By Scott Auld
Don Rusk over at BearFoot sent us a Model HS to look at, and he wants to give it away to a lucky winner at TGP, too. This is a really neat pedal that fans of the three knob Model H were waiting on. The S stands for “sparkle.”
I played it into a clean Top Hat Deluxe for a while and it seemed to fit well in that midrangey-compressed distortion family where you’d get some Robben Ford type tones. It can do mild distortion all the way up to singing ringing distortion, but I really found my zone somewhere in the middle there. It gets very thick.
The next weekend I gigged it on my board, into a Tech21 SansAmp rig, direct to house, and used the HS in place of my normal “bring me up in the mix” overdrive pedal (not to name names, but it’s the pedal that I rely on for my Yin-Yang.) This pedal perfectly replaced that one, and had more versatility to boot. I felt like I had more options all night with the HS.
The HS is very quiet, there’s no unwanted hiss or hum when you’re not playing. I ran it into a Champ and somehow the HS makes the amp sound bigger … I’m really not sure what’s going on there but there you go. The amp sounded more Princeton-ish, fuller and wider.
The Model HS has five knobs, labeled V, D, T, Tr & S …. I’ve interpreted these to mean Volume, Drive, Tone, Treble and Sparkle. The Treble and Sparkle controls might appear to be overlapping in their function, but they’re really not. I tended to mentally think of the S knob as a Presence or “More Me” knob, giving the whole thing a more harmonic focus, while the Treble seemed more straightforward high-end. Don pointed out that the tone control gives you a similar variation as moving a mic around on a speaker. This is a really great analogy! You can control the sound character just like when you move where the microphone is in relationship to the speaker - either right up on it or a few feet away. The treble control matches your sound to the speakers themselves.
The pedal is like butter for your playing. It really smooths out legato phrasing and adds bite to staccato passages. Whoever wins this pedal is going to really love it. For additional information, visit the BearFoot website!