Magazine article Guitar Player

KHDK: No.1 Overdrive

Magazine article Guitar Player

KHDK: No.1 Overdrive

Article excerpt

GuitarPlayer EDITORS' PICK

WE HAD HEARD SOME RUMBLINGS about a cool new pedal company, KHDK, founded by Kirk Hammett and David Karon, and the release of their Ghoul Screamer, a super-flexible take on Hammett's go-to overdrive. When the company's next offering, the No. 1 Overdrive ($200 street), showed up at the office we were intrigued, although perhaps a little blase. I mean, it's an overdrive pedal, right? We get it.

Well, it's fun to be surprised, because the No. 1 definitely has more going on than meets the eye. The original circuit features a combination of op-amp and MOSFET technology, and an interesting cascading gain structure that gives it a wide range of drive levels.

The four knobs and Hi/Lo switch seem simple enough, and in many ways they are. With the switch set to Lo and all the knobs at noon, the No. 1 produced a nice bump and gave the tone a pleasing fullness--like a warm boost. Inching up the Gain brought out more distortion, but it remained very transparent and natural. Switching over to Hi did what you would think--adding more grind and sustain. It's a very forgiving sound, and I didn't feel the need to mess with the Bass or Treble knobs much at all whether I plugged a Strat or a Les Paul into the No. 1, which was running into the clean channel of a Blackstar Artist 30 combo (see review on page 88). Cool!

Here's where things get interesting. The Bass knob does more than just govern low end. It also controls the gain of the second stage, for that cascading thing mentioned above. This might sound crazy, but it really works, and gives rise to a bunch of great sounds, contributing warm saturation and harmonics as you turn it up. …

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