• Robert Keeley Dark Side review

    Robert Keeley Dark Side review

    Wouldn’t it be cool to walk into a store and just buy David Gilmour’s tone in a box? Well, now you can! Robert Keeley’s Dark Side boldly promise to provide the full experience and magic of David’s classic mid 70s sound. Here’s my review.

    How do you present a signature sound in one single box? How can you capture not only the actual tone but also the feel of owning and operating something close to the original vintage gear? We’re talking about perhaps the most recognisable tone in the history of modern music and guitar playing.

    But you can always expect something special from Robert Keeley. The bar is high but few seem to really understand tone as much as him.

    The Dark Side is the second in a new line of artist inspired pedals. As the name implies, the pedal is designed to capture the essence of David Gilmour’s tones from Dark Side of the Moon, as well as Wish You Where Here and Animals.

    The Dark Side has two sections, fuzz and modulation/delay. They can be used simultaneously and the different modulation effects and the delay, is selected with a toggle switch. 

The rear features the usual in/out jacks, as well as TRS send/returns for additional pedals, expression pedal and for swapping the order of the fuzz and modulation/delay sections.

    The Dark Side is packed with an almost exhaustive amount of controls and I won’t go into detail on every aspect of the pedal here but rather give you an idea of how it all sounds. Please visit robertkeeley.com for all the details.


    The fuzz is analog and based on the late 70s Op-amp Big Muff. A strange choice perhaps, since David never used that particular model, but the circuit has been seriously modified and the tone is perhaps closer to the early 90s Sovtek Civil War, with a thick saturated gain and that slightly throaty character.

    A 3-way switch allows you to choose between scooped, flat or full (boosted) EQ modes, similar to the mid range switch seen on many Big Muff clones.

    It’s got that unmistakable Muff tone but there’s plenty of harmonics present, with a raw edge and I have no problem dialling in some really nice silicon fuzz tones typical of the era. 


David Gilmour famously used a Binson Echorec during the Dark Side years and the multi head echo has been a popular offering among many makers lately. 

The Dark Side delay offer 12 different delays based on that classic Binson machine. David mainly used a single head but sweeping through the different stages, provides the full Binson experience with an impressive accuracy and authenticity.

    Clones offered by Catalinbread and Boonar has more controls, providing a more authentic circuitry, but with a hint of organic sounding modulation and the basic controls for time, feedback and volume, you can easily dial in some lovely and very musical echo with the Dark Side.

    The modulation section feature four different effects: flanger, phaser, rotary and Uni-Vibe. All of which are representative for Gilmour’s 70s tones.

    Select either flanger and rotary or phaser and UniVibe and use the blend control to either get the pure effect or, and this is very cool, dial in some new unique tones, like a Leslie with sweeping jet-like flanging.


    The flanger is undoubtedly based on the Electric Mistress that David used during the late 70s and early 80s. It sounds a bit dark and chorusy compared to the original, but some fine tuning of the controls takes it close to the ’76 Mistress, with that liquidy and slightly metallic flanging.

    Less mid range and low end and a slightly wider sweep would easily have made it one the best sounding clone of the original Mistress available.

    Rotating speaker simulators often sound more like a chorus or flanger than an actual Leslie cabinet. The doppler effect depends on the resonance and distance between the horn and the surroundings, so to recreate this with convincing authenticity is almost impossible.

    The Dark Side Rotary is designed to sound more chorusy than your conventional rotary. I assume that’s with David’s Yamaha RA-200 cabinets in mind, which indeed has more of that watery chorus character rather than the woody tremolo of the Leslie.

    It sounds really nice on slow speed and you can clearly hear the sweep of the horn and the low hum of the speaker. On high speeds, it’s definitely more chorusy but perhaps a bit too much and it sounds slightly detuned or closer to a vibrato.

    It would be very interesting though to have a dedicated mix control for the rotary. It would allow you to blend in the rotary “behind” the main chain of effects or, as David did, in addition to his Hiwatts, for that subtle rotary effect.

    Again, based on the MXR Phase 90 that David used on the 1974-75 leg of the Dark Side tour and the recording of Wish You Where Here. Not much else to comment on other than it’s hard to get any closer to the orange box than this!

    The Uni-Vibe is undoubtedly more associated with Hendrix and Trower than Gilmour, but what would Breathe have sounded like without it? In fact, when touring with “Eclipse”, an early work in progress version of Dark Side of the Moon, in 1972, the Uni-Vibe was featured on almost all of the songs.

    The Dark Side Uni-Vibe sounds surprisingly analog, with a beautifully tweaked character and feel. That crisp top end, with the dark throb is easy to dial in and it sounds equally focused and authentic on high speeds, which is needed for songs like Any Colour You Like.

    So, to sum it up, I think the fuzz sounds really great. Easily among the finest Big Muff clones on the market and I like the fact that you got the 3-way mid range switch, allowing for a wide range of different tones from the era. Including fairly convincing Powerbooster-ish overdrive when the gain is backed down.

    The delay, phaser and Uni-Vibe also sounds really impressive and with a bit of tweaking, the flanger also does the job. The rotary is OK but in my head, I will always compare rotary simulators with the Strymon Lex, which is perhaps not fair. As mentioned above, it would be interesting to have a dedicated mix control for this one.

    My main issue with the Dark Side is the fact that you can’t have a modulation effect and the delay selected at the same time. They share the same circuit and can’t be used simultaneously.

    You can add stand alone modulation pedals with the send/return jacks in the back but as much as I love the fact that you actually can do that, it kind of makes the Dark Side less of a Gilmour-in-a-box. Delay is essential to all of his tones and it would be cool to have everything integrated in one box.

    But I must say that I’m surprised and I’ve had such great fun exploring this pedal. Overall, it sounds great and I would have had no problem using it as a part of my rig or in a recording setup. It’s a super cool pedal for jam sessions or a trip to the cabin, when you just want to bring your guitar, a small amp and little else.

    The Dark Side is also an excellent start for the novice pedal collector and Gilmour fan. You got everything at your feet. It sounds great and you can expand, with more pedals and connected them to the Dark Side.

    See robertkeeley.com for more details and reviews.

