• BK Butler Tube Driver review

    Review updated 4 January 2009

    David is often associated with his lead tones but he’s a master creating the sweetest overdrive tones too. Ever since 1994’s Division Bell he’s been using the Tube Driver as his main overdrive unit and it’s been one of my favourites for the last couple of years.

    The classic Colorsound Power Boost was David’s main overdrive unit in the 70’s and after some experimentation with different units in the 80’s he settled with the Tube Driver during the Division Bell sessions in 1993-94. The pedal was also an essential part of his tones on 2006 On an Island album an tour.

    The Colorsound Power Boost and Tube Driver are very similar, which may be one of the reasons why David chose the Tube Driver. They both got that powerful transparent tone with thundering lows and a crisp top. The main difference is the dynamics and warmth you’ll get from the tube in the Tube Driver but my experience is that with the gain all the way up the Colorsound manages to stay more focused and compressed. David uses two Tube Drivers in his rig but you could easily substitute one of them with a Power Boost for a hint of that vintage flavour.

    The Chandler Tube Driver (in David’s rig from 1993-2006) has a slightly warmer tone than the new BK Butler model (in David’s rig from 2006). Tonewise, I would perhaps place the Chandler somewhere between a Tube Screamer and a BK Tube Driver. The BK has a bit more presence and a generally more aggressive tone, although this can to some extent be “controlled” by replacing the stock tube.

    The 2006 BK model is delivered with a 12AX7 tube which is a bit too aggressive for my taste. It depends on what tone you’re looking for but it has a very narrow clean response and it can be a bit boomy as well. I replaced the 12AX7 with a 12AU7 (JJ Electronic) for an overall warmer tone with more compression and a much wider range from powerful clean volume boost to soaring overdrive.

    – This a clip of my band Airbag and the song Prelude. I’m using my black Strat with CS69 pickups > Gollmer Composus > BK Tube Driver > Boss DD2 > Sound City amp.
    Check out Airbag’s Youtube Channel.

    Keep in mind that if you do decide to replace the 12AX7 tube you should give the pedal some time to break in. All tubes, whether it’s your amp or a pedal, need some time before they reach their potential so don’t freak out if the 12AX7 blows your head off the first time you try it. Likewise, expect the 12AU7 to sound a bit muffled at first before it breaks in and “opens up” nicely.

    The Tube Driver is designed for bigger tube amps so if you’re mostly playing at home on a smaller rig or transistor amps I’d go for something a bit more versatile like a Boss BD-2 or Ibanez/Maxon Tube Screamer.

    The BK Tube Driver is an excellent overdrive ideal David’s 70’s and present tones although I have no trouble getting great PULSE tones as well. It also works extremely well as a booster for the more demanding distortions like the Big Muff.

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293 Responsesso far.

  1. Julia Dzelil says:

    Just pulled the trigger on a brand new BK Butler Tube Overdrive with bias knob (Gilly, Johnson, Satch) – will run it through a Marshall 2203 and Fender Super Reverb and report back!

  2. Julia Dzelil says:

    I checked out the songs on albums that you suggested, sounds lovely – thank you, it sounds like a Butler/Chandler being used as a “Boost” on every tune, but not as a :”Drive” – could “Sorrow” (not the intro) in the below YouTube link (Fender 50th Anniversary) be the Butler being used as a “Drive” – if not, what do you think it is (Muff?), it is super lovely – must achieve that tone/sound! Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      I’d have to check my archives but I believe he used a Pete Cornish G2 for that, with some compression and delay. The G2 is loosely based on the Rat.

  3. Julia Dzelil says:

    Trying to get my brain to hear the BK Butler Tube Driver sound — is it used on “Sorrow” live in concert [Fender 50th Anniversary Show]? Not the intro part, which is a Big Muff, but later in the song where the solos pop-out that are creamy and buttery and less distorted than the intro? If it is the Butler, is the Butler being used as a Boost or as a Drive (I know that Gilmour uses 2 boxes, 1 box for each use), I would think as a Drive but want to verify. If so, that is an amazingly sweet tone! Please let me know, so that I can spend $330 on a new Butler with a bias knob and grab a Yugo tube!

    • Bjorn says:

      I think the best references for the Tube Driver is the Division Bell album. The pedal is all over songs like Coming Back to Life, Weraing the Inside Out etc. Check out songs like Castellorison, The Blue, recent live versions of Shine On You Crazy Diamonds as well.

  4. Julia Dzelil says:

    Hi Bjorn, I am in the market for a Butler Tube Overdrive but am worried about laying down $300 for a new one — do you have any idea whether a 2021 model will sound as nice as the 2006 or even 1980s versions (I notice that the older versions seem to command $500+ on Reverb.com and am wondering if it is due to any superior sonic quality or simply because they are considered vintage)? I also hear that the new model with the variable bias knob is noisy, any idea whether this is true? Thank you again for a terrific site!

    • Bjorn says:

      As far as I know, the current BKs are identical to the 2006 version. Compared to earlier versions, including the Chandler David Gilmour used in the 90s, the 2006 has less mid range and an overall brighter and a more open tone. Less compressed and perhaps a bit more raw. Depends on what you’re looking for. The Tube Driver do have some slight hiss but that seem to be the nature of the pedal and its cirquit.

  5. Neil Slade says:

    You MUST put a buffer pedal (on or off) in front of the Tube Driver, Blue Tube, to get rid of the hum. It’s as simple as that. It was a while before I discovered that– once you do that, it’s as quiet as any other OD.

  6. Rob Mika says:

    Hi Bjorn, took your advice and replaced the stock 12AX7 with a NOS RCA 1960s 12AU7. Wow what a nice transformation. Such juicy tone and only $19. So glad you shared this great upgrade!
    Thanks, Rob

  7. Nathan says:

    I like to use mine as an always-on clean boost. Which has helped me find a great trick for playing my high powered amp and demanding pedals at bedroom levels. I set my tube driver with the volume at max and the gain at the last click before any overdrive is audible (pretty much right at 8:00). Then I found by turning the volume back to 4 or 5 I can play at bedroom level and still retain the character of my amps and my Big Muff and Sun Face. I’ve got an Alembic F2B and a Mesa/Boogie Simul295 power amp and I can play while my girlfriend sleeps and still sound good!

  8. Marc says:

    I used to have the Rack mount version back in the late 80’s and into the 1990’s. I used a strat with EMS S pickups and a James Tyler mid boost onboard the strat. I used to run a Rat pedal in front of the Tube Driver for some great rockin’ tones. I just bought a 3knob version that I saw on Eric Johnson’s Pedal Board and the Tube was shot. Terrible mosquito thin tone. I replaced it with a NOS 5751 tube. This is my favorite tube so far. I’ll be running along side a Kelley. Modified Ibanez TS-9 tubescreammer and into a DRRI Fender Deluxe with a G12-H 30 speaker. My opinion after many years is, It lives up to the hype. Well made and real tube tone into a tube amp. It’s better for Soloing than crunch power cords but it’s a keeper!

  9. Daniel says:

    I’ve had mine for years and never got along with it, but I’m going to bust her out again as I have some very different amps to try her out with. I cannot find any info on this but does it have an active or passive EQ? Can I boost and cut the hi’s and lows? And if so, would that make the 12 o’clock position basically a dimed out hi and low setting on a passive EQ? Thanks for your help.

  10. Gabriel Tate says:

    I would never have bought my BK Butler tube driver if i had know it hum so bad. I have the buffalo power boost, 76 and patriot muffs and a prototype 6.6.6 Fuzz pedal he made. know im wondering to get the Evolution or TDX to replace it.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve never had any issues with my BKs. Are you sure it’s powered properly? Have you tried to take it out of the board and plug straight into it? Keep in mind that gain pedals, like the Tube Driver, can amplify hum that’s coming from a different pedal or power source.

      • Gabriel Tate says:

        To bed we cant do pictures.

        • Bjorn says:

          You can send me a pick of the pedal and your board here post(at)gilmourish.com.

          • Gabriel Tate says:

            I meant “to bad” not to bed. I cant remember if its with the tube or the overall gain.

            I also replace the tube with the Genalex Gold Lion 12AU7 Tube.

            • Bjorn says:

              OK, hard to tell but I would check the pedalboard to see if the TD are amplifying the noise from any of the other pedals.

      • Eddie T says:

        If I can throw my 2 cents in on the topic , the same happened to me when I first started to experiment with the BK Butler ,and with some research I was able to eliminate the humming with iso power , voodoo lab pedal power 2 plus . Also check that you have good cables and plugs in your rig as all the little things that do not have any thing to do with the knobs or settings make a huge difference . Also the emg dg-20 pickups are dead silent . Just some ideas , hope it helps ?

  11. Calvin says:

    Im new to posting, and I may be way out in left field-I have a B K Butler Tube Works TD 752 ES, that I want to replace the resistors and caps in, and I have scoured the internet looking for a schematic, to no avail-can you point me the right direction?
    Thanks much-

  12. Renata says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I have a Real Tube from Tube Works, designed by B.K. Butler.
    Do you you think this pedal is similar to Tube Driver? It has 3 eq controls. Do you know how to set the eq controls to make it similar to TD? Thank you!

  13. Laurent Bouchara says:

    Hi Bjorn! I finally replaced the stock 12AX7 in my 2015 Tube Drver with one 12AU7, the one with gold contacts (JJ Electronic)… What a great difference it makes! The sound is far better, warmer, no more agressive as it used to be sometimes with the original tube. I whish I had followed your advide sooner :)


  14. Eddie says:

    Bjorn ,

    If this is the case with the tube driver working better on larger amplifiers , would the JHS Bonsai paired with the Muffuletta fair well for smaller amps (Boss Katana ) for Division bell tone ..? Also I have the pulp N peel and Charlie brown set up currently , emg dg 20 strat .

    • Bjorn says:

      I think tube pedals work best with tube amps. They interact better.

      • Eddie says:

        Thank you !

      • Eddie says:


        If you had to choose , in what order would you place the following pedals into a Boss Katana 50 for pulse tone . JHS – Pulp n peel , muffuletta , charlie brown v4 .? (emg dg20) Also , during the second solo in “coming back to life ” it appears that it may be played closer to the bridge position than the neck . Curious to get your take on this

  15. Dave says:

    Evening bjorn. Have heard about the bk butler having issues playing with other pedals – something to do with impedance etc?? How would you assume it would work within a loop? Eg if I ran my compressor into fuzz outside the loop and then the bk butler as the first loop switch. Would this work ok? Other pedals within the loop would include a mistress, polychorus TC flashback and hof..
    appreciate any advice :)

    • Bjorn says:

      I’m no expert on the technical stuff so if you want a good answer on impedance issues you might go to a more specialised forum. I have noticed some issues with the TD. It doesn’t like buffered pedals and some digital ones, mainly processors and delays, can make the pedal sound brighter and less smooth. I like to have mine with true bypass pedals only or at least with buffered pedals like Boss as far away in the stream as possible. It’s not as noticeable as with germanium fuzz but you can definitely hear some change in the character of the pedal depending on what you place next to it.

  16. Lee says:

    Great pedal for a screaming solo or some other additions. However the distortion for a power chord sucks. Open chords with some boost sounds good. I can switch over to the EVH 5150 15 watt, and the power chords and distortion blows the doors off this pedal. I guess it is a personal preference or people who want to spend hours trying to imitate Eric Johnson.

    • Bjorn says:

      It all depends on what amp you use. The Tube Driver can sound muddy on the “wrong” amp but open and dynamic on others.

  17. Tony says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    What would you say the fundamental sonic/tonal difference you observe by between David’s 80’s Chandler/Butler and the current BK Buter Tube Driver, and also will both get that huge tone on the second solo of On An Island on Gdansk, or is the newer one more suited to this?

    The reason I ask is because I own the 80’s model, but am considering adding the newer one alongside it and wonder I would notice enough difference to make it worth the $, or how well they’d stack together?

    Also it looks like David is running the BK before the Chandler, is this correct?

    Thanks in advance.

    • Bjorn says:

      The Chandler is set for high gain or distortion it can be combined with one of the other units. The Chandler and BK is very similar so you would have to a/b test them to really hear the difference but the BK has a bit more gain, low end and top end I think. The Chandler is slightly more tamed, if that makes sense. Again, they’re very similar and can easily be used to cover the same tones.

  18. Romain says:

    Hi bjorn, do you think i can use it easier in my bedroom ? It won’t make a lot of noise ? I have a marshall code 25

  19. Tim says:

    What would you consider a budget friendly alternative to the BK Butler? Thanks ( I know others won’t sound quite as sweet).

    • Bjorn says:

      Although not identical, I would go for either a Hutsle Drive or Blues Mood from Mooer. Both sound great and they can nail that Tube Driver tone.

  20. Carl says:

    Hi Bjorn, I’m having a lot of trouble getting what i feel i should expect rom my Tube Driver after my fuzz. It seems to just compress everything get muddy and cut off the top end. I really like it by itself but it sounds like crap with the fuzz. I set the gain on the tube driver very low and the output just above unity. My chain is: Guitar > Sunface BC109 > BK Butler Tube Driver w/ Bias > Line 6 m13 > Hiwatt Custom 20 set just before break up. Should i go for a colorsound Power Boost or is there something i’m doing wrong?

    Thanks for all the great info through the years!

    • Carl says:

      I forgot to mention that i use a weber speaker motor attenuator to achieve the cranked amp tones into a single 12 oversized cab. Everything sounds amazing especially the bc109 but the 2 drives mixed don’t seem to work.

      Thanks again!

    • Bjorn says:

      Could be a number of reasons. A dark and muddy tone is often the result of too much gain, compression and mid range. How does the fuzz sound alone? What’s your amp settings?

      • Carl says:

        My amp settings are usually bass mid and treble all the way up unless things get muddy then ill pull some bass out. Its a passive eq that only cuts frequencies and is flat when all the way up. The clean is great, fuzz sounds great alone and the tube driver sounds great alone. I use the Line 6 bandpass boost sometimes boosting around 800hz which can sound great for solos. I guess i just don’t want to feel like i wasted $250 on the TD.


        • Bjorn says:

          I’d back off the mids and bass a bit, keep the treble around 30-40% and add a bit of presence to open up the tone. Based on your settings alone, it seems that you’re decreasing the headroom of your amp so that may be the reason why get muddy tones. See this feature for some amp setup tips. The Tube Driver is an excellent overdrive unit but it doesn’t always work as a booster. It depends on the amp setting and what pedals you use with it.

      • Carl says:

        I just used this at a show last night. I kept the amp very very clean. Bass Mid And treble all the way up as its only a reductive EQ. The EQ is flat when fully clockwise. The fuzz sounds fantastic and is my favorite pedal of all time at this point. When i added the TD for solos it seemed to drop in volume, lost clarity but added a ton of sustain. The TD settings are, OUT just below 3 o clock, TREB 1 o clock, Bass 11 o clock and DRIVE is one click below 9 o clock. I’m not really adding much gain. Should I change the tube? I still have what I believe is the original installed.

        • Bjorn says:

          See my previous reply. It’s nothing wrong with your TD it’s just the combination of the compression and mid range that’s going on in your chain. Keep in mind that although the amp EQ is passive, keeping the bass all the way up creates a lot of compression because the amp is working harder. Add the TD on top of that and you get a massive compression going on. Try to balance the EQ a bit and open up the tone.

  21. Regarding the BK Butler Tube Driver: Do you know what the bias knob does as you take it from 1 to 10? Does it make the sound smoother as you go towards the + sign (towards 10)?

    • Bjorn says:

      Rolling it back makes the pedal milder, with more headroom. Increasing it, makes the Tube Driver sound more saturated, with more gain and less headroom.

  22. mikealex says:

    1. Advise the most versatile overdrive pedal for Gilmour sound (for indoor amplifier):
    ProCo Rat, Marshall BB-2, Boss BD-2, Dumble Drive, Ibanez TS9 ?
    2. What are 5 pedals advise to put in a Pedalboard:
    Wah, Comp, Fuzz (Germanium/Silicon?), Distortion, EQ, Flanger, Delay?

    Thank You.
    P.S. Sorry for my English, I’m from Russia.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi! Check out this feature for some tips on choosing the right pedals for your type of amp. Let me know if you still need any help after reading that :)

      • mikealex says:

        Bjorn, I have a small tube amplifier for a room (12AX7, 12 Watts).

        Questions are still valid.

      • mikealex says:

        Bjorn, I read the article and found the answer to Question â„–1. Well laid out, Thanks Bjorn)
        I have a Strat and a small tube amplifier with a button to High/Cut midrange. That’s right, I realized that for me to be a more versatile pedal TS or RAT. Amplifier me give clean rhythm, and TS / RAT legible solo?

        Question â„–2 is still valid! I have a small pedal board, where you can place only 5 pedals. Which is preferable for the pedal sound Gilmore – Wah, Comp, Fuzz (Germanium / Silicon?), Overdrive, Distortion, EQ, Flanger, Delay?

        • Bjorn says:

          I’d start with a minimum of one overdrive, distortion and a delay. That will get you far. Check out the Mooer pedals, like the Hustle Drive or Blues Mood for overdrive, Black Secret for distortion and the Recoil for delays. For modulation, I’d go for Mooer’s Phase 90 and ElecLady.

  23. PHILLIP MIER says:


  24. PHILLIP R. MIER says:


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Phillip! Thanks for your kind words :) I haven’t tried the TD amp so I can’t really tell. I would imagine, and based on what I’ve read, that the amp is somewhat similar to the pedal. Kind of an early Marshall. Again, I haven’t tried it and there were a lot of different versions of this pedal in the 90s, so it could be anything really.

  25. Henryk says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I have one more question that is coming back. You use Tube Driver and also the Pig Hoof. Do they substitute each other or each has a different sound and a purpose?
    Thank you!

    • Bjorn says:

      The Tube Driver is an overdrive, with a tone similar to the early Marshall amps. Very amp-like, fairly scooped and the gain ranges from clean to creamy overdrive and near distortion. The Pig Hoof is a Big Muff, which has a different tone alltogether. Much more gain and low end. You can make the Tube Driver sound like a lead pedal but you can’t make the Pig Hoof sound like a clean booster or overdrive. They cover different sounds and applications.

  26. Henryk says:

    Bjorn, thank you so much!

  27. Henryk says:

    Thank you Bjorn,
    I have Tube Driver. I was thinking to get Wampler Plexi Drive to emulate Marshall sound – to set it up kind of dark on on the edge of break or light crunch and run similar way Eric Johnson runs his Marshall.
    So my set up would be:
    Strat => compressor => Tube Driver => Wampler Plexi Drive (setup dark) => Delay(s) => reverb => Fender Deluxe Reverb Reissue (also setup dark).
    Maybe this would get me closer to the sound.
    Buffalo FX Evolution sounds huge in the demos I heard.
    Thank you once again,

    P.S. I love your new album, the spirit of Pink Floyd is alive!

  28. Henryk says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    This question may not be exactly on David Gilmour’s sound but on the sound that I try to get and I know it is possible to do using Butler Tube Driver.
    I would love to obtain this singing violin sound, something like Eric Johnson gets. I own Butler Tube Driver, what else do you think I would need and how to connect pedals and amp to get this violin like sound?
    Thank you, I greatly appreciate your advice.

    • Bjorn says:

      What amp and guitar do you have?

      • Henryk says:

        Hi Bjorn,
        I have Fender Deluxe Reverb reissue

        • Bjorn says:

          He’s mostly using Marshall amps, which have lots of mid range and compression, which is crucial for the tones he’s getting. He’s also using quite dark amp and pedal settings and often stack pedals. The Deluxe might not be the best choice for EJ’s tones but with a bit of tweaking, increasing the mids and lowering the treble, you should be able to get something similar. As for the pedals. I think a Tube Driver would be too bright for the amp. The Buffalo FX TD-X has a darker tone, with a tad more mids and it might work. You might also want to check out the Buffalo FX Evolution, which, with the right settings, sounds very much like a Tube Driver stacked with a fuzz.

          • Henryk says:

            Bjornm, do you think I need to crank up the amp to get some saturation from the power end of the Fender Deluxe Reverb?
            Deluxe has only one clean channel.
            Thank you,

  29. Gerry in LA says:

    Thank you for your response and observation on the fact that Bonamassa would probably look for a less compressed tone than DG. I’m playing through a Reeves 12 PS, into a 212 Fane Classic 50-loaded cabinet and tubes are (2)Tunsgram EL84 + (1) Mullard (Blackburn) 12AX7. I placed an NOS Amperex 12AT7 in the 911 Toneworks pedal and it def smoothed-out the gain. I just need to decide if I stay with this version of the TD or pass on it and go for the current BK Butler version……………………or try the TD-x or Dover pedals. Oh man.

  30. Gerard Smulevich says:

    Bjorn : I’m testing a 2002 Tubeworks 911 four knob “made in Taiwan” version of the TD. I placed an Amperex 12AT7 in it and I must say it sounds very smooth. I also saw a post by Joe Bonamassa where he says that this version of the TD is his favorite. I know Kit Rae says it’s inferior, different circuit, not the “real deal” etc. I’m not sure if I should buy this version or look for a post 2007 4 Yellow BK reissue version. What’s your take on the Made in Taiwan 911 TD?

    • Bjorn says:

      It depends on what tones you’re looking for. A Tube Driver, regardless of brand or year, sounds very much like a Tube Driver but, obviously, there are some tonal varations within that strinking similarity. It’s been some time since I tried the 911s but if my memory serves me correctly, they have less headroom and compression, which I’m sure fits Bonamassa’s setup perfectly but it might not be ideal for David’s tones. But, it depends on what amp and pickups you’re using. And, I guess, what tube. A Hiwatt will need a smoother sounding unit, while a Marshall can handle a more aggressive, less compressed one. I’m using Buffalo TD-Xs now because my Laney Lionheart doesn’t go as well with the 2006 BK Butler.

      • Gerry in LA says:

        Bjorn, also on this topic: Do you know what tonal differences exist between the mid to late 1990’s Tube Works/ BK Butler USA version (4 black knobs) and the current post 2007 version (yellow knobs)? i’ve found that they can be found for the exact same price

  31. Chad from Dallas says:

    I am looking at possibly purchasing a Tube Driver. I know there are many versions and some are considered much better than others. I have come across a very good priced one, but am not sure of the model. It is the tan with black print and says in the print Tube Driver, Made in the USA by BK Butler. It also says Tube Works at the bottom. It has the 4 knobs not 3. I am thinking it is a 911 version. If so, is that a good model. I hope it is.

    Thank you!!

  32. lucas says:

    Hi bjorn, i ve got a question, do you know which frecuencies enhaces the hi and low pots on the 90s tube driver and whiches are cuted by the capacitors in the circuit

  33. Jaime says:

    Hey there Bjorn

    I’m trying to get the tone quack of another brick in the wall 1 and 2. When he’s playing in between bridge and middle position. I have a boss c2 compression and a 86 boogie studio 22 with a alnico speaker, and of course a 69 strat with d Allen 69 voodoos. What more do I need to dial it in correctly thanks.

