I’d like to showcase two more pedals from the lovely Dan Drive Pedals. German based builder, Daniel Querner has been turning out some really fantastic boxes of tone for the consummate guitar tone aficionado - one of which I previously showcased on a Gearheads Feature…. DAN DRIVE ::: AUSTIN BLENDER ::: OCTAVE FUZZ, BOOST & BEYOND!
All of Dan’s pedals are vintage voiced circuits with modern appointments. Yet the inspiration is true and respectful while still looking forward towards creating new tones. The Secret Engine and Equilibrium both share those important qualities.
The Secret Engine is Dan Drive’s answer to the Hornby Skewes Zonk Machine, a very cool and very rare fuzz pedal from the 60’s. A rough and ragged fuzz tone very similar in design to the MKI Tonebender (cue the Rolling Stone’s Satisfaction) that envelopes as you play and creates an almost octave effect at times. It’s one of those beautifully disastrous tones… a sound all guitarists eventually find themselves seeking…. “The Amp Blowing Up” tone! One way or another, at the end of the day, all we want as guitarists is to blow up our amps. Why in the world!? Well, it’s because in that last guttural rattle of death there are sounds so different and amazing than one could ever produce when the amplifier is working normal.
The result of the gateway drug called “amplifier distortion”
The Zonk Machine itself came back into fashion quite fiercely from guitarist Doyle Bramhall II’s use of it all over his record “Rich Man”. It was the sound we all wanted and needed! Cut to a few years later and we have some really nice clones of these Zonk Machines available.
The Secret Engine itself while based and inspired by the Zonk Machine makes some changes to better suit the modern needs of the guitar. The Secret Engine is a fat, singing fuzz tone that can yield shades of octave-up tones. Controls being: Bias, Volume and a toggle for either a Midrange or Low End boost… you really can get a myriad of tones out of the box itself. I found that my favorite settings were pretty much cranking the volume, bias to taste and running the toggle (UP) in the MID setting. This gave me a really wide and juicy lead tone. It’s the kind of sagging drive you’d think of when hearing Neil Young or Daniel Lanois run their Tweed Deluxes really hard. Perfect for any thick lead tone you might want to sit nicely in a mix. In the demo below, that’s exactly how I used the Secret Engine!
The Equilibrium is essentially a hod-rod’d BC183 Fuzz Face. There’s a lot of control on this usually simple circuit… which for anyone trying to add a very finicky circuit like the Arbiter Fuzz Face can be very useful to tune each rig. The Fuzz Face itself has it’s limitations and if you’ve read any of my previous posts, I absolutely love those limitations. However, it’s still really nice to be able to fine tune when you need it.
The controls available on the Equilibrium are: Volume, Fuzz, Bias and Clean-Up. You also get 2 toggles that help dial in vintage volume or the Cesar Diaz mod to get the usually low output circuit to be boosted and a low cut option. All of these options really help to fine tune the pedal in a variety of rigs and situations. I found the Clean-Up control along with the low end cut to very useful when using humbuckers. I used that setting with my Gibson ES335TD in the demo below!
Both the Secret Engine and Equilibrium track wonderfully and sit perfect in a mix. You won’t have any issues being heard on stage or requiring a lot of post EQ work when recording.
In the demo below you can hear the Equilibrium on all the rhythm guitars and the Secret Engine on all the lead guitars. I’m using a Gibson ES335TD with MHS humbuckers and a Danocaster S Style with Rocketfire Total 60’s single coils. Amplifiers are a Two Rock Classic Reverb Signature and Marshall Origin 20H. Reverb and Delay are coming from the UA OX Box.
Follow these links to find out more about these pedals from Dan Drive!