I'm not exaggerating when I say that this pedal runs the race with the rest of them. If you like the sounds of the Tubescreamer, Morning Glory, Klon, and more, you will love the versatility you can get with Scepter Pedals' El Rey Overdrive.
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So through some mutual friends and Facebook, I stumbled across this pedal company out of La Crosse, WI called Scepter Pedals. They only had one pedal available and it was an overdrive called the El Rey. If you know me, you know I am unhealthily addicted to effects pedals. They soothe the soul.
I saw that the owner of the company and I had some mutual friends on Facebook, so I shot him a message wondering if there was ever a way I could test drive this thing to see how it played and sounded. To my surprise, Cody Gasser, the founder and owner of Scepter Pedals, responded to me quickly and was more than game for me to borrow it. We had never met up, but he went out of his way to meet me outside of the complex I play soccer at on Tuesday nights in La Crosse, gave me (a stranger) the tenth ever made El Rey overdrive to test out, and let me have it for a week. Tell me another dude that does this...(cause I want to meet him).
After a few days I got sit down with the pedal. It seems that everyone and their mother is making pedals these days, so I wasn't expecting much. I was expecting a mediocre Klon or 808 clone, but to my surprise that's not what I experienced.
Cody told me he went to school for electronic engineering (or something smart like that) and had created his own circuitry for this pedal. Impressive! Not only is the circuitry impressive, but this thing sounds killer.
Along with the four knobs on top (including a Saturate knob that makes the tone super thick), there are two switches in the bottom left corner of the enclosure - high gain and mid boost switch.
Overall, because of the massive amount of flexibility and customization through the knobs, I found that you can craft this pedal to make your overdrive transparent or to color your tone. Many pedal companies these days make overdrives that are either transparent or that intentionally color your tone, but there aren't many pedals I can think of that have the ability to do both.
PS - if you get one of these drives, just open up the back and take a look at Cody's clean, masterful soldering and cable management. My word - it's beautiful.