    • Bjorn says:

      The album version was recorded and then rerecorded by feeding the signal from an amp into a mic. This will give you a very distinct attack, which can be hard to replicate. On the live versions, he’s also using the pick to create some percussive notes, almost scratching the strings. You don’t really need anything specific to achieve this, other than casually hitting the strings with your pick, while muting the strings on the neck.

  34. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, regarding getting the right tone, etc. out of Butler Tube Driver, you mentioned that it needs powerful amp cranked up which is not very convenient in home studios. I already have a 100 watt Carvin XV-212 amp which I ended up not using since I bought my 15w Laney Cub. Do you think using a load box like Palmer PGA-04 or Messa Cab Clone allows getting all power tubes running hot to get that sound without shaking the foundation of the house? Did you bother changing the chip or input resistor?
    How do you deal with buffer issue? Do you have it in the bypass loop? Do you use buffer both upsteam and downstream?

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve never had any issues with using the TD with a buffer but yeah, I use buffers both in and out of the board. Volume is essential for getting a smooth tone from your Tube Driver, Big Muff and even old fuzz pedals but you can do lots of things to simulate the effects of high volume, as described in this feature.

  35. Arya Boustani says:

    Sorry I forgot to ask if you know Tube Works Tube Driver Rack RT-913 works same as BK Butler Tube Driver. I think Tube Works claims it uses exactly the same circuitry.

  36. Arya Boustani says:

    Hi Bjorn, I love that smooth full saturated tone as if all the harmonics are woven together to make one full tone like violin with lots of sustain rather than hearing that square wavy distortion and separated partials. I have a tube multi-fx that kinda give me that but I don’t like the frequency response on it. It is not transparent and it has annoying frequency peaks. I like to invest on a tube overdrive and for using a Laney Cub, do you think I can get good smooth tone out of BK Butler Tube Driver (assuming I can replace the tubes to AU)?
    Have you heard of Maxon – ROD 880 Real Overdrive? I’m wondering if it is any better for small amp power tubes.

    • Bjorn says:

      Sorry for my late reply. The TD needs a bit of volume from the amp to open up and get that smooth sustain. I’ve tried it a couple of times on the Cub. It sounds OK but it lack some of the smoothness. There’s also something about that tube interacting with a loud tube amp, that you can’t get on a smaller and quieter amp. Check out my review of the Buffalo FX TDX. It’s a really nice clone of the TD, with slightly less top end and a much smoother break up. Works really well on the Cub.

      • Gerry in LA says:

        Bjorn: When you say that the TD sounds best with more amp volume, are you referring to the speakers being compressed or are you describing the tubes being pushed? The reason I’m asking is that now that I have a Reeves Custom 12 PS (212 cab with 1980’s Fane Classic 50’s) I can play at lower over “loudness” bit still push my amp to borderline breakup. I had tried a TD with my 1961/62 Blond Bandmaster but it sounded thin and fizzy. Now I’m reconsidring buying one because I’ve found that the Reeves Custom 12 loves some pedals that did not sound wuite as good with my Bandmaster. Any advise? ALso: What do you think of the 1980’s/90’s bl;ack and yellow “902 Real Tube Driver”? Kit Rae suggests that with a 12AU7 it nails the newer 4-knob TD except at the highest gain. Any thoughts on that as well?

        • Bjorn says:

          Both. Setting the amp up for a nice punchy clean tone, will heat the tubes into a mild compression and high volume also creates speaker compression. Mid range is also vital for those smooth tones, which is what David and Eric Johnson does with their Hiwatts and Marshalls. Fender amps typically has less mid range and compression, which is why they often make mids scooped pedals sound thin and fizzy. Read more about that here. The b/y Tube Driver does cleans and milder overdrive pretty well but it’s been too long sisnce I tried one to really comment on it.

  37. Giovanni says:

    Hi Bjorn! I’ll probably buy the BK Butler Tube Driver for my birthday! Since I’d like to use it as a booster for my Costalab Custom Muff (to add a bit of presence) but also as an overdrive (not a very aggressive one), which tube between the 12AU7, 12AT7 and 12AX7 could be the better choice?
    Besides, the BK Butler Tube Driver could be a good pedal to boost a Ram’s Head version of the Big Muff (like the Byoc Large Beaver) to make it sound full and not boomy (and without any harshness) even at “bedroom volumes” and to make it cut through the mix?
    Another thing… Which booster I could use to boost the BK Butler Tube Driver? A clean one like the MXR?
    Thanks :)

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on the voicing of your amp and what pickups you have. I’d go with the 12AX7, as it will give you the widest range of tones, but with hotter pickups and an amp with less headroom, you might want to consider the 12AU7. Never tried with a AT7.
      I’m using a TopTone Shine Boost with the Tube Driver. It adds a hint of mids and you can use the volume booster to add a bit of extra dirt.

      • Giovanni says:

        Well… My amp is a Peavey Classic 30 so it has quite a lot of headroom and a quite a lot of midrange, and it takes pedals very well!
        My Strat has a Seymour Duncan SSL-5 in the bridge position, then two Fender Custom Shop 69…
        So… What tube could be better with my setup?
        Maybe the 12AT7 as I want a quite warm overdrive with a lot of presence that could work well as a booster for the Costalab Custom Muff and, maybe, for a Ram’s Head Big Muff clone! I don’t really think the 12AX7 is suitable for my needs: to aggressive and with way to much gain!

  38. Lucas says:

    Which tube was using David in Pulse?

  39. Camern Cross says:

    Thanks Bijorn. I don’t plan on using them both together. That would be way too noisy. Just the way gilmour uses them. One set for mild drive to boost my Box of War Big Muff and the other for overdrive with my CS-2. Both with a 12AU7 tube. I just wasn’t sure if there would be a difference in sound if the lower gain one was before or after the higher gain one.

    [No, the tone is the same. – Bjorn]

  40. Camern Cross says:

    Hi Bijorn, I have a non-bias B.K. Butler Tube Driver and I’m looking at another one on eBay. Hopefully I’ll have the winning bid. I plan on swapping the stock 12ax7 for a 12au7 on the one I already own and if I get the one Im looking at on eBay. My question for you is since David Gilmour uses one for volume boost and one for distortion, which one should be first in the signal chain? Thank you.


    [Very sorry for my late reply, Cameron. The position doesn’t matter if you don’t intend to use them together. You can combine them but my experience is that it just sounds too noisy and messy. Better to boost one of them with a more tamed clean booster. – Bjorn]

  41. Daniel Wyatt says:

    Just to note that “tub6driver” on ebay (http://www.ebay.es/usr/tu6edriver?_trksid=p2047675.l2559) is B.K.Butler himself. I’ve had the pleasure of buying a 5 knob/Bias version from him a couple years ago, and we exchanged emails several times. Great guy, and very communicative. You buy from him on the auction, and then specify via mail the model and any changes/mods you want. He then starts building it for you, tests it, and when satisfied, ships it.

  42. Ara Michaelian says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Simply put… your site is absolutely next best thing to sliced bread for Gilmour fans, my hat is off to you…!

    I’m in process of getting few basic pedals to get the David’s/Pink Floyd tones in general, i.e. clean silky solos, obviously derives, distortions and delays.

    First category questions… I’ve played with BK Butler Tube Driver which I absolutely loved. There are quite a few TD on sale on eBay including one guy “tu6edrive” that sells evidently new TD made by BK Butler. I also read your suggestion for changing the 12Ax7 to 12AU7 from JJ Johnson, which I would prefer and will change when I get one. So the question is…
    1) do you recommend the TD with 5th knob for Bias control, pros/cons…?
    2) Have you heard of this “tu6edrive” guy claiming that Butler is remaking them new with Bias option.
    3) Do you recommend to get the one with transformer inside – just electric cord, or one with external transformer with bulky plug.
    4) Are there any tone differences between Tube Works, vs. Chandler or B.K. versions.

    Second General Questions… Reading your Gilmour Gear Guide, there seems to be a common set of pedals that he uses among others which I believe are….
    – B. K. Butler Tube Driver
    – Big Muff / Fuzz Face
    – Ibanez TS9
    – Boss CS-3

    To start with, would above four pedals get me the general Pink Floyd tone…? Should I just start with TD, CS-3 and maybe Big muff/Fuzz Face and go from there….?

    Thanks a million for your invaluable insights.


    [Hi Ara! Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy my site :) I’ve never heard of the guy you’re referring too but Butler is selling new Tube Drivers through his web site and I guess that’s the only place to get the genuine article.
    1. The bias knob will allow you to fine tune the gain character based on your amp and pickups. It’s not a must but it makes the pedal a bit more versatile and a tube swap redundant.
    2. No.
    3. Mine has the bulky chord… I think. Works fine.
    4. Basically the same pedal. The Tube Works is perhaps the most aggressive. The Chandler is a tad darker, while the BK is the most dynamic and open sounding.
    The pedals you’ve listed looks like a nice start. In addition you should consider a delay. Can’t really get around that for David’s tones :) Check out the Tone guide for more tips and the Buyer’s Gear Guide Overdrive and Distortion for some gain pedal tips based on different setups. – Bjorn]

  43. Ziad abou sleiman says:

    Hello Bjorn thanks for every single review you post it really helps a lot I am a big fan of david gilmour and he is the ideal one for me forever I payed a lot of money just to get close the pulse sound and I realized that it is impossible cause of the big equipment and settings david use
    I ended finally with my 57 strat maple neck sure the emg dg20 I got a g-system from tc electronic and Mesa amp mini recto and a tube driver the new one metal zone big muff tone wicker and radial hot British
    One of the most problems is the muddy sound on the neck pickup
    2nd how do you suggest the order of the stomp boxes
    Thank you so much

    [Hi! Do you find the neck pickup muddy when you plug the guitar straight into the amp? Start by setting up your amp for a warm and punchy clean tone. Keep the treble moderate and if needed, lower the bass a bit to avoid the tone getting too dark and boomy. A good starting point on the DG20 is to keep the EXG off, or at a minimum, and the SPC between 5-7 for added presence. Check out this feature for some tips on setting up your pedals. – Bjorn]

  44. Fernando says:

    Hi Bjorn! Need to boost a Big Muff with tone/wicker in a bedroom setup. Would you recommend me a Tube Driver? I have got one and when i proved it BMuff + TD make lots of noise. Also my tone didn´t sound good… Do i have to buy something like BD-2, OCD, TS9 for best results? What would be your choise? i need versatile drive that also works as a booster for me… Thanks!

    [Hi! Depends on your amp. A booster can sound very different on different amps. The BD2 is really an overdrive but it works great as a clean boost as well and it’s close to the Tube Driver. I think a transparent booster is your best option and the BD2, TC Spark Boost or ThroBak Overdriveboost are some of my favourites. – Bjorn]

  45. Brian says:

    Hi Andrea, I have the BK Butler Tube Driver with bias mod as well, I use a NOS Yugo “Real” tube tho (12ax7). For the bias control my favorite settings are maximum for Gilmour tones and 10 notches below maximum for my original tones, which is roughly 2:30 on the knob. It calms the aggressiveness and makes it excellent for both chords and single notes and opens up wonderful harmonics in the hi end. Too much lower than that loosens up the low end. Even a single notch either way (on mine) makes a difference. There are lots of useable settings for different tones but the most Gilmourish ones will probably be at maximum bias. I believe Gilmour uses the non bias models which is the same as having the bias on a bias model set to maximum, except I think he uses Yugo tubes. Hope this helps.

  46. andrea says:

    Hello, I use the tube driver in 2006 version with original selected 12AX7 tube; this is the tube that sounds good to my ear. Here is my question: in your experience what is the optimal adjustment of the bias knob? Thanks Andrea

    [About mid way I would say but I don’t have the bias feature so I can’t really tell. Anyone? – Bjorn]

  47. Alex says:

    I was wondering: how do you change the tube in the BK?

    I have opened it up, but it seems to be glued in. Was it the same with you?
    And if so:
    1. did you replace it yourself
    2. did you seal it back in with glue?


    [Gently removed the glue and remove the tube. You might have to wiggle it a bit but be very careful so that you don’t snap a pin or break the glass. Try not to directly touch the new tube when inserting but use a dry cloth or something. – Bjorn]

  48. Dave says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    What a wealth of information here that I’ve got your site bookmarked.
    Question :You mention in the “Dogs” thread that a modded Blues Driver is like a high end booster to pair with the Butler. I have a Keeley time machine boost , will it be as good a match ?

    [I’ve never tried the TMB myself but judging by the specs and reviews it seems to be a perfect match. – Bjorn]

  49. clark says:

    How are you, hope everything is fine. My question is just, which tubes do you think it would get closer to his tone 12ax7 or 12au7?

    [Hi Clark! Tubes alone won’t do all that to your tone. Depends on your amp, guitar/pickups, pedals and how you play, your technique etc. There aren’t that many tube manufacturers left so most of the tubes and brands out there are licensed and rebranded anyway. That being said using the right tubes can be that little certain something that’ll make your tones sound just right. I’m using JJ Electronics on all my tube applications and are very happy with them – Bjorn]

  50. ANTONIO says:

    Hi Bjorn, how are you? Just a question, I was watching the video

    I see that David engage the distortion on 4:55 and the clean boost on 4:58, is it correct??
    Thank you, Bye!!

    [Hard to tell sice we don’t actually see what he’s doing. Seems like the first stomp is the distortion and I’m guessing the P1, which he used for this part of the solo on the album. The second stomp seems to be at the right side of the board, which could indicate either the EQ or a delay. Could also be one of the TDs on the middle of the board. – Bjorn]

  51. Brian says:

    Well I got my BK Butler Tube Driver w/bias mod today and I’ve fiddled with it for a few hours and I’m still well in first impression territory but I have all too much to say about this pedal, so sorry for the short storybook I’m about to write.

    So I plugged it in and turned it on and I actually drooled on the floor like a dog, really, it took me about 0 seconds flat to understand that this is absolutely the BEST overdrive and clean enhancer conceivable. I say enhancer not boost because my particular unit has one notch on the gain knob that is clean, one notch below that is volumeless regardless of the other knobs’ settings, and one notch above is overdriven.

    No matter, that one setting is 1000x better than any other clean boost I’ve ever heard and makes me sound way bigger and richly complex at unity gain levels, and 1 or 2 notches above that truly nails Shine On, it sounds like Gilmour is in my house with the Tube Driver. I tweaked for weeks trying to get my Fulldrive 2 Mosfet to sound like that with a 7band eq and it just can’t do it, whereas the Tube Driver is just there automatically. I would say this is the closest thing to “Gilmour in a box” you will find because you’ll never have his modified #1 Big Muff but you can have (besides the identical tube) the same overdrive unit he uses and you can definitely hear that this is exactly what he really uses.

    I started off at low volume and with my MarkV on the Clean mode on the Clean channel (90w setting), the Tri Rec (150w) powering the stereo side (overkill for anything but hearing damage), with my stock Strat and 2 Mesa Standard cabs each with 4 60w Celestion Vintage 30’s, my Tube Driver has no qualms whatsoever about performing at very low volumes, doesn’t seem like I could play quietly with all that but I can, It does sound better at higher volumes but on my particular setup it does’t even matter, quiet, loud or in-between the Tube Driver is ear porn.

    I almost certainly will change the tube to a 12AU7 or something much lower gain so there’s more available settings in the clean & lower gain regions where I will use it most. Turning the bias control down changes & reduces the aggressive character of the pedal, and this is where my question lies.

    I’ve read that the bias control is somewhat similar to changing tubes, not the same, but going a similar direction so I was wondering…You have changed tubes in your TD more than once I presume, does your 12AU7 reduce the AGGRESSIVENESS of your pedal compared to the stock 12AX7, if set to sound the same like say for a Shine On sound? I want to have less over the top gain, I know different tubes can reduce the gain but how much does changing the type of tube change the CHARACTER of the sound?

    I almost had a heart attack when I tried a clean boost sound and there simply wasn’t one! Being an effect guy myself it took about 2 seconds to figure out the problem, the EQ. When going for an OD sound it may be good to try 0 or noon on the lo & hi knobs as a starting point but not for the clean boost sound, try maxing out the lo & hi knobs as a starting point or you may find no volume to speak of in the clean region even with the volume maxed. With the EQ lower, the very 1st notch on the gain that gives an audible volume is already distorted, so no clean sound there, but with the EQ set much higher (around 2-3+o’clock) you raise the volume and a wonderful clean sound can be heard. Heart attack averted.

    Anyway, straight out of the box this is by far the best effect I own, it does it’s job far better than all my other effects do their jobs, and I’ve dropped thousands on my other stuff. If you have a Mark series amp or anything equally or more Gilmourish appropriate, get the Tube Driver, don’t wait for him to stop making them, this is what you want even if you don’t know you want it! Luckily I only wasted money on one od pedal before this, if I could buy another I would, very proud to own a Tube Driver. Your site and reading almost all the above reviews made the decision to get a TD for me and I couldn’t be happier about it!

    [Hi Brian! Thanks for the input! The Tube Driver is a great pedal indeed and it’s become a vital part of my sounds. I experimented quite a lot with different tubes when I first got mine in 2006 but I’ve now settled with a JJ 12AX7. It’s quite aggressive but it matches my super clean Reeves Custom 50 perfectly. A 12AU7 tube has considerably more headroom so you’ll get a very different pedal. The clean range is much more present but that also means that it doesn’t quite reach those fuzz tones… depending on your amp and pickups of course. I also think that it doesn’t compress as well with a 12AU7 either. Tonewise, in terms of the frequency range, it’s the same. Experiment and judge for your self. The Tube Driver and tubes in general will react very different on different setups. – Bjorn]

  52. ori says:

    Hi Bjorn
    on his wab kit rae talk about the r2 resistor,and he is right,when you cut the r2 resistor from the tube driver the pedal has no problem with buffers!!!

  53. Dave says:

    Thanks Bjorn for your suggestion , after meddling around your flow is the best sounding.
    2 more pedals to add , compressor and wah , what u think of this
    Wah>compressor >Voodoo, Muff > TD > boost > phase.
    RMC picture wah somehow doesnt have the quackiness as before when match with a tube screamer, is there any compatible issue with TD ?

    [Shouldn’t be. The path seems OK. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  54. Brian says:

    I’m not sure if this question has already been answered or not but what kind of tube does Gilmour use in his tube drivers? Stock 12ax7s? Also is there any way of knowing whether he is using the bias modded version or not. I can’t tell from the pictures I have seen. Just wondering cuz you said different tubes make a big difference and most everything else on Gilmour’s pedalboard has been modified somehow.

    Thanks again Bjorn, you’re the best!

    [The TDs David got for his 2006 stage board are standard non-bias models featuring Yugo 12AX7 tubes. Pete Cornish added buffers at the input and output stage of the circuit. No other mods are performed as far as I know. It says on the Bk site that David’s using bias models but not in the boards. He has a few stand alone pedals so maybe some are with the bias, I don’t know. – Bjorn]

  55. Keith Clarke says:

    Yes, I remember now, it was very similar to the tube driver, but rack mounted, with one 12ax7

  56. Keith Clarke says:

    Real quick one, well for me!! I had a rack mounted unit called a real tube I feel like it was made by Chandler. Are you familiar with it, and isn’t it basically a rack mounted tube driver. Which seems to be just a preamp basically in stompbox form.
    Another one I haven’t a clue where it went.

    [I haven’t played that my self but the Real Tube was sold under the Tube Works brand and designed by BK Butler. – Bjorn]

  57. Dave says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I just acquired a chandler/butler TD and need your suggestion on placement of the TD with the other pedals Roger Mayer Voodoo 1, Muff fuzz , Keeley Time machine boost , Red witch phaser.

    [Try this: Voodoo, Muff > TD > boost > phase. – Bjorn]

  58. Jakub says:

    I have one B. K. Butler on my pedal-board as my main overdrive unit. I wish I had one more as a booster, unhappily I haven’t enough money to buy another Butler. But I have found one guy who is selling Ibanez Tube King for really good price. Do you think that the old version of Ibanez TK999 is good choice? Thanks!!!

    [I haven’t tried one so I can’t really tell. Although not entirely identical I recommend that you check out the Wampler PlexiDrive as well. It’s very similar but a bit more presence and mid range, making it a great clean/crunch alternative to the Tube Driver. – Bjorn]

  59. David says:

    Ah! Your a life saver now Im looking forward to it! Im also glad you reviewed the olympia fuzz pedal I got one now its the fuzz I needed man its beautiful now I will have two high standard pedals wooohoo!

    [Nice! – Bjorn]

  60. Brian says:

    Thanks that does help, maybe the TD isnt what I need first. Idk which of the thousand forums would be best to ask this so I’ll just do it here. I just got an OD pedal and I might return it and forget OD for now and get a Muff, which i really need.

    I bought a Fulldrive2 Mosfet after testing it against a BD2 & TS808 & I like it, wouldn’t say I love it. For “Shine On” sounds the breakup is a little too noticable (not too much gain it just sticks out like a sore thumb) whereas on Pulse & DSOT its so transparent it fits like a puzzle piece with his clean tones and the other instruments. Stacking that & a 7band eq with my Zakk Wylde OD is ok but its no Muff. (The ZW OD, inappropriate for Gilmour tones I know, can still do alot of good to the clean or lead channels on the MarkV.) With my MarkV full stack with all its options I have no way of sounding like “Sorrow” on Pulse (or DSOT). I know he uses a Muff in conjunction with a booster or OD. I can only afford a Muff if I return the Fulldrive2 Mosfet in the 1st 30days (bout 2wks left.)

    So my Question is: Using a stock Strat with the MKV and the ZW as the OD/booster, which Muff would you recommend? I’ve been looking at the Wren & Cuff Box of War or Carpid but for $300 hopefully they can do more than nail that one tone (but versatility is secondary to nailing the tone). Ordered items like a Wren & Cuff are also more of a pain to return if desired so I don’t wanna just pedal shop by ordering a bunch of stuff and returning it over and over, I’ve heard of people getting blocked from websites for too much of that. There seems to be more Muffs to choose from than any other effect so I’m totally open to any and all advice. Thanks again Bjorn! -Brian

    [The BoW is a great sounding Muff but you should know that it’s quite dark and doesn’t really work for much more than Gilmour and Queens of Stone Age type of rock. No MUff really does. If you want a bit more versatility then check out the TopTone DG2, MojoHand Iron Bell or simply the classic RAT. All of these will produce great Muff tones and cover a wider range of tones, including David’s. – Bjorn]

  61. David says:

    Hey bjorn I have a question Im recieving a bk tube driver for my birthday as a gift but I read here that it might be too much for a small setup and Im worried my Fender Blues jr wont be able to handle it could this become a problem in a bedroom setup?

    [Congrats David! Works nicely for me. Bought myself a Jr a few months back and it sounds great with the TD. The Jr’s mid rangy tone smooths out the sometimes harsh sounding TD but you might need to adjust the treble on the TD a bit. I also find that it sounds much more open with a bit of volume boost. – Bjorn]

  62. Brian says:

    I love your reviews, your site is saving me absolutely years of hardcore research, nice video clip of your band too, very cool! I’m about to buy an overdrive, I am considering the BK Tube Driver although expensive, or the BD2 but idk anything about mods, I’m leaning toward the TD and I want the best sound possible regardless of price, the goal is “Shine On” from Delicate Sound of Thunder and/or Pulse, (DSOT if I had to choose), which to me sounds like he switches between mostly clean and a little bit of silky smooth overdrive during the guitar solos, and based on the way you described the 12AU7 in the TD sounds wonderful for precisely that. But the only thing I know about the TD is what you wrote up above.

