Whether it’s due to shrinking pedalboard real estate, shrinking discretionary budgets, or both, stompboxes that serve more than one function never fail to pique interest. Unfortunately, a lot of these knob-, switch-, toggle-, and LED-adorned pedals look like they might require a jet pilot’s license to operate. Not so these two offerings from Radial Tonebone.
Incredibly easy to use, the Shotgun drives up to four amps at once without the hum and buzz that sometimes occur via ground loops in the signal chain. It can also be a stereo-imaging device if a stereo signal is the initial input source, allowing the user to power up to two amps on both the left and right channels.
With three of its four outputs running to a ’65 Vox AC30, a ’66 Fender Vibrolux Reverb, and a Colby dtb50, the Shotgun seemed to introduce no new noise to the signal chain, and fiddling with the Lift and 180° switches got all three amps in phase, making them louder while eliminating ground loops.
In addition, the Shotgun can be a L/R splitter with a stereo chorus. When the two outputs of a stereo pedal are sent to the Shotgun, it automatically splits the outputs into two right and two left: Input 1 is routed to Outputs 1 and 2; Input 2 goes to 3 and 4.
Like the Shotgun, the Mix-Blender is a 9-volt-powered multifunctional tool designed to open a range of tonal possibilities, serving both as a mini-mixer and an effects loop. It should prove especially useful to any guitarist gigging with multiple guitars with different outputs. With the Vox AC30, a very input-sensitive amp, an R9 reissue Les Paul with high-output pickups, and a 1963 Strat with stock pickups, the Mix-Blender achieved consistent volumes from the amp when the Strat’s Level knob was at 1 o’clock and the Les Paul’s was dialed down to about 9 o’clock.
As an effects loop controller, the Mix-Blender successfully blended appropriate levels of chorus and delay into the original dry signal. And with the Mix-Blender as an effects loop controller, the original signal never thinned out. In fact, it made it stronger by adding a layer of the wet effect to the signal path.
Easy to use, the Shotgun and Mix-Blender are solid Canadian-built pedals that expand tonal possibilities and offer multiple functions. Think of them as Swiss Army stompbooxes for your signal chain.
This article originally appeared in VG January 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.