With his pedals meticulously handcrafted in the German city of Bremen and an Instagram-only approach to marketing, Daniel Querner has curated quite the following for his eponymous brand DanDrive. His range of effects are based on vintage fuzz circuits but sport a couple of contemporary twists, such as mains-power compatibility and pedalboard-friendly top-mounted jacks.
They’re built using carefully sourced new and NOS components, and come wrapped in a choice of eye-catching graphics and tactile covers, which include cloth, lacquered tweed and relic’d metal. Querner’s attention to detail even extends to the pedals’ matching cloth-covered circuit boards on the inside.
The Austin Pride is a faithful recreation of the classic Fuzz Face circuit with some intriguing alterations. Alongside the usual level and fuzz knobs are controls for the bias of the transistors and an interesting ‘clean-up’ control. The mini switches next to the footswitch are perhaps the most interesting feature, as they allow you to switch the circuit’s transistors between military-spec OC75-equivalent CV2N1308 germanium units and gain-matched silicon NTE123AP ones.
Great care has been taken to ensure than the gain structures of the transistor types match up, allowing for balanced use of either germanium or silicon, or combinations thereof to sculpt your desired tone. Despite our concerns about the fragility and placement of these mini-switches near the stomping zone, we’re assured that the design is thoroughly robust and has been road-tested.
After plugging a ’63 rosewood ’board Strat into a cleanish Blackface amp with the pedal’s level maxed, the fuzz control rolled back a bit and bias set to taste, we’re met with a fantastically authentic Fuzz Face experience. Thick and warm germanium fuzz, rich and enveloping sustain, and blurry-edged single notes and chords are coupled with the beautiful sparkly clean-up we associate with the best of these circuits.
If this was everything the Austin Pride had to offer, we’d be mightily impressed – but there’s more fun to be had here. Switching both transistors to silicon gives the fuzz voice more midrange authority, note articulation and definition, and a tighter low end – it’s perfect for cutting through a mix. Switching one transistor back to germanium reveals a best-of-both-worlds tone that has all the sonic benefits of both transistor varieties.
Some fuzz pedals are notoriously difficult to integrate with your rig. The Austin Pride, however, is spectacular in its versatility. Single-coils, P-90s, PAFs, clean amps, an overdriven tweed combo – the DanDrive unit ingratiates itself like an intern at a free bar. The clean-up control in particular helps temper aggression and cut, with a dynamic midrange that could complement any guitar and amp – it’s a huge bonus for gigging guitarists who may share a backline.
With its clever circuit tweaks, pedalboard-friendly size and power options, phenomenal tonal range and some of the coolest cosmetics we’ve seen in years, DanDrive has produced a pedal to be proud of, whether you hail from Texas or not.
- PRICE €339 + €10/20 (depending on cosmetic options)
- DESCRIPTION Fuzz pedal, made in Germany
- CONTROLS Level, fuzz, clean-up, bias, 2x mini-toggle switches to select germanium or silicon transistors, or one of each
- FEATURES Custom cloth covering, true-bypass switching, powered by either a battery or a 9V power supply (DC 2.1mm centre negative adaptor)
- DIMENSIONS 121 x 64 x 55mm
- CONTACT atbguitars.com | Instagram @dandrivepedal