Overdrives are perhaps the hardest part of the whole tone building. You really need to find one that both sounds great to your ears and one that fits your rig. The Acid Burn Overdrive from YellowSquash promise to be a versatile alternative, suitable for a wide range of guitars and amps. Here’s my review.
As we discussed in the “Knowing which pedals to choose for your amp” feature, different amps require different pedals. An uncompressed, scooped Fender Twin often sound better with mids boosted and compressed pedals. On the other hand, a Marshall or Hiwatt might be easier to set up, with a wider range of pedals, although they often sound better with less compressed and slightly more scooped ones.
The Acid Burn might not be your typical Gilmour pedal. The name alone, might frighten off some players. I did a review of their Iron Fist compressor a while back and it’s truly one of the best compressors I’ve played. Naturally, I was eager to try their new overdrive.
The Acid Burn is housed in a MXR-ish box, nicely powder coated, with controls for tone, gain and volume. A fourth control, labeled “lean/fat”, allows you to fine tune that EQ stage. The pedal feature a bright led, 9V battery or Boss-style adapter powering and true bypass switching.
It’s hard to find any info on this pedal, but while it doesn’t really sound like anything specific, there’s a noticeable British character going on, with a fairly mild compression and a nice top end sizzle. Pedalwise, it’s close to a Powerbooster but there’s a lot more gain on tap and compared to a Powerbooster, the Acid Burn is easier to adjust for different pickups.
Paired with a clean amp and single coils, the Acid Burn cleans up nicely when you roll back the guitar volume. It is bright, and perhaps a tad too bright for some delicate ears, but the powerful tone control lets you roll off some of that top end, without compromising the attack and presence. This can be further adjusted by adding some low boost and top cut, with the lean/fat control.
As you can hear on the review clip, the Acid Burn has a nice chime and bite with single coils. It has no problem cutting through and the attack and dynamics are very impressive. It responds incredibly well to your playing and let’s you alternate your picking for less or more gain.
With humbuckers, the Acid Burn gets more of that amp-like growl. Again, the lean/fat control makes the pedal very versatile and a bit of low end cut makes a huge difference, bringing out more of that top end presence. Naturally, with higher output pickups, you’ll lose some of the headroom but with the gain set low, you can get some really nice boost even with humbuckers.
So, where does that puts us amp-wise? The Acid Burn sounds great on all the amps I tried and although it did quite well with the scooped Fender, it did sound better on amps with more compression and mids.
As I said, the Acid Burn might not be your typical Gilmour pedal but as you can hear from the review clip, it does those late 70s overdrive tones perfectly. A Powerbooster can be a challenge on smaller amps and bedroom setups and the Acid Burn is an excellent choice for similar tones but a bit more compression and mids.
I really don’t have any major concerns here. The Acid Burn, like the Iron Fist, is extremely quiet and it works well in combinations with other pedals. Both alone and as a booster. Personally I prefer a tone control that doesn’t just open up everything past noon but rather adds a tad more compression. The gain also gets slightly fizzy if you turn it up all the way but that’s pretty much the nature of most overdrives with this wide gain range.
It always cool to play a pedal that doesn’t sound like a thousand others. The Acid Burn is capable of a wide range of tones and, as mentioned, it works especially well on smaller amps and bedroom setups for those classic, transparent overdrive tones.