187 Responsesso far.

  1. Grant says:

    Hi! I picked up this pedal, and it’s amazing; I’m having a tough time deciding where to put it in my chain (I keep all my pedals on my board). My current order: (guitar to amp)

    CryBaby Mini
    The Depths (univibe like)
    MXR296 (108 mini)
    *Dark Side
    Catalinbread RAH (Page!)
    MXR 90
    Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Delay
    Ditto x2 looper
    MXR Smartgate


  2. perry rice says:

    Very nice site. I’m thinking a Drybell Unit67 (rangemaster and comp), Keely Dark, and a Strymon Zelzah phaser might be a good setup. Do you have any advice on a Binson style echo in the Kemper? Thanks, appreciate it.

  3. Charles says:

    Thanks for the reply Bjorn, my assumption is that adding an OD to the Dark Side, is still quieter than having 3 individual effects plus an OD. I play mostly at home and in small gatherings so on stage is not a big concern for me. I love your page, always look forward to reading your updates.

    • Bjorn says:

      Noise is tricky. The more electronics and cable you introduce between the guitar and amp the more you expose the signal to noise issues. Good quality cables and proper powering will go along way. Keep in mind that there are (mainly) three kinds of noise though. Hiss and buzz caused by electronics, bad cables and powering. Hiss and buzz caused by gain – when you turn on pedals (this is their nature). Hum that your pickups and cables are picking up from nearby electronics like radio, fridge, computers, lights etc

  4. Charles says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for all the amazing reviews. Question, wouldn’t it be quieter to get the Dark side since its all coming from one pedal vs combining 3 pedals in order to get the same sound ?

    • Bjorn says:

      Depends on what pedals you choose. Some pedals are noisy. Some aren’t. The Dark Side can do a lot but it’s missing an overdrive and it would be difficult to use on a stage.

  5. Luke D. says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’ve been considering buying the Dark Side. I have a Big Muff Ram’s Head reissue and a Canyon Delay. Do you think it’s worth getting the Dark Side, or should I just get an Electric Mistress? I really want to nail the Mother/Fletcher Memorial Solo tones.


    • Bjorn says:

      Hard for me to decide really :) I think the Dark Side has some very nice tones and features but they can be replicated with single pedals as well.

  6. Liam says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I’m fairly new to guitar (a bit over 1 year in) and am looking for a fuzz that will work for Gilmour, but am also interested in learning Hendrix + other songs that use early fuzz tones. This pedal has caught my eye and sounds lovely (both the fuzz + mod) in various demos, but I’m unsure if the fuzz is as versatile as I need seeing as it’s muff-based. It’s also quite pricey, at upwards of $400 AUD!

    Also, does it clean up well without getting mushy? I have a soft spot for semi-clean fuzz tones ?

    Cheers and stay safe, Liam

    • Bjorn says:

      The fuzz in this one is sort of a combination btween a silicon fuzz and Big Muff so it’s very saturated and perhaps better suited for Animals/Wall that Dark Side. For early Gilmour and Hendrix I’d look into a germanium fuzz.

  7. Rick Williamson says:

    Hi Bjorn: I have had the Dark Side v2 for awhile, but have really started to finally dial in some good times in the last few months. My question is, since you can’t use modulation and delay at the same time and have to look at separate pedals, which doesn’t really bother me too much, have you looked at the new Boss MD200 or DD200 pedals? Seems like they’d do a pretty solid job of getting Gilmour tones with a lot of useful and easy features.


    • Bjorn says:

      Yes, they have a lot of different tones and features that should cover most of what you need. Obviously, being Boss they sound great too!

  8. Emzy says:

    Hey Björn, I’m coming to you today to thank you for what you do , your website is an incredible source of motivation.
    I’ve bought all of my RIg based on your recommendations : black strat ssl5 >CS3>bd2>Keeley dark side > nova delay —> katana 50
    How should I set the BD2 to boost the fuzz? I’m having a hard time dialing in both the dark side fuzz and the BD. Should the level of the fuzz be higher than the BD’s for instance? I’ve noticed putting the BD2 after the fuzz gets me very interesting times.
    Thank you!!

  9. Tim says:

    Does it come with a booklet showing examples of settings
    or are you on your own?

    • Bjorn says:

      I honestly don’t remember but it’s very easy to dial in. And you could use my review as a starting point :)

    • Fred says:

      Hi Team, no it doesn’t come with a booklet, just with a quick card to memorize settings and positions. However there are a lot of demos and stuff on Yourube. Great pedal BTY, you’ll enjoy ?

  10. Christian Obert says:

    Hi Bjorn, I need your help ;)

    I have the V1 Version but I can’t figure out how the signal chain is supposed to be Set up in order to insert an additional Pedal between the fuzz and the Modulation.

    I go guitar, input keeley, TRS cable one side into OCD, output OCD into other side TRS cable and then from output Keeley into my amp but it doesn’t work ..


    • Bjorn says:

      It’s been a while since I used it and I really didn’t explore the TRS that much. I’d send Keeley an e-mail. They’re very helpful.

  11. Jim says:

    Just want to add that with a Strat the Dark Side fuzz also provides great lead tone–very Carlos… exactly as in Smooth. No need to cascade boosts (with the additional noise)–this pedal is quiet. And the tape delay gives the subtle ambience you are searching for. Jim

  12. Bert van der Sanden says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    I received the Dark side yesterday as an early birthday present from my wife. I think it is a great pedal. Delay, modulation and fuzz, they all sound superb. I use the flashback 2 in the FX loop of my Victory V40 Deluxe combo, together with the victory V4 preamp pedal the sheriff. In front of the amp the signal chain is Boss TU3, into Wampler Ego, into Vick audio rams head, into Buffalo FX evolution, into proco RAT, into Bos angry driver, into EP booster, into Keeley dark side V2.

    I ordered the Boss DC-2 W and that will be between the sheriff and the flashback, to complete my board. It is powered by voodoo labs pedalpower.

    I use this setup with my Maybach guitars. They make a great marriage with the amp and pedals.

    Coming holidays I will take some time to find my favorite settings in the Keeley dark side. You’re review was, as always , inspiring and very usefull.

    I learned one very important thing. You can by pedals, guitars, amps and more, but you can’t buy talent. So overall it is mostly very noisy at my place… Luckily earplugs are very affordable…..

