Finding the right overdrive can seem like an almost impossible task. It’s often either too bright or too dark or, it lacks the needed mid range to be able to cut through a band mix. It always depends on the amp and in many cases, going for the old trusted circuits can pay off. Vick Audio recently released the Mount Pleasant Overdrive. Here’s my review.
For years I used typically mids scooped overdrives like the Powerbooster and Tube Driver. I still use them but as I’ve gone from exclusively using Hiwatt-type amps to more scooped and less compressed amps, I realised that I also had to expand the overdrive collection to be able to produce the same tones on different sounding amps.
I’ve been a fan of Vick Audio for years. Mike always comes up with new takes on classic designs that, at least for me, solve a lot of issues. His Tree of Life and ’73 Ram’s Head in particular has been staples in my touring and recording rig ever since I got them.
Mount Pleasant is based on the Marshall Bluesbreaker tones. You know that old amp made famous by THAT blues guitarist on THAT album. Marshall also did a pedal based on that amp but some of the complaints was that it had too little gain, too much brightness and not enough output on lower gain settings.
So how does David Gilmour fit into all of this? Well, the Tube Driver, which has been David’s main overdrive unit since the early 90s is loosely based on those early Marshall amps and the JTM and Bluesbreaker in particular. It’s certainly not a Marshall in a box but it has much of the same amp-like qualities and a bit of that raw, untamed breakup known to these amps.
One issue with the Tube Driver is that it doesn’t have enough mid range and compression to fit all amps. Pairing it with Fender, Vox and other typically scooped amps, often makes it sound harsh and thin. Same goes for bedrooms setups.
The Mount Pleasant has the mid range and compression you need to get smooth tones no matter what amp you pair it with. And, it sounds great on low volume and bedroom setups too. A 3-way toggle allows you to switch between flat or two different high end cuts for bright amps. It makes the pedal blend better and easier to tame.
Compared to similar pedals, the Mount Pleasant works great as a clean booster too. Set the volume at around 75% and roll back the gain for a nice and fat boost that works great for fattening up cleans or a thin sounding overdrive.
This is not a distortion pedal but with the gain all the way up you can get some pretty heavy sounds for humbucker riffs or for replicating David’s solos on Have a Cigar, What Do You Want From Me, Rattle That Lock and similar.
The only thing I can put my finger on is that I would like a bit more low end. Too much can often create some flabby bass frequencies but some amps needs a bit of boost in that range.
Other than that, I think Vick Audio nailed it once again. The Mount Pleasant is a versatile overdrive suitable for any amp, stage and bedroom setups and a great alternative for those current Gilmour overdrive tones we all search for.
See vickaudio.com for more details.