Seymour Duncan’s move from pickup maker to pedal pusher is gathering pace all the time, and this latest US-built box will be of interest to Tube Screamer aficionado.
The benefit of TS- or Boss Super Overdrive-style pedals (beyond the standard gain-boosting requirements) is the extra signal shaping they offer, allowing you to control the low end and mids more precisely. This in turn spawned a large modification industry for people who wanted the control, but felt that the basic pedals had tone-sucking properties and craved more clarity and versatility.
The Forza incorporates pretty much every permutation of these modded drives, with its three-band EQ, plus level and drive controls. Add in a true bypass and 9/18-volt operation and we are very interested to have a listen…
Plugged into a clean amp with all the controls set at 12 o’clock, we hear a well proportioned drive, similar to a quality modded TS. It’s very transparent – no lost low end or accentuated mid hump, though the top end is pleasantly controlled. If you do want an old school ‘treble-boost’ rasp, the level control can certainly give that, with its 37dB boost capability…
The gain and level controls provide a varied palette of usable tones on their own, but the three-band EQ is the ace in the hole. The controls for this are smaller and therefore protected against accidental knocks, and it’s gratifying to see that this is not a generic tone stack, but a cut and boost with centre detents and carefully chosen frequencies.
The bass (B) control offers +/- 11db at 90Hz, great for thickening up the low end or taming a rumbling cab. Meanwhile, mid (M) cuts and boosts at 750Hz – much friendlier on the ears than the default 1k of some tone stacks. Treble (T) is centred at 2.1Hz – more of a high mid than a treble control, but an ideal frequency to be able to manipulate, either boosted to slice through the mix, or cut to smooth out jagged edges, particularly on the treble strings. Interestingly, T allows a slightly increased 12dB cut or boost.
Whether used as a standalone drive, or as a booster for your amp, the Forza is going to satisfy. Its simple, well thought out design and fuss free operation will doubtless see it grace many a pedalboard.
Seymour Duncan Forza Overdrive
• PRICE £169
• DESCRIPTION Overdrive/boost pedal with onboard 3-band EQ. Made in USA
• CONTROLS Level, drive, bass, middle, treble
• FEATURES True bypass, 9V battery or 9/18V DC power
• DIMENSIONS 124 x 66 x 37mm
• CONTACT Rosetti on 01376 550033, www.seymourduncan.com