The circuit is based on the Anderton Tube Sound Fuzz/Way Huge Red Llama family of overdrives, which use a CD4049 IC chip to generate some big ‘n burly overdrive tones. It sounds completely different than all the Tubescreamer-alikes out there, which makes it perfect for anyone that wants to mix up their overdrive tones with fresh dirt.
I’ve owned several of these pedals in the past, and while I loved the sound they always seemed to have two main problems:
There is absolutely no clean available, especially with humbuckers. The lowest gain setting starts out dirty and gets crazier from there.
They’re too durn wooly. As you roll up the gain, the bass content turns it into a big wall of nonsense - cool at times, but not cool when you want to use it for chords and single-note stuff.
I tested out changes to the circuit for quite a while before settling on a design that put the Takezo where I wanted to hear it and adds some switching to ramp up the versatility. So, in addition to all the normal design improvements of my pedals (quality, hand-wired components, top-mount jacks, etc.) the Takezo features:
Reduced Wooliness: I’ve lowered the bass content of the pedal to a more reasonable level. Make no mistake, this thing is still a big ball of fury, but now the low end isn’t as overpowering as the stock circuits.
Lower Gain: I’ve dropped the gain floor to almost nil, so you can actually get some clean and light OD tones as well as the full-on melee.
The Musashi Switch: As anyone who owns one of my Ennio Trilogy Editions will attest, I love to switch things up! Since the original versions of this circuit had such huge changes across the Gain knob, I’ve added a two-way toggle that essentially splits the gain range in half. To the right, you’re getting the full-on Takezo fury. Flip the Musashi switch “inward”, and you add a level of refinement and control of lower gain ranges not available on any other pedal.
On the name and graphics: The pedal is named after the legendary swordsman, Miyamoto Musashi, who is not only the foundation for the “wandering ronin” icon that we find so inexplicably cool, but also wrote “The Book of Five Rings” and is considered the archetype of the renaissance samurai who transitioned from warrior to the class off artists, scholars and leaders they later became.
In his younger days, though, he was originally known as Shinmen Takezo - a raw, impetuous bastard that strength and skill formed the bedrock of the warrior he would later become - and since raw and raucous are the words I’d use to define the general tone of this grasscutter, that’s the name it has been given!
Price is $100 plus shipping on this beastie. Insured shipping is usually around $10 to the continental US, and international customers are always welcome!