Cornerstone Gladio SC review: The most pedalboard-friendly Dumble pedal around?

Attempting to prove that Italians don’t just make the best sports cars and the best food, Cornerstone’s latest pedal aims to put the Gladio’s Dumble-inspired preamp in a format that will work on even the smallest of boards.

Cornerstone Gladio SC
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Review Overview

Our rating


Our verdict

All the high-class tones of the original in a more compact format, and that Clean control makes this a hugely versatile pedal to boot.

We have fond memories of our time with the glorious Cornerstone Gladio Dual Preamp and its impressive Dumble-inspired tones, and so this scaled-down single-channel version was sure to catch our eye.

Each Cornerstone pedal is hand-built in Italy, and it looks lovingly made, with its elegant aluminium finish nodding subtly to the late Alexander Dumble’s much hyped creations. As you’d expect at this level we have a true bypass footswitch, and with top-mounted jacks and a roughly compact-pedal size case, the Gladio SC is far more pedalboard friendly than its larger sibling.

Whilst the volume, tone and gain controls will be familiar to those who know the original Gladio, it’s the inclusion of one new control labelled ‘Clean’ that is central to the Gladio SC’s impressive versatility.

The Clean control mixes in your clean signal (which is taken at the pedal’s input and mixed back in with the overdriven signal at the output) with the overdrive, giving the impression of a multi amp setup.

In use

Plugging in our rosewood ‘board Strat into a Deluxe Reverb set cleanish, stepping on the Gladio SC immediately reminds us of the superb complex overdriven lead tones we so loved in the original Gladio dual pedal. Touch sensitive, harmonically rich sustain accompanies impressive note clarity even in complex chords and fast runs gives a wonderfully liquid feeling under the fingers.

Although technically not a ‘preamp’, playing through a Gladio SC completes the remarkable trick of making your clean amp feel like you’re playing through a completely different amp. The Clean control here is a game changer, dialing a 50/50 clean/over driven spilt, suddenly our (Robben) Ford becomes a (Texas) Flood.

Big, bold, punchy note attack is restored with the clean blend, allied to the sweet sustain and compression of the overdrive gives us a tone that’s so Texas, you’d be tempted to look down to check you’re not wearing cowboy boots.

Judicious use of Clean control allows easier integration into your existing setup in a subtler way if desired, vastly increasing the pedals usefulness and versatility with a range of differing guitar and amp setups.

Not only do we admire the Gladio SC’s high-end looks and sophisticated sounds, we are hugely impressed by its outstanding chameleon-like ability to go from spot on SRV to Robben Ford tones at the twist of a couple of stylish knobs.

If you don’t have a spare 100 grand knocking around for a genuine Dumble, finding space on your board for one of these finely crafted tone machines is a sure-fire way to get you that tone – just ask Robben Ford, who has recently added one to his own board.

Key Features

  • PRICE €279
  • DESCRIPTION Single-channel overdrive pedal, made in Italy
  • CONTROLS Independent gain, volume, tone and Clean controls, comp switch, internal trimmer to adjust low end response
  • FEATURES True-bypass switching, powered by 9V power supply only (DC 2.1mm centre negative adaptor) current consumption 60mA
  • DIMENSIONS 122 x 67 x 39.5 mm
  • CONTACT cornerstonegear.it

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