Think you’ve got a stressful job? ThorpyFx was born when British Army Major Adrian Thorpe got into pedal building as respite from his role as an explosive ordnance disposal specialist. ‘Bomb-proof build quality’ has become a guitar journalism cliché, but the key distinction here is that Adrian actually knows a great deal more about bomb-proofing than your average effects builder, and this engineering insight has informed his R&D process.
Thanks to the combination of laser-etched stainless steel and purple chicken head knobs, the Gunshot is a seriously attractive unit, and it is tremendously robust too. The chunky, powder-coated baseplate offers kick protection for the knobs and the pedal as a whole is more compact than you might expect at 70 (w) x 145 (l) x 60mm (h). Pedaltrain users will be delighted to learn that it was designed to fit perfectly across two bars of a ’board.
The attention to detail is also apparent when you open the unit by unscrewing its quartet of small hex bolts. On a thick PCB with gold-plated component holes, you’ll find metalized polyfilm capacitors, a Burr Brown op amp, metal film resistors with a one per cent tolerance and built-in reverse polarity protection. These are specs usually reserved for high-end audio gear, and the off-board hardware is also premium, with dust-sealed potentiometers and a smooth- action, true bypass footswitch rated at many thousands of cycles. Power is via 9V battery or PSU.
The volume and tone pots are self-explanatory, but the key to unlocking this pedal’s potential comes from balancing two discrete gain stages, that are essentially stacked together, with the calibre cascading into the gain control. Winding up the gain introduces a TS-like mid-hump, while the calibre possesses more pronounced lows and highs, so the best results are yielded by balancing both to suit the voicing of your guitar and amp. Don’t be alarmed by crackling noises when adjusting the calibre – it works like a bias control, so this is entirely expected.
When you find the sweet spot, the Gunshot is hugely satisfying for everything from throaty 70s rock overdrive to creamy lead tones and even aggressive riff-rock, all with punch, articulation and harmonic content that evokes a high-quality, driven valve amp. There’s around 30dB on tap from each gain stage, so any PSU noise is likely to be amplified to a greater degree than it would with a unit such as the JRAD Archer, so look elsewhere for a transparent, low-gain boost.
PRICE £184.99 CONTACT www.thorpyfx.com