What can we say about Danelectro? Let’s put it this way, if you don’t know this company, you shouldn’t be reading this review! ;-)
The CoolCat series of pedals was released many moons ago and had some very interesting pedals. The look isn’t for everybody but I like this old-school fifties look and feel.
Like it says on the box, this is a vibe pedal. Amazing wobbly tones can be had from it. It is different than most vibe pedals and I think it is a simulation of an actual vibe, there is no lightbulb inside it as fas as I know. Speed and intensity controls are typical for vibe pedals, the mix control certainly isn't and this is what I really like about this pedal. Great work Danelectro!!
Let me start with the one thing that is sort of annoying. When you switch it on, it actually takes a bit of time before it actually is on. This does not bother me because I have it in a looper so it's always on, I just switch on/off the loop. But it could be a problem for you, so time your switching wise!
Setting this one up is easy, set your speed and intensity with the mix all the way up. BTW, I think that unlike trems and delays, the speed on a vibe should NEVER exactly match the tempo of the song. When you have the speed and intensity dialed in, dial back the mix control a bit. You will notice that the wobble won't stand out as much so turn the intensity up a notch. Why would you do this? Well, it will make the vibe work better in the mix. A lot of people like dark sounding vibes because they sound great when playing alone but when you are playing with a band, the wobble might get lost in the mix. The mix control allows you to dial back some dry tone and turn up the intensity which lets your vibe just work better. The vibe sounds fantastic, in fact, it replaced one from a well-known boutique builder because it just sounds so good in the mix. I'm not using it all the time obviously but when I do, it's hard to stop using it. I can get a great vintage vibe tone out of it, think Hendrix, Trower but you can easily get a more phaser-like, more modern tone from it. Thanks to the mix control, I also find that the vibe works really well with humbuckers without getting to muddy. The mix control gives you clarity and that's what you need, clarity and fat tone!
I know that it is far from being vintage correct and some of the pedal snobs won't even look at it but bottom-line is the sound and that is pretty darn fantastic. I use it in my rack so I don’t stomp on it but the build quality is good, it feels solid. The tones though is most important and it has never let me down. It even impressed some real vibe-lovers into thinking it was some sort of ‘the real deal’. It doesn’t get any more real than this!
- More info: Danelectro Cool Cat CV-1 Vibe