good player has good tone by default, because sounding good is how you know the guy can play). For the first time tonight I mentally equated the Screwdriver with a Rat, there was a mushy feel and that same kind of blanket of fuzz overlayed on top of the guitar like how my old Rat sounds and feels.
Now the Supa Tone is based on an obscure version of a Big Muff I believe, but its rawer. It actually had a similar “mushiness” mentioned above about the rat, but in a very Big Muff way (duh). Same situation though, I set the Distortion low-ish (11 o’clock) and the Tone high-ish and the qualities we heard in the ToneBenders were there, same kind of break-up etc.
By the end of the night I was switching between all 4 of these pedals randomly and in the middle of licks and still the differences were negligable at best, I had them set perfectly. There WERE differences, but again if you’re nailing the actual parts then the differences fade into meaninglessness. This is interesting to me because we’re talking about a Muff, a Tone Bender, and a Fuzz Face with a Treble Booster input (do I have that right?), all of which are completely different and sound different, and yet all were able to be coaxed into making the same sounds.
So I just realized right now that this post is a good argument for buying a Screwdriver Mini Deluxe, it handles all these sounds and more. Dude hit it out of the park. But also if you’re looking for a Tone Bender, might as well get a Rover, especially since the Kusanagi is probably kind of rare…