There are some nifty analog effects pedals coming out of São Paulo, Brazil, nowadays, and among them, Fire Custom Shop should be on your radar. Fire Custom’s small but efficient staff allows them to maintain maximum quality control over their top-notch products while offering a variety of effects pedals and accessories. It’s no fluke that heavy hitters in the celebrity guitar world have given them well-earned props. Take this pair of overdrives.
Fire Custom’s Sweet Chilli Overdrive delivers smooth and clean boost, or P.O.’d overdrive. With its Volume knob, Chilli knob (a.k.a. drive), and Hi and Lo knobs for EQ and added gain and volume, it’s a sensitive pedal that requires creative adjustments to fully exploit its superpowers. Running through a clean blackface combo or a British half-stack, the Sweet Chilli can yield warm mellifluous tones or searing harmonics. With humbuckers or single-coils, the EQ knobs are the key to dialing in more sizzle on the top-end or beefy lows, and it accepts a 9- or 18-volt adapter. Punchy clean boost, chunky rhythm sounds, or spicy lead tones – the Sweet Chilli was able to dish out southwestern flavors that will perform splendidly in a ZZ Top environment.
The Carpe Diem is Fire Custom’s crowning achievement: a two-sided pedal reminiscent of a Marshall plexi. Like a plexi, it enables the user to blend the high treble and normal channels with tone knobs instead of with an instrument cable. The Carpe Diem’s toggle allows you to choose between Classic (Marshall JTM45) and Hot Rod (think JCM800 on steroids). The cascading Bass gain knob and a Treble gain knob work in tandem to sculpt delicious crunch. Master Presence and Master volume controls work the top-end frequency and the output level. One switch turns the pedal on while a second adds gain and a bump to the volume level. Sporting serious bottom-end, the Carpe Diem is dynamic, compression-free, and full of plexi attitude.
Fire Custom Shop’s stated mission is to build quality true-bypass pedals that inspire players and withstand arduous touring. This has resulted in some seductive effects that will push an amp without sacrificing its inherent personality. Best of all they clean up beautifully with a guitar’s Volume control. From light overdrive to nosebleed intensity, the Sweet Chilli and Carpe Diem will allow you to express a multitude of emotions using your guitar as a conduit.
This article originally appeared in VG August 2017 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.