Providence Silky Drive and Stampede DT
Price: $394 (Silky Drive); $249 (Stampede DT)
From the Land of the Rising Sun, Providence pedals have been building an audience among players in the Western Hemisphere thanks to a buzz regarding their versatility and stout construction. Indeed, two of Providence’s more popular overdrive/distortion units, the Silky Drive (SLD-1F) and Stampede DT (SDT-2), generate wide swaths of tones that most electric guitarists find useful.
At first blush, the Silky Drive is reminiscent of the classic Ibanez Tube Screamer TS9, with three potentiometers (Level, Tone, and Drive) laid out in a similar pattern. The first key difference that becomes apparent, however, is a Gain Boost button that pushes the Silky Drive from a medium overdrive sound to chunky distortion. In addition, the Silky Drive offers something called “Vitalizer,” a noiseless switching circuit that adapts to the instrument’s output, ensuring that the original signal is uncompromised. Gain Boost and Vitalizer result in a stompbox with higher fidelity and more transparent sound than a TS9, ideal for pushing the front end of a vintage amp into smooth, natural distortion.
The Stampede DT picks up where the Silky Drive leaves off. A four-knob design, it features more of a butt-shaking bottom end (think 4×12 cabinet) and a wider range of distortion, from medium overdrive to all-out, end-of-the-world fuzz. Inside, the Stampede’s up-converter circuitry creates an internal operating voltage that is higher than the output of the battery (all Providence pedals are shipped with a specially made 9-volt), resulting in a greater dynamic spectrum, less background noise, and sounds that range from gritty to explosive (but which are all very usable). While many overdrive or distortion pedals are great for lead work, they can mush out when pressed into rhythm service, muddling arpeggiated chords. This is not the case with the Silky Drive or Stampede DT, both of which retain the definition of individual notes in chord work, making them ideal for rhythm and lead.
The Silky Drive and Stampede DT also feature a double-contact grounding circuit that provides two points of contact to the pedal’s ground circuit for 1/4″ jacks. The pedals are AC adapter-compatible and come encased in heavy-duty MXR-size boxes.
This article originally appeared in VG March 2013 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.