"Clapton" style mid boost circuit from Guitar fetish (GFS Mid Booster) review
For quite some time in my life I wanted to try out onboard pre amp circuitry. I was looking for that extra kick from my guitar that some might say probably comes from a lack of good playing ability. Let me start out by telling you that I'm not an electronics wiz or an equipment junkie that knows all the technical specs of every item I have and more. I can say that I have been playing in a two and three piece cover bands, three times a week for the past five years. I have finally found a good pedal setup which works using an amp or going straight into the desk. I am using a stat with lace sensor pickups and a 40w Albian amp. I decided I wanted to try the Clapton mid boost thingy that I had seen him use in many of his live performances. When he puts it on full it really kicks ass. I searched around the internet and came up with a cheaper alternative which is sold by Guitar fetish. It sounded like just the thing I was looking for. The reason I was interested in this one was because it was cheaper and did not appear to need any major modifications to install it. So I thought! The website said all you need is a hole in your guitar and your good to go. What hole? Fits right in with the battery?
Being an impulsive person and having made many mistakes in my life, I first went to the internet to do some investigation into this device. I searched for some time but found very little information. The only real info I found was other people asking the same question. I went ahead and bought the thing. I couldn't really loose. It cost me in total R435 rand including shipping. It also arrived within 7 days. I was very impressed.
First thing I discovered was the instructional page. This consisted of an A4 page with pictures of 7 different preamp models, a shoddy quality circuit diagram and four sentences.
"Find the wire that leads to your output jack. Cut this wire. The side that leads to the jack always goes to the "out" of any circuit, the side that leads back to your pots always goes to the "in" of any circuit. We like to wrap the 9 volt battery in some foam, affix with a rubber band and install in the control cavity."
It took me 15 minutes of deep meditation to grasp the meaning of these sentences. In my opinion these instructions could have been more informative and better laid out.
OK I finally got it. Enter problem number one. The Pot shaft of the mid booster was thicker than the tone pot that it was going to replace. I first had to drill this bigger. After installing the new circuit, I tried to placed it into position. The preamp was too big to fit in. I needed to route a 1 cm deep and 3 cm long cavity to accommodate the new circuit. After that was done it all went in ok. I wasn't going to try installing the battery in the same place as it was obvious it was not going to fit with out a fight. I ran the wires through the earth hole and mounted it onto the back tremolo system cavity. I moved a spring or two and it fitted in great. I restrung the guitar and was ready to test it out.
What I'm about to say is really my own perspective and I concede that i am no master of sound. I first tested it with my amp at home. The great thing about this circuit is that it has 5 settings, with the first setting bypassing the boost circuit all together. This is the best part. I knew that if I didn't like it I could turn it off. I turned it on. I was not impressed. I was expecting more. The second stage is supposed to engage the booster but with no tonal changes. In my opinion there was a very noticeable drop in clarity and punch. A compressed sound. Maybe that is exactly what it is supposed to do? I can't imagine why. The next three stages are pretty much the same sound with varying degrees of mid boost. The final stage is the only really notice able gain boost. It is max mid with a small amount of gain. A real hum bucker sound but when you switch it off while using a distortion pedal, you realize that it wasn't actually giving you much any way. The four stages are not desernable enough from each other to be relevant. In my opinion they could have all been given a 10 percent more gain with added presence to keep clarity. This circuit as is, should only have two or three settings. When I used it live, the only thing that worked was off, almost full and on full. It is true to say that it is a mid booster and you can here the gradual mid boost in all the stages when sitting at home, but using it live however was not very use full for me. It actually just seemed to compress the sound of the guitar. In the end I can only say that this product is not for me, but I am going to give it some more time and see if it grows on me.
I have never tried the Eric Clapton booster so I can't compare them to each other.
If you have any opinions or experience on the subject then please e-mail me.