North Effects The Scrambler



The History

The originals, first issued in 1969, were not a commercial success and withdrawn with only a relatively small number of units being sold.

Fast forward 35 odd years, and the world was ready for it's somewhat vicious ripping tones. Originals were scarce, so the prices shot up accordingly. Ampeg responded by reissuing a faithful reproduction in 2005, again in a limited production run with the result that these are now getting quite pricey. So unless you're a celeb pedal junkie like The Edge (who owns an original, but don't hold that against it), what are you to do?

The Clone

Built from the original factory schematic (with a few substitutions that remain IMO faithful to the original's tone), this pedal offers that face-melting sound at an affordable price. The best quality materials have been used throughout (all hand-wired, with Neutrik jacks, Alpha pots, heavy duty die-cast housing). Like the originals there's no tacky LEDs (you'll know when this is on) and no 9V adapter (as a wise man once said of fuzz pedals - "batteries are better"), unlike the originals it does feature true bypass switching so it won't sap your tone when not engaged. Fresh Zinc-Carbon battery included, which should last a very long time. Rather than inflict another poor attempt at graphic design onto the pedal world (and keep the price down), I've decided to keep the look simple (yet strangely imposing) by leaving it in its bare aluminium state. Comes supplied with an instruction manual with tips on how to get the best out of the effect.

The Sound

There aren't too many recorded examples around: a couple of old Cactus albums from the early 70s, Jefferson Airplane on the album "Volunteers", and more recently, The Edge on the track "Kite". Feel free to contact me if you know any more. I have recorded a couple of short demonstrations (recorded on a mid-70s Fender Music Master into a Line 6 Backtrack). The pedal has two controls, "Blend" which controls the mix of dry and effected signal, and "Texture" which controls the amount of upper octave in the signal. With the Texture dialed all the way back the Scrambler calms down to produce some very nice overdriven sounds retaining chord definition well.

It's a surprisingly versatile little box that adds a healthy dose of chaos to your pedal board. I've had much fun moving it around my effects chain seeing how it reacts against the rest of my gear.

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Where to find one?

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