I’m no stranger to Coppersound Pedals or Jack White’s Third Man Records imprint and in fact have one of Jack’s earlier limited edition collaborations in the guise of a Yellow colourway Gamechanger Audio Plasma Coil pedal. The Coppersound collaboration marks the fourth occasion Jack has engaged in such a project - the first first was the Union Tube and Transistor Bumble Buzz Fuzz (sort of Super Fuzz), next came the Mantic Flex PLL pedal collaboration, then Gamechanger obviously and Coppersound most recently. On each occasion two models were offered - a 100 or so unit limited edition run in the Yellow colourway, and a more readily available standard mostly back version. I will for sure do a follow-up article on the 4 Third Man Records pedal collaborations that have happened to date.
When the Gamechanger Plasma Coil collaboration materialised I was in the right place at the right time to secure a limited Yellow edition, while for the Triplegraph I decided very early on that I preferred the look of the black edition for my purposes. The limited Yellow edition is very iconic and eye-catching but by its nature is quiet ’intense’ and would stand out a touch too emphatically in my pedal-chain. Moreover I had a bad incident of being constantly harassed by aggressive hornets on holiday in Portugal where I made the mistake of wearing a yellow t-shirt for most of the duration! As a result Yellow isn’t necessarily my favourite colour - I don’t mind it in small doses, while the fairly significant surface area of the Triplegraph makes it somewhat rather impactful!
The project dates back to around June 2016 when Coppersound Design Director/Owner Jordan Collins decided that it would be a good idea to send Jack White a special edition version of the Telegraph Pedal in his Third Man Records own Yellow colourway. Just 45 minutes after receiving the pedal Jack phoned up Jordan with some ideas on how he would like to take the Telegraph concept forward.
The Coppersound Telegraph Stutter / Killswitch / Tap-Tempo pedal - is a modern implementation / adaptation of a straight key style J-38 telegraph key as used by the US military during WWII for sending encoded messages and morse code - I have one such shiny-black edition in my collection. Note that apparently these are not intended for floor-based use - while I know several who do - so do note that if you are heavy handed or leaden-footed even - you will do damage and void the warranty!
A very short while after Jack had taken delivery of his Telegraph - Coppersound were in attendance at the then Nashville Summer NAMM show - when they were sort of ambushed on their stand by two of Jack's Third Man colleagues - who were brandishing Jack's first concept visual of where he wanted to go with the Telegraph. Over the 4 years the scope and goals of the collaboration expanded somewhat into the final format of a 3-key pedal where the outer two were to be used for momentary or latching octave down and up, while the middle key could be used as a dry signal kill-switch or an FX Loop engage. The FX loop was a fairly late addition to the project.
Signature artist pedals can often fall into the trap of being overly specific to the needs of just the one artist - which you could argue is probably the case for the original Third Man Records collaboration with Union Tube & Transistor - which led to the control-less Bumble Buzz Fuzz - a very distinct, thick yet more tightly focused single-voice Super Fuzz style pedal obviously hewn to Jack White's own particular specifications and requirements.
The 3-key Triplegraph has none of those sorts of issues or limitations and is a combination of very clever mechanical engineering meshed with the ultimate in modern digital octave DSP Blackfin Processor with optimised instant tracking fidelity. In Jack White's above demo you can see him stomping on 1, 2 or even all 3 of the keys together at certain points in the track. This is certainly no one-trick pony, and creative musicians should be able to find multiple smart uses for the pedal.
It doesn't really require any significant explanation as it's so intuitive and straight forward in use - I did wonder at some other combinations of toggle-switch modes for auto-latching or momentary application depending on the attack of the action. It makes sense to have the toggle switches in any case as you tend to use the kill-switch function for instance much more in staccato momentary mode, which doesn't work with how most automated latching/momentary switching occurs - but part of me thinks they could just reverse that so that short-sharp is momentary and a longer press switches to latching - i.e. the opposite of the norm. Obviously I'm just extrapolating and the pedal really doesn't need anything additional for maximum appeal.
In any case this does everything you need and would imagine it does - with ultimate speed and tracking fidelity and reliability. And Coppersound have significantly improved on their original Telegraph keys to make them a lot more robust - to really withstand a life of constant pounding. The keys have been somewhat majorly reengineered to integrate more with typical footswitches for extra durability - As Tris explains below it's some sort of ferrule / cap construction - which should ensure much more longevity and reliability. The steel used is also thicker and better reinforced so it won't buckle or bend.