    I also use a Wampler EGO Compressor which I really like, into a Mesa MarkV full stack at home (I can still play loud enough to make my ears ring and give me a headache) and without an OD sometimes I’ll crank the level on the EGO to use it as a light boost too. So then maybe the TD after that? Or before that, because I might be able to use the EGO as a booster, or in the Shine On senario would the TD be considered the booster? Idk what the best way would be, normally I plug my guitar into the compressor, then OD or other gain pedals, then to the amp and anything else goes in the FX loop.

    Also should I be concerned about the diff between the BK and the Chandler? I won’t be able to afford a second overdrive for a while seein how i still need a Muff and a laundry list of other things so I gotta get the right thing. The TD does sound pretty versatile once you get used to it considering you can swap out the tube.

    Thanks a lot!

    [Hi Brian! The Tube Driver is indeed a versatile pedal and experimenting with different tubes can make a huge difference. Of course, the tone you’re describing isn’t achieved by the TD alone but you should be able to get some really nice tones with it together with the Mesa. If you want something similar but perhaps easier to set up, then check out the Wampler PlexiDrive. See this feature for some pedal setup and arranging tips. Hope this helps :) – Bjorn]

  63. Tércio says:

    Hi Bjorn, Can you tell me the most cheap pedal for give me the ´´ BK Butler Tube Driver´´ tone ??? and other thing, who ´´muff´´ pedal you recommend for the “Division Bell´´ and ´´On an Island´´ sound ??
    Thank you and good bless their work !!

    [The Boss BD2 I think. It’s not identical but has the same tone character. Depending on your amp and how well it can hendle Big Muffs, I’d say that the Electronic Orange Pig Hoof is a close match for Bell and Island. If you want something cheaper, then check out the EHX Tone Wicker and Bass Big muff. – Bjorn]

  64. ANTONIO says:

    Hi! Bjorn, I love your site! It’s the right answer for all question a fun of uncle David could have.
    Now one of my question is: why should I use a Booster after a distortion pedal? Simply to increase the volume? Encrease the volume and have a different saturation of the valves of the amp? Only Encrease the distortion? Changhe the EQ? Why I couldn’t simply use the volume of the distortion pedal? In the rig in my home it make sense to put a boost after a distortion?
    Thank you! Bye!

    [There are different reasons why guitarists use a booster or overdrive to boost. David always used a booster with his Big Muffs to smooth out some of the otherwise harsh frequencies. Basically to add a bit more tone. The volume on the booster is set to about unity and the tone is always clean, with perhaps just a very mild crunch. Increasing the volume on the Big Muff or distortion unit will give you more volume but it will also alter the character of the pedal, as the volume affects the tone. See this feature for more details and explanations. – Bjorn]

  65. Ege says:

    Hey Bjorn! Thanks a lot for the tip the other day regarding my amp question. I have one more enquiry. You suggest often that if possible, a pedal board should have two overdrive pedals: one acting as the classic transparent mids scooped booster and the second acting as the creamy, mid boosted overdrive. In regards to this, I’ve been thinking of getting a TC Spark Booster (for clean boost) and OCD (to act as a dedicated overdrive). So three questions arise:

    1) When comparing a TC Spark Booster with a stock Boss BD-2 with no modification for boosting cleans, which would be the better choice (considering the presence of a fuzz pedal on the pedal board as well).

    2) Are two overdrive pedals really needed for two different jobs? Can a single OCD or a single BD-2 cover both tasks mentioned above for example? What about a Tube Driver?

    3) Considering the prices of the Spark Booster and OCD where I live, buying both of these units comes to about ~$290, which is almost the price of a BK Butler Tuber Driver (as listed on his website). Do you think it’s better to just go for a Tube Driver? My setup will be geared towards mostly home with a 15-30 watt amp, and I realize that this may be an issue with a Tube Driver as it needs high volumes and bigger tube amps.

    Sorry for the length questions, they’ve just been circulating in my head for a while. Thanks a lot for all your input once again, it’s amazing how you can keep up with everybody’s questions (and do it so patiently and with a lot of attention to detail as well!).


    [1. The TC is true bypass and will work better with fuzz. In terms of boosting, it’s also cleaner with more headroom than the BD2.
    2. Could work but usually, the Tube Driver needs a lot of volume to open up and get that smooth tone. I think you’ll be better off with the TC and OCD. Besides, having two different sounding pedals will always be more versatile than having just one. – Bjorn]

  66. Alfredo Munoz says:

    For those using fender bassman, blues deluxe or any kind of tweed amps you also can try a jj 12at7 on your bk td.sounds incredible . smooth, richer’and very clean dynamic s.good for shine on you 2nd solo and boosted with a boss bd2 or a tube screamer ts808.you gotta try this so close to David s shine on you tone with jj12at7 tube

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  67. daniel says:

    Hi Bjorn
    Great review as always.
    If you set the gain say at noon, what woyld be the volume setting that will give you unity output?

    [Around 1 or 2 o’clock I guess. The TD is very sensitive to what pedals you place next to it and the voicing of your guitar and amp, so the settings ultimately depends on your overall tone and setup. – Bjorn]

  68. bailey says:

    Hi I hope all is well and happy late New Year .

    I just picked a new (to me any way :) tube works overdrive for about 100$ in total.The only ones he soports besids the ones he is making now. The black and yellow one, with the mid knob. When I got it I tried it with the stock tube, it sounded ok but not like my first .So I ordered some jj’s a 12ax7 and a 12ux7. I plan to yous this one as an overdrive and the other as clean boost for muffs. ones I figure out which tube is better for drive .thats wher i need help I use a 12au7 on my first one.And blackish strat, a laney cub stack set clean and loude, but realy its there any outher way ; ). by the way do you know where I can a ab/on off switch lick the one in Gilmour’s 99 and 06 Cornish boards .

    P.s. I sall the Facebook hopefully he stoking up for an album and tour, but I live in hope : )

  69. Matt says:

    Hi Bjorn in addition to the post I just made, I just noticed on tubedepot.com there’s a 4th option for the JJ 12au7 which is the:
    – BLACK SABLE JJ ECC82 / 12AU7 Gold Pin
    this one however is much more expensive than the other three I mentioned.
    So to revise my original 1st question: which of the four JJ 12au7 tube options would you recommend?

    [It’s been awhile since I used the 12AU7 in my TD and to be honest, I just bought a tube and placed in there… didn’t really notice which AU7 model it was… sorry. – Bjorn]

  70. Matt says:

    Hey Bjorn, I just purchased the BK Butler tube driver and would like to purchase a JJ 12au7 based on your recommendation. I’ve got 2 quick questions. I noticed there’s 3 different JJ 12au7 tube options on tubedepot.com:
    – JJ ECC82 / 12AU7 Preamp Vacuum Tube
    – JJ ECC82 / 12AU7 Gold Pin Preamp Vacuum Tube
    – JJ ECC802s / Hi-Performance 12AU7 Gold Pin Preamp Vacuum Tube
    Question 1: which one one do you recommend I get?

    The next thing I noticed on the site is when you select what tube you want, you also have these options with your purchase:
    – standard test included
    – hi gain
    – matching
    – balanced triodes
    – matched plus balanced triodes
    – low noise and microphonics
    Question 2: which of these options should i select?

    Your help is much appreciated because I don’t know much about tubes (this pedal is one of the only things missing currently in my Gilmour rig) Thanks for all your help Bjorn! Matt

  71. Andrew says:

    Hi Bjorn! It has long been reading your excellent website, very nice here. And a great database for all who play the guitar and seriously studying creativity David. You have saved us all a lot of effort and time and money!
       Now the question is if you will =) Tell me, if you ordered a new driver now, you would again choose the standard version or the 5 knob version ? I ask because I just ordered a standard, but i can pay extra and get a Bias mod …

    [Thank you, Andrew! I guess I’d get the standard. I’m very happy with the one I have and don’t really see the need for a bias feature. – Bjorn]

  72. Victor says:

    Hello Bjorn! Wonderful site – I’ve learned much from perusing your pages here and I dig the YouTube clips I’ve seen and heard of Airbag – Great! I wanted to comment because I’ve seen a lot of mention of the Boss BD-2 pedal, which I own, and I wanted to chime in and say that a company called Fromel Electronics in Washington has a *great* mod kit for the BD-2 that turns this already decent pedal into a real performer! If one knows a bit about soldering, it’s not too complicated and it really did what it said – took what the BD-2 did well and made it better – much(!) I say all this because of all the mention of the BD-2 and by the way, I don’t know John Fromel, but I like his mod kits and they are worth a look… I just got one in for my CS-3 that I’ll be doing this weekend – if the world doesn’t end(!!) LOL! Enough of my yap – thanks for the great site – keep it up! Cheers from Victor in Austin, Texas! (home of Stevie Ray)

    [Thanks for your kind words and the info, Victor! – Bjorn]

  73. mike bollard says:

    hi Bjorn thanks for the response. I use a fender Hot Rod Deluxe with a USA strat plus with lace sensor pickup and Kent Armstrong pick up at the bridge. I use only the clean channel from the amp and the effects is evrything else

    [Try different combinations but I think you’ll find that the BD2 works best as a booster for the cleans and the Muff. – Bjorn]

  74. mike bollard says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I’ve just got a bk tube driver. before I had a boss BD2 also got a BYOC muff. Previously I was using the muff as my lead/ boost channel. Now I’m a bit confused what to do. Basically I wandering if I should use the BD2 as a boost for solos and tube driver for general crunchy guitar and big muff for big solos. any help appreciated. great site me and the other guy in floyd tribute use this site as our holy grail!



    amp – tuner – delay – volume pedal – tremolo – phaser – tube driver (BK) – big muff (BYOC) – wah – compressor – guitar (boss BD2!)

    [Depends on the overall tone of your rig – what guitar and amp you’re using. In general, I’d use the BD2 for clean boost after the Muff and the TD as a dedicated overdrive unit. – Bjorn]

  75. Dan Parker says:


    What pedals can get ‘close’ to this BK tone? I love the tone you have on the live version of Prelude, and presume its the BK mostly there? My BD-2 lacks the mids for this, but would something else, say a Xotic BB Pre come closer?

    Keep up the good work dude!



    [The studio version is the BD2, while the YouTube live clip is the Tube Driver. The TD doesn’t have much mid range but loud volume adds a nice mid boost from the amp. You should be able to get similar tones with the BD2. The OCD and Pork Lion are also good alternatives. I don’t have much experience with the Xotic. – Bjorn]

  76. Jerome Whitson says:

    darnit – I messed up one setting:

    Tube Driver 1 and 2 combined: (12au7) + (12ax7) – Sound: A Great Day for Freedom solo, Take a Breath solo

    Tube Driver 1: (12au7)
    Out Level: 55% (set for boost)
    High: 50%
    Low: 50%
    Tube Drive: 70%
    Bias: 55%***

    Tube Driver 2: (12ax7)
    Out Level: 70%
    High: 50%
    Low: 60%
    Tube Drive: 75% (Great day for Freedom), 100% (Take a Breath)
    Bias: 75%***

    The Eqs on the Tube Drivers – for my rig, hard to go past 50-60% as mor Tube Drive is introduced – anyways, the adjustment was to the Low and High on Tube Driver 1 with 12au7!

    Hope this helps people!

  77. Jerome Whitson says:

    I wanted to let you know I had some major success recently (last night) with 2 Tube Drivers used together to formulate some sounds extremely close to Live in Gdansk. So close I had to stop playing in the middle of one of band’s songs. Thought I would share my secrets with everyone:

    1 – As many of you know, the TD requires A LOT of headroom. I play in stereo with a Rivera Chubster 40 and a Fender Blues Junior (twin modded). I get about 60+ watts out of 2 12’s. I nearly maxed out my Master control, and dialed in the Volume/Gain to about 3.5 on both amps to MAX out the headroom I could get, since I do not own a Hiwatt (Lol). I also used the Low Gain Input on the Rivera.

    2 – IMPT:* – I have 2 BK Butler Tube Drivers with the Bias Option. I placed a Siemens NOS 12au7 (1965?) in one, and the other, I left in the Ruby 12ax7 (which may be a Yugo, or JJ, not sure).

    3 – Please note that when playing, I also used a Demeter Compulator (volume 60%, compress 60%), and a Diamond Memory Lane 2. By the way, this is the best Analog Tape Delay I have ever heard, period. It really does top the Memory Man, and it sounds eerily close to the Cornish TES.


    Tube Driver 1: (12au7) – Sound: Another Brick in the Wall PII Solo, Wearing the Inside Out solo (Gdansk/Albert hall versions)

    Out Level: 73% (set for volume boost)
    High: 70%
    Low: 70%
    Tube Drive: 10-15% (3 to 4 clicks from bottom)
    Bias: 55%***

    Tube Driver 1: (12au7) – Sound: Shine On You Crazy Diamond 2nd/3rd Solos (some of Gdansk/Albert hall versions)

    Out Level: 55% (set for boost)
    High: 50%
    Low: 50%
    Tube Drive: 50%
    Bias: 55%***

    Tube Driver 1 and 2 combined: (12au7) + (12ax7) – Sound: A Great Day for Freedom solo, Take a Breath solo

    Tube Driver 1: (12au7)
    Out Level: 55% (set for boost)
    High: 70%
    Low: 70%
    Tube Drive: 70%
    Bias: 55%***

    Tube Driver 2: (12ax7)
    Out Level: 70%
    High: 50%
    Low: 60%
    Tube Drive: 75% (Great day for Freedom), 100% (Take a Breath)
    Bias: 75%***

    *** These settings are for gig type volume… not for playing in your room.

    Obviously, these may change depending on how you EQ your amp, but I would assume most of you are looking for that big headroom Gilmour sound. Keep your bass and treble fairly flat (50%), Mids can be scooped (45%) or normal. presence at 6 or 7 (depends on how much attack you want)

    The reason why I posted this is because I personally thought I couldnt re-produce the Gdansk tones without a Muff or a G-2 type pedal. Not true. You CAN do it with 2 Tube Drivers. and to me, it sounds more organic … I have faded from the Muff… its a cool sound, but eh… ive just grown out of the synthetic quality it has, compared to a natural tube overdrive. Last muff owned: Musket Fuzz

    I strongly encourage you to try this if you have 2 TD’s, or you plan on purchasing a second. To make it happen, you do need at least one with a Bias Knob and a 12ax7. Im basically using it to get a Fuzz type sound at high gain, similar, but not the same as the Muff.

    For those interested, my Diamond Memory Lane Settings:
    Delay: 100% (550 ms)
    Eq: 25% (basically this is a low cut filter for my purposes)
    Level: 35% (pick hard.. you should hear 5 to 6 repeats)
    Note Switch: up
    Speed : 25%
    Depth: 50% (speed and depth are low because I sometimes combine it with the ChorusLab I own)
    Mix: 50%

    Bjorn, this is basically all you. Once again, thanks for all the work you have put in. Without your expertise, I would have been able to figure out the Gilmour sound mysteries of the world.

    Demeter Compulator
    Tube Driver 12au7 with Bias
    Tube Driver 12ax7 with Bias
    Diamond Memory Lane 2
    CatatlinBread Super Chile Picoso
    MXR Carbon Copy
    CostaLab ChorusLab

    Lehle P-split
    Musicom MK III controller

    Rivera Chubster 40
    Fender Blues Junior (twin mod)

    Fender 57 Black Strat
    PRS Custom 22

    [Sorry for my late reply! Thanks a lot for sharing! I totally agree that a combo of two TDs is very powerful and in some situations even better than a Muff. I often mix my TD with a Powerboost or OCD, which is quite similar – I want a slightly different tone anyway. Could easily play Sorrow, Comf Numb etc with that combo. I’ll have a go at your suggestions as well :) – Bjorn]

  78. Keith says:

    I also have a question that I’ve searched this, and many other sites for, and while I have seen it noted DG uses steel slides, on Pompeii, It’s really hard to see what he’s using. Is it a lap, pedal steel yype solid tone bar, or a chrome plated stell slide, and which finger does he put the slide on? I see him pick it up, and put it down a couple of times, when switching between the violin effect, and the slide solo, but just can’t quite catch what it is because of the quick camera edits form David to mudpots, to Richard! I’ve been using a heavy, Dunlop tonebar, but I have a really hard time playing slide with it, unless I use the guitar lake a lap steel. Help me Obi-Wan, you’re my only hope!
    Love you man, Keith

    [It’s a tonebar from what I can see. He’s been using those since the beginning I think. On the 1972-73 tours he would bring a spare Strat tuned for slides (One of these Days) and I would’t presume it had a slightly higher action as well. In mid 74 he switched to lap steels. – Bjorn]

  79. Keith says:

    I think the master!( Bjorn Riis, not DG!) should do a Pompeii Echoes backing track!(Especially since he has so much free time. Why are you such a couch potato Bjorn? ROTFLMAO). How about if I said, Pretty please, with a set of Fralin’s on top?
    Peace, my brother from a different mother, Keith

    [Hmmm… Well, if you can persuade the rest of the guys in Airbag that an Echoes backingtrack is more important than recording new songs, then I’ll do it :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  80. Josh says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I was really hoping you could help me with a overdrive selection issue, I’ve heard that the default Tube Driver doesn’t handle well with AC30 type amps that go into overdrive easily and I’ve also heard that the Colorsound Power Boost may sound better with these kind of amps. In your experience is this true as well? And if so, would changing the tube on the TB to a 12au7 fix this?

    [Depends on what tones you’re looking for. The Tube Driver isn’t a mild pedal so if you want a clean booster, you might want to check out something else. The Tube Driver works fine on AC30s for David’s overdrive tones. Replacing the stock 12AX7 tube with a 12AU7 will provide a much milder tone but you’ll also loose some of the pedal’s characteristics. – Bjorn]

  81. Keith says:

    Just used the backing tracks for the first time, and someone, (NOT ME!) needs to do Echoes in it’s entirety! I love the track that is there, but cutting at the beginning of the “FUNKY” part is such a tease! Is there somewhere on the net one would suggest for finding other backing tracks? I really dismissed using them until I tried it, and it’s incredibly fun, and a great way to polish my Gilmour licks.
    Thanks to all who contributed, as Oliver Twist said, “More Please”, Keith

  82. Sverker says:

    Hi Björn,

    Great site! Someone had a question about Blackstar HT-5 and TD. With my old rack model old I’ve found this:

    Amp on lead channel, about half gain then TD:

    Drive 4
    (Boost 3 when used)
    Master 5
    Hi 0
    Mid 0
    Lo Full

    Will give great overdrive sound. Cleans up nice when roll off guitar vol. Hope this helps.

    [Thanks for sharing! – Bjorn]

  83. Jerome Whitson says:

    To the person who asked how the TD compares to the cornish ss-3…. Bjorn.. I RARELY dispute you. Lol… Listen to disc 5 of live at gdansk. Track 9. Wearing the inside out. I believe in the studio and perhaps live(90s) he was using an ss-2 or ss-3 right??? Now listen to the gdansk track (s) of this tune. Isnt he using the tube driver on a clean boost setting.. With the compulator to get close to that ss-3 sound? To me.. It sounds better than the ss-3.. Only caveat is that u really need a 12au7 in the TD. Siemens… Or rca nos to get that metallic bright shimmer and clarity while still retaining the bottom end. The yugo ei… Is really hard to find. If bk has them he will sene them.. But im sure hes low.. Yugo is out of business..Bjorn.. Im really curious what u think. Im waiting on a siemens nos 60s 12au7 that i got cheap. 60 bucks. If there is any tone to cop from gilmour that a bit tough.. Its THAT sound.. Since cornish stuff is like a 2 million year waiting list.

    Other than that of course he is using that cornish tes. Which is even more rare. I settle for the empress vintage mod super delay. Its as close as ur gonna get for tape echo sims. Unless u wanna spend 2g on the cornish. T rex is good. Others are as well.. But empress nailed the tape echo sound…

    [There are no confirmed info on what he used for Wearing but my guess is that he used a Chandler Tube Driver for the recording. It could have been a SS2 but it sounds very TD-ish to me. The old Chandler has a bit more warmth as well. On the 2006 live recording he’s definitely using a TD, as you also point out. David’s current TD are 2006 BK Butler models with the Yugo 12AX7 tubes. You will get more headroom with 12AU7 but a 12AX7 will give you the headroom you need. – Bjorn]

  84. Michael Ahlf says:

    Hi Bjorn, grat site i love to surfe around, but, have you tryed the 11 Rack by Digidesign and maybi made some presets on that one?


    [Thanks Michael! No, sorry I haven’t tried it. – Bjorn]

  85. Peter says:

    Hi Bjorn! Great review!! I got a Tub driver and im thinking to change the tube. so i get that smooth and warm sound u are talking about. I search a little and i found this http://thetubestore.com/teslaecc82.html can i use this in my Tube driver and is it the right tube for that smooth and warm sound?//Peter

    [Well, as I’m sure you are aware, a tube alone won’t give you those tones. It’s the combination of the guitar/pickups, amp, settings on the Tube driver and amp, volume, your playing etc. A Tube Driver can sound quite harsh on the “wrong” setup, no matter how much you try to fix the problem. That being said, the 12AU7 is very mild and you will get a much cleaner tone with less breakup but also a slightly darker and flatter tone that doesn’t respond as well to the dynamics in your playing as a 12AX7 would. But ry it and listen for your self. The JJs are my favourite. Just allow the tube to settle in with a few hours of playing before you make up your mind. – Bjorn]

  86. ray says:

    hi bjorn,
    i have a dean markley overlord and was wondering how you feel it compairs to the BK?

    [Never tried one so I can’t really comment on that. Sorry. – Bjorn]

  87. Oscar says:

    Sorry for my late relpy. I looked on that site and i found many 12au7 tubes also search on google and there are like 200 different 12au7 haha. Which mark should i pick? Ty

    [The majority of all tubes are relabeled. Not make tubes these days. I’m using JJ Electronics my self. They make their own tubes. Tonewise they’re very smooth and warm with lots of punch and headroom. – Bjorn]

  88. Oscar says:

    Hi Bjorn, may i ask u were u bought that 12AU7 tube? i found it on the http://www.jj-electronic.com/index.php?Itemid=10&id=15&option=com_content&task=view but there is no price and no order button. Did you order it from there? and how much did it cost? Ty

    [There’s a store here in Oslo that carries them. Check out tubedepot.com or EBay. – Bjorn]

  89. martin says:

    Hi Björn!
    Yesterday my first butler tube driver arrived … and I have to say that I am really impressed!
    Even on bedroom level it sounds better than the boss bd-2 (which I am gonna sell now). It can sound harsh, it can sound creamy, it can sound wonderful.
    Of course it is very expensive with all the taxes and duty – but all in all it is a terrific good sounding pedal.
    I also replaced my ssl5 with an ssl6 which works better on my strat.