    Happy holidays and many thanks Bjorn.

  13. F Javi says:

    Hi Bjorn. I’m thinking of buying a Keeley Dark Side. I have a question, excuse me if you have already answered it. It is clear that it is a great pedal for Dark Side, Animals, WYWH tones … but what note do you give to imitate the later tones, for example Pulse, Gdansk or Pompeii 2016?
    Thank you so much for everything !

    • Bjorn says:

      You can use the fuzz and delay for the latter sounds as well but apart from certain solos, David’s been more of an overdrive guy in recent years so I’d at least add a stand alone overdrive as well.

  14. RHW says:

    Just bought it at $400 Can….ouch. Will be going direct into my DAW and live through my ’78 (Japan) Roland JC 120. Fender American Strat with the Abigails swapped for noiseless (they sounded awesome but too noisy). Do most of my stuff direct.
    Can’t believe it doesn’t come with power at that price point, but will be hooked into my daisy chain power supply.

  15. F Javi says:

    Hey Bjorn. To play at home, in my bedroom, I have a Fender American Special Strat, Buffalo FX Evolution, MXR Carbon Copy Bright, MXR Dinacomp (in addition to Zoom Multi Stomp MS-70 CDR and TC Electronics Hall of Fame Reverb although these two do not use them almost) and Roland Mobile Cube and Orange Micro Crush amplifiers. How do you think I can get closer to the Gulmour sound, especially the Confortably Numb overdrive on Live in Gdansk? Do you think that with the Keekey Dark Side you can get this sound better than with the Buffalo FX Evolution that I have? or is some other pedal better? Would you recommend a small tube amp?
    Thank you very much, greetings.

    • Bjorn says:

      Hi! Personally I’d consider a slightly bigger amp and preferably tubes. Nothing wrong with what you already have but I don’t think you should expect your pedals to sound like Gdansk with the amps you have. My buyer’s gear guide has some nice affordable tube amps listed. A good entry level model would be the Laney Cubs but there are lots of other great models. I think will pay of rather than speninding more on pedals. What you have is more than enough to get some nice Gilmour tones.

      • F Javi says:

        Hey Bjorn. Thank you very much for answering. Yes, one of my ideas was to buy a small tube amplifier. I am hesitating between Laney Cub 10, Blackstar HT 1R and Vox AC4TV, in the case of Laney will not be much 10 watts for the bedroom? The Blackstar has reverb, do you consider it necessary for the Gilmour sound or with the delay enough? The Vox can lower it to 0.25 watts. In your opinion, do you recommend the Laney of these 3 amps? Or would you even recommend some other similar price / size / power?
        Thank you very much, very kind and greetings.

        • Bjorn says:

          Personally I’d go for the Laney. Great sounding amp and it sounds well balanced at typical bedroom levels. Keep in mind that 10w might not give you the biggest headroom but it’s a big step up from what you have now and a good platform for your pedals. The Blackstar is worth checking out too but it’s more of a plug-n-play rock amp. The Vox sounds too thin and bright for my taste. The Cub has a 1w power scaling so volume shouldn’t be an issue. I assume you’ll be using the 10w input anyway and just lowering the gain and volume. That will provide the fattest tone. See this feature for some tips on using reverb.

          • F Javi says:

            I think I’ll decide for the Laney Cub 12R, with the 1W input to play at home without disturbing and with reverb. Thank you very much !!

            • Bjorn says:


              • F Javi says:

                Hi Bjorn. It was almost decided by the Laney cub 12R, but now I also doubt about the Marshall DSL1CR, which has a smaller size and a good bedroom configuration can go down to 0.1 W. What opinion do you have about this amplifier oriented to get good sounds Gilmour?
                Thank you very much, very kind and greetings.

                • Bjorn says:

                  I don’t think it’s nearly as suited for David’s tones as the Cub. It’s always a matter of taste but the DSL is very different sounding amp.

  16. Jan says:

    Is worth replacing my thorpy muffroom cloud with if the muff sound so good is?

    • Bjorn says:

      Hmmm… I can’t really answer that because it depends on what tones you want. To me, the Muffroom sounds like a modern distortion with a Muff flavour, while the Dark Side sounds like a vintage fuzz, with a hint of Muff.

  17. Randy says:

    Great review. Right on the mark. However, all problems can be solved but buying two of the and feeding one into the other. Great as a backup, and let’s You do even more interesting things that you can imagine. Cheers

  18. ERICK WILCOX says:

    I am awaiting my Dark Side to come by mail. What is the exact power supply I need to purchase and where would you suggest I purchase it from. I’ve been looking and looking and I see no mention of this power supply. I did see one post stating that it was a 9 volt DC negative polarity 75 mA. I’ve been trying to find one online with this configuration with no luck can anyone please help???

    • Bjorn says:

      That’s your minimum requirements. Get a Boss or preferably a mulit power supply like Carl Martin, TRex etc.

      • Franco says:

        Hi Bjorn. Can you please let me know how to switch the order on the Darkside V1 using the TRS cable so that the modulation effects come first then the Fuzz which to my understanding is how Gilmour ran his effects on DSOTM. I have 2 Darkside pedals, one V1 & a V2. I saw the keeley youtube video showing how to run the effects first into the fuzz but could not quite understand the hook up of the cables as he had 2 V2s hooked into each other. What I want to do is run both my V1 & V2 pedal into each other but since I have a button on V2 to switch the order then V1 needs the TRS cable from what I saw on his youtube video to have the modulation effects first then the Fuzz. Please let me know how I hook up the TRS cable using both my V1 & V2 darkside pedals.o



        • Bjorn says:

          It’s been a while since I played mine and I really didn’t experiment with the TRS that much. I think it’s explained well enough in the video but perhaps someone here can help you out?

  19. Gary says:

    I just picked up this pedal and for most part I like it very much. I have tried a few positions on my pedal board but seem to get some noise interference.I have tried through both my amps Fender Blues deluxe and Fender Mustang GT 200
    Any suggestions where it would be best placed?

    • Bjorn says:

      It’s a multi effect so where you want to place it depends on how you’ll be using ut I guess. Depending on y0our model, you can assign pedals to it but when do you experience noise? When you use the fuzz or all of the effects?

