Going into a music store without knowing exactly what you are looking for can be dangerous to your credit card balance…at least it’s that way for me. None the less occasionally I will indulge my gear lust and wander down to my favorite guitar shop just to see if anything strikes my fancy. A couple of months ago I had a moment of such weakness. On my way home one afternoon I felt that old familiar tug, and found myself passing up my street, and heading a little farther down to road to one of the most wonderful places on earth, DaPray/Maytas Guitar Gallery. Gorgeous guitars, sweet amps, colorful accessories all beckoned. Wandering through this wicked garden I saw other players I know hanging around and talking about what was hot and what was not. That’s when one of the guys started talking about this nifty little box he had picked up. Something called the Seymour Duncan SFX-01 pickup booster. He and I have similar tastes in tone so I asked Vic (the owner) if he had one. Luck was to be with me that day as he did have one left in stock! “Great,” I said. “I’ll take it.” Okay, I know what you are thinking. Yes, it was an impulse buy, fueled by my chronic case of G.A.S. (Gear Acquisition Syndrome), but this story of lust and desire has a happy ending. I promise!
The controls are simple. There is a bypass switch for turning it off and on, big “chicken head” knob (big enough to adjust with the toe of your shoe in mid riff) for boosting your instrument signal from 6db to 25 db, and a 3 position rocker (Resonance) switch that modifies your instrument’s tone. This feature is designed to make guitar with a single coil pick up sound more like a humbucker. The SFX-01 works with either a 9 volt battery or power supply.
This is a straight boost pedal. It is fairly transparent. I’ve been playing with this thing for a couple of months now and for a pedal with essentially only two controls it has several very useful applications. It works very well at beefing up your single coil pickup. You can go from Telecaster thin to EMG active thick with the click of the switch. You can also use it to push your overdrive pedal or overdrive channel on your amp from crunch to singing lead. It also works well as a volume boost when placed after distortion. You can put it last in your effects loop to boost volume as well. If you are using an amp with a tube output section you can get more output tube compression and overdrive this way.
I am currently using the SFX-01 as a lead boost in conjunction with my primary over drive pedal. With my PRS or Tele I can get a very nice volume and gain boost when I want to step out for a solo. I also use it to push the front of my Dr Z. This gives me more sustain and compression for clean lead.
With my non master volume amps the SFX-1 can really hammer the preamp without adding the tone coloration that you get with traditional overdrive devices. Using this pedal with my Marshall rig, elicits rave compliments about my tone.
For my purposes I haven’t really found much use for the “Resonance” switch. I am usually not interested in trying to my make guitars sound like different guitars. None the less it does live up to its claim of making your single coil sound like a humbucker. It really fattens up the bridge position pick-up on my Tele. It’s also good for triggering controlled feedback.
If you are into stomp boxes this is a must have. This is the most fun I have had for $60 and some change in a long time!
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