[review] El Musico Loco Honky Dong [MFBO] - M(os)F(et)BO(ooster) (by LordRiffenstein)
El Musico Loco
El Musico Loco is a 1-man operation. Chris Bradford is a US ex-pat living in Spain. He is hand-building a small range of pedals. He builds the boards and has local people finish the boxes. I'm looking at the Honky Dong MFBO, MosFetBOoster.
The Honky Dong has a bright orange enclosure, makes it easy to spot and
easy to find would you ever misplace it. The gold lettering looks great
on the orange paint. There's only 1 control and it's called ‘stiffy’
(insert giggle here!) which obviously controls the amount of boost. I
had a quick look inside and the build quality is top notch with quality
components. You will also find the battery connection in here but you'll
want to power this pedal with a power supply as you won't be turning it
off any time soon!
The pedal in use
So, 1 control called Stiffy to set your boost level and that 's it. Plug in, step on it and off you go. I tried the pedal with a number of amps and guitars. Running it into a totally clean pedal will get you a hell of a lot of additional volume and a gritty tone that sounds cool for some stuff. It works best when running it into an amp with at least a bit of crunch happening or into an OD/Dist/Fuzz pedal. There's plenty of range to seriously kick your amp in the butt.
The Honkey Dong is NOT an overdrive pedal, it is a booster and it's for those players that like to ‘ride’ their guitar's controls to get different tones. The pedal sounds great with your guitar volume on 10 but you will miss out on a lot of other killer tones if that's all you do. With the level around noon, you already have a serious boost and thanks to the mosfet based circuit, it is a very musical boost. I tried it with single coils and humbuckers and it works just fine with both of them.
At one point, I plugged a telecaster into the Honky Dong and ran that into a Marshall plexi with a bit of crunch going. I set the Stiffy-control at about 15:00 and I started to play and did not stop playing for the next 2 hours, getting all sorts of killer tones from this simple setup. Swapping between guitars, it is clear that the Honky Dong lets the tone of your instrument come thru. It does not put its own tonal stamp on your tone, it takes your tone and makes it, well, better, fatter, bigger.
I also tried the Honky Dong as a booster for OD/Distortion pedals and some of them were unable to handle the sheer amount of output. The Honky Dong wants to be run into something dynamic and if you have a stiff amp or pedal, it's simply NOT going to play nice with it. In all other cases, you are in for a treat!
So here we are, a bright orange box with a control called ‘stiffy’ that will kick your amp/pedals into the butt in the most musical way possible. Live can be so easy at times so there's no reason to make things complicated. Plug in, step on it and rock out with this excellent booster!