I have featured celebrated Brit abroad Jesse Davey’s The Duellist a number of times on this site, from since TPS’s Mick Taylor first showcased it. Notably it’s one of the key Blues Breaker style dual-channel pedals - sort of following on in the wake of Analog.Man’s King of Tone, and taking a not too dissimilar path to Brown Amplification’s Protein, and VS Audio’s Royal Flush.
In any case - what’s distinct about most of Jesse’s pedals is the 3-way voicing toggle which give you a rage of different textures. The Duellist also has an internal quad-dipswitch which can further enhance tone and gain structure - as we will detail separately.
The original edition had its input and output sockets on the site - but since last year, the core edition now has top-mounted jacks as such.
Over these last couple of years Jesse has split out the two Channels of The Duellist - first offering a stand-alone compact edition of the Right Side / Side A / String-Singer / Stevie Ray Vaughn Texas Tube Screamer style Overdrive.
And just recently we also have the Heavy-Hand / HeavyHand Left Side / Side B / Blues Breaker voiced Channel separated out as it’s own stand-alone compact edition too. Each of those pedals has added controls / options over The Duellist - with an extra control knob, and even second compression / voicing selector on the HeavyHand.
As a dedicated King of Tone loyalist - I always felt that The Duellist was more of nice-to-have for me - even tough it’s voiced slightly different and has different options. I am though tempted by the two compacts here with their extended range. It’s not like I necessarily need another Tube Screamer or Blues Breaker style overdrive as I have several of those varieties already. While I do recognise that these deliver something slightly different - and chances are that when I complete my current Pettyjohn focus - I will be switching over to King Tone - and exploring that range.
I only have one of Jesse’s pedals to date - the miniFUZZ Germanium - but have singled out a number of other likely candidates for me including the Silicon variety of miniFUZZ, Octaland Mini, Rise Treble Booster, 1968 Vibe - and of course the Soloist and HeavyHand pedals featured here.
Next article for King Tone will be a quick range overview - which should materialise within the next couple of weeks or so!
Here follow the individual details of the featured pedals :
Controls : Drive A, Volume A, Tone A, Voicing A : Fat/Stock/Glass, Drive B, Volume B, Tone B, Voicing B : Fat/Stock/Glass
A bona fide classic of its kind - with players typically falling in line with each of those key takes on Dual-Channel Blues Breaker inspired Overdrives. The simple switch up of jacks is actually a significant improvement, and as mentioned in the intro there is also an internal quad-dipswitch which adds further nuances to Tone and Gain Structure on each channel as follows :
For my own purposes I have always been very well satisfied with my King of Tone - and have not felt any particular pressure to acquire any of the other similar varieties - while that can of course change at any stage.
Where my thinking is currently is that I probably prefer the compact edition iterations here - and those are easier to accommodate on different slots of my rig - while otherwise The Duellist would either knock the CBA Automatone Preamp of the board, or the Decibelics Golden Royale - both of which I deem essential at the moment. So The Duellist certainly retains its nice-to-have status, and I'm more likely to go for the individual compacts now - even though a somewhat pricier proposition.
Controls : Drive, Volume, Body, Tone, Voicing - Edge/Stock/Glass
This was launched with aplomb last year and gives you independent access to The Duellists A / Right-side Overdrive - which is somewhat based on a Stevie Ray Vaughan Texas-style Tube Screamer.
The key different here is a variable Body control in place of the Fat option, and instead an Edge variety on the 3-way voicing selector. This is a fantastic smokey sounding 808 with some incredible flavours. I don't really need it, but am sorely tempted, and I will probably look to acquiring at some stage in the not too distant future.
All of Jesse's pedals have really smart but still relatively straight forward and easy to dial-in controls.
Controls : Drive, Level, Body, Tone, Voicing : Edge/Stock/Glass, Compression : Stock/Open/Comp.
And so to the most recently launched variant - this extracts the essential B / Left Side Blues Breaker Channel into its own stand-alone compact. Like on the Soloist controls have been enhanced and added to.
You have a fully variable Body control in place of the Fat voicing option - and get instead an Edge option - like on the Soloist. You also get an additional 3-way Compression level selector.
Once more I don't really need another Blues Breaker variant as I already have most of the greats in that genre - while this is certainly an intriguing alternative - that I'm highly likely to follow-up on.
As mentioned a few times here, I'm not convinced yet that I need The Duellist or will necessarily put that to good use. While I am though sorely tempted by the two stand-alone compact editions.
I will likely pick up one or both of those eventually - but am currently struggling to decide which one I should go for first! My pedal-chain preferences have largely been ironed out, and currently these would be in something of a supporting role versus principal choices.
I am also somewhat struggling on whether I should pick up the miniFUZZ Silicon and Mini Octaland first before exploring the Overdrives or whether I should rather focus on the overdrives first.
To help me decide I will be conducing a King Tone Range Review fairly soon - so stay tuned for that.
The featured pedals are usually in stock on the King Tone Webstore - while they are still built in relatively small batches and frequently go out of stock!