    [Congrats! Thanks for sharing! – Bjorn]

  90. Eric Nyberg says:

    Hey Bjorn, hope you’re well and enjoying your new daughter. I have a Tube Driver and I like it a lot but I’d like something that would be good for Radiohead tones, and that Marshall Plexi sound. I don’t know really how to set up the Tube Driver for that sound. The TC Dark matter,catalinbread WIIO and Royal Albert Hall sound interesting to me but I don’t know if I really want to spend any money right now. I also have a SUF VRH and a Skreddy Lunar Module but I don’t think those will work. Any thoughts?

    [Hi Eric! Sorry for my late reply. Depends on your setup really but speaking generally I don’t think I’d use a Tube Driver or Muff for Greenwood’s tones. A RAT, Shredmaster or Dark Matter would be more fitting. That dark, saturated tone is a bit tricky with the Tube Driver although a loud tube amp and some buckers would take it in that direction. On a side note – a great trick to get a warmer and slightly more saturated tone from the TD is to use a setting inspired by Eric Johnson with the bass and treble all the way down, level 3:00 and the gain all the way up. – Bjorn]

  91. Vlamir says:

    Hi Bjørn,

    I recently found this post on you blog (amazing work, by the way!) and I’d like to ask you a technical question. I bought a B.K. Butler Tube Driver Rackmount, by Tube Works, and it is the 9v AC model. I read in many reviews that the Tube Driver does not sound as good in 9v as it does with the 110v cord, since 9v are not enough to properly feed the 12AX7 (or any other tube you use). My question is; can I use more voltage? I mean, if I use a 12v or 18v (or even 24v or 27v) ac adapter, can the sound get better? Would it damage the circuit of the Tube Driver in any way? And would it be enough to get a better sound? Thanks a lot and all the best,


    [Hi. I’m very sorry but I don’t have any experience with this so I’m afraid I can’t help you. It’s true that the tube needs more power but how to achieve this I’m not sure. – Bjorn]

  92. Zaven says:

    Great explanation! Just ordered my Keeley BD-2 :D Thanks! So if i am using the BD2 as a boost i would put Keeley>Muff>dd? in a chain?

    [Try Muff > BD2 > DD2. It’s better the have the gain pedals arranged by tone. This way the Muff will dominate and the BD2 only boost. – Bjorn]

  93. Zaven says:

    Hey Bjorn, Thanks so much for the insight. Just to remind you what i’ve got so far.. Black strat with fat 50’s 69 and duncan in the bridge. I haven’t gotten the amp, but i am going with a laney cub12. I have a Sovtek muff and just picked up a Boss dd-2 (hasn’t come in yet) I am down to the wire on what OD i want to get :D What do you think would go best with what i have so far, keely boss bd-2, Maxon od808 or?

    [Well, they’re very different sounding. The BD2 has a transparent, glassy tone ranging from super clean to near fuzz, while the OD808 has much more mid range, warmer tone and a creamy overdrive. The BD2 is great for boosting and those mid 70s overdrive tones, while the 808 is more of a dedicated overdrive pedal that’s not that suited for boosting. Ideally, I recommend both for a versatile setup but I’m particularely fond of the Keeley BD2 and I think it will go well with your setup. – Bjorn]

  94. Fernando says:

    Hi Bjorn! You ask me for Guitar and Amp I use!

    I have a MIM Strat with:
    -fender pickups ’69s (i want to install the SSL-5 bridge pickup in few days!).
    -High Mass steel block
    -I use a Cromed-Steel Slide

    -In my bedroom: Frontman 25R
    -For small Gigs: 150 W Fender Mustang Amp Head.
    Both of them used with clean signal (Without Drive)
    -To boost my guitar I use one of the two BK Tube Drivers (12AX7 valve) with few gain.

    So, What do think is better for the tone i want to achieve? A versatile BIG MUFF PI or a better Fuzz?

    [Sorry for my late reply! I think a Muff would work nicely on both amps but I’m not too sure about a fuzz on the 25R. I haven’t tried it my self but I would assume that it might sound a bit thin and bright… perhaps harsh. I’d go for a versatile Muff like the Musket or Red Muck. Click the links for my reviews. – Bjorn]

  95. z says:

    thanks, for the insight, bjorn. i think i’m going to go ahead and try it out anyway since i have a chance to get a tube driver for a good price. i’ll let you know how it goes. if i don’t like it with my rig, but really like it, i’ll just have to change my rig. if not, i’m sure i’ll find something to do with it. :)

    [Sorry for all the typos in the last comment but I think you got my meaning :) let me know how it turns out ! – Bjorn]

  96. PAUL says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I’ve owned the new Bias version of the BK Butler Tube Driver for over a year now. Took a while to completely bond with it, but nowadays, it’s definitely got it’s own vibe happening, so share Gilmour’s love for it. Noticed a lot of people on the thread not getting the sound they expected. Would just like to share some wisdom that may or may not be appreciated. There are many things which can affect the sound of this pedal, and the way it is placed in this rig. I’m using a Yugo 12AX7 Tube supplied by BK, and really happy with the sound I’m getting. Like on all my valve equipment (power amps, pre amps), I make sure I get my valves professionally tested by a local tech who owns a Amplitrex AT-1000 Digital Valve Tester, and make sure the triodes are reasonably balanced on both sides, and rated strong for current and transconductance at 1.2 ma/ 1.6 ma/volt. You can easily end up with a stunted sound if any one triode tests at < 65%. Anything over 80% I'd consider tone worthy. On the other extreme, anything over 130%, can be considered less tone worthy, but prefer stronger than weaker tubes. For peace of mind I'd suggest everyone gets their valves tested, before giving up on this pedal, or even the sound they get from a valve amp.The valve on this pedal is not high tension, meaning it doesn't use 300 Volts DC like in a guitar preamp. I measured it and it's only 17 Volts supply. Therefore it's only used as a makeup gain stage, so a transistor or maybe a Op Amp are used in combination to create the gain. I guess one good thing is your tube should last indefinitely as it's not doing the same amount of work or thermionic emission. I noticed that I actually prefer Eric Johnson's settings for his Violin type tone. He cuts the High Mid EQ all the way to 0 (7 o'clock), and the low mid EQ to about 3-4 (9-10 o'clock). This EQ setting gives you the advantage of increasing the Distortion past 9 o'clock and volume pot past 10 o'clock, and I found lets the pedal breathe/ sing with more headroom. Just a suggestion for anyone interested. On Kit Rae's website, he states that Gilmour also removes a input impedance resistor in his Tube Driver, as he uses a Cornish Buffer. Something I'm yet to try, once I get my own tube Buffer. Have you yourself tried this?

    [Thanks for your insight! Apart from making sure you use a good tube I think the biggest issue with this pedal is placement and whether or not it’s suited for your rig or not. In my experience the TD is extremely sensitive to what pedals you place before and after it and even further out in the chain. Placing the “wrong” pedal next to it can alter its tone dramatically. Also, the TD is a demanding beast that really needs pickups and an amp that can handle it. It’s nothing I’d recommend for small 5w amps and bedroom volume levels… – Bjorn]

  97. z says:

    hello. first of all, i love this site! so much useful information and great backing tracks. great stuff.

    i saw that you mentioned the blues junior a couple times above. i’m currently using a blues junior with some billm mods and a cannibis rex speaker. i have a pretty extensive pedalboard, but i’m thinking about changing things up a little.

    my current overdrive is a visual sound double trouble. it’s basically like two tube screamers in one box. it sounds great through my larger amp, but it seems to lack a bit of sparkle on the blues junior. do you think that the tube driver would play nice with my amp and sound better than my current drive?

    also, i use a lot of digital effects and i’m wondering if they would negate the tube goodness of the tube driver if they are place after it in the chain. i know it’s probably frowned upon around here, but i’m thinking about putting the tube driver in front of a line 6 pod hd500 or m9/13, specifically. do you think it would be a waste of a great pedal?

    i should add that, while i’m a pretty big fan of david gilmour and pink floyd, i’m not necessarily seeking his tone. i primarily play at my church and i need a good pedal that will give me a chimey, slightly broken overdrive tone that isn’t too harsh. that being said, i’d love to get gilmour’s tone and some heavier drive on tap as well. do you think this pedal will get me there?

    on an unrelated note, i have also built quite a few pedals and the byoc large beaver is also my favorite muff of all the ones i’ve heard or tried. i’ve seen you say that you like it, but i thought i’d second it. outstanding muff clone.

    [Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy the site :) I think the Tube Driver would go nicely with the Blues Jr. The Double Trouble and Tube Screamers in general has a lot of mid range, which on some amps may sound a bit muddy and lack that crisp top. The Tube Driver is very transparent and clear. Having said that, I’d incredibly sensitive to what pedals you combine it with so I would recommend pairing it with a digital processor. I might be wrong but from experience the Tube Driver tend to get harsh and just too bright in those combos. In that case I think you’re better off with a Fulltone OCD, which is somewhere between a Tube Screamer and the Tube Driver or a Keeley modified Boss BD-2. – Bjorn]

  98. Zaven says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I got your message about suggesting using a Boss BD-2 over a the tube driver on a laney cub12. Would you suggest The BD-2 to be modded? If so, which mod, keeley?

    [Definitely. The modded versions are warmer, smoother and has an overall more sophisticated tone. The Keeley is a good choice. – Bjorn]

  99. Fernando says:

    First of all, Thank you for this websitethanks for update it whenever you can and give us this valuable information to improve every day and getting a little closer to the legendary Sir David Gilmour tone.
    We also congratulate your band … I hear the tracks you post on this page and really are very good, in “Prelude” I said, this is the real “On an Island” tone. Seriously, congratulations.
    I’d like your advice on a pedal itself.
    I have a Fuzz Pedal not very good brand. Placing the high level of FUZZ (90-100%) is too noisy. So want to change it. In my band we like to play especially the pieces of Live at Pompeii, the Dark Side of the Moon. But we also like playing Shine On, Dogs, several songs from The Wall and The Division Bell.
    One of our favorites, and is preferred by listeners Echoes, Pompeii version. When I do the introduction (Violin), excessive noise sounds, guitar sounds good, accompanied by a nasty noise. The noise gets worse when I add Overdrive for one more aggressive as in “Time” (single). While all the other pedals activated together make no noise, the Fuzz makes a shocking noise when activated individually.
    In view of this, if not change it for any other brand Fuzz or by a EH Big Muff Pi.
    One of our favorites, and is preferred by listeners Echoes, Pompeii version. When I do the introduction (Violin), excessive noise sounds, guitar sounds good, accompanied by a nasty noise. The noise gets worse when I add Overdrive for one more aggressive as in “Time” (single). While all the other pedals activated together make no noise, the Fuzz makes a shocking noise when activated individually.
    In view of this, if not change it for any other brand Fuzz or by a EH Big Muff Pi. I know the Muff is more versatile, but I do not know if the muff can achieve the sound of the violin in “Echoes” or the individual sounds of “A Saucerful of Secrets”, much needed in our concerts.
    I want to know what you recommend? If the EH Big Muff or other fuzz of another brand, that is not too expensive. Analog is the Sun Face is amazing. But the price is out of my hands. Thank you.

    P.D. Sorry for my English.

    [Hi! What guitar/pickups and amp do you have? Let me know and I’ll try to help :) – Bjorn]

  100. Eric Nyberg says:

    I agree that the tube driver sounds better, it was just a passing thought, glad I didn’t get rid of it. And congratulations on your new daughter Bjorn!

    [Thank you! – Bjorn]

  101. Zaven says:

    Hi Bjorn! Just wanted to ask a quick question. Do you think the BK tube driver and Sovtek Big Muff would sound good on a laney cub12 15 watt? I’ve already got the muff and am considering the BK and Laney. Thanks!

    [The Tube Driver needs a lot of power and volume. On a CUB 12 I think you’d be better off with an OCD or Boss BD2. – Bjorn]

  102. Eric Nyberg says:

    My signal chain goes; Skreddy Lunar Module, Barber Tone Press, Stomp Under Foot Violet Ram’s Head, BK Butler Tube Driver, MXR Phase 90 (74 script), Electric Mistress Deluxe, TRex replica and DD-20. I was thinking of getting an OCD to save space but I’m wondering if I would regret that.

    [Personally I think the TD sounds way better than the OCD. – Bjorn]

  103. Eric Nyberg says:

    Hi Bjorn, hope that the new year is going well for you. I have a BK Butler Tube Driver that I’m playing through a Deluxe Reverb, where should the volume on the Tube Driver be if I’m playing at around 1.5-2 on the amp?

    [Hard to tell. Depends on a lot of things like your pickups, EQ settings on the amp, how the other controls on the TD are set, what other pedals you combine it with and what pedals that are placed before and after it in the chain in regards to buffers etc… I always keep the volume at 2.00. This produce a volume boost but also smooths out any harsh overtones. The more you increase the gain, the more you need to roll off the treble as well. Hope this helped :) – Bjorn]

  104. Mick says:

    Hi Bjorn – great site, always fun to wander around in :)

    Just got a Laney Cub Stack, very much enjoying it. Do you think I’d get away with a BK Butler Tube Driver, or would it be too much for the amp?

    Peace to you and yours


    [Depends on how loud you’re able to play. It works nicely in a band or studio situation but at home on lower volume levels I recommend something a bit more versatile like a Keeley Boss BD2 or The Fulltone OCD. The TD tend to sound thin and harsh if you’re not able to really crank the amp. – Bjorn]

  105. Patrick says:

    Great review man!! I have this pedal together with the original one that was made in 80’s. I think that older sounds little warmer but it makes a huge different what amp is used. This version seems to be more picky with lots of amps and like you said, it’s for sure almost useless on lower volumes. It must be really crazy for guys who try to get sound of certain artist and get the same gear, but play in the bedroom level and it comes sounding bad.
    What you doing is beyond words. You present so much valuable information that’s welcome any player on any level. I consider myself lucky to even stumble across your website!! Thank you from bottom of my heart, Bjorn!!!
    I have had good experience with Fender Blues Deluxe Reissue, Hot Rod Deluxe III, Egnater Rebel 30 and Tweaker 40 both 112 combos, Roland JC-120 Jazz Chorus ( from early 90’s model, new ones aren’t as good )Peavey Classic 30/112 combo ( again older model, if buying new you have to try few first because they seem to be not as good quality wise like before ) and Mesa Boogie LoneStar 2/12 100W combo and Mesa Stiletto Ace 2/12 50W combo.
    Now I own ,,only” Blues Deluxe, Jazz Chorus and both Boogies to which I have to say that they AREN’T generally my style but these two sounds better than ANYTHING I heard before.
    TubeDriver sounding great through them even at low levels is ultimate proof!!! I know that Mesas aren’t ,,typical” David’s sounds but anyone looking for huge clean sound must check these out!!! You have to listen YouTube videos of Andy Timmons with his LoneStar and Stiletto rig, they are ultimate tone factory and anyone looking for great Clean and nicely Overdriven sounds must see them. He’s also using TB and talks about how hard is to make them sound good with any amp.
    Anyway just wanted to share my experience.

    [Thanks a lot for your input and kind words Patrick! I’m a great fan of Mesa Boogie amps my self and always try to use these when we’re out playing and I can’t bring my own rig. You can always depend on them and although I prefer the old Hiwatt tones I think the Mesa is a more versatile amp… even for David’s tones. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  106. Matty says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks so much for this amazing resource! Just a quick question, if using an Ibanez TS-808, what settings (Drive, Tone, Vol) would you recommend to get a tone similar to the 2nd solo of Shine On You Crazy Diamond from PULSE? Advice would be much appreciated, cheers!

    [Thanks! What amp and guitar/pickups do you use? – Bjorn]

  107. Oscar says:

    Ok ty so much Bjorn! keep up the good work i realy love your Website and your Youtube channel.

  108. Oscar says:

    Ohh ok thank you so much for the replay and the info! :D Would it be better if i had a Hiwatt?

    [Probably but it depends on how you’d use the amp. The Tube Driver needs to be pushed really hard to get that smooth tone so if you’re mostly playing at home on low volume levels an expensive Hiwatt would be quite redundant. Check out similar sounding combos like the Fender Blues Jr or Peavey Classic 30. – Bjorn]

  109. Oscar says:

    Hi Bjorn. I just wonder if its best for me to buy a The Chandler Tube Driver even if i just play at home, but im thinking to play outside soon. I got a Vox VT50 and wonder if it will sound a litle like Gilmour with that tube i also got a Big Muff USA the freaking big one xD and i will soon buy a Cs 2. Ty

    [Sorry for my late reply. I haven’t tried the VT50 but judging by its specs I wouldn’t recommend a Tube Driver. It might work but I’d suspect it would sound rather thin and harsh. The TD is a quite demanding pedal. I think you’re much better off with a Keeley BD2, ThroBak Overdriveboost or a Fulltone OCD. – Bjorn]

  110. Matthias says:

    If you enter this at YOUTUBE you know what I mean:

    Pink Floyd – Time solo w/ EHX Big Muff Pi

    This is the “clean” MUFF sound that I can not get. But why? My equipment should be able for that…

    [See my last reply. Your rig seems fine but the Muff might not suit your rig… – Bjorn]

  111. Matthias says:

    It is the red/black BIG MUFF from 1978 with TONE BYPASS. On the previous Gilmourish website you wrote that it is quite suitable for most Gilmour tones. I use high quality equipment: EVIDENCE MELODY cables. In my chain there is a BOSS CS2, a DYNACOMP SCRIPT, THE BIG MUFF, a BK TD, a PHASE 90 SCRIPT, a BOSS CE2 and a T-REX REPLICA. Everything patched with EVIDENCE cables, except the one from the REPLICA to the DR504, this one I have just ordered and waiting for. At the moment I use for that a PLANET WAVES, but this shouldn’t be the problem… could the BOSS pedals be the problem? The biggest problem is when I play 2 strings at the same time – it roars / rushes and the sound is dirty… Thanks for taking the time.

    [Well, you haven’t mentioned what pickups and speakers you use but assuming you use models that suits Gilmour I don’t see anything wrong with your setup. First of all I’d set the amp for something like this: bass 40-50%, mids 30-40%, treble 50-60% (you might even want to roll it off further), presence 60-70% and set the master to about 1/3 of the channel. Plug the guitar straight into the amp without any pedals and tweak the setting until you get the tone you want. Add ONLY the Muff between the guitar and amp and try to set it up for a tone that works. Try not to touch the amp settings. Add the rest of the pedals and see how they effect the Muff. Several Boss pedals will make the Muff slightly brighter even if the Boss pedals are off. Now, not all Muffs works that well for David’s tones. The ’78 is a nice pedal but quite more aggressive and dark compared to the triangle and ram’s head. Perhaps not the pedal for you if you had another tone in mind. Keep in mind that there are huge differences between Muff models and even between similar pedals of the 70s range so you might want to consider something different if you don’t like the one you already have. Also, the Muff will change dramatically when you combine it with other pedals so always check the tone without any pedals in the chain. Let me know if you need more help. – Bjorn]

  112. Matthias says:

    Bjorn, I have a 1978 Muff and a Hiwatt DR504. The DR504 settings are NORMAL VOLUME 1 o’ clock, MASTER VOLUME 10 o’ clock, no weak settings. I almost came to the decision that have to remove the MUFF. I can not set the VOLUME from the MUFF more than 10 o’ clock. If I do more, I get an immediately noise feedback from the cabinet. On YOUTUBE there is a great cover from TIME, the person who covered it set the MUFF Volume 3 o’ clock !! How is that possible? When I set the Volume to 10 o’ clock, there is no negative feedback, but I have so much dirt, especially when I play 2 strings at the same time. Please answer me one question: is it possible to get a “clean” MUFF tone with my equipment? I also have a RAT, but the Muff’s character is so great, but how can I tame it? With an EQ?

    [What Muff model are you using? – Bjorn]

  113. Chris says:

    I just picked up a Tube Driver from BK himself. Wanted one for a long time, but couldn’t put the money up for it, so recently I gathered all my pedals that just sit around not being used, sold them and got the TD. So far I am very impressed with the TD, running into a clean Peavy Classic 50, it is amazing. I still have the stock tube in mine too.

    Do you notice a different in your modulation pedals when running them after the TD? I notice the effects seem stronger after the TD, than with my muffs, and other overdrives. I have mainly noticed this with a CE-2 and a CS Phase 90.

    [Congrats! All pedals will behave differently with different pedals. The Tube Driver has an aggressive character with a typically scooped mids tone, which will make the modulations sounds brighter and more focused. Muffs with a warmer tone and more mids, will make the modulations sound smoother and not as dominating. Ttry different setups and combinations and see how that affects the tone. – Bjorn]

  114. lee says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    As ever… Fantastic site. Its amazing how many references to gilmourish I come across when bouncing round the net reading stuff. Please keep reviewing gear and publishing these articles they’re awesome!

    So recently I began my search for the Gilmour tone and I have got myself a BK TD with bias, I already had a boss cs-2, phase script 90, EHX Deluxe Mistress, ge-7, vox wah and digitec delay (its never let me down so will decide later if I need to replace that one).

    So when researching the TD, reading lots and listening to stacks of YouTube clips rightly or wrongly I decided that this was for me. However reading this article I am not sure I have made the best choice based on my setup.

    I mainly play at home and in a practise studio with some pals using my Marshall solid state mdfx 100. This will traded in very soon but I am not sure what amp to go for. I defo want a tube amp and have reasonable budget. Would you recommend the Fender super champ? Listening to kitrae I started thinking about the twin reverb 65 but I think that’s to much for how I would use it.

    Also I am interested in the lunar module and royal beaver simply because of its versatility. Can you please offer any advice? Any help would be great. Thanks.

    Lee (Fender Strat – ssl-5, cs69, cs fat 50)

    [Hi Lee! Thanks a lot for your kind words! The TD is a very demanding pedal and it doesn’t suit all amp. At least not in terms of getting David’s smooth tones. I’ve never got it to sound quite right on solid states and it needs quite a lot of volume to really tidy up. The OCD or Boss BD Keeley might be a better option. Ampwise I’ve never been a huge fan of Fender amps. The Champ is OK and definitely delivers Gilmour tones but I find it a bit too bright. Personally I think the Blues JT is better and closer to that Hiwatt tone. Check out the Peavey Classic 30 as well and the Laney Cub amps – great value tube amps. – Bjorn]

  115. Ramin says:

    After i read this I decided NOT to buy a tube driver, becaus Im planning to buy a CUB Stack, so I might just get a modded BD-2 or a BYOC OD2. One question though; which model of the callaham bridges do you reccomend? (I assume it’s the Vintage S model…?)
    Thank you.

    [Callaham have different models for different guitars. I’m using the Vintage S but it doesn’t suit all Strats. – Bjorn]

  116. Koray says:

    Thank you Bjorn. That helps me alot. It is good to know it is not beause of my pedals. I also found out that some tubes were broken in my amp. That also expelains many things for me.

  117. Koray says:

    Thank you Born again..

    I am getting your point. I f I would not frustrate you :), again one another thing…. When I apply the same settings at the your web site (with same effect pedals) I understand that the tube driver should boost slightly (i mean there should be an increase in the volume as well). However, when I turn on the the tube driver, the voulme decreases remarkably amd the collor of the tone becomes muffy. (So I adjust treble and bass knobs as to make no difference in the collor of the tone when I turn it on after P1). So in order to get that slight increase in the volume, I have to adjust the volume of the tube driver more than it is mentioned ..like to 3:00 oclock. Could there be a problem or is it normal?

