[review] CMATMODS Brownie (by LordRiffenstein)

LordRiffenstein, all-around tone freak and purveyor of great tone.


CMATMODS originally started modding pedals and took it a step further building his own line of pedals. Some of the pedals are built following well known circuits, others are his own development. With a big range of overdrive, distortion, modulation and compression there’s something for everybody.


The Brownie is an all analog pedal based on the BSIAB circuit (officially licensed). It’s built to mimic a Marshall amp at full tilt so it has a lot of gain and sustain. You get the typical Level, Gain and Tone controls. Pedal can be run from a 9v battery or with a power supply. Oh, there’s a VERY bright blue LED. The circuit uses a JFET to generate the gain and you can switch this out for different types getting more or less gain. I tried the pedal with a JFET that should give it less gain but the difference wasn’t really that big, still, it is a nice feature!

The pedal in use

I tried this pedal as I was looking for a good fat rock tone. I was using an Analogman modded SD9 (my favorite distortion) but wanted something different. I ran it into my old Marshall set for a clean tone.
Dialing in the pedal wasn’t really hard, there’s plenty of gain and level. I was mostly interested to use it for a big rock sound so I went for plenty of gain. Playing around with several settings, I noticed that the tone control does not have a huge range and that’s one of my culprits with this pedal. I found the pedal either being too harsh or too compressed sounding. I could dial out the harshness but then it got lost in the mix, turning up the pedal made it compress more and that ruined the feel for me. I was expecting this pedal to work really well with my amp but for some reason it just didn’t. I was able to dial in some good rock sounds but only by turning the volume way up and then it was overpowering the clean sound so this rendered it useless in a band situation. Strangely enough, I preferred the pedal with single coils instead of humbuckers and actually got the best tone from it with my telecaster.

This is a high gain pedal so it is not really suited as a boost but you can pull it off, there’s enough output to get a good boost even if the gain is low. This worked well but it’s not the pedal’s forte and there are better pedals in the CMATMODS range if you want a boost.

I got this pedal in a trade and it also became a victim of the revolving pedal-door at my house. The Brownie seems to be picky about the amp you run it into and your guitar. I found it sounded better with single coils than with humbuckers which is a surprise. I like the clips and videos a lot but somehow, it did not work out for me.

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