  20. john warren says:

    What is that black button for in the back

  21. John Porterfield says:

    I had a funny thing happen when i bought the Dark SIde pedal (V2) recently (January 2018) – i also picked up an expression pedal, and when i switched on the modulation, the pedal went into self oscillation mode and I had to hit the modulation footswitch wicked quick before the increase in volume and chaos overtook. i changed the rate, no effect, changed modulation effects, same issue. Over dinner i suddenly recalled that i had plugged in the expression pedal – and the pedal was all the way forward! Note to self!!

    Great site, huge PF and David G fan.
    My setup is Slide Rig (#32) >MXR ‘Dumble in a Box’ OD in loop 1, Dark SIde in Loop 2, Caitlinbread EchoRec in Loop3 and a Keeley 30MS out through a H&K Rotosphere to two amps, 70s MusicMan 75 and Marshal Haze 40.

    Greetings from Maine!

  22. Craig Cooper says:

    Hi, great site, a wealth of knowledge and info, for a retired guy who just wants some low volume bedroom fun the dark side pedal sounds great, I have a fender blues jr iii and an Eric Clapton artist strat with fender vintage noiseless, tbx and active mid boost. I would kindly value your opinion if this setup would work at low volumes with the dark side or if a compressor is also a worthwhile investment, any suggestions or guidance would be greatly appreciated, thanks, Craig

    • Bjorn says:

      I think the pedal would go nicely with your setup. The issue with pairing fuzz or Muffs with Fender amps is that they tend to sound overly bright so keep the treble on your amp fairly low and try to find the right balance between the lows and mids.

  23. Nicholas Love says:

    Bjorn, you weren’t kidding about the muff part of this. Could be one of the best I’ve ever heard. They could sell the muff part by itself and make a killing. Gets a 10/10 from me.

  24. Jérome says:

    Hello, Bjorn! Is it possible to put other effects as another distortion and another delay?

  25. Scott says:

    I recently picked up a V2 and have been having lots of fun. I didn’t have a muff pedal and was a little light in the modulation department (no phaser, rotary, or univibe), so I figured this added lots of options for me. For flanger I do have an mooer e-lady, and the keeley can’t compete with it. I’ve also been using a tc alter ego V2 for my delay sounds, when I’m using the dark side for mod.

    For the muff side I was curious what settings people are finding working best for them. Given mine is a V2, I have experimented with pushing it with a boost (Boss BD-2), and depending on the day do like the effect for adding a little more attack, but I’m not sure I couldn’t achieve the same thing just by adjusting the dark side itself. What are other people doing to maximize their muff tones?

    • Alexis says:

      Hi Scott,
      Depending on your amp, I would try a mid-boosted booster/overdrive in front of the Dark Side, and maybe a compressor too. From what I experienced so far, and because the V2 doesn’t have the loop anymore, that’s how a muff pedal sounds best, at least to my ears, when you can’t have a transparent booster behind it (because of your signal chain or amp).

      I still can’t understand why Keeley ditched the send-return feature and replaced it with the order switch, which for me is just a gadget that I don’t use. The send-return loop is far more interesting, as you can put anything you want between the fuzz and modulation section, meaning boosters, modulations… So important when you’re talking about a gilmour-in-a-box pedal IMHO…

      I have both a V2 and V1 (was lucky enough to found a V1 before they disappeared from the market), what I do when travelling is putting the V2 with a Vick Audio Overdriver in the loop of the V1, so this way I can have both fuzz, boost, overdrive, modulation and delay in a compact rig. But I wouldn’t recommend this to anyone, as you’ll have more versatility and save money with individual effects.

      Hope this comment will help you! ;)

      • Croz' says:

        Interesting point on placing OD/Compressor in front. As well as having a buffer at the head of the chain, I’ve a TC Electronics Hypergravity and Keeley OxBlood – I also use a Voodoo Labs Tremolo with the effect virtually at zero and use it as a clean boost…layers the punch really beautifully.

  26. Scott says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    It does sound very good, but the problem for me is you can’t save a setting, you have to alter the knobs for each song if you want slight adjustments. When I’m playing live I like to have all my settings stored so I can just change them on my ES-8. Thats why I find the Strymon Mobius & Timeline better.

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t think it was meant to be anything more than what it is. It’s a fun thing and some of the sounds are really good but it’s not a complex stroring and patch unit.

  27. Colton knowles says:

    Hey Bjorn thanks for the review! I am curious on the dark side, how would you say the fuzz compares to say a Vicks audio rams head? Basically am I better off going with an independent fuzz and modulation pedals or will the dark side hold its own with others, kind of looking for the gilmourish rating you see on the gear page. 7/10? 10/10? Where would you put this one compared to other fuzzes and mods? Thanks

    • Bjorn says:

      The fuzz sounds really great. It’s similar to the Vick 73 with the mid switch set to flat. Everything sounds nice but the main issue with the pedal, is the fact that you can’t use modulation and delay simultaneously. It’s a fun pedal and most of the tones sounds really nice but if you want versatility and perhaps a bit more accurate sounds, you’re probably better off with a handful of stand alone pedals. Comes down to how you’ll be using the pedals and how picky you are.

  28. Jared says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Reading your review and checking out the Keeley website. Looks like the limitations on the delay is kind of a non-starter for me. It seems a little rediculous: 1. Delay is the one constant in David’s sound. 2. They can’t figure out how to separate the delay from the modulation circuit?!!! Or do they not think its necessary? Either way, I had high hopes for this thing, but one shouldn’t have to make a choice between modulation and delay. DOA. And it looks like V2 exacerbated the problem.

    Anyway, is there something like this – with universal delay – that mimicks Davids sound from 70-72?

    • Bjorn says:

      Not if you want everything in one pedal. Still, for those early tones you basically just need a fuzz and a analog echo or tape simulation.

  29. Rafael says:

    Can you play breathe and shine on you crazy diamond with this pedal??

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, I did play Breathe in the first clip so, yes. Shine On might be a bit harder since the Dark Side doesn’t have an overdrive and the fuzz is a bit too much for that song.

  30. Gordon Norman says:

    I liked it. Was thinking of getting one. I just have to find the cash. You can buy a guitar and amp for this money! Do I really need one? Thats the question.