    (Here it is the settings of volumes when I first try it : P1:11:30 and Tube driver : 12:30.)

    [The Tube Driver has a low output volume so you need to set it around 2:00-2:30 for unity level with the amp. I’ve never quite understood why David keeps the volume on his OD TD that low but he might have modified it or something I don’t know. Anyway, I’d set the gain around 9-10:00 and the volume around 2-2:30 and adjust the hi and low as needed. Keep in mind that the Tube Driver is extremely sensitive to other equipement so David’s or my settings may not apply at all to your rig. The Tube Driver can sound quite harsh and boomy on some amps and Boss pedals etc makes it sound bright and spiky. – Bjorn]

  118. Mazen says:

    Hallo Bjorn, I ordered a used CHANDLER TUBE DRIVER from eBay. I already use a BK Butler TD with a 12 AU7 tube for a cleaner signal. So I will use the CHANDLER for overdrive, would you set up the pedals like this ?: STRAT -> Compression -> CHANDLER TD overdrive -> RAT -> BK BUTLER TD mild setting -> Phaser etc… thank you

    [Congrats! Doesn’t really matter whether you place the TD OD before or after the RAT because I assume you won’t be using it with the RAT. However, there might be instances where you might want to use both TDs. I would stick to the rule of thumb and have all gain pedals arranged by tone. Fuzz > distortion > overdrive > booster. This way you will keep the chain tidy and always be sure you combine the right pedals in the right order. – Bjorn]

  119. Koray says:

    Thank you Bjorn,

    One more thing that makes me confused:

    The settings for the tube driver for comfortably numb is listed as below at your web site. And it is being used after P1. The drive settings are too high. When you use it together with P1, there becomes a hell of noise. Should it be used with less drive?
    as your other statements are giving me that impression too.

    Sorry for my question again.

    Tube Driver #2 (overdrive)
    – level 11:30, hi 11:30, low 3:00, drive 4:00 (o’clock)

    [David is seen using the OD Tube Driver for Comf Numb but I assume he adjust the settings. Having that much gain on both makes, as you point out, too much noise. What’s important is that you find settings that works for your setup. A good rule of thumb is to set the Muff fairly mild with the volume at unity level with the amp and the gain around 50%. Set the TD slightly above unity level but not too high. Add the amount of gain you need but keep in mind that the Tube Driver should act more as an EQ rather than a booster. The more gain you add the more noise you’ll get and you will also have to adjust the amount of treble to smooth the harsh overtones. – Bjorn]

  120. Koray says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    thanks for all info you are sharing.

    I have a quick question. At your web site, it is mentioned that tube driver is used with OD (not clean) settings after P1 by Gilmour for songs like “comfortably numb”. Can you define what is “boosting”?

    I hope my question makes sense.

    [The term boosting usually describes when you use an overdrive or distortion pedal to drive the tubes in the amp for more gain or when you add an overdrive with a distortion for more volume during solos. In terms of David’s sounds “boosting” is perhaps a bit misleading because he only uses the Tube Driver more like an EQ. The Muff is set fairly mild with the volume about unity with the amp and the gain around 50%. The Tube Driver is placed after the Muff with an equally mild setting with a slight crunch and the volume slightly above unity with the amp. This way he adds tone to the Muff rather than to boost the volume. In terms of David’s tone a booster should be transparent with as little mid range as possible so that it doesn’t colour the Muff too much. Pedals like the Colorsound Powerboost, BK Tube Driver, Boss BD2 and similar clones are ideal. Hope this helped. – Bjorn]

  121. Yoni says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    How is the bypass signal of the Tube Driver? I know it’s not true bypass, so does it change the tone of overdrives before it (or after it)?


    [I haven’t noticed any tone or volume loss from mine. It’s very silent and seems to handle the signal well. It can be a tad demanding in terms of other pedals though and I’ve experienced that it doesn’t like to be placed next to certain Boss pedals and some vintage stuff. – Bjorn]

  122. Jason says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    I’m actually following up from a post from Jan 24th. Based on what you’d mentioned the TD should sound like, I ended up sending it back to BK Butler. He did a diagnostic on mine, and it turned out that the Bass EQ knob WAS totally broken, and engaging the pedal was sucking all the bass away. He fixed it and sent it back, since then its been amazing!

    So I can definitely report that this pedal works fabulously with a mesa boogie mark IV I run it on the R1 channel very clean, and I can really nail those Coming Back to Life and Shine On Pulse tones. Simply gorgeous. I keep the tube drive level as far down as I can without hurting the bass tone (so its mostly clean), and run it with a Boss CS2, TC corona chorus (with the warm toneprint), and some reverb and delay from a TC Gmajor in the effects loop (all of this running through a GCS switcher). Tone heaven. I also just got an Eric Johnson strat which perfectly completes the picture.

    So if anyone here has a Mesa Boogie Mark series amp, the Tube Driver will work with it, you don’t need only a marshall or fender style amp!

    [Glad to hear it worked out :) – Bjorn]

  123. Matthias says:

    Hallo Bjorn, I have a TD and a ProCo Rat II (USA), as well as a T-REX Replica Delay and other stuff like a DynaComp, using it with a DR504… my question is if David has activated his Big Muff and TD during the intro of “Coming Back To Life” (Albert Hall Version)? (I don’t use a Big Muff, I use the Rat, thanks to your advice). And how is it during “Shine On…” (Albert Hall Version)? Can you mention some songs, where he doesn’t use any Overdrive? Thank you, best regards from Germany !

    [Coming Back to Life is pretty much just the TD and some delay. On the intro he’s using a clean boost, while the rhythms are with a bit more gain. The Albert Hall version of Shine On starts with a clean tone with compression and delay and for the solos and rhythms he adds the TD with a mild gain setting. – Bjorn]

  124. Luis says:

    Wonderful Bjorn!

    Got it. Thanks a million.


    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  125. Luis says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    thanks a lot for answer.

    The setup is easy:

    Guitar (Am Std Strat with Neck Fat50, Middle Suhr FL Standard, Bridge SSL-5)

    In this case (I have a pedal switcher for other setups):

    Guitar – TD – Boss DD7 – Amp (clean channel)

    Some youtube videos serve as an example like this one:




    Those are the sounds I have and that’s what I call Fuzzy…



    [OK. I think the problem with both these clips is that the volume is too low. You really need to crank your amp to get that smooth open tone from the TD. It doesn’t really go that well with bedroom levels. As I said the Blackstar is aggressive. So is the HK in the last clip. These will make the TD sound more fuzzy but again, if you crank the amp it will sound better. I also suspect that the DD7 in your rig messes up the signal. It’s not that the DD7 is a bad pedal but the TD is extremely sensitive to buffered pedals and Boss in particular. Once I realized that I got the tones I wanted. Do a test where you compare the sound you get from your normal set and what you get when you plug the guitar into the TD and then into the amp. Don’t use any loopers or bypass pedals for this just plug the TD straight into the amp. The amp settings is crucial as well. Try something like this: bass 50%, treble 50-60%, mids 40%, presence 50-60% and set the master to about 1/3 of the channel volume. Use only the clean channel on your amp (if it has two). Now, the TD will behave differently on different gear and even if you’d have a duplicate of David’s stuff it wouldn’t have sounded exactly the same. You aways need to adjust the settings to match the amp volume, the room in where you play and with what guitars/pickups and pedals you use with it. I usually keep the treble at 11:00 on mine for overdrive stuff and around 12:30 for clean boost. Any higher the pedal will sound like a fuzz. But really I can’t stress this enough – volume! If you mainly play at home I think I’d perhaps consider an OCD or something similar. Hope this helped. – Bjorn]

  126. Luis says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I have a brand new TD. Got it from Mr.Butler 3 weeks ago. It’s the one with the Bias knob.

    Everything up from 9:30 on the gain it’s a fuzz. I play in a small valve amp (Blackstar HT-5).

    So I still don’t get it…

    Looking at Dave’s settings for OD like f.ex. on the 2006 tour, it says gain 4:00!!

    4:00 in mine is an Eric Johnson fuzzy sort of tone!!! Miles away from an OD, specially from Royal Albert Hall or Gdansk…

    Do you have a rational for this? Has David changed it’s valve?

    Even by changing the bias knob to a milder gain it’s worthless…

    What’s the rational? Can volume justify this?



    [I’ve never tried the one with the bias but from what I understand you should be able to dial in tones identical to the standard version. Blackstar amps are aggressive. Even if they appear to have lots of headroom they have a dark saturated tone that will make overdrives and distortion sound heaver than on other amps like a Hiwatt and similar. Pickups obviously plays a huge role and you should also be careful with placing the TD next to any Boss and other buffered pedals. These will alter its tone making it brighter and harsher. Let me know what settings you have on your amp, what pickups and guitar you use and which other pedals you have on your board and I’ll try to help. – Bjorn]

  127. Arthur says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Arthur here again, thanks for your info that was a very good help. At the moment i have 2 amps a ’86 marshall jcm 800 that i use for recording and a Fender Woody pro junior for live use for weight and lifting purposes. its a 15-30 watt amp i belive. so just wodering if that has enough head room and good mix with the chandler tube driver. i use a boss DS1 paired with the tube screamer to get my hard metal type of rhythm crunch then i use the ocd for both rythm and lead tones. essentially i wanted to get 4 types of tones ( 1 for clean and 3 for different distortion sounds with the first 2 already mentioned above)

    No the chandler is jst one of my other option. my set up goes from guitar -vox wah – ocd – tubescreamer – Boss DS1 – chorus – boss dd3 and AMp Fender woody Pro. Now do you see anything wrogn with that set up? i always get confused with settign them up i have read your guides as well sometimes i still feel unsure. cheers

    [Sorry for my late reply. I’ve never tried the Woody but although it seems to be capable of a nice clean tone I’m not sure it would handle a Tube Driver. Doesn’t appear to have that much headroom so I think the OCD would work much better. In regards to your chain I’d place the overdrives after the DS1 if you’re using them for boost. – Bjorn]

  128. Arthur says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Me again. Any thought between the chandler tube driver vs the hermida zendrive? Have your tried both?

    [The Chandler is more or less identical to the BK although not as open and bright. I haven’t tried the Zen but from what I understand it’s similar to the Tube Driver, OCD etc. – Bjorn]

  129. Arthur says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Im in the position to aquire a chandler tube drive from a friend with a 12ax7 tube in it. I really like the tones David gets on the song “Time” his rhythm and lead tone. I was wodnering if the chandler is able to aquire that tone. And would it be a good idea for me to get that pedal. I have the ocd pedal and an original ibanez ts9 from the 80’s i woudl realy love to hear your opinions regardign those 3 pedals as i love your comments and reviews and have foudn them very helpful and informative and me sometimes i need sum good advice from good experience people before i go and make my mind up.

    [The Tube Driver is fully capable of producing David’s Dark Side, WYWH and Animals overdrive tones but it depends on what amp you have as I’m sure you are aware. Check out this post for some tips on how to use the Tube Driver and for some details on the TS9 and OCD as well. – Bjorn]

  130. David Arcenia says:

    Hey Bjorn
    The music sounds awesome. Truly!!
    In regards to the tube switching….There are several models of the 12AU7. Anywhere from silver pin to gold pin. And even options within the model like High Gain, Matching, Balanced Triodes, Matched+Balanced Triodes and Low Noise & Microphonics. Does this even matter?

    Thanks, David = )

    [I’m not that good with tubes really. I’m sure it does matter but I haven’t experimented enough to tell the difference. Sorry. – Bjorn]

  131. Nicolas says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    you might have heard it many times but again, what a great site! fantastic job!
    I am a PF fan and after a long break I start to build my gear. I’d like to use the Gilmour tone as a direction.
    At the moment I am using the following:
    I did modify myself the CS3 with only few items like some metal film capacitors and resistors and few other things.This in order to reduce noise but it’s not really good.

    I’d like to invest in an overdrive to replace the OS2 (I did buy it as I was younger and it makes its job) into a “real” overdrive that can suit to the other effects. With the actual set it is hard to find a nice balance between the muff and the OS2! Probably the boss are a bit noisy in general and also the OS has a to shy overdrive.

    due to the small transistor amplifier, I am hesitating to invest in a tube driver, or a transistor based pedal such as a modded BD-2, fulltone OCD, BBamp from Xotic, or TSlike.

    But also, I use in concerts the amps that are already set there so it can be usually bigger and tube based amps such as twin reverb etc… so it makes maybe sense to invest in tube overdrive? or is it really a lost of money to use it on small amps? Then of course, BK.Butler/chandler comes. I saw on the net some other pedals like the tubework 901/903/911 familly and also blackstar HT drive… what do you think about these ones?thanks!

    [Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy my site :) The Tube Driver needs the right amp or it will sound harsh and thin. In my experience it doesn’t work that well with Marshalls, Fender Twins etc. Of the Fenders it seems to go well with the Blues JR, Bassman and Showman. I think I’d go for something a bit more versatile like the OCD or a modded BD2. The 901/903/911 are all very similar to the BK although not as open and dynamic. – Bjorn]

  132. Javid says:

    HI Bjorn,
    Still I didn’t get it, ok then tell me please, I should get TS9 and BK or OCD and BK or what ever you suggest.

    Thanks so much

    [Well, that’s not for me to decide :) The Tube Driver is my favourite of the three and I think it should go fine with your Mesa. I’ve done that many times. The OCD is perhaps more versatile though. I have both on my board but if you ask me I’d go for the Tube Driver. – Bjorn]

  133. Javid says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Is OCD Tube scremer, if it is which one you recommend TS9 or OCD
    If OCD is a Tube drive, which one you recommend BK Buttler or OCD.

    Thanks a lot.

    [The OCD is based on a Tube Screamer. It’s very similar with a warm creamy tone. It has a bit more gain and bass than the TS. However, the OCD also feature an additional tone switch that allows for more presence (scooped mids) and gain. This features makes the OCD closer to a Tube Driver so in a sense you can say it’s the best of both worlds. Very versatile. Personally I prefer the Tube Driver but the OCD works better on most setups. – Bjorn]

  134. Javid says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I have Mesa boogie dual rectifier, do I still need Tube drive or tube Screamer for Pink Floyd songs.


    [I would say a definite yes. The reason is that although the Mesa and most other amps (preferably tubes) produce great overdrive and distortion tones you’ll get a much better signal and a tone closer to David’s with pedals. Unless you really prefer using the gain stage on your amp I recommend that all your sounds should be based on a clean signal that’s coloured with different pedals. On the other hand you could use the gain stage on the amp and the send/return loop on the back panel for looping modulations and delays. Read more about that here. – Bjorn]

  135. Javid says:

    Hey Bjorn,
    Thanks for your great website; I need to know, what the difference between Tube drive and Tub Screamer is.

    [The Tube Screamer dates from the late 70s and was designed to capture the tone of a cranked tube amp. It has a warm creamy tone with lots of mid range and medium gain. The Tube Driver has a built in tube and has a much more transparent tone. It’s louder, more aggressive and has lots more gain and lower end than the Tube Screamer. You can’t really compare the two. – Bjorn]

  136. Rich says:

    I have a 2010 BK Butler Tube Driver that I’ve always liked but never really loved. I’m running it in a fairly “Glimourish” pedal chain into the front end of an Egnater Tweaker (great Gilmour amp if you don’t need huge volumes). It just seemed far too “fuzzy” with the 12AX7 and dull with a 12AU7. It didn’t really respond well to the volume knob and there wasn’t a nice smooth transistion from overdrive into distortion. I ran a 12AT7 in it which was OK, but it just never really blew my mind. I tweaked that poor thing to death but I never could find a sound that was right for me.

    A couple of days ago I was going through my tube box and I found an interesting tube at the bottom. It was a 12DW7 which is pretty fascinating. It is a dual triode just like a 12AX7, but half of the tube has a gain of 20 (12AU7) and half has a gain of 100 (12AX7). I thought – “what the heck, let’s give it a spin”

    Well folks, personally I found my tone. It sounds far less compressed, it has a tremendous range of gains (from dead clean to screaming), it is super sensitive to the volume knob, and at all settings it keeps it’s teeth. It growls and screams. It can chunk like a Rectifier (really!) or sing like David tone in Pulse. It’s like a completely different animal. I’m absolutely floored by this unit now and I’m seriously thinking about getting another one and ditching all of my other dirt boxes (well not my Lunar Module – they’ll bury me with that one). I’ll bet with two of these set to different drive levels I can get almost any kind of dirt.

    Unfortunately all of my mics are in storage so I can’t record well. I’ll try to get something up later for you all to chew on though.

    Tube Depot sells them for $16.50 delivered with hi-gain testing. Please try this out if your not happy with your Tube Driver – I think that you’ll be happily surprised.

    Hope this helps!

    [Thanks for the tip Rich! – Bjorn]

  137. Jason says:

    Hi Bjorn (and all), I just discovered this site recently, and it is an amazing resource, thank you!

    I got a BK Butler Tube driver several weeks ago and either it just doesn’t work with my equipment or I’ve got a bum one, I was wondering if you guys could help me decide. I actually got it used on evilBay (should have just bought a new one direct from BK). The owner says that he actually checked with BK and gave him the serial # to confirm is authenticity, it was produced back in 1987, under the Chandler name, but still says BK Butler Audio on the front.

    I actually got it because I’m quite an Eric Johnson fan and thought I’d give it a whirl, but I love PF and Gilmour as well and I’d love to be able to capture some of that “Coming Back to Life” magic.

    My current setup is a Mesa Boogie Mark 4 and a Music Man JP6. Obviously this is much more of a metal setup (I play more Dream Theater / Metallica oriented music typically). The boogie is a 6L6 based amp (it can take EL34s though, and I’m thinking about switching to them). Again, not the typical setup that you are probably all used to using the TD with, but its clean channel is quite Fenderish and stays super clean to very high volumes. That’s the channel that I’m trying to use this with for gilmour tones. The mesa’s second channel is a medium gain sort of thing, slightly marshall-esque, and I’m pushing the TD through that channel for more Eric Johnson tones.

    I *have* managed to get some decent sounds out of the pedal so far, but basically whenever I engage it, there is a huge sucking away of my bass tones, and quite an increase in harsh treble. This occurs even when the Hi and Lo knobs are turned completely off. So the only useable tones I’ve gotten are by keeping the Hi all the way off, and the Low knob completely turned up. Even then I still lose some bass, and the sound is harsher and thinner. This is the exact opposite effect that I’d expect given all the clips I’ve seen online. I was expecting fat thicker bass response, and a slight attentuation of the treble frequencies. I definitely can’t get anywhere close to tones like in bjorns video above, or others that I’ve seen online.

    One clue could be that the top yellow cap on the top of the treble knob was knocked off at some point in this pedals history, I wonder if the eq was damaged at all.

    As mentioned, I’m not using the typical equipment with the TD, but I still wouldn’t expect such a suck of bass frequencies and thinning of the tone. But maybe it isn’t a good match for my guitar, which has two dimarzio high gain humbuckers! I’m picking up a strat soon enough, so I’ll be able to tell. And maybe its just not a good match for the mesa mark IV, however this is a pretty high quality tube amp, and I’ve seen several clips of people getting great tube driver tones even out of solid state marshalls.

    BTW, I did switch out the 12AX7 wurlizter tube that came with it for a NOS 12Au7, that helped a tiny bit but nowhere enough.

    Any thoughts any of you have are greatly appreciated!


    [Hi Jason. It’s always hard to assist when I haven’t examined your rig but I’ll try. As you point out neither the amp nor the guitar fit a typical Gilmour setup although you should be able to get some decent and powerful clean tones with the amp. Humbuckers will sound different from a Strat no matter how you tweak the amp or pedals. But you know that already. The combination of a Strat and the TD makes all the difference and I think you’ll struggle hard to get the warm compressed overdrives heard on PULSE especially. I’d also be careful using too much gain from the amp but rather try to set it as clean as possible. I understand you’re not only trying to replicate David’s tones you just have to find something that fits both worlds.

    Now, what characterizes the Tube Driver is that it’s loud and agressive with a thunderous lower end. Quite the opposite of what you describe. There might be something wrong with the pedal but you can easily do a test. Plug your guitar straight into the amp without any pedals and set the amp up for a desired tone. Add the Tube Driver, without any other pedals, and engage it with the settings you’d assume were “normal” (something like output 3:00, hi 1:00, low 3:00 and gain 12:00 – all o’clock). On a clean amp with humbuckers you should hear a slight increase in the volume and lots more bass with a mild crunch. You might want to roll off the treble to around 11:00. Mind though that the 12Au7 is considerably milder than the AX7 and you will have to increase the gain, volume and bass if you use David’s settings as a guide. It’s also important to consider each pedal that you place infront and after the TD. Boss and other buffered pedals makes the TD brighter and thinner in the lower ends.

    I don’t know what else to suggest. The Tube Driver is quite demanding and can sound horrible on the “wrong” setup. It seems to be the nature of the pedal. I’ve experienced that mine sounds like a thunder storm on my main stage rig and like an angry bee on different amps. In these cases its better to perhaps give up the fight and consider something a bit more versatile like a Tube Screamer TS9 or 808 or the excellent Boss BD Keeley version. Both will provide easy to tweak Gilmour and Johnson tones.

    Hope this helped. – Bjorn]

  138. Anatoly says:

    Hi Bjorn ,
    Gtrat sound , thank You .
    I want to ask You :I want to buy Tube Driver WORKS model .
    it will be good for Gilmour sound compare with more Expencive
    Batler Chandlerm Tube Driver as used Gilmour model ?
    Thank You very much .

    [The old Tube Works Tube Driver that looks identical to the current BK Butler model was, to my knowledge, designed by BK Butler as he worked for Tybe Works. I haven’t tried these my self but I understand they’re very similar to the current versions. – Bjorn]

  139. hadi says:

    Hello once again Bjorn,
    The action on my guitar is low but not that much, but i realised now after couple of days of using the BK that i’m only facing this problem whenever i turned it on with my dunlop fuzzface(the bk being set b4 the fuzz unit),so i’m a little bit confused about the notes played on the E bass string that seems to be weaker than the other notes played on other strings,specially that i’m not using so much gain on both pedals.
    One final question, any info about the settings used by Eric Johnson on the BK & the FuzzFace.
    Thanks again Bjorn for ur reply & ur support.

    [Not sure how Eric uses his pedals. You might be experiencing to much saturation… Blending a Tube Driver and a Fuzz Face is tricky and you need to find the sweetspot for the pedals where they function together. Even though you don’t have that much gain your guitar/pickups, amp or other pedals might effect the signal for a slight overload. I’m sure that some careful tweaking will solve the problem and if possible try the setup with other guitars and amps as well. – Bjorn]

  140. hadi says:

    hello,got my bk tube driver 2 days ago and all i can say that it’s one of the best pedals i’ve ever tried. But i have one question to ask;i noticed when i’m playing the E bass note it’s kind of fuzzy and it’s like the volume of any note played on that string goes down or weaker than other notes played on other strings. Any tips about what’s going on? i’m using my bk(5 knobs) with a ibanez js series plugged into a none tube peavy amp and i tried the same thing with other none tube distortion pedals but none of them caused any fuziness on any note played on the E bass string, so just wondering coz i never experienced tube pedals before.
    Thank you, specially for the great website.

