The Klon attracts interest and attention of guitarists like a lightning rod. I get everything from amazement at seeing one in person, to questions about what’s the big silver pedal in the middle? Even if you haven’t seen or used one before, its easy to tell the Klon is something special just looking at the giant sculpted enclosure and unique maroon/brown knobs.
In this article I’ll take some time to describe not only what the Klon does, and why, but to offer some new ways to use it.
The Klon is described by the maker, Bill Finnegan, as a “professional overdrive”, and that is a great way of describing it. Playing through the Klon is like piloting the stealth bomber… a skilled professional will love the responsiveness and detail, and an amateur or bedroom player will crash (and probably trash the pedal online because they don’t get it!). It is a beautiful sounding overdrive that can be used for its own mild distortion tone, as a clean boost, or to push an already busted up amp into full burn.
Secret Use #1: The special thing about the Klon, though, is the buffer. It has a buffer in it that improves the tone of the guitar even when it’s off. Your clean tone will benefit by just having the Klon in line.
I’m personally not a big fan of the sound of cranked amps, so I use clean amps (blackface Fender amps) and use pedals for dirty sounds. My favorite Klon settings are Gain-2 o’clock, Treble-1 o’clock, and Output 10-o’clock. For electric guitar, I use the Klon as my solo boost, making the sound dirtier, and as loud as I want. One of the secrets of the Klon is that it also makes the guitar more “present”. It’s almost as if the sound is coming from in front of the amp, instead of inside it. It has a way of pushing the sound forward and out that I love for cutting through mixes.
Secret Use #2: I know you are probably wondering what the real Secret use is… and I’ll bet I’m the only player alive doing this with a Klon. I’m using it for my…
Acoustic rig. Crazy, right?
This pedal will work beautifully at giving an overdriven lead tone through the PA with either an acoustic guitar, or a piezo-equipped electric. I believe the tone of the buffer, even with the pedal off, gives a more appealing sound into the PA and solves some of the high end problems that amplified acoustic can have. Personally, for acoustic gigs I use an amazing James Trussart electric guitar (www.jamestrussart.com, check me out on the Artist page), which is made of hollow steel, and has a piezo system in the bridge. Not only does this guitar sound stunning in every scenario, but the acoustic sound is second to none, and with the Klon straight in the PA with the piezo, it also gives up a gorgeous dirty tone that adds a whole extra dimension to my acoustic shows without having to bring an amp!!
Super Secret Bonus Use: It even sounds good for overdriving a BASS!
Keep an eye out for my full pedalboard review coming soon!