  31. Marcel says:

    Hi Bjorn, I just have found this site – AND IT IS PERFECT! I am finding here lot of inspration and nice reading, thank you for this.
    I have a question, I own Monterey and now thinking of getting Dark Side and I am not sure which version, V1 so I can insert Monterey after the Fuxx on DS or V2 without this feature? Would you have any recommendation please?

    Thank you and keep positive :)


  32. Alexis says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    I bought this little gem a few days ago, it is a Dark Side V2 and so there is no insert input on it. But it sounds really good!

    However I have a strange issue with my model, when rolling down the fuzz at 0 and with fuzz and modulation engaged simultaneously, I have a huge feedback coming from the pedal. It happens only with flange/rotary and phaser/uni-vibe modes, I don’t have this issue with the delay mode. So I can’t have the fuzz used as an OD with the modulation engaged at the same time.

    Am I the only one who have experienced this problem? Did you noticed something similar when demoing the Dark Side V1?

    Thanks in advance for your help and thoughts guys, as I can’t find any information on that I don’t know if this is a common issue with the V2 or just my model that is faulty.


  33. crimson says:

    I think I am getting old …
    First I replaced my ssl5 with an cs69, later I switched from my muff to a rat-clone to a tube screamer, I replaced my phaser with a univibe and now i lean towards my es 335 Ibanez because i started to dislike the vintage frets on my strat. The Ibanez is so much easier to play. And most of the time I don’t do that gilmour-stuff anymore – it’s time for blues and jazzy blues. Well … ;-)

  34. John says:

    I just got mine today. Strat into Dark Side into 71 Super Reverb….it took me 5 minutes to dial in a tone for the solo in Time. No noise whatsoever and the Fuzz is a beast.

  35. Fred says:

    Hi Bjorn, thanks for your great job and great reviews, very helpful for everyone here :-)
    It has been already mentioned that Robert Keeley’s Dark Side V2 has got everything required in a single box for great Gilmour tones except a complement overdrive and perhaps a second delay, since we can’t use the delay with the modulations. Question please : What would you think of The Dark Side pedal + TC Electronic Flashback Delay + FullTone OCD overdrive ? Would this be a good choice to cover most of DG classic tones ? What about pedal such as the Buffalo Patriot or the Rat2 compare to the Fulltone OCD ? What other great pedal would be missing ? According to your practice experience, what would be the best chain order ? MANY MANY THANKS.

    • Bjorn says:

      You can’t go wrong with the OCD. Awesome pedal capable of nailing a wide range of tones. As far as I know, the V2 doesn’t allow you to add pedals within the chain anymore, so you might want to track down a V1 for that. You want the OD before the modulation and delay.

      • Frederic GOSSET says:

        Thks Bjorn. The V2 seems to have an Input/Insert Jack (using TRS Y cable) to allow adding other pedals/additional effects. It is mentioned on their instruction chart : https://robertkeeley.com/product/dark-side/ – Do you think it could be still possible by this way to add other pedals in chain ?

        • Bjorn says:

          I don’t think the V2 has that if you read the info on Keeley’s site. They still have some info up on the V1 though, which is a bit confusing.

      • Daniel says:

        I understand you want the OD before mods, but do you really need the insert capability for that? Can’t you just run the output of your OD pedal to the input of this? Or would it be more important to have the OD after the fuzz?

        • Bjorn says:

          Well, yes you can but you probably want the od after the fuzz if you want to stack it. Also, I think the intention was to have the ability to add different types of pedals before the modulations and delay featured in the pedal.

  36. Fugazi says:

    Just got my Dark Side a week ago after reading your review. It’s flat out great! The in-between sounds on the modulation side are really cool. I also think the u-vibe setting is as good as I’ve heard anywhere. The Muff is a really clear, bright tone but is a Muff all the same.

    Two quick questions – I have version 2. can I still put effects in a loop inside the pedal? How would I do that? I’ve been using my ElecLady and my Alter Ego to make up for the delay and mod not runnign at the same time.

    Also, where in the chain should I put this? After compression or after overdrives? Thanks for any reply. Love your site Bjorn!

    • Bjorn says:

      I don’t think you can assign other effects anymore. Check out their site for details. I’d place the Dark Side after compressors and maybe add a stand alone delay, so you’ll be able to use the modulation side of the pedal.

  37. Rob Simmons says:

    Just picked this up and it is a great pedal, would not have heard about this except through you. Hey got a question. What is the song that opens a lot of your videos? I have tried to Shazam it and it won’t figure it out. I would like to get it if it is available.

  38. J says:

    Fantastic site! FYI I was looking on Keeley’s site and noticed the Version 2 is out now:

    You spoke and we listened! Make America TRS-Free Again. Okay, we heard you, you can’t switch order on the fly during a gig. You never used the TRS cable to insert effects. You just tossed the cable aside. You all said YES when we said effect-order switch. New units have a simple push button switch to change the order! Sweetwater has the first stock available of the new units. Mike Hermans did a new video with the effect-order switcher.”

    Looks like delay can’t be used with modulation still, but this is a nice improvement in case you want to mention it in your review.

  39. Brooks from Texas says:

    It’s been a Gilmourish Christmas at my house this year. Since I was especially good this year I received a Keeley Dark Side pedal #00523. As well as a Mooer Electlady, Catalinbread Echorec, a new TC Electronic Polytune and anot Erie Ball volume pedal. I’ll be off to my local music store on Tuesday to pick up a new Voodoo labs pedal power and then the tone tweaking will begin. Merry Christmas Bjorn and everyone on Gilmourish.com

  40. Greg says:

    Hey Bjorn,

    First, let me be the next in a VERY long line to thank you for your time (reviews), and compliment you on you playing (inspiring). Well done Sir!

    As for the Keeley Dark Side, I have a question. I have read quite a few comments online regarding Keeley’s Monterey pedal regarding with its added “hiss” element. I’m equally interested in both pedals (to say the least), so would like your opinion regarding studio and/or live work with these workstation pedals. Your findings – do the effects exhibit more hiss than average?


    • Bjorn says:

      Thank you, Greg! I haven’t tried the Monterey so I can’t tell but I didn’t notice any his from the Dark Side. Obviously, when you crank the fuzz it will be noisy but all the modulations and delay were quiet.