    [Hmm… hard to tell. How’s the action/string height? – Bjorn]

    • Arya Boustani says:

      I have the same issue only when Tube Driver is active. I think Tube driver behaves better with less treble and bass upstream (mostly using it with low mid frequency), and then you can bring up those two areas downstream.

  141. Bob says:


    I’m trying to make a decision between buying either the BK Butler Tube Driver or the Maxon TOD-9 True Tube Overdrive. They’re both up there in price and seem like very good pedals.

    The sound I’m looking for is the one Gilmour uses on Shine On (PULSE/REMEMBER THAT NIGHT). For reference of what I like, there is a demo of Dave Weiner demoing the Maxon TOD-9 on YouTube, about 2 minutes into the video.

    I own the Boss BD2, but I prefer the sound of the Boss Super Overdrive, mainly because I like a warm, barely saturated, thick and clean tone, if that makes sense. I also use a Tonebone Trimode pedal for heavier distortion, though I don’t care much for the overdrive channel.

    What’s your opinion about those pedals?

    Thanks, and great site.

    [Although David’s using the BK for Shine On it can be quite tricky to get that smooth, warm tone on some amps. Check out this article for details and some tips. The BK is a fantastic pedal and IMO the best overdrive for David’s tones. If you’re uncertain if it works on your rig I recommend the Fulltone OCD. Incredibly versatile and great for David’s overdrives. – Bjorn]

  142. Evel1 says:

    Wow Bjorn, I recieved my Colorsound PB this Tuesday, and I can NOT put it down!! This thing is the cats socks, and it rawks!! Best investment so far. Really very very happy with it!

    With my US Fender Blues Deville (4X10 variant), at one and a half, with the master all the way up on the PB, you literally can not be in the same room with it. I have yet to get the Fender past 2. I will be venturing outdoors with it in the next 2 weeks, and will really drive the hell out of it.

    I can not recommend this pedal enough. I paid $340 (USD) total for it, from Macaris, and shipping from London to Fort Worth (Texas) was right at one week. I know that it seems steep, but it is more than well worth it.

    Had some concerns regarding how it would sound with my “little” Fender, but it is simply-breath-taking-ly-fabulous!!

    I have also spent the last three nights experimenting with my BK TB (older Chandler variant). I took my 12AX7 out, and put the 12AU7 in. Very sweet sounding, but hardly no drive. Which wasn’t too bad in itself. Agreed that the 12AX7 is better, IMHO. Tonight I switched the AX7 for an 12AT7, and holy-geez!! Have you tried this one??

    Sweet in the middle of the AX and AU7’s. The one I plugged in was an older RCA tube, pretty dead on with the PB, but with a little more bite too it, but not near as rough as the AX7.

    Anyway, just wanted to share my last three nights with the Colorsound PB, and to say thanks for helping me to discover this pedal. Also to back up that this pedal is a must for (larger) tube amps. Anthony was awesome, and the shipping was fast. I spent way too much time looking for an alternate/clone, the colorsound is worth its weight in gold!!

    I am interested about your experience with the 12AT7, if you have had any yet. If not, you should give it a whirl.

    Thanks again Bjorn!!

    [Congrats with the pedal! It’s great isn’t it? I’ve never tried the BK with a AT7. I definitely will! I was very frustrated with the 12AX7 at first and used the AU7 for some time but after countless rearrangements on my board I refitted the pedal with a AX7 and are very pleased with it now. Rarely use it for cleans so the roughness is just right for my tones and it goes very well with my new Reeves amp. Nicely compressed and very smooth. Rolling down the treble to around 11:30 on the TD with the gain at around 12:00 does it for me. Cheers! – Bjorn]

    • Arya Boustani says:

      Hi Bjorn, I agree that people run to 12AU7 to seek rescue from the drive blast of 12AX7 but with higher mu tubes than 12AU7 it just needs more tweaking and once it is achieved, it has more character. I was reading in Kit Rae’s website and in another forum that the problem is the input resistor to the op amp that is too low rather than the tube itself. With 12AU7, I ran my upstream pedals (compressor, etc.) at unity gain. I got a E180CC MULLARD NOS which I think has a mu of around 45 (sort of like AY7) so it is between AU7 and AT7 perhaps (I think closer to AT7).
      With this tube, I had to set my upstream pedals (Boss CS2, etc.) to about 6 to 10 db below unity. With previous tube (AU7), I could turn the drive all the way but it didn’t have the same gradual increase in drive character for different kind of drive sound and it was less responsive. With E180CC the usable range on my Real Tube overdrive is still almost all the way to the max (for more like a generic high distortion sort of sound) but sounds more musical to my ears up to about 3 o’clock. From 0 to 9 o’clock I get a gradual increase in a smooth overdrive (just for tube colouring) and between 9 toward 12, the overdrive overtone harmonics really reveal themselves. Between 12 to 3 are more in the face overdrive tone but still useful with proper input / output level and EQ adjustment. Instead of using the treble knob to get the sound of Real Tube pedal to have maximum transparency, I put my TC Electronic Nova Drive downstream of Real Tube overdrive to add a hint of sparkle (running at about 30% mix at max tone to not alter the upstream tone and dynamics) and then it runs to my Plexidrive where I can achieve a smoother tone with bumping the low mid-range frequencies, adding volume (at about 1 o’clock), at low drive (about 9 or 10 o’clock) therefore reducing the high-mid frequencies. I control the tone knob just to maintain some of that high frequency for transparency. I think the key to get a smooth overdrive tone from tube driver is to not reveal the high-mid frequencies in the drive unit or upstream of that too much, rather deal with getting a smooth drive tone out of tube driver, then deal with adjusting the frequencies downstream of the tube driver.

      • Bjorn says:

        How the Tube Driver, and other pedals, ultimately sound, depends on the voicing of the amp and your pickups… mostly. The Tube Driver is an extremely versatile pedal and the tone controls are easy to tweak for what ever tones you need. Your experimentation also prove that trying out different tubes and adjusting the settings accordingly, will provide the tones you’re looking for.

  143. Arnold says:

    Hey Bjorn, on the song you posted from your band (great track by the way), are using the Tube Driver at the beginning (at about 1:00 of the video) or do you use up until the near end when the sound is dirtier?

    I just want to have an idea of what this stompbox can do

    [It’s on throughout the song but the first couple of bars is with the guitar volume slightly rolled off for a warmer tone and after a couple of bars I roll it up for more gain and I add a compressor. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  144. audiodawg says:

    Odd little twist of events here – I was very unhappy with the sludgy sound I was getting from my Tube Driver with my Strat. I actually posted it on craigslist for a couple weeks and it didn’t sell. I recently came across an article on Kit Rae’s site about Gilmour’s settings on the DG-20 pickups and learned that he hardly uses the EXG at all. On a whim, I broke out the Tube Driver and tried it again. Rolling back a tone knob on a guitar goes against every fiber of my being, but sure enough, rolling off the EXG all the way got rid of the sludge that was making the Tube Driver sound awful. I’m now pretty stoked on this pedal and thankful that it didn’t sell!

    [Glad to hear! Rolling off the top can do wonders. Keep in mind too that David’s settings might not work on your rig. I’m not saying that this was your problem but in general I’d always use suggested settings as a guideline and see what works for each individual rig. Having a tube the Tube Driver is extremely sensitive to the slightest changes including settings on your guitar, amp and other pedals. You need to see the whole picture when you use this pedal not just the four knobs that are on the acual pedal. People also tend to forget that by increasing the gain on the pedal you’ll also be increasing the treble so always roll off the treble a bit when you add more gain. I usually keep the treble around 13:00 (o’clock) for clean boost or mild overdrive and 11:00 when the gain is past 13:00. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  145. Baris says:

    I have the rack version of tube driver. Tube Works RT-902, i heard from an old Tube Works engineer that it is virtually same as the rack Chandler tube driver. So my questions concerns all two rack versions. Before the beginning i am not happy with this unit. First it was so harsh and boomy and not very well compressed. Then i changed the tube to a mullard 12au7 and now i have less drive, little bit more compression. It is more compressed if i keep the master volume quite about 12 o’clock but it is then dark and i can not hear all the strings, like the amp is covered with a blanket. If i open the master volume it becomes so huge and not compressed. Also the treble and contour pots are really really tricky. Treble is too much and contour makes boomy. My amp is a Hylight era Hiwatt sa112 (50 watt 1×12″ speaker combo). Do you have any recommendations guys?

    Thanks ;)

    [I’ve never tried any of the rack models but I understand they’re very similar to the pedals. I had similar issues as you with my BK pedal. It sounded harsh, boomy and very hard to use. I tried different tubes which worked pretty well but I changed it back to the stock 12AX7 because I needed more gain in after all. I nearly gave up on the pedal but it slowly started to grow on me and upen up really good as I forced my self to use it. Now that the tube has settled in and I’ve figured out the perfect settings for my amp it sounds sweeeet.
    What I’ve found out is that the pedal is extremely sensitive to other pedals. It hates buffers like Boss/Ibanez and it doesn’t like too many pedals placed after it. Keep in mind though that this is not the pedal for all kinds of music. It’s not a Tube Screamer that fits everything or any kind of equipment. It can sound wonderul on some setups but horrible on others. – Bjorn]

  146. Allbread says:

    Hey all,

    I just got my BK Butler Tube Driver straight from the source off of ebay. Don’t know if this is covered before, but he’s offering them with a “bias mod” that controls the voltage going across the tube. I got mine with this mod and it allows you to go from dark and splatty to bright and tight and everywhere in between. With this mod I’m more than happy with the stock tube and feel no reason to swap it out. If you’re ordering up a pedal, get the mod done – it might save you a lot of money and time trying different tubes.

    Thanks for the great site, by the way!


    [Never tried the bias version my self but I’ve found my tone with the Tube Driver at last :) Agree that the bias version is probably a better way to go. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  147. Ethan says:

    Thanks for the reply

    I found the sales site, is Brazilian


    Source is external (12V AC), this could be a problem?

  148. Ethan says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    what do you think the sound of this tube driver clone?


    I think this one with 12AX7

    [Never heard about it before but it sounds nice. – Bjorn]

  149. Evel1 says:

    Bjorn, same as every other section on this site, you have outdone yourself! Bravo and excellent job! I had my eyes on a Chandler at Guitar Center for a few weeks now, and your site pushed me over the edge. I had to buy it, mind you my amps are the Marshall Class 5 (5 watt tube), the solid state Crate halfstack, and the 5150 combo. I had my reservations, but had to by the TD. Suffice to say, and believe it or not, the Marshall and the TD sound incrediable. The only other pedal that I have liked with the Marahall has been my fuzz pedal (Torn’s Peaker). I am very (VERY) happy with the TD.

    All that being said, and as you’ve mentioned, don’t be afraid to experiment with your setup, no matter the size. Mind you, it sounds thin and horrible on the Crate, but it RAWKS the Marshall.

    I am still waiting on the Power Screamer (HBE), so more to follow. Thanks for all of your hard work here, and recommendations!!

    If you get a hankerin’ to try the Power Screamer (and possibly review it here) let me know and I’ll drop it in the post for you to try for a week or two.

    [Thanks for your kind words! The TD works on some smaller amps yes. It can be tricky to get the right sound if you set the amp for a clean tone but if you allow some crunch from the amp the TD works really well. Not a typical Gilmour setup perhaps but nevertheless. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  150. Michael says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    Theres a video on YouTube of an interview with David Gilmour, the video is simply called David Gilmour Interview 2008 Part 1. At about 4:02 in he talks about distortion and uses the Tube Driver to demonstrate. My question is what kind of amp is he using, the pedal sounds nice on that amp.

    P.S. Im starting to dig your band, you guys are really rock! I hope you make more albums in the future.

    [That’s a 1950s Fender Champ tweed as far as I can see. Great little practice amp! Thanks! Glad you enjoy our music! We’re just about to enter studio for the follow up to our debut! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  151. Jared R says:

    Since I am on a semi-tight budget would an original Ibanez TK999US Tube King be a decent replacement for a Tube Driver?

    [I’ve never tried it so I can’t really tell. Check out this article for more info on replacements. – Bjorn]

  152. Sebastian C says:

    Also for practice at home I use the small tube vox AC4TV, a low wattsge all tube practice amp. The AC30 gets really LOUD and I use it when sometimes I play with friends and in local bars, stilll really loud, I get a lovely ringing clean tone out of both amps

  153. Sebastian C says:

    Relating to my question above. My guitar is an american strat HSS, with the stock pickups, and the amp is a VOX AC30. I also have a rickenbacker 360 that I bought from a friend ridiculously cheap, lovely guitar and great sound but very limited range of sounds, Both the strat and the rick sound great on the VOX, I do love that amp. I got an HSS strat because I wanted to have some versatility in sounds.

    [I’m always a bit careful with recommending the Tube Driver because it’s a very demanding pedal and it can sound horrible on the wrong setup. Teh best combo would be a loud and fairly clean tube amp with single coils. Smaller amps and especially transistors makes the pedal sound thin and harsh, which is natural as it’s designed for the bigger rigs. That being said, it’s a fantastic pedal that will give you lots of great tones. Same goes with the Powerboost as well. Both pedals demands the right setup. If you’re uncertain I recommend checking out a Keeley modified Boss BD2. It’s very similar to the Tube Drive and works better on “non-typical” Gilmour setups. It also works great with a 808. – Bjorn]

  154. Sebastian C says:

    Bjorn, I am a huge Pink Floyd fan, but also like other bands and want to build myself a versatile pedalboard. In general however I like smooth creamy sounds and am not into metal sounds at all. Gilmour’s tone is just the ticket for me. For the most part I am happy with my effects, such as electric mistress, mxr dynacomp, EH memory man, big muff, I really like also the visual sound liquid chorus (have you tried it? I love it), also am quite happy with my line6 verbzilla that I use to get harmonized shimmer tones (think the Edge) and with the line6 echo park that I use both for delay and for its fantastic synth-like swell sounds, that stuff just makes me melt.

    However I have had trouble finding the right overdrive, I like light overdrive that nonetheless have a complex sound, and what I had tried just did not work for me. Currently I have a boss sd-1 and I find it harsh, but I like the smoothness of a tube screamer. SO, what I just did was two things: I just ordered myself a BK tube driver
    (That I think I will probably use as a boost) and I ordered the kit to modify my sd-1
    to tube screamer 808 specifications (The monte-alums mod SD-808) , the thing is that I find symmetric clipping a lot smoother than the sd-1 stock asymmetric clipping (oh why did boss have to put that diode there…)

    Anyway, do you think the combination of SD-808 and the buttler tube driver (and my big muff) can get me good Gilmour tones and at the same time be versatile enough
    for more modern sounds (like some of my other favorites: Radiohead, Pixies, Muse, Stone Roses, The Verve, Sonic Youth and so on),?

    [Hi Sebastian. Please let me know what kind of amp and guitar/pickups you’re using and I’ll try to help. – Bjorn]

  155. Eric Nyberg says:

    Saro, Just to back up what Bjorn said, I have a Keeley modded Blues Driver and I love it, it’s a very warm and smooth overdrive. I use it on a 65 Deluxe Reverb with a BYOC Large Beaver Triangle and they go together very well. Depending on what you think of the RD500’s muff you might want to add some low end to the sound to get it right, thoughts on this Bjorn?

    [Normally a BD-2 and Muff has more than enough lower end but I’m not sure about the RP500. I haven’t tried it so I can’t really tell. – Bjorn]

  156. Saro says:

    Hi Bjorn! Love your site! I’m A HUGE David Gilmour fan and was wondering which pedal to buy for that round, warm and crispy DG sound (PULSE, On an Island…)

    I have a Squier Fender guitar (which i’m planning to replace with a fender 50’s), a line6 30w amp combo, and also a Digitech RP500 multi-effects pedal.

    Should I buy the Tube Driver for that tone (sometimes boosting my Big Muff on my RP500), or A BD-2 Keeley boosting my Muff? Don’t want to make a mistake on buying the wrong one :P. THANK-YOU!

    [Based on your setup I think I’d go for either a BD2 (preferably a modded version) or a Maxon/Ibanez 808. The Tube Driver is a bit demanding and works better on big tube amps. Since you want something to boost your Muff as well, I think Keeley BD2 would be your best choice. – Bjorn]

  157. Ed says:

    Hi Bjorn

    A few weeks ago I got my Fender CS69’s pick up’s in my alder strat (All Parts screw together) . AMAZING! to day I received my EHX Electric Mistress, I play Breath, and Shine on You … all evening, cant stop want go to sleep. Line up is Dyna Comp. Bad Monkey, Electric Mistr, Big Muff, Boss CE-5 and DD 2.
    Great site this is.
    Keep it up please


    [Congrats! Sounds like a great setup! Is this your chain? Try placing the Muff after the Dyna with the Monkey after it :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  158. Cody says:


    Not sure where to go to ask a general question…Anyways, I was wondering if youve had any experience with the computer program Guitar Rig by Native Instruments. Its supposed to sound very nice and I was wondering if youve had a chance to check it out. Thanks


    [Only very briefly. I remember I managed to tweak some really cool tones but I can’t really recommend anything based on my limited experience. Sorry. – Bjorn]

  159. Joe Davies says:

    Hey Bjørn,
    Thanks for the review! I know that the Tube Driver is THE Gilmour overdrive, but how would you compare it to a Pete Cornish SS3?

    [Two different beasts. The SS2/3 is kind of a mix between an overdrive and distortion similar to a MXR Distortion + or the RAT with a warm smooth tone with lots of mid range. The Tube Driver is pure overdrive with a scooped mids tone, loud as hell with much more balls. – Bjorn]

  160. Cody says:

    Perfect explanation! Thank you very very much sir.

    [Cheers! – Bjorn]

  161. Cody says:


    I want to say sorry for asking so many questions. I hope it is not an inconvenience but you are one of the best resources I have come across, in addition to you r site, and I want to learn as much as I possibly can.

    One thing I have been wondering for a while that I havent come across is how should the amp 3 band EQ section be set? Because adding another EQ later in the chain will be further modifying the amp tone but after its passed through some overdrive circuitry. And why is the amp EQ not enough to compensate for the desired changes that will be achieved through something like a ge-7. Do you know what I mean?


    [Always glad to help Cody! I’ve written an article about rig setups here. Check it out. I always recommend that you base your sound on your amp and then add pedals on top of that. Set the amp up for the purest and most powerful cklean tone possible. The EQ settings depends very much on what kind of amp you have but in most cases I’d set all three at 5 and adjust slightly until you get the desired tone. usually you’ll end up with something like this: treble 5-6, middle 4, bass 4-5. Set the master volume at about 1/3 of the channel volume. This should be the basis for your pedals. Additonal EQ should only be used for a specific reason – not as a general tone enhancer. Some gain pedals like a RAT needs more bass and often you’d want more mids with your Big Muff. Stuff like that. This way you won’t interfere with the amp but rather add the little extra to some sounds to make everything a bit more dynamic. Read more about that here. Hope this helped. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  162. Cody says:

    Bjorn thanks again for the feedback its very helpful.

    Another overdrive tone I’d like to attempt to take a stab at, and you might be up to the task, is his sound on the 50th anniversary concert for the strat. Heres the link just in case… http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=J4kgBpgoQaU . He kicks in something at about 4:35 and comes up with one of the most heavenly tones Ive ever come across. I only really know the basics of that hes using the white 54 strat and that he is using a whammy pedal for those octave bends but other than that I am kinda clueless. Care to take a shot at it?

    Thanks so much!

    [Sorry for my late reply. What you’re referring to is just him switching back to the neck pickup. The effect setup for the song is a Demeter Compulator compressor, Chandler Tube Driver (this was just prior to him purchasing the new BK Tube Drivers) set for a mild overdrive, Digitech Whammy and MXR digital delay. Pretty basic but the essence of the tone is the original 1954 pickups and the Tube Driver. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  163. Cody says:

    Yeah that did help. I must say it is nice to be able to talk with someone that knows so much about his tendencies and preferences as well as just knowledgeable about effects in general.

    Its so frustrating listening to what he does and just wanting to be able to play like it so badly! Im sure you know what I mean.

    However, do you think something like a analogman bd-2 is anywhere in that area, rotating speakers aside.. I can hear what it sounds like but I am just not experienced enough yet to know what basic things he is using. So is that solo basically just an overdriven tone? Given my basic set up what do you think is my best bet to get close to something like that. Of course not nearly as beautifully refined as his. For instance, a fuzz face would probably be no where near that so what do you suggest.

    Thanks Bjorn!


    [Glad I can help Cody :) Yeah, the tone on Wearing is a typical overdrive tone. Most of the album is. The solos on What Do You Want and Keep Talking is distortion. Hard to describe the differences because you have some overlapping but overdrive is basically a crunchy tone, warm, creamy and mild, while a distortion or a fuzz is much more saturated, no clean tone that bleeds through and generally more sustain. If you listen to stuff like Time or Echoes, you can hear an overdrive tone on thr rhytms and fuzz or distortion on the solos. A fuzz would be a bit overkill for stuff like Wearing. You also need an overdrive with more mids than a BD2. Designing or replicating a tone isn’t rocket science, but you need to have some experience with the different types of a tone – like the difference between a BD2 or a Tube Screamer. They’re both overdrives but serve different purposes. But as I said, you can use a BD2 or Tube Driver if you compensate the lack of mid range with an EQ. – Bjorn]

  164. Cody says:

    Bjorn thanks for the prompt reply!

    What I am basically looking for, that I was having a hard time articulating, is an overdrive similar to the outro solo on Wearing The Inside Out from The Division Bell. I really love Davids sort of sweet overdriven tones similar to that. Please correct me if I am using the wrong terminology as my relationship with effects is just beginning. I see that you listed he is using a either a chandler or a bk TD, dont remember exactly, but I am wondering if a modified bd-2 will pull it off.

    I am using a 100 watt Peavey Duel Classic (tube) but just typically at lower volumes.

    I was wondering if you wouldn’t mind explaining how David achieves tones similar to that, such as pedals that will fit the part as well as eq settings. Im using a MIM strat will callaham bridge and an ssl-5 in the bridge.

    Thanks in advance for all of your feedback!


    [His overdrive tones on Wearing in particular has always been a favourite of mine. It’s hard to tell just exactly what he’s using. Very little is known from the sessions. However, most of his tone lies in the EMG pickups in his red Strat. It’s not impossible to achieve the tone with vintage staggered pickups but you won’t get that fat, mid range boosted tone. One way to compensate this is to use an EQ like the GE7 to boost the mids or simply a Tube Screamer instead of the Tube Driver, which has more mid range. Still, neither will nail the tone 100%. I’m guessing he used a Fender Bassman or a Hiwatt SA212 amp, which were his main amps for the sessions. Both are clean and transparent tube amps. Effectwise, he’s using a Chandler Tube Driver, which has a slightly milder tone to the BK but the difference is minimal. I also think he used a Maestro Rover rotating speaker for a slight leslie tone. It’s very difficult to hear but there’s something about the tone that reminds me of this effect and the Rover was used on the sessions. The tone has also to do with how the amps were mic’ed and how the tracks were mixed and processed. A studio track can often be impossible to recreate but if you look at the setup, it’s very basic. It can also be an idea to use the middle pickup for most of the track. This gives you that slightly hollow tone. Hope this helped. – Bjorn]

  165. Cody says:

    Bjorn, I cant tell you how much valuable information I have gotten from your website and I really appreciate what you are doing.