I had intended to get this article out sooner - while there just wasn't any sufficiently face-on photography of the kind that I use exclusively on this site. This meant I had to composite my own editions visuals from a variety of different references - and piece it together mosaic-style in several layers. I'm very happy with my final visuals in any case but they took a while to produce!
If you were pinning your hopes on a Yellow Limited Edition version I'm sorry say that those 100 units flew out very quickly. As I mentioned in my intro though, I had already decided that I preferred the slightly more stealthy standard black edition (as immediately above) - and there are plenty of those being built and in circulation. The Yellow limited editions were priced at $450, while the standard editions are at $400. The way it works is that these pedals are initially only available from Third Man Records - but after a number of / few weeks they should filter through to Coppersound dealers - I'm still waiting on further input from Coppersound on the likely rollout and when these pedals will reach UK and Europe.
Both editions are beautifully packaged with an elegant manual / data sheet (as referenced in summary visual below) and a 130+ page commemorative book which documents the history and evolution of the collaboration and pedal design - the limited edition also comes with a certificate of authenticity which has been individually hand-signed by Jack White. $400 may seem like a relatively lofty price but when you see how much R&D went into the pedal, all the different components that go into the makeup of each of the Triplegraph keys and the highly complex pedal internals - you can really see where all that money is going - there's quite a bit of manual assembly and final calibration required here too which is of course reflected in the price and is all things considered - a fair and reasonable amount!
Being as practical as I am I don't tend to import pedals that are much over the $300/£300 mark as you get rather stung on import charges - which include several handling fees and additional VAT on the delivery cost, as well as the value of the pedal and insurance. I will certainly be acquiring a standard black edition of the Triplegraph as soon as it becomes practically available and accessible for me. Coppersound's UK dealers seem fairly few and far between as gauged by active stock. Regent Sounds whom I most associate Coppersound with in the UK - has all Coppersound pedals listed as sold out currently - so hopefully a re-stock forthcoming. The North American Guitar site seems to only stock the Gravity Bomb Boost (under Accessories), while ToneBuddy actually seems to have a few Coppersound Pedals still in stock. I would imagine a few new UK dealers would emerge in the wake of the success of the Triplegraph - such is the demand!
As mentioned above, each pedal comes beautifully packaged with a copy of the Jordan Collins-designed commemorative book which contains just as many fine details as the pedal itself. Jordan has liberally covered the pages of the book with secret morse-code messages - which of course your will want to decipher using the well-considered included Index.
That same degree of fine detail is also carried through to Jordan's packaging design - per the inset and upper image above.
Jordan's colleague Tris takes us on a journey of discovery through the book and timeline of the project - per the below video :
As is evident from both Jack's and Andy's above demos - the Triplegraph works particularly well alongside Jack's signature Gamechanger Plasma Coil - which funnily enough has octave effects modes of its own - but it's obvious that Jack prefers to wield those in a much more controlled and spontaneous fashion - courtesy of the Triplegraph. And as Jordan rightly point out the octaves on the Plasma Coil are somewhat distortion-based and highly textured, while the octaves on the Triplegraph are far cleaner and more precise.
The only slight niggle I have with the pedal is its size - which really cannot be helped as that is the minimum floorspace required to render those 3 parallel telegraph key switches. What this means for me is that when the Triplegraph is in play within my pedal-chain it takes out between 2 and 3 pedals - so I need to factor that into each usage scenario and arrange judiciously.
What you have with the Triplegraph though is an incredibly intuitive and dynamic tool which can instantly add texture and impact to your playing to spruce up a chorus or bridge. I must say I'm rather looking forward to getting my hands on one - which I should be able to squeeze into slots #2 and #3 with just the minimum of re-jigging.
Current draw is a very reasonable 250mA, while the pedal dimensions are I presume around the 1590DD enclosure size of circa 188 x 120 x 57 mm - obviously there is extra height clearance that needs to be accommodated for the raised and pivoted telegraph key elements!
Note also that there is a lifetime repairs warranty on these pedals that covers pretty much most natural eventualities including foot damage. So you get the amazing pedal, packaging, book, manual and peace of mind!
One finally piece of smartly designed collateral is Jordan's Manual with consists of a trifold heavy stock page divided intro 3 sections - Overview, Ins and Outs and Possible Key Combinations. I have compacted the first two elements into my own visual above.