  41. William Thompson says:

    This may not be what the pedal was ever intended for, but do you think a bass could have some fun going through this? I’m really looking for a fuzz pedal that I can mess with for bass and synths as much as guitar. Finding the right fuzz sound is important (and this fuzz sounds pretty good), but all the extras make me want to possibly pick up this one or the Monterey.

    • Bjorn says:

      Well, yes I think you will have some fun with this and a bass. You might also want to check out the EHX Bass Muff, which is based on the old green Sovtek Muff. It goes extremely well with a bass.

  42. fabio says:

    Hi Bjorn, can you give marks for each of the sounds Dark heard? Vibe, rotary, flanger, phaser delay fuzz …

    Which pedal you recommend to combine to make a complete chain? Thanks
    Fabio from Venice – Italy

    • Bjorn says:

      I think the review explains it very well. To compliment the pedal, I would go for an overdrive and perhaps a second delay, since you can’t use the delay with the modulations.

  43. Tennessee Jedi says:

    Hey Everyone
    Ive just ordered the darkside and was wondering if anyone could share their settings ?
    Great site

  44. Tom Dennis says:

    i just got the dark side and yes it is cool was wondering what all the settings were so it would be a good starting point for us just a thought

  45. Ian says:

    Hi Bjorn, thx for the great review, Recently sold a heap of gear to fund a pro level pedalboard around a Gigrig G2.
    Im going to get a Skreddy Little miss sunshine phaser, Drybell vibe or Moonvibe and a Fuzz (not sure which one yet, maybe Wampler Velvet ), and Electric Lady.
    By going down this obvious more expensive route compared to DSOTM pedal, I am assuming il end up with better Floyd tones ? Or is there something about the Keeley that I would be missing out on ? cheers Ian

    • Bjorn says:

      I think the Dark Side is a great starting point and perhaps also something you’d want in a bedroom setup or something similar. As much as I think it can hold up in a gig situation, you’ll obviously have more tone and perhaps also more accurate tones, with single pedals. It also comes down to taste. I think the Dark Side has some really nice tones but you might prefer other versions of those some tones.

      • Ian says:

        thx for the reply Bjorn, yea I decided to go individual pedals, just bought a Vibe Machine 2, and may pick up a Patriot, Vicks 73 ram or P19 yet, still deciding based on ur clips which is a great resource for us that can’t demo them personally.. cheers…and thx again

  46. Nicholas Love says:

    Based on your review and clips, I picked up a Keeley Psi Fuzz, which is a op amp/germanium muff similarly voiced to the one in the Dark Side Pedal. While it can’t do the silicon fuzz sounds that the Dark Side can, it does the high gain Muff sounds of the Dark Side pedal extremely well. Keeley seems to be able to nail the vintage vibe of classic Muffs, while at the same time having a new and fresh take on the circuit. Very harmonically rich. For anyone else that, like me, doesn’t need the modulation features of the Dark Side but would like his take on a muff, I highly recommend it. Picked it up on sale new for only $112.50 USD

  47. KEITH says:

    Hey Bjorn, are you guys in post production? No movement on Gilmourish, figure you must be VERY, VERY busy. Best of luck, eagerly awaiting for your return for my education!!; :)

    Peace, and thanks for ALL you do, KEITH

  48. macias says:

    it is possible to buy this great box ?

  49. Brian says:

    You just made my favorite solo with the chorus to Us and Them I believe in your video. Spot on as always! I had initially dismissed this pedal with the lack of separate mod/delay and late 70’s Muff as the Fuzz but I’m now thinking of getting it solely for the modulations and stick it between my TD-X and GE-7. Those 4 sounds would cost about the same in separate pedal format unless I went with Mooer/MXR stuff. Would the rotary sound fine in that position as it wouldn’t be last in chain?

    • Bjorn says:

      I think that would go very well. Although David had his rotary cabs after the whole pedal chain, in combo with the amps, a leslie pedal can easily be placed amomg the other modulation effects.

  50. Fernando Usle says:

    Hi Bjorn, excellent review!

    I’m thinking of getting this pedal, and I have the TC Electronics Flashback Pedal, other than this two (and eventually a Compressor) which other effect do you recommend me to get? So I can have a basic, but full setup of Gilmour’s tones.

    Thank you very much!


    • Bjorn says:

      Sorry for my very late reply, Fernando. You might want to get an overdrive. The Dark Side fuzz can be tweaked for some nice overdrive tones, but a dedicated overdrive, like the Boss BD2 or Fulltone OCD, will give you more authentic tones.

  51. Andreas says:

    Especially for a beginner like me, this review was very helpful and I think I will go for that box PLUS an additional delay. Does that make sense and if so, which one would you recommend to be combined with the Dark Side? Will a BOSS-DD3 do or should I look for something else? Many thx in advance for your feedback!

    • Bjorn says:

      Any delay would do I guess but in terms of value and tone, I think it’s hard to beat the TC Electronic Flashback.

      • Andreas says:

        Thank you ao much for your fast response and of course I will follow your advice. I found out that there are different types of that pedal, even a mini which would better fit to my board. Is that one comparable to the normal version?

        • Bjorn says:

          The mini has the 2290 digital preset as default and you can load tone prints into it for other sounds. The standard version, has more presets and the tone print feature.

          • Andreas says:

            So with the “Dark Sinde” before and as I am a bloody beginner, for me the Mini will be more than good enough. :-)

            Thank you again for your advice!

            I just made a donation and hope you keep up this page for a very long time!

  52. Aaron says:

    I recently bought one of these, at first I thought it was a bit of a toy, and an indulgence, but after two band rehearsals with it I love it! The Fuzz is great as are all the modulation effects, although the Flange isn’t wide enough for my liking. I really like the fx-loop port, I pump my Thorphy Muffroom CLoud and the whole set-up goes nuts!!

