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Stephen Pettyjohn Explores the outer reaches of Headroom and Compression with his Elegant New Chime-derived Core Edge Circuit

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The latest Pettyjohn Electronics Pedal is the Core Edge Low Gain Overdrive (Gørva-enclosured). This pedal owes its pedigree to Pettyjohn’s best-selling Chime Overdrive - which per the visual can really be considered the sort of Senior version of that circuit.

 

Obviously we have slightly different controls, and at default the Chime is loaded with Yellow LEDs - which are designed for relatively quick-onset breakup. While the default Edge comes with Blue LEDs designed for maximum low gain prowess, and ultimate headroom. You can select for your Edge to have either Orange or original Chime Yellow LED’s in place of the Blue - which get progressively quicker on the breakup - thus descending in Headroom - it really depends on what you’re after here.

 

As mentioned in the title, the Edge pedal is also an exploration into the fairly subtle onset of compression and how that colours and texturizes the tone - and where you will get slightly different results with the different types of LEDs. I think it would have been cool here to have had socketed slots on the board for easy switching of LEDs, or even better still - some sort of 3-way switch with all options onboard. I would have 3 LEDs visible then - so you can see the bloom of the gain for each option. The cool thing about the circuit is that you get dynamic feedback on what is happening via one of the actual active LEDs appearing at the centre of the pedal. Possibly these enhanced extrapolations are something for the future.

 

The Chime has really clever controls - Level, Variable Clipping Diodes : Ge>LED, Drive, Tilt EQ, High Pass Filter - 700Hz-30kHz, and Boost. While the Edge has more straight-forward Level, Drive, Lows and Highs controls. I acquired my Chime with the Max Harmonics Clipping Mod - meaning slightly higher quality NOS Telefunken AA132 Germanium Diodes for more Harmonic Texture. The Edge I acquired in its standard configuration - Blue LEDs edition for maximum contrast to the original Chime variant. My reasoning is that the enhanced clipping and tone controls on the Chime plus the Boost etc. can give me the best of the breakup editions, while the Blue Edge is the best of the Headroom options. I will be running both in my chain for an extended period and here follow my own initial explorations and comparisons :


Edge vs Chime

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So first up is the newest Core Edge Overdrive - and what becomes immediately evident is that lovely soft and elegant bloom - with just the right amount of compression to make things texturally interesting - feels fantastic under the fingers! The 'Edge' moniker is somewhat ironic here for the Blue LEDs - as the default tone and timbre is gentle, elegant and with a softly blooming breakup. I can really see myself doing those elegant Mark Knopfler style riffs here which ebb and bloom in interesting ways. I set this up very differently to my also new Chime. Level is around 2 or 3 o'c, Drive is around midway, and Lows and Highs adjusted to taste. If I dial up the drive I loose some of that delicate softness I so like, and the notes get more pronounced. In fact I achieve perfect balance for my preferences with Level at 3 o'c, and the Drive, Lows and Highs all pretty much at around 12:30 o'clock.

 

The intention is to use the Chime as my Brian May style pedal of choice (essentially replacing my Menatone TBIAC and Bearfoot FX Emerald Green Distortion Machine on the rotation) - which really means cranking the Boost, while you loose some of the harmonics if you dial up the Drive too much. So for the Chime I have level at around 2 o'c, Clip all the way Germanium Diodes, Drive and Tilt EQ at around 11 o'c, and HPF and Boost fully maxed out CW. This delivers a fantastic Top Boosted Vox tone - which I can then further accentuate with the Boost on my JA Bloom. In fact also works really well with both channels of the ThorpyFX Heavy Water, and the Chime and Edge stack beautifully too with my settings!

 

The Custom Mod Germanium Diodes (NOS Telefunken AA132) evidently make all the difference as you truly get maximum harmonic texture with them deployed - and it sounds standout glorious. If you want to soften the tone and timbre somewhat you shift the Mini Clip Dial towards LED - which also adds further saturation. Most players seem to use this pedal more for its Low-to-Mid gain range, while I will be using the Chime mostly as a more textured and Top Boosted Vox Flavour a la Brian May. The Edge is the one that will be taking up Low Gain duties - these two really are the perfect pairing for bringing out the best aspects of this circuit. I think I even prefer the Edge to the ODI - so the Edge will likely become the mainstay on slot #10, while the ODI will be its rotation partner on the same slot with fairly regular appearances too.

 

I of course still really like my Menatone TBIAC - while the Chime delivers a little more harmonic texture which is slightly to my preferences - so looks like the Chime will be a long-termer too on slot #16.

 

Do any of you have either of these - I obviously feel they are well worth it!

 

Both are currently available on the Pettyjohn Electronics Web Store, while the Default Blue LEDs Edge should start appearing at dealers within the next week or two.


Future Vision

Future Vision

I am currently engaged in the exploration of the Pettyjohn range and will be targeting at least the Iron MKII and Gold MKII in that order over the next few months. I seem to be a little overcommitted for April at the moment - so we will see how that goes.

 

In any case the Chime and Edge are my 4th and 5th Pettyjohn Pedals to date - and I also gave my eye on the discontinued Fuze - if I can get one at the right buy-in price for me! So I am gradually heading for 8 Pettyjohn's overall!

 

Once I have the full complement I may arrange the pedal-chain per the above visual for a family snapshot - although it's unlikely to remain in that exact formation for too long - you know how I like to keep things interesting!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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