Already road-proven overdrive stompboxes, the Wampler Tumnus and Paisley Drive have received a makeover for 2018. But, is there is anything new to gain?
The original Tumnus was intended as a Klon-type “transparent overdrive” pedal, but at a manageable price (a ’90s Klon Centaur can set you back $2,000). The new Tumnus Deluxe adds a broader tonal palette with three-band EQ section and a Normal/Hot switch to take signal from a cleaner boost to serious scorch. Another factor is that while the Treble control is passive, Bass and Mid are active, offering greater range. Lastly, the box has a new button on the side, offering the original buffered bypass (to maintain signal over long cable runs) or a true-bypass option to completely remove the pedal from the path.
The heart of this pedal is that it reacts with your amp and playing style to create a more-nuanced, dynamic overdrive, with ample clarity and headroom. Setting it initially to mimic an amp’s natural tone provides a base to create new dirt flavors. With just simple adjustments and the Gain down (with switch on Normal), it was easy to find big, clean boosts that accentuated the tone without coloring it. Kicking it up a notch with the Level maxed out and the Gain off, the Tumnus Deluxe delivered a fiery overdrive punch, ready for any hard-rock riffing you can think of. It was surprising how much gain this Wampler yielded without much effort.
This is entirely before getting to the really dirty stuff, increasing gain for hairier overdrive tones and for incendiary guitar licks. Next, pop the center switch to Hot and listen to the Tumnus Deluxe conjure up some perfectly metal-ish sounds. One of the best finds was Bass and Mid all the way up and Treble backed down, generating a cocked-wah texture that would make Michael Schenker smile.
Also newly updated, the Paisley Drive Deluxe combines Wampler’s Paisley Drive (co-created with Brad Paisley) with the company’s discontinued Underdog overdrive. It’s not unusual to find two pedals in one chassis these days, but this box lets you mix and match each circuit with complete independence. You can set it up as regular stompbox on your pedalboard, or just as easily, wired it into effects switching systems. More than that, you can send signal to Channel 1 first and then Channel 2 – or switch that order. That’s serious flexibility.
Channel 1 is the Paisley Drive, a gain machine that’ll go from light overdrive to fully saturated heavy rock. There’s a three-band EQ, as well as Level and Gain, while on the side of the unit, look for a Fat button to alter the midrange and add a small boost. Channel 2 is essentially the Wampler Underdog overdrive and, just on its own, it’s already a feisty crunch box, with more of an emphasis on classic overdrive sounds. Also look for the Voicing button, which is its own unique tone-mod tweak.
Both boxes offer a soup-to-nuts array of overdrive and EQ textures, from just the barest hint of gain to full-on saturated fury. The Wampler Tumnus Deluxe and Paisley Drive Deluxe are a fine pedals that will kick any pedalboard into blissful overdrive. – Pete Prown
This article originally appeared in VG’s June 2018 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.