    My question is: I am looking for a mild overdrive/clean booster. It seems from reading all this that either a colorsound powerboost, BK TD, or modified bd-2 will do the trick. Which do you recommend for bedroom playing as well as small gigs. I recall you mentioning how versatile the modified bd-2 was. I dont have unlimited funds so the 150 dollar modified bd-2 seems appealing but what do you recommend since you have all of them. Also, do you recommend the keeley modded bd-2 or analogman version?

    Thank you very much!


    [Glad you enjoy my site Cody! I must say that the BD2 is perhaps the most versatile of these three. Personally I’d go for a Colorsound or BK but they can be a bit demanding, especially on smaller rigs. The Kelley and Analogman BD2 mods are very similar. If you’re only looking for a clean booster with as little crunch as possible you might also want to check out the Colordrive from VintageFX. – Bjorn]

  166. Carlos Ayala says:

    Thanks Bjorn.

  167. Carlos Ayala says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Grettings from Peru, South America.
    Great great site. The best on the web for Gilmour Sound Fan, sorry my english is very poor.

    What is your opinion of EH English Muff’n ? this unit have a two tubes 12AY7. I found very close with the Big Muff, but more versatile. How is clasiffied this pedal its a Muff?, distortion or overdrive?.

    I have an ibanez turbo tube screamer, if TD sound similar like tubescreamer and boths overdrives my question is: can used a tube screamer like booster for my English Muff?
    Its posibble uses a overdrive pedal for bosting a muff?
    Do you have a experience with this pedal?

    This is my rig:
    Fender American Strat > MXR Super Comp> Ibanez TS9DX Turbo tube screamer> EH English Muff’n > BOSS DD-7 delay> BOSS GE-7 Equalizer> Fender Hot Rod Reissue Blues Deluxe Amplifier
    How setting my rig for gilmour sound?

    Thanks a lot Bjorn i appreciate a lot your opinion.

    [Hi Carlos! Thanks for your kind words! Glad you enjoy my site :) I’ll try to answer your questions…
    – I don’t have that much experience with the English Muff’n. You can get some good Gilmour tones with it but has a bit brighter tone than the classic fuzz models.
    – The Big Muff is a distortion.
    – You can replace the Tube Driver with a Tube Screamer and vice versa but they’re really two different kinds of overdrive. The Tube Driver has a bright, transparent tone with fat lows and little mid range. It’s very powerful and loud ranging from clean boost to near distortion. The Tube Screamer has a much warmer, creamier tone with a pronounced mid range and less bass. I think the Tube Driver works better as a clean booster because it has that transparent tone that won’t colour your Muff. If you can’t afford or find a Tube Driver, you can check out a Colorsound Powerboost, Vintage FX Colordrive or simply a Boss BD2 (preferably a Robert Keeley modified version).
    Hope this helped :) Cheers! – Bjorn]

  168. audiodawg says:


    My Tube Driving days may be at an end. I sent mine back to B.K. with the stock 12ax7 intact and a note explaining that I only use it with a 12au7 and that the tonal problems were present with a variety of tubes. We exchanged a few emails where I talked about the problem and he talked about all the rock stars who use his pedals, and then he proceeded to swap out the stock tube for another 12ax7 and sent it back to me. Needless to say, this didn’t solve any problems.

    I suspect the root of the problem is that this pedal just doesn’t sound great on solid state amps. Since then, on your advice I purchased a vintage reissue Rat and I absolutely love it! It gets me beautiful barely-distorted tones, screaming leads, and the mid-boost puts it right out in front of the mix. Thanks again for all the info.

    [I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the pedal but it might not be the best choice for your rig and setup. As I’ve said before, this pedal works much better on tube amps and it can also be hard getting the right tones on an amp that’s too clean. It’s hard to describe but although you want a clean tone for your basis you also want some substance for this pedal to work properly. A tube amp will react with the pedal and although the amp is clean the tubes will get saturated enough to smooth the tone… or else this pedal can get very harsh. Looking at your previous post I see that your amp’s EQ settings are very high. Try this: bass 50%, treble 40% and mids 40%. Set the master volume to about 1/3 of the channel volume. You may want to try a pedal that has more mid range and a generally smoother tone. Check out this article for more info. – Bjorn]

  169. Laurent says:

    First I want to congratulate you on your website. I have been enjoying it tremendously and thank you for that.
    I have ordered a BKTD which I should receive next week and will be happy to post my first impression…
    In the meantime, I was wondering if you (or anyone reading this for that matter) had any opinion or experience with the “VintageFX Colordrive”, which looks quite promising as a Colorsound clone, according to their website…
    Also, in terms of compressor, do you have a preference between the Keeley, Dynacomp, Compulator and Tonepress.
    Thank you in advance for your input.

    [Thanks for your kind words Laurent! Glad you enjoy my site :) I posting a review of the Colordrive very soon. Compared to the Colorsound, it’s cleaner and perhaps better suited as a clean volume boost than an overdrive. More on that in the review.
    Regarding compressors… I haven’t tried the TonePress, but I’ve heard only good things about it. My favoruite is the Dynacomp but I think it’s only a matter of selecting one of these… all of them sound great. – Bjorn]

  170. Nic says:


    I can’t thank you enough for how much better not only my Gilmour tone, but my overall tone has gotten since I have been coming to your beautiful and easy to navigate site. You put everything in a language every player can relate to and are my personal “manual” for all things tone. THANK YOU!

    You’re review of the TD has made me totally rethink the way I use mine. For my ODs and Boosts, I am using a TD and an 808 reissue. Reading in a comment on your site that you always leave your TB or Colorsound has completely reshaped all the way I’ve set my board up. I haven’t had a chance to really get out and turn up the amp since I’ve rearranged my board and I’m having a hard time distinguishing which to use as which… I am a lazy bastard enjoy using one pedal for boosts alone and the other for OD alone (I am not one for the whole bending over to change a pedals knobs completely every song, minor tweaks aside). Considering this, which would you consider the better (808 reissue or TD) for boosts and which for OD breakup? I am sure once I get out and raise the amp vol. this will be immediately evident, but I’m not scheduled to gig for another month :-( so I figured I’d ask my tone guru. Thanks and keep up the great work!!!!

    PS: I just got my Way Huge Swollen Pickle Mk II and I am in love with this pedal. It is more effective for any Gilmour sound than any other pedal I have ever used and it is incredible for rhythm parts. Highly recommended!

    [Thanks for the tip and thanks for your kind words! Glad you find my site useful… that’s what its for! Yeah, I leave one boost on as a basis for all my tones. It adds warmth, punch and brings out the best from your amp… and Hiwatts and Sound Citys can be a bit flat at times. There’s no rule really… Sometimes I’m using the CPB for clean boost and sometime the TD. They’re very very similar but different enough to add different flavour to a song. Most times I’ll use the CPB for clean boost and the TD for warm overdrives and rhythms. Mind though, that I’m not using both at the same time. It’s always just one for either clean boost/Muff clean boost or overdrive. In your case I think I’d use the TD for clean boost the the TS for OD… and you can bend down and tweak the TD for more gain on the songs where you need that bright OD. The TS aren’t as loud and it has (at least in my opinion) a bit too much mid range to serve as a proper clean boost, which should be as transparent as possible to not colour your tone… just boost it. Other alternatives in addition to the CPB and TD is the Boss BD-2 (preferably a mod) and a Fulltone OCD. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  171. Bytor69 says:

    Hey Bjorn, great site and beautiful sounds.

    I thought you all might be interested in this bit from BK himself. I just ordered a Tube Driver w/ bias and a hand picked Yugo. The option is available for the hand picked Yugo if you ask for it, just not advertised. I talked with his son earlier today on the phone (nice guy) and he said he talked with daves tech and confirmed Dave uses Yugos currently in his BK TDs. This is what BK himself had to write reguarding David and the TD…
    “… Gilmour is using a 4 knob standard pedal with a Yugo tube installed most likely. But he has tech guys that go through piles of tubes to find the exact one that’s best. The Bias control eliminates that random selection process as you can ‘dial it in’. He does have several Bias models now as well but the “Island” album was made before he upgraded to them. Eric Johnson, Billy Gibbons (just recently) as well as Joe Satriani and even Brent Johnson of the Chicago Bears (really!) are using the Bias units as they add more tonality and flexibility over the standard.

    ‘On and Island’ has Tube Driver written all over it. Btw, there is no drawback by going with the Bias model as you can just set it on max + and it will be set exactly the same as the standard, but the pros are using the Bias control usually at about 2:30 – 3:00 o’clock for the best dynamics and sweetness.

    & Here’s a quote from Mr Gibbons re the Bias:
    Additionally, the adjustable bias feature allows a subtle change that easily manages dialing in a tone customizable for a particular effect.

    ~And heres one more correspondence you guys might find interesting….

    Hi again,
    I do have a few left that I reserve for the Pros. Sadly I have to toss out about 50% of even the Yugo tubes because only a portion of them work perfectly in the Tube Driver. To buy a tube at random is a ‘hit or miss’ thing. I can suppy a perfect Yugo for $29 extra with the order (49 normally). It usually goes with a Red Dragon (China) tube that I have specially made to closely match the OEM Yugo, but the the original is best.

    *Obviously these guys are qualiity kind of guys. Sure its a lot to spend on one pedal (299(TD)+75 (bias)+29 (Yugo)),no doubt, but if your going for that gilmour tone (and other greats for that matter), this is the one to spend it on I think. I can’t wait for mine : ) That and it will pretty much be the exact TD Davids currently using. Can there really be a price on that? How many tube drivers (and lots of cash)do people go through looking for “that sound”? If your like me, alot (lol). After trying out a friends though, there can now be no doubt…this is what Ive been looking for all this time, I just dident know it till recently.
    Thanks Bjorn again for this site. Hope this helps on some questions people have about Daves current TD setup.
    Peace all

    [Thanks for the info! Yes, David used the old Chandlers on the On an Island album but switched to the new BKs for the tour. Love this pedal and it really just gets better and better. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  172. Dave Herber says:

    Sorry that I didn’t list more of my equipment in the post last night. I followed your advice and have the EH Mistress, Ibanez DE-7 delay, MXR 90 compressor, and have it running to a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe amp…
    If you could give me an idea on the settings for the BK Butler Tube Driver that would be recommended, I’d really appreciate it.

    Many thanks – Dave

    [See my reply in the previous post. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  173. Dave Herber says:

    I just received my BK Butler Tube Driver. I have a question regarding the settings. I used your advise on an earlier post and am getting feedback which sounds like a “heart beat” (not kidding). I just bought the “stock” TD without any extras.

    Here are my settings:
    Out Level 2:00
    Hi 2:00
    Lo 2:00
    Tube Drive 10:00 (if I turn it up higher it gets too distorted)

    Thanks for this excellent site and for all of your comments!

    [The stock 12AX7 tube can be a bit too aggressive and I replaced it with the milder 12AU7 as you know. But in either case you need to let the tube break in for a couple of weeks for the tone to open up nicely.
    Your line should be – compressor > Tube Driver > Mistress > DE7 > amp.
    Try setting the amp like this… use the clean channel only – Bass 50%, treble 40/50%, mids 40% and set the master volume to about 1/3 of the channel volume.
    You might need to adjust the settings on the TD to suit your amp and pickups and be careful with the compressor. Set it for unity gain and a mild compression to avoid too much feedback. – Bjorn]

  174. Ken De Vries says:

    Oh, and how about a comment on cabinets, mics and mic placement for your recordings?

    Sorry to be a bother, but you have the Gilmour tone nailed!

    [No worries :) I’m using the Sound City cabinet obviously with 12″ Weber Thames Fane Crescendo type speakers. I think I used a Sure SM57 on this show, which I usually use on studio sessions as well. It’s always placed slightly off center about an inch off the speaker rim. – Bjorn]

  175. Ken De Vries says:

    Bjorn, as a follow up, what gain settings are you using on your amp? Is it a master volume amp? Are you running the amp clean and getting your gain from the TD?

    I normally run my Plexi at full throttle but it gets buzzy.

    Thanks again! Beautiful tone!!!

    [My amp doesn’t have a master… only one volume for each channel – bright and normal. As a general rule for David’s tones you should only use the clean channel on the amp with the master set to about 1/3 of the channel volume. If you’re linking the bright and normal channels, set the bright slightly lower than the normal. – Bjorn]

  176. Phil says:

    Murray, if at first the pedal doesnt work when engaged, move the tube around inside the holder, so, it might be at an angle to the holder itself. This is the problem I had, just incase you find this as well. Just move it until it works :)

  177. Ken De Vries says:

    Beautiful guitar tone!

    I have a BUtler Tube Driver and a CeriaTone 50 watt Plexi. I would love to get the tone you get!

    What are your amp settings/TD settings?

    [Thanks! Amp – bass 50%, treble 50%, mids 40%. Tube Driver – volume, treble and bass 2:00 and gain 12:00 (the 12AU7 in mine produce a milder gain, so if you have the stock 12AX7 you might need to lower the gain). I’m also using compression and some delay. – Bjorn]

  178. Murray says:


    I’ve just received my BK Tube Driver. Am interested in trying the 12AU7 tube option but was hoping someone here could describe the process of swapping the tubes before I go & cock it up!


    [Just replace them as they were lightbulbs. Give the tube a good jolt and it will loosen. Some BK pedals has a rubber band around the socket you need to take off. Make sure that the new tube is properly fitted into the socket. – Bjorn]

  179. Phil says:

    Hmm, yes I thought that might be a possiblity, but whilst I was replacing the tube, after finding that with the 12AU7 didnt work, I tested the 12AX7 with came with it to check if it was the socket – , I had no problems with it, I inserted both exactly the same way – I reckon it might be a problem with the connection pins on the 12AU7, however, it is working now, and I am very happy with the result. I might email Bk Butler to ask him if this is a common problem that people encounter when changing tubes…..

  180. Phil says:

    I moved the tube around in the slot a bit, and found with some positioning, I got it to work, but at the moment, its at a slant secured with a bit of blu tak lol! – sounds awsome though, much better than the 12AX7 – thanks for the suggestion!!!


    [Sounds like the socket might broken… – Bjorn]

  181. Phil says:

    Hi Bjorn. I recently got a JJ Electronics ECC82 tube for my Butler OD. However, when i put the tube in the holder, and engage the pedal, no sound is produced, bypass works fine – is there something i need to do to make the new tube work???


    [Are you sure the tube is fitted correctly? Shouldn’t be any problems replacing tubes… – Bjorn]

  182. Phil says:

    Hi Bjorn

    Well, I finally got my Tube Driver today, and all I can say is wow….its great for pretty much anything I have wanted it to do so far. The booster for my Green Russian – fantastic, On its own as a volume boost – fantastic, and as an OD, well, as much as an OD it can be with a 12AX7 – sweet sounding distortion. I might switch to a Mullard 12AU7, not sure, ill see how I get on with the 12AX7 first. Just wanted to say thanks for the advice you gave me when upgrading my previous OD – the Boss SD-1 – I dont recommend it – for anything Gilmourish !!!

    Thanks again, as always, great review, and all 4 clips you have on youtube are brilliant!!!!!


    [Thanks Phil and congratulations on your BK! Glad you found my site useful :) – Bjorn]

  183. RLee says:

    I agree, the DG20’s are active pickups, which can put out a much hotter signal than normal pickups… maybe rolling the guitar vol down a bit would help.
    Also, you might want to try setting your amp EQ for a flatter response, it looks like you have it set for very bass-heavy tone, which could be muddy when overdriven.
    I don’t really think it matters that much whether you’re using a solid state or tube amp; I think the critical things are EQ and overall gain. I’m driving the TD into my IK Amplitube 2 amp modeling software (which I love and highly recommend), and I’m getting great tones from it. For mild overdrive for chords, the settings (in clock notation) I use on the TD are Vol-12:00, HI-1:00, LO-3:00, and Drive-9:00 to 11:00. If you’re using a 12AU7, the drive would be about one notch higher. If I run the Big Muff into it, I back the drive off to about 8:30.
    I tried several different tubes (tung-sol ax7, a 5751, EH ay7, and an EH au7), and ended up just sticking with the tube BK shipped with it. His tube had a warmth missing from the others. While I liked the AU7’s lower gain, I found it a bit harsh/sterile compared to the stock AX7. (Although if I wanted a nice Dogs tone I might put it back in.)

  184. Audiodawg says:


    I’m using the EMG DG20 pickup set. My amps are a Marshall VS265 and a VS102r, running simultaneously to take advantage of stereo effects. I’m using the clean channels on my amps, so there’s no gain knob involved. I set the EQ about like: bass 10, mid 8, treble 2. I need to mess around with the EQ more.

    I love the Tube Driver when just playing single notes, but for chords, it creates some pretty heinous distortion. I’m not sure if this is because I’m using solid state amps at relatively low volume or because of my settings. If anyone has an idea, I’d love to hear it.

    [I think the Tube Driver works better on tube amps. It’s cleans up nicely. You could also try to replace the tube with a milder. Keep in mind too that the EMGs are very hot, which might be a bad combo with the Tube Driver and a solidstate if you want clean tones. – Bjorn]

  185. RLee says:

    My Tube Driver arrived from BK last night, and I absolutely LOVE this pedal. I haven’t tried swapping out the tube yet, but I have several types waiting to try (tung-sol ax7, a 5751, EH ay7, and an EH au7).

    The pedal is brilliant… warm, tubey overdrive when you want it, turning down the drive gets you back to an extremely transparent sound (ie, it doesn’t sound thin or harsh when you back off the drive to just a slight amount of gain–most pedals fail this test). The range of the drive knob is perfect… from no boost, to searing lead tones with long sustain.

    But what really amazes me is the usability of the tone controls… hands down the best tone controls on a pedal I’ve seen. First off, there are two (hi/lo); one tone control just isn’t sufficient, imo, though most pedals just offer one knob. The HI knob goes from warm, rolled off highs to in-your-face, biting treble, and the LO knob goes from rolled off bass to flat lows, letting all your gutar’s low end through. These are the tone controls everyone wishes their amps had.

    For anyone who wants solid tube overdrive that is extremely versatile, or for those who don’t like their tube amp’s gain stages, this is a perfect choice.

    Audiodawg — what type of pickups are you using to drive your tube driver? Also, how is your amp set… to use the tube driver and get the best tone, I’d highly recommend starting out with your amp set to very clean settings, with max headroom (set master vol very high, and preamp gain very low). The TD puts out a large signal, and it will definitely slam an amp’s preamp if the preamp is set for any gain.

    • David says:

      (Let me begin, by saying how much I love this website and how much I appreciate all of the diverse view points that are presented here. Not only has this website educated me, it has also made me a bit more open-minded when it comes to the guitar and its tonal aspects. Keep up the good work, Bjorn.)

      Having read a shit-load of product reviews for the BK Tube Driver (which also includes numerous video reviews on Youtube), I must say that you (RLee) are the first person I have encountered who thinks the Tube Driver’s best features are its tone controls. Ironically, many people consider the Tube Driver’s tone controls to be its weakest link.

      When I recently built an exact clone of the Chandler 4-knob Tube Driver (actually 5 knobs since I added a bias control), I seriously considered replacing the entire tone control circuit with 1) a Baxandall tone control circuit, 2) a variation of the tone control on the Colorsound Power Boost, or 3) perhaps a 5 band EQ. However, I figured if this pedal is good enough for the likes of David Gilmour (who has owned at least a half dozen of them over the past 25 years), Eric Johnson, Billy Gibbons, and Eric Clapton, any deficiencies with the tone control can’t be that big of a deal. So I decided to build my clone exactly like the original Tube Driver.

      Having completed my build of the Tube Driver (with a 12AT7 tube) and having heard first-hand its sonic greatness, I can definitely understand why so many people are a bit disappointed with an average-at-best tone control. While it is more versatile than most single-knob tone controls, I expected a dual (treble, bass) tone control to produce a bit more sonic diversity (as the tone controls on my Colorsound Power Boost do).

      But after a couple of weeks, as I began to played around with all 5 controls on my Tube Driver (as well as tweaking the tone controls on my amp at the same time), I must admit that I am less critical of the Tube Driver’s tone controls than I was when I first tried out the pedal. Like Gilmour, I have found two settings that I consider outstanding–one being a mild overdrive and the other producing a much more distorted tone.

      Not only does this pedal sound good with my Fender Twin Reverb, it also imparts a nice tube-like vibe to my ultra-clean, Roland solid-state amp that I use for my keyboards and bass guitar. Unlike a tube screamer, I find that the Tube Driver’s tone is much more sensitive to my picking dynamics. In other words, the Tube Driver not only makes my solid-state amp, sound like a tube amp, but when I pick a string or strum a chord, it actually makes me feel like I’m playing through a tube amp instead of a solid-state amp. (I can actually feel (as well as hear) the pick grab the strings as only a tube amp can do.)

      Thus, I’m glad I decided to build my Tube Driver clone just like the original (with the same tone control circuitry). However, in the near future I’m likely to build a 2nd Tube Driver clone that has an entirely different tone control circuit or perhaps, a 5 to 6-band EQ. If I do, I will post an update., .

  186. Stanley says:

    Hey Bjorn, what do you think of the Way Huge Red Llama as an overdrive? I know their not in production anymore, but I’m deciding whether to build one or not.

    Thanks a lot.

    [Never tried it so I can’t really tell. Sorry. – Bjorn]

  187. audiodawg says:

    Bjorn, I love this site and this thread in particular has been very helpful to me.

    I got my Butler Tube Driver in the mail yesterday. I was a little concerned because I use Valvestate amps but I had heard so many killer clips on youtube, I had to try it. I set all the knobs to 5 and turned it on and I was sure it had to be broken. Nothing could sound this heinous intentionally.

    I swapped out the stock 12ax7 for a Telefunken 12au7 and that improved things a little but it was still unusable past about 4 on the tube drive dial. I found this thread and realized that others were having similar experiences with the pedal.

    Then I tried recording the tone through a pair of SM57s and the sounds I was getting on playback blew my mind. They were reminding me of Gilmour’s tone on the solos for Money or Dogs.

    I A/Bed the Telefunken tube with a JJ 12au7 and I found the JJ a little dull in comparison. The Tele has a high end that is warm and glowing without being shrill.

    [I do think that tube amps are the best combo for the TD and the louder you play the more it cleans up those harsh overtones. However you should be able to get great tones with it on other amps too. I mostly use the TD for milder overdrives with these settings level 2:00, hi 1:30, lo 1:30, drive 11:00 (o’clock). If you want to boost the gain all the way up you need to back off the volume and treble to around 11:00. Do your own adjustments. Do check out this article too for more tips on using boosters/overdrives on smaller amps/solidstates. – Bjorn]

  188. RLee says:

    Here are some alternate tubes for the 12AX7, with different tone and gain, for those who wanted to experiment… there are lots of choices.