  53. Nice review. I got my ‘darkside’ a few weeks ago, and initially thought ‘why did i buy this’? But have since grown to love it and its part of my live rig! I think the only flaw is the flanger is a bit weak, but the fuzz is awesome as is the delay. I love the fx loop in the pedal. So you can always feed in another delay or fuzz. In fact, i love the pedal so much i i ,ediately bought the Keeley ‘loomer’, hopeful the muff stage on that is based on a Triangle not an op-amp! Cheers from Australia

  54. Ian says:

    Hi Bjorn, many thanks for another excellent review!
    When you mentioned the flanger needed some tweaking/fine tuning to try and get it to sound a bit closer to the Mistress, what were the settings you used in the clean flanger parts of your demo?

    Many thanks

  55. madcelts says:

    Hi Bjorn —

    How would you compare the fuzz on this to a Bufflo FX Evolution? I have an Evolution but not all of the other modulation stuff (I usually add that in my DAW), and I am wondering if the Dark Side makes sense for me mostly to get the modulation. Thanks! karl

    • Bjorn says:

      Two different pedals. The Evolution is closer to a Rat or Boss DS1, while the Dark Side fuzz has an unmistakable Muff character.

  56. Nick L says:

    Is the flanger as good as the Mooer Eleclady? I have one but had to have it replaced twice under warranty in about 3 months, so reliability is a concern. I also need a nice phaser, so if the Flanger and the Phaser sound great, it may be worth picking this up and having another great sounding muff to fall back on would be a nice added bonus.

    • Bjorn says:

      I’ve never had any issues with my Mooer pedals but I’ve read that people do experience problems. I think the ElecLady is no doubt the best Mistress clone on the market and much better than the current EHX models.

  57. Gera says:

    Sorry to hear about people trying to use your site as a scam.
    But let’s face it..gilmourish isn’t longer a site about Mr. Gilmour. It’s just about the pedals!
    I’ve been a fan since ” i can get a pretty much descent gilmour sounds out of my boos floor processor ”
    What about a post like ….best gilmour solos as a guitar guest…or gilmour as a producer or best gilmour songs as a bassist!
    C’on! there are 100 sites posting about the same gear but no other posting cool stuff about MR Gilmour like you used to do it!
    I hope don’t find my comment ofencive, just constructive criticism.


    • Bjorn says:

      Thanks for your comment :)

    • Brad Roller says:

      I thought the recent reviews of his solo album and concerts, gilmour in a box, and an in depth analysis of his first solo album was very much about Gilmour….?

      • KEITH says:

        I’m as usual, 100% in agreement with you Brad! Hope you’re doing well.
        Take Care, KEITH

        • Brad Roller says:

          Oh yea dude! Doing great! Hope you’re doing well too! Its nice to see another long term member still coming here. Ive been here since 2006, you were here before weren’t you?

          • KEITH says:

            Hey Brad I think that you probably got here before I did. I think I started posting about 2009 or 2010 so comparatively I’m kind of a newbie. However my sense of timing is not very clear right now so I could have been here longer than that I’m not quite sure. I’ll suffice it to say that however long it’s been it’s been a wonderful experience and a great source of learning. Also, I’ve met a lot of great folks like you!

            Peace Brad,and Thanks BjornKEITH

  58. Craig says:

    Umm… where can I buy this – I want one

  59. Phil says:

    This sounds great! Worth a try I guess :)

    Now to something kind of off-topic but the article on the matter is 7 years old now so I thought I can get away with posting it here (also my first comment here. Found out about this site a year ago. Absolutely stunning work, Bjorn!):

    So I’ve been trying to do my best in replicating the “Dogs” tone from ’75 with the Phaser and Colorsound PB.

    My setup is:
    Squier Classic Vibe Custom Tele (looks just like Dave’s ’59 Custom) :D
    Fender Mustang (set in “British Watts”(Hiwatt) mode)
    (Mooer Yellow Comp)
    EHX Soul Food
    Mooer Ninety Orange
    (TC Flashback for the solos)

    I think it sounds quite good and is the best I can do with my gear currently available. Any suggestions for settings on the Soul Food?! Got it recently and sort of cant find the sweet spot…

    Also does anyone know what the outro chords are on those live versions? Dave is playing some picking patterns there and then there is a C (or Bb I think… when you tune the guitar to D) and that one after that I just cant figure out :D Its after the long “dragged done by the stoooooooooone” No tab on the internet has it right IMO…


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Phil! Thanks for your kind words! Glad you like the site. I recommend setting the amp up first. You want a fairly hot clean tone. It should be clean but set the preamp as high as possible, without it distortion. I’m not that familiar with the Mustang but try to keep the treble moderate and boost the mid range a bit. Add the Soul Food ontop of that for a bit of bite. The Soul Food should get you in the ball park but it does have a lot more mids and compression, compared to a Powerbooster.
      The chords sequence, in E tuning, starts with the long Bb, A, F, Em, Dm, Dsus2.

  60. bluestubes says:

    Hi Bjorn , I remember when you said , wouldn’t it be great if we could buy a Gilmour box with every effect needed . Looks like its beginning with the Dark Side ! All the best Stu.

  61. Grahame Smith says:

    Great review; thank you. Would you put this pedal ‘in front of the amp’ or in the effects loop?

  62. KEITH says:

    Really cool, great, authentic sounds the delay, or mods, instead of delay and mods is disappointing, but with the TRS loops, add the Catalinbread and everything is there for Gilmour in two boxes :) playing is as usual, GREAT! Thanks for another great review, you’ve been knicking them down lately. There is a post from me for the M-1 , with some additional ranting that has been languishing for a little over a week I hope when you get a chance, that you like it. It comes from the heart, and was written because you are my friend, and despite my oersonal troubles, I always have my friends back.

    Much Love to all, KEITH

  63. Shane says:

    I have the Keeley Monterey and it’s fantastic. That said I 100% agree with you. I wish the delay and modulation were separate. It’s the only thing that kept me from buying it. Still might have to pick one up at some point though.

  64. David says:

    I fell in love with this pedal for its musical echoes and delay. This is, IMHO, a great beginning pedal for those chasing the Gilmour sound, it compliments other pedals well too, I use with a compressor and a boost and it’s just so close to the tone I was seeking. You can’t get any more of Gilmour in a box at what these units sell for.

  65. Hello Bjorn,
    Excellent article and impressive pedal!!
    You can’t have modulation effects and the delay selected at the same time.
    Did David Gilmour use modulation effects,(and overdrive and rotary),and delay at the same time,
    live or in the studio?

