I’ve variously relayed on this site how I’ve been chasing this pedal since it first appeared in very limited circulation on September 28th last year. I initially held off acquiring the pedal from the US (Third Man Records) in the expectation that the pedal might appear eventually and soon enough in European distribution, and I would save myself some money on the delivery, customs and import fees. As it turns out I’m not sure any Triplegraph pedals have arrived for sale in Europe up to this point.
I’ve been in close communication pretty much from the start with Jordan Collins, Design Director and Co-Founder of CopperSound, and he has kept me informed at all times as to what was happening with the re-stock and roll-out. At one point Andertons were supposed to be getting some small quantity through some mysterious source, and then Some Neck Guitars in Ireland, while Jordan advised me eventually that Martel Music would be the first International retailer to get some stock in - and of course I ordered said pedal from there immediately. I paid quite a lot for the shipping - £75! which though still arrived via fairly slow USPS service, and then I got stung further by customs charges. So a somewhat unnecessarily tortuous experience - but finally I have one in my hands and we will soon see if this was all worthwhile. I will of course need to re-jig my pedal chain somewhat, and have had to buy in some extra cables (long) to manage the shift - always a challenging period.
I think I will be mostly using the Triplegraph in standard deployment - with the Middle telegraph trigger set to Kill-Switch and the Octaves set to momentary for fully dynamic playback. I might latterly experiment then with something else in the loop. Of course if you want to get your full Jack White on - you really need his other signature pedals too or variants and versions thereof in your chain. With the GameChanger Plasma Coil being particularly important. As mentioned in the Jack White Signature Pedals article I obviously have the official and rarer Yellow edition of the Plasma Coil, and the black standard edition Triplegraph as pictured up top. I also have a Mantic Flex Pro, and my Toneczar Vault as a stand-in for the Union Tube & Transistor Bumble Buzz. I’m still considering whether I should get the signature simpler Third Man Records Mantic Flex edition, and chase down a Bunble Buzz Fuzz - while Alchemy Audio is now making compact clones of that - so I may prefer the Alchemy variety. It very much depends on pricing and availability, and I’m still considering the two signature pedals I don’t yet have. I’m not sure I need them, but I am something of a completist, and it would certainly be cool to have a full set! Update! So the Signature Flex has been ordered, and I’ve decided that I should really acquire the Bumble Buzz too - just need to wait for that to re-materialise on Reverb.com as there are none currently.
The above visual shows the collection status at the time of the Triplegraph arrival - where I was initially thinking that my Mantic Flex Pro and Toneczar Vault would be perfect stand-ins for those 2 signature pedals I did not have yet. In fact each offers a little more on top of what Jack White's signature pedals cover. In fact you could say that those would be enhanced and extended substitutes.
In fact the current status is that I now have 3 of the 4 rounded up - with just the Union Tube & Transistor Bumble Buzz to go. So the above visual represents the final set with one Yellow and 3 Black signature variants. I will be stalking online resources on a quest to pick up a Bumble Buzz too!
When you get this pedal, a great part of the experience is the unboxing element - as there are so many beautiful design details - like the morse code, and the packaging really is quite superb. In the box you get the beautiful commemorative book of the project, and a cool and handy fold-out instruction sheet. And what becomes immediately evident is the solidity and heft of the pedal and really the superb quality and robustness of the manufacture throughout. I have one of CopperSound's Telegraph Dual Action Pedals too (now discontinued alas) and comparing that to the Triplegraph you can see all the enhanced engineering choices made to improve on that design. In fact so enthusiastic is Jack White's stomp force that the pedal needed to be reworked no less than 3 times to produce the required level of resilience. Every aspect of this pedal exudes high quality, and its fit and finish is really quite exceptional.
Obviously a lot of internal calibration work is done on the pedal at the end of its QA cycle to ensure optimal function - and the results of all that care and attention are very clear. I've only so far taken the pedal for a spin as such twice now and it's pretty much immediately apparent that you need to absorb the spirit of Jack White to make the most of the pedal. That means you need to significantly adapt your playback technique - which I'm aware will have a slight curve to it. After just two sessions I'm really getting the knack of it.
The joy of this pedal is in its dynamic application and how you can freely stomp in combinations of those 3 telegraph triggers - just like Jack White does. In fact Jack White's enthusiastic stomps greatly extended the development period as the triggers had to be re-engineered and reinforced / made more robust in order to endure Jack White's rigorous touring impact.
There really isn't that much to this pedal beyond optionally assigning something in the FX Loop, and assigning either Latching or Momentary function to those Octave telegraph triggers. A key reason for the significant cost of the unit is just how much hand-finising, calibration and quality control happens at the end of the production cycle. In order to ensure that when the pedal gets to you, all you've got to do is stomp!
Right now the pedal is not quite in its optimal position in my chain - coming just before the Automatone Preamp MKII - sort of half-way along - it will maintain that physical position, but I'm getting in a couple more long patch cables - so that the pedal can be inserted nearer the start of my pedal-chain - that should all be sorted by the end of the month.
In its current starting position the Upper Octave tracks perfectly, while the Sub-Octave could track a little better - which should be resolved by the forthcoming insert. I already really love using mine - do any of you readers have one or are considering acquiring one? Actually turns out that the Sub-Octave is tracking pretty well too - despite its mid-way position in the chain - I'm already happy with its accuracy, and it will be better still when inserted near the start.
I have just a couple of suggestion for improvement here - I would like to see a ramp-up effect applied to the Upper Octave, and ramp-down on the Sub-Octave - selectable by another toggle switch or two. This would then replicate the DigiTech Whammy Sweep Up/Down which I so love - and would allow me to get my Tom Morello on with the Triplegraph, as well as the Jack White stuff.
So far I'm still impressed.
I thought it would be cool to end this article with a snapshot of the instruction sheet - where you can really see how simply and elegantly this pedal functions.