    Tube Gain
    12AX7 = 100
    5751 = 70
    12AT7 = 60
    12AZ7 = 60
    6072/12AY7 = 44
    5965/12AV7 = 27
    12AU7/6189/5814 = 20

  189. Alexander says:

    First of all: thanks for all the effort and tips of this site!
    Second: I just ordered the TD and I wondered is it nescessairly to replace the tubes? And how much does such a replacement cost?

    Thanks again

    [You don’t have to replace the tube unless it’s broken but personally – if it’s a BK model – I prefer a milder tube for a better clean range. Tubes aren’t that expensive and I do recommend a JJ Electronics 12AU7 for a milder tone. It’s very easy to replace the tube yourself too. – Bjorn]

  190. RLee says:

    I just ordered a Tube Driver, I tried to resist but decided I didn’t want to miss out on having one of these authentic Butler units in case he decides to stop making them soon (the site does say it’s a “limited” run).

    Looking forward to hearing this in my setup. I have several boutique pedals for overdrive/distortion already, but they don’t seem to complement the Large Beaver pedal as nicely as I’d hoped. If my wife gives me grief over getting yet another pedal, I’ll just say “Bjorn made me do it!” :)

    [Sure! I’ll take the blame :) – Bjorn]

  191. Anestis says:

    Hello Bjorn!
    1 When you say that tube driver fuzz face and big muff are designed for bigger tube amps and must play really loud,do you mean that isn’t good combination for small el84 based amps like Vox or bigger amps(50 watt or above) which they can not play in high levels?

    2 What do you suggest for these situations?Tubescreamer and rat?

    Thank you very much!

    [Most of the older late 60s early 70s pedals were designed to be used with loud tube stacks. Hendrix used a Fuzz Face to boost a cranked Marshall stack, while Beck and Gilmour used Colorsounds Powerboost and Big Muffs to achieve the same tone on cleaner amps. What Tube Screamers and later the many 80’s pedals – Boss especially – did was to capture that tone so that one could get the same result on smaller solid state amps. As an example – the RAT was designed based on the tone achieved by using a Gibson Les Paul with a germanium model Fuzz Face on a Marshall stack. You can use Muffs and Tube Drivers on smaller amps and lower volume – I do that at home with decent results – but it might not be the best results and easiest way to get a great tone. For that I would perhaps go for a Tube Screamer and a RAT instead. But it depends on each individual setup. A Big Muff might sound awesome on a 20w solid state amp but horrible on another. You just have to try and also keep in mind that different venues and setups requires different settings. Don’t use David’s stadium settings for your living room. Bjorn]

  192. Kelton Gomes (Brazil) says:

    Bjorn, I just purchased a handmade TD replica and it sound a little noisy… Did you have this kind of problem when you bought the original? I will soon replace the tube (sovtek 12ax7) with a 12au7, but for now the pedal is sounding more fuzzy than I expected…

    [The Tube Driver has a lot of gain so it’s only in its nature that it will appear noisy if you turn up the gain. But I haven’t experienced that the pedal is noisy in it self, when the gain is at a minimum. It’s very quiet actually. – Bjorn]

  193. Sebastian says:

    Greetings folks!

    Btw Bjorn: a really nice site!!! Great informations on a whole lotta stuff.

    I just wanted to report from my experiences with my BK TD. It´s the post-2006 version.

    I took a slightly different approach to the whole DG-Tone-Thing.

    First of all I think: to emulate or copy the tone from another guitar player is really a hard thing to do. There are so many variables going into everything that goes out of your speakers at the end…

    I´m quite impressed that some guys here really come very close to DGs tone.

    When I started to become a little bit obsessed with PF, I was deep into the whole Satriani/Vai/Petrucci-thing. So it was a FAT break for certain :-)

    My equipment back then was:

    Ibanez JS 1000/Marshall DSL/Dunlop Wah/Fulltone Ultimate Octave/Boss DS-1/Boss DD-2

    Parallel to my deeper interest in PF I seriously started to get deeper into Jazz and stuff from Martino/Scofield/Metheny.

    What all that did to my equipment:

    Ibanez JS 1000/Roland JC-160/EHX LPB2UBE/BK Butler TD(no bias)/Whizzer Mod Russian Big Muff/MXR DynaComp/Dunlop Wah/Boss EQ/MXR Analog Carbon Copy Delay (not in that particular order of course :-))

    (And of course the build in JC-effects: Reverb, Chorus, Vibrato)

    Pretty weird change. But it all fits enormously well. The JS 1000 is a pretty versatile guitar. With push/pull potis and a high-pass-filter. I changed the bridge humbucker to a Seymour Duncan Pearly Gates. The neck remained a DiMarzio PAF Pro.

    I can also highly recommend the Roland JC. It really is a remarkable amp. The most crystal clean tone you´ll ever come across. I use the EHX 2UBE to give it this tube dynamic thing. I use a vintage JC from 1976. Its obviously the 4/10 version, so I cannot comment on the more modern versions.

    This setup works great the late 70s, the 80s and 90s stuff and of course DGs solo stuff.

    So heres why I posted all this stuff :-)

    1. The BK TD functions as a hub for all other pedals. I cannot overestimate its role and class. It really pushes your whole sound into a new dimensions. If you experiment with it for a longer time, the new 12AX7 version can emulate nearly all of DGs lead tones
    (especially in combination with the DynaComp and the Boss EQ). It really is unbelieviably versatile, but it takes some time to tame the beast…so to say.

    2. According to my experiences you don´t really need a Strat and an Hiwatt/Sound City amp to get your DG tones. It is all up to your own creativity and dedication when it comes to equipment. Although I really have to admit, that a good Big Muff really helps a lot.

    I decided for a terrific moded Black russian Big Muff. In fact, it has nothing to do anymore with the original pedal. I can really recommend this pedal: Whizzer Mod two-toggle Big Muff. It doesn´t function as a distortion unit on its own, but is a mix of an booster/distortion for the already existing overdrive (from the TD for example).

    My apologize for this long post :-)



    [Thanks for sharing Sebastian! I agree that it’s far from a must to have a Strat and a Hiwatt to sound like David. It helps but you can get great tones with all kinds of stuff. Like you say it’s about creativity and understanding the equipement you use. Cheers! – Bjorn]

  194. Josh says:

    Strangely enough, my Tube Driver sounds almost exactly like the solo from Money… Much too aggressive, even after a tube swap. Perhaps it’s because it is an older Chandler model.

    At any rate, still a cool pedal and highly recommended!

  195. Anmol says:

    Thanks for the Immediate reply.
    I thought about your opinion and the thing is that the 50W head will blow out my roof….I need for practice too.So i think the 18 w is ok for home sessions and it will support the cabinet so a small medium gig will do too.
    Anyways…need you adivice on another thing.Have you have had any experience with the Vox Over the top boost and Big ben overdrive.R they a worthy purchase.I like the boost specifically for its AC30 kind of sound but i m not very sure about the big ben overdrive.
    Also…..anything about the TREX alberta???

    [Sorry. Never tried any of these. Anyone? – Bjorn]

  196. Vril says:


    You can find Kit’s clips of the BYOC LB at

    Triangle Big Muff

    Large Beaver Triangle 4 Knob Version

    I have a beaver too and i think its a great pedal.!

  197. Anmol says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Happy New year to you…I wish you success for Airbag and Pink Floyd Tribute…….We all love you and your work man.
    Well here is the thing,its a bit off topic but sorry bout that.
    I found a guy who makes tube amps at dirt cheap prices and the best part is he can make replicas of the original amps circuit wise.Currently he is making a DR 103 replica for me.Man i m excited.The thing i wanted to ask you was that is your soundcity 50W head and u mic it for concerts?Coz i m getting an 18 watt amp for practice and it will support a 100w cabinet but i can get a 50 w head with a very little difference.Kindly tell me should i go for the 50 W or the 18 w…Both will be all tube amps…..

    [Thanks for your kind words and happy new year to you too! I’d go for the 50w. You’ll get a better tone, more headroom and generally more for your buck. I always mic my cab. Make no mistake though… A 50w Hiwatt is LOUD! – Bjorn]

  198. FxStocker says:

    Hi Bjorn and to all in this fantastic community, I know this is your site Bjorn, and I’m sorry to use it as a community board, but if I may:
    To Vril and / or Kit, I have a BYOC L B.and I was instantly interested in hearing Kit’s clips of it mentioned above, as opossed to the BK T.D. clips that are obvious in the earlier post. Can you tell us where to find the BYOC OAI and if there is any other of Kit’s BYOC LB clips?


    [Please, feel free to post! – Bjorn]

  199. Vril says:

    Bjorn and Kit,
    Thanks for your suggestions. Will go ahead with installing a 12AU7 shortly.

    Kit I heard your BYOC large beaver clips for OAI solo. Very nice. Nice Blades too! I thought it was David Duchovny staring back. haha.

  200. david says:

    wow!! nice info mate!! I´m looking for a cheap Tb…which one do ya rec me..the blues driver or the overdrive od3, I reckon the od-3 sounds a lot better than the blues driver, just dunno if is a closer match to the Tb..:(

    [Definitely the BD-2. – Bjorn]

  201. Jeff Dobisch says:

    The link to the sound clips does not seem to be working. (concert clips)

    [Sorry! They’re removed from our site. – Bjorn]

  202. Sérgio Asato says:

    Hi Bjorn

    I’m just about to get a TD clone, ’cause where I live its kinda hard to find an original TD…this is the website.

    but I’m just wondering..I’m a big fan of Gilmour’s tone, but the perfect tone for me its from Eric Johnson. Its not a surprise that he owns a TD…but I’m wonder…how can I get the EJ clean tone with this pedal??? I know that this is an overdrive pedal, but EJ said something about getting his clean tone from a TD…

    I thought that someone like u, who knows a lot from this pedal could give me a light…xD

    Thanks for the help and keep the GREAT WORK (Airbag really ROCKS!!)



    [The Tube Driver has a wide range from transparent clean to soaring distortion. David has two of these in his board, one set for ovedrive and one for clean boost. – Bjorn]

  203. Kit Rae says:


    The TD settings for my clips above are the same as Gilmour’s OAI settings (Tube 1 and Tube 2) from the Gdansk DVD. Here are the settings. I repositioned the knobs right-side-up since they are reversed on the Cornish board.

    [Thanks! Seems about the same he used throughout the tour. – Bjorn]

  204. Kit Rae says:

    Bjorn quote [Thanks for sharing the clips! Nice tone! On clip #2, is that just the TD straight into your amp or is it blended with the other TD as well? – Bjorn]

    That’s just the TD into the amp with some delay.

    VRil quote [About changing tubes, I want to try the 12AU7 sometime this year, but I have the Bias option version. Do you think changing a tube would be all that worthwhile in a TD with Bias option?. Confused if it would be defeating the purpose as i reckon the BK’s idea was to emulate different tubes with the Bias pot?]
    Vril, one of my TDs had the bias option. It did not seem to soften the gain sound as much as changing the tubes. Actually, I just found the setting that sounded as the same as my other non-bias TD and left it there. None of the other settings seemed very Gilmourish. I was going for the 90s to OAI sound.

  205. Vril says:

    Hi Bjorn..
    A very happy new year 2009 to you and friends here. Great to see you updated the TD post. I have had the TD for a while and although its not always on in my rig, i second you that it has grown better with use. I was thinking maybe i just gotten used to it.

    About changing tubes, I want to try the 12AU7 sometime this year, but I have the Bias option version. Do you think changing a tube would be all that worthwhile in a TD with Bias option?. Confused if it would be defeating the purpose as i reckon the BK’s idea was to emulate different tubes with the Bias pot?


    [Both yes and no. The bias control will let you adjust the gain to some extent but a milder tube will also give you a whole different range and tonal character. – Bjorn]

  206. Kit Rae says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I got a TD from BK Butler about a year ago after reading your excellent review. It has become one of my favorite pedals. I actually bought a second one a few months ago. I keep one set for overdrive and one for boost. I also thought the 12aX7 tube was a bit too aggressive. After the tube got worked in it was not so bad though. I keep a 12AU7 in my overdrive TD.

    I made some clips so others may hear what it sounds like. Excuse the sloppy playing. By the way, your Airbag YouTube above sounds awesome!

    Here is the TD with 12AX7 tube, set for overdrive doing the second On an Island solo.

    Here is a mix of different Gilmour bits with the overdrive setting using a 12AU7 tube.

    Here is the TD as a boost placed before a Sovtek Civil War Big Muff in the signal chain.

    Here is the TD as a boost placed AFTER the Big Muff.

    I used a 2008 strat with Seymour Duncan SSL-5 bridge pup into a Fender Twin 65 RI. Delay is a TC Nova.

    [Thanks for sharing the clips! Nice tone! On clip #2, is that just the TD straight into your amp or is it blended with the other TD as well? – Bjorn]

  207. Pete Tatooles says:

    I love my BK Butler Tube Driver (with bias mod). I just have to say it cause it is an incredible pedal. I use it to boost my Skreddy units as well as by itself. I have a Lunar Module from Skreddy that is out of this world as well as a Pink Flesh. The Colorsound I own is also excellent for boost and overdrive. It is because of Bjorn that I got this awesome tone thru my Marshall and Hiwatt. Just a quick note – try the Butler Tube Driver through a Marshall or Hiwatt with mild delay and use a Gibson Les Paul, or Explorer….it’s from another planet…Thanks Again Bjorn!!!

    [Cheers Pete! – Bjorn]

  208. Luca says:

    I Bjiorn! i’m building my new pedalboard and hope to found a sound like Pulse and On an Island, i specially hope to find a sound like Comfortably Numb of Pulse, can you help me how can i set my pedals in a chain?
    This is my instruments:

    Fender Custom Shop Closet Classic ’69
    Fender Custom Shop Devid Gilmour Nos
    Fender Telecaster Baja

    Boss CS3
    Mxr Dynacomp
    BigMuff Green Sovtek first model
    BigMuff Ram’s Head
    Rat II
    BK Butler new model
    Boss CE2
    EH Mistress
    Boss NR
    Boss RV3

    Fender The Twin 100W 2 Channel

    …for Comfortably Numb the BK Butler clean as a booster is placed first or after the muff? You advise me to use a Boss Ge7? Last of all, with my old pedalboard i had many problems because the sound at last of chain was very weak and insufficient, a buffer like a Masotti Black Box can resolve this?
    Thank You.

    [The chain seems fine. I’d place the BK after the Muff. A booster could solve your problem but first you should make sure that the Boss NR doesn’t cut the tone or sustain. If you set these things too high they’ll do more harm than good. Also, with all these pedals, you should use good quality cables that can sustain your signal as much as possible. Please check out this article for more tips. – Bjorn]

  209. rodolfo says:

    nice sound bro!!! so, what´s the diference between the maxon and the bk? The sound or the drive?

    [The Maxon or Tube Screamer is general has a much smoother tone with more mid range making them warmer and creamier compared to the Tube Driver, which has a bright scooped mids tone. The TD has a higher output and more balls. The tube makes a difference too naturally giving the Tube Driver more character and the pedal responds well to your pickups and picking technique, the other pedals and the amp. They’re actually two quite different overdrives serving different purposes. – Bjorn]

  210. Marco says:

    Hi Bjorn!
    Great review as usual!!!! and I can’t wait for the Dogs analysis – it’s my favourite song!
    I reached the nirvana (not the band) with my Colorsound Power Boost: I definitely prefer Animals tones than Pulse ones, but maybe one day I will try a Tube Driver too… I see there are lots of versions of the tube driver… for example, what do you think about the Tube Works Butler Real Tube Overdrive, the black one with 5 knobs? is it tonewise different? is the extra Mids knob useful?
    thanks a lot Bjorn, please keep on illuminating our way! I wish you all the best for 2009!

    [Hi Marco! I haven’t tried the Real Tube Overdrive so I can’t tell. Sorry. – Bjorn]

  211. carlo says:

    hi Bjorn!
    I would like to ask you if you can send me a link where can I buy the colorsound powerboost…thanks!

    [Macari’s in London. – Bjorn]

  212. Giuseppe says:

    try a ECC82 (NOS or used) like Telefunken, Mullard, Philips Miniwatt or RFT. You’ll be surprise how better will be the sound.

    [Thanks for the tip! – Bjorn]

  213. Adam says:

    Hi Bjorn !

    by the way, your site is awesome, thanks for all the great advices and other gilmourish stuffs !!!

    I just bought a BK Butler Tube Driver with the extra Bias knob… and I still think the distortion is a little bit too harsh…

    could it be because of the tube anyway ? Do you think it will help if I change the tube for a 12AU7 tube ?

    and by the way… in response from another person who left you some comments about other pedals that don’t work well with the TD… all the modulation effects works well with it and the boosters too… when you come with the distortions, you may want to put the TD before all the other ones, unless it will “buzz”.

    The best combination that I’ve found is with the Xotic AC Booster. It sounds really natural and not really noisy.

    [Thanks Adam! As you may have read in my review of the Tube Driver, the pedal was way too aggressive for me and I changed the 12AX7 tube right away for a 12AU7. The sound is much more balanced and it produces a very nice and warm clean boost with a break up around 10:00 on the gain control. I definitely recommend changing tubes if you’re looking for a milder tone. Regarding placement of the Tube Driver, I think it’s very much due to what kind of pedals you blend. I change stuff around all the time, and right now, I’ve placed the TD last on my board (before the delays) and it works very well with both modulations and distortion infront of it. – Bjorn]

  214. Brendan says:

    Yeah that seems to be my problem, being only 14 I can’t afford good sounding amps (except for my Roland Micro Cube that thing rocks) so at the moment I’m playing through a SS Fender FM65R (and soon to add the Leslie I built, you should really think about getting one). My 2 guitars are alright, nothing amazing. This is getting a bit off subcject but about your gear, you don’t have any lap steels listed, what do you do for songs like Great Gig, One of These Days, etc? A lap steel is one of my next projects.

    [I play all slides on my Strat, except for Breathe, which our rhythm guitarist is playing on his Strat. I never tunes anything as David does, but I’m definitely looking for a slide although it’s not my primary project. – Bjorn]

  215. Brendan says:


    Would you say that it is overall a good effect for “the sound”? I’m pretty good at electronics and think I might clone one. I actually just got done building a Leslie and now I can’t stop!

    Have a good day,

    [If you have a good amp and a guitar with good sounding pickups, I would say that a Big Muff and a delay will get you far. – Bjorn]

  216. Luca says:

    Hello Bijorn, i’m looking for the right sound to Play On an Island solos (Aol session like)..well, i have in line:

    Mxr Dynacomp
    Bk Tube Driver new model
    Boss Ns2
    Boss Rv3 (Reverb and Delay)

    The sound is good but have little saturation…do you think i need to add a pedal to boost the BK? Wich pedal?

    [I think David used the Cornish G-2 on that one… perhaps boosted by a clean TD. The TD alone won’t give you that sound I’m afraid, but a Muff or a RAT will. – Bjorn]

  217. Paul-Mark says:

    Great site. Maybe the best on the web. Anyways I’m looking to get a new Tube Driver as well. Where did you get yours from? Where could I order one from? On Butlers website it just advertises his home and car audio amps.

    [I think he’s the only one selling them… I think he had stoped making them, but the demand is high after David got his two new for the last tour. Just write BK an e-mail and he’ll help you. – Bjorn]

  218. Roberto says:

    Excellent Job on the site. Computers are my job and I’ve got to say this website is just as a website should be, pretty but not cluttered with all the info easily accessible.

    I’m a big Gilmour fan. Recently in an attempt to get closer to his sound I’ve picked up a Fender Strat and now I’m trying to get my pedal board in order. I have a couple of questions…

    I’m looking to pick up my primary overdrive pedal and I’ve narrowed things down to a BK Tube Driver or a FullTone Full-Drive 2. While I want to get close to David’s sound I also want to have a reasonably versatile overdrive.

    Have you ever tried a Full-Drive 2? Obviously your familiar with the BK, if you have tried a Full-Drive 2 what is your opinion of it? I’m not in a position where I would be able to try them out before purchasing them.

    Thanks for you help and keep up the good work.

    [I haven’t tried the Full-Drive…. My personal oppinion about the Tube Driver is that it’s not very versatile. It works great for Delicate and PULSE stuff and of course On an Island, but I can’t make it sound good for the classic 70’s overdrives. As I tell all people with your question… Check out AnalogMan or Keeley’s modded Boss BD-2. The pedal is perhaps the most versatile I’ve ever tried. – Bjorn]

  219. Allan Vainola says:

    When looking for information about the new Tube Driver, I happened to find your review and your website (nice page & a great version of ‘Shine on You Crazy Diamond’!) The main pedal I am presently using is Boss BD2, which you have also reviewed. In general, I am satisfied with my main pedal but sometimes that pedal sounds a little feeble, and, in the case of more drive, also muddy. Could I ask for your opinion on whether replacing BD2 with a Tube Driver would result in some qualitative improvement? I read that you compared those two pedals: would the difference in sound be proportional to the difference of price ($50 as opposed to $229)?

    [Hi Allan! Glad you enjoyed my site! A Tube Driver is definitely better than a $50 BD-2… no doubt. That being said… A modified BD-2, like Keeley or AnalogMan has much of the same qualities as the TD. In general, the BD-2 is in my oppinion one of Boss’ finest. It’s very transparent and is equally fitted as a volume booster and overdrive. Still, at full gain setting, it can sound a bit too hars and lack some lows. That’s just the downside of all assembly line products. AnalogMan and Keeley has replaced some of the weaker parts and tweaked the pedal into a very warm overdrive unit with a great character. It’s one of the most versatile pedals I can think of. The TD has got a tube and you definitely get what you pay for. It’s got an awesome tone with great dynamics. However, I don’t think it’sas versatile as the modded BD-2. The TD is a better pedal in most ways, but I’m not sure if I would have traded my modded BD-2 for it… luckily I have both, ha ha! As the review also mentiones, I needed to change teh tube to get the sound I wanted. – Bjorn]

  220. Vril says:

    Hello Bjorn,
    Firstly congrats for such a cool site and effort.
    I am quite new to the Tube Driver and would want to know which pedals in your view work best with it. Apparently, the Tube Driver is quite selective about its neighbours?

    [Hi! Thanks! Glad you liked my site :-) I haven’t had any serious problems with the placing of the TD, but I know it doesn’t like pedals with buffers etc like some of the Pete Cornish stuff. I use mine with all sorts of effects like Muff (obviously), BD-2 and Colorsound PB. – Bjorn]

  221. andefeldt says:

    Hi Bjørn,

    Do you know how the Electro-Harmonix’s 12AU7 is compared to the JJ Electronic’s?

    And why did you decide on the JJ Electronic?

    [Haven’t tried EH, but Sovtek, TAD and Golden Dragon, but I thought the JJ sounded a bit more balanced and cleaner. Maybe not how the BK was intended, but I wanted to get it as clean as possible. With the volume at 1:00, the drive doesn’t break unil about 12:00… With the stock BK 12AX7 I couldn’t get to 8:00 before it distorted. Now the pedal is (in my mind) awesome for stuff like Shine On, Wall solo and Coming Back to Life. – Bjorn]

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