    • Bjorn says:

      Yes, David’s always using some delay.

      • Bjorn says:

        It’s a balanced jack for stereo (or mono). You can’t use your guitar cable but a jack often used for sound systems.

        • KEITH says:

          Just to add to your explanation Bjorn, TRS means Tip, Ring, Sleeve. Instrument cables have a tip, and a sleeve, providing a common, ( or ground), and a positive, which carriea the actual signal. On a TRS, having 3 separate poles,( or wires), does several things, it can be a common, with 2 separate positives, or channels,( like the mini jack on your phone). Or it can be used for a single channel iwith a balanced signal. A balanced signal basically sends the source signal through both wires, but with the polarity reversed. When you have duplicate signals, with opposite polarity, the peaks, and trough’s are reversed, and therefore cancel one another out. However, because the amp sees the sound source signal as one, it doesn’t cancel the source, but any noise like rf, unlike the mic, or instrument is cancelled out. Probably more technical an answer than was needed, but wanted to show Bjorn hiw much I’ve been studying tone, and noise issues because of his inpiring site. So, that’s TRS, or most of it anyway. Hope you don’t mind me expanding on your answer Bjorn :)

          Peace Y’all, KEITH

  66. Spencer Landreth says:

    Thanks Bjorn! Been waiting every day for your perspective on this one!

  67. Davethestratman says:

    A stunningly accurate review, based on my experience with it. One aspect you didn’t mention is the small footprint, which is a bonus with an already packed pedalboard! Also, no battery option may be a concern for many people. My biggest gripe though was that there are no instructions with it other than a small printed sheet that is not so easy to follow. I guess, for the money, I expected better. Still a very usable, high quality, pedal which will hold its value well.

    • Bjorn says:

      Yes, the footprint is a huge bonus. There is a small manual on their site but I think it’s pretty easy to figure out anyway.

  68. Clay Jenkins says:

    As always great review. Saw this a little while back and I was waiting on your review to pull the trigger. Rock on!

  69. Rick says:

    Very fair review as always Bjorn :)
    Had mine a few weeks now and really love the fuzz.
    A great pedal to throw in your case for a night round at friends or a jam session.
    A lot of pedal for the money.

  70. patrick crum says:

    Thanks for this Bjorn. I’ve been eying this for a while, and was hoping you’d get your hands on one to review..

  71. Alexis says:

    Hi Bjorn!

    Thanks again for this excellent review! I expected you reviewed this one sooner or later.
    As I looked at this pedal several weeks ago, my only regret about it was, just as pointed in your review, that the modulations and delay share the same circuit, so it is impossible to have both effects at the same time. Quite problematic since David Gilmour’s tone is mostly defined by his use of delays. I wish Robert Keeley to have a deeper look at his work on this pedal and maybe release an enhanced version, with separated delay and modulations circuits. Despite this point (maybe I’m a bit too demanding guitarist :D ) each of the effects are really great sounding!

    I was wondering in which order David placed his fuzz and Uni-Vibe in the signal chain? I remembered you said that, in your opinion, Univibe sounded better when placed before fuzz, and I assume that in default setting the Univibe section of the Dark Side is placed after the fuzz section. Is it correct?

    I need your final advice on a last point. I was after a Univibe pedal (can’t decide between the MJM Sixties Vibe, the Electronic Orange Moon-Vibe, or even the Effectrode Tube-Vibe) and Binson Echorec type of delay (again can’t decide between Catalinbread Echorec and the Boonar). I own a Strymon Timeline and three of the Mooer modulation pedals (flanger, phaser and chorus, great sounding pedals and great value for money), do you think that the Dark Side is a good investment or would you recommend to get dedicated effect pedals (at least in my case)? Or would you recommend the Dark Side for a scaled-down setting (like practicing or taking it for holidays) and/or budget friendly setting?

    Thanks a lot for your work and advices.


    • Bjorn says:

      Hi Alexis! As far as sources goes, David had and still has, the UniVibe after the fuzz. Personally I think phasers and UniVibes sound better before the dirt. And yes, the default mode of the modulation effects on the Dark Side, is after the fuzz, but you can swap their order with an TRS cable inserted.
      The Dark Side is well worth checking out if you want a small setup. The effects are really nice and you can also add additional pedals with the send/return. That being said, for both size and tone I’d check out the DryBell Machine Vibe. Hard to beat :) I also think that the Boonar is, in my opinion, the best Binson clone on the market.

      • KEITH says:

        In your mention of the Vibe Machine, has Zvonch sent you a V2 yet? If so, my V1 is as it was the dat it came out of the box, so I’m wondering if you can shed sime light on whether it would be worth the money, and effort to replace my V1 fir the V2, and exactly what the actual difference in the overall authenticity of the two. I’m not really in need of bells and whistles, but if there is a really noticeable differece in the authentic uni vibe sound, I may be inspired to sell my V1, and order a v2. Do you have an opinion on this issue?

        Thanks Master, Padawan Keith :)

        • Bjorn says:

          I have one on the way and will have a review up shortly :) Haven’t had the time to check it out yet.

          • KEITH says:

            Can’t wait for that review Drybell amazes me,Zvonch isn’t going to make anything but uni vibes until he has perfected what he seems to be obsessed with. I imagine it’s going to be mind blowing, then he will hopefully make another perfect pedal, perhaps a flanger? He seems to want to do nothing but modulation pedals,and sure takes his time in his pursuit of perfection!!!

            Peace Bjorn, and the Gilmourish community KEITH

      • Daniel says:

        In this video from Keeley demonstrating the insert at the 5:00 mark he says that Gilmour put his Vibe before the fuzz. Was he mistaken?

  72. Kevin Long says:

    Thank you for the review, Bjørn. Good insights and tremendous playing! So good.

  73. Jon says:

    I may have to add this to my list :) Great review/playing \m/ This and the Monterrey by Keeley look to be a lot of fun. Have you review the Strymon Mobius? Great site

  74. Dylan says:

    As soon as I first heard about this pedal, I knew a Gilmourish review was not far behind. Awesome demo as always :)

  75. Zac says:

    Just read this at the Keeley product page – “Without the plethora of information at Gilmourish, this pedal would not have been possible.”


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