Quantcast Ryan's Guitars: February 2009

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

New Pedal!! Kingsley Jester

The Kingsley Jester is a dual function pedal designed and personally handwired by Simon Jarrett of Kingsley Amplifiers which sports a clean boost on one side and a full-on overdrive circuit on the other. It is driven by two 12AX7 tubes and requires a special power supply in order to operate properly. The construction is top-notch, with a heavy duty metal casing and roadworthy "plunger" footswitches. This thing is built to last for players who actually gig out.

On each side of the Jester is a 3 position slider switch that steps up the amount of the effect. On the OD side, the 3 position switch increases the amount of OD with position one being more of a "crunch", position two a full-bodied medium gain and position three a full-on liquidy gain for rich, thick leads. The boost side's 3 position switch alters the boost voicing with position one being warm boost, position two a bright boost and position three a mid boost.

The controls are Bass, Mid, Treble and Gain for the OD mode while the boost mode has a single Boost knob for setting the overall boost level. Of course, the two effects can be run simultaneoulsy so that while playing with the OD engaged the boost can then be activated to effectively cut through the mix for solos.

The sound of the Jester is quite simply amazing. This has to be the best sounding OD pedal on the market as it truly responds like an amplifier. The tone is "tube-like" and responsive... very warm and harmonically rich. Unlike most analog and digital distortion pedals which almost always sound harsh and overbearing, the Jester sounds like a circuit built into your amp and not at all like a pedal. The circuit is modeled on Simon's Deluxe 30 series amps and the ToneBaron (which I own and absolutely love).

I ordered mine with the "hardwire" by-pass wiring, which is described on the Kingsley website as:

a hard-wire by-pass circuit that leaves the overdrive input connected, even when by-passing the effect, resulting in quiet switching between the effect and by-pass mode...".

I can attest to the fact that the switching is absolutely silent and I cannot tell the pedal is in my chain when it's off. The Jester is definitely not a "tone sucker".

I can highly recommend this pedal to anyone looking for great rock tones with warmth and harmonic richness.

Check out the soundclips from the Kingsley website played by Simon himself:


Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Deluxe Strat & Malmsteen Strats Get New Pickguard and Pickups

Once I decided to test my Malmsteen guitars to see if they would work for me in my band, I simply stole the pickguard off my '04 Deluxe Strat "temporarily" to see if the pickups would render the Malmsteens more usable tonewise with the music we are playing. This, of course, was a success but somehow that pickguard never made it back to my Deluxe Strat. :) It first landed on my Vintage White Malmsteen, and then found its way to the Sonic Blue (where it has remained since). I ordered a new pickguard and indentical pickup set for the Vintage White shortly afterward and now both Malmsteens are locked and loaded and ready for gigs.

Meanwhile, my poor Deluxe Strat was in limbo with a Malmsteen pickguard loaded with Malmsteen electronics. This time, to save some cash and to change up the formula a bit, I ordered a new pearloid pickguard routed for a bridge humbucker and two singles and popped in an old DiMarzio ToneZone I had lying around on my workbench for years. I originally bought it for $30 on eBay and never found anything to put it in, so it was cool to finally get to use it in something. The singles I ordered are my favorite choice, DiMazrio Virtual Vintage Blues, which I have in both Malmseen guitars as well.

I am so happy with the result! This guitar sounds fantastic with the ToneZone in the bridge position. This has always been a very dark sounding Strat from the very beginning, so having the ToneZone in it makes for a pretty dark, ballsy sound with a nice open-wah like mid range and I love it! This was an excellent upgrade. The next thing I'll be doing to this guitar is swapping out the bridge with a Callaham.