[review] Keeler Designs Push - Extremely Dynamic Overdrive (by LordRiffenstein)

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

Keeler Design

Well, there isn’t much I can tell you about Keeler Design. I had never heard of them before getting their pedals for testing. Their range has ODs, distortion, fuzz and a wah pedal. The drive pedals share their look and have a nice sparkle finish. They are handbuild in the USA. Do NOT mistake them with that other pedalbuilder/modder!

Push

Looking at the design and look of these pedals, 1 word immediately pops into my head: “simple”. Simple in a good way though! Clear looks, clear layout, simple name. The pedal has 3 controls and is pretty straight forward. The treble control has a pretty big range so it works really well to dial the pedal in for your amp or guitar. The pedal has true bypass switching and the build feels solid. I really dig the sparkle finish. I felt the 9v DC input is not in the easiest position being just next to the input.

The pedal in use

An overdrive pedal that only has a treble control as a tone-shaping option can be a real double-edged sword. If the overall tone of the pedal is right for you, the treble control is killer to get things right and tweak it to suite your amps and guitars. If you aren’t “feeling” the tone, then the treble control isn’t going to save this pedal for you. That being said, let’s check out what this pedal can do.

There’s a good amount of gain on tap, enough to get you into classic rock, old-school hard rock with humbuckers. The pedal cleans up very nicely, even with the gain control in the higher regions. It is very dynamic, response to picking is really good and a lot of fun to play. The Volume control can get you a serious boost, there’s a lot of volume available. Unity gain for my tests was somewhere around 11:00 so there’s a lot more to get. With the gain dialed back, the Push works equally well as a booster. The Treble control works really well here to get some extra bite.

The overall tone of the pedal is very nicely balanced. I found the pedal to work well with a Telecaster or a Les Paul. It allows the guitar’s tone to come thru, the low end is tight, the mid range has a nice crispiness and the highs are not harsh. Keeler suggests to start with the Treble control all the way down and turn it up to its sweet spot. Using the Push as an overdrive, I usually had the Treble in the 11:00-12:00 range. Using it as a booster, it all depends on how you set it up. More volume and less gain had me dial back the treble a bit. Adding more gain to the pushed output, the Treble can add some clarity back that you loose from the added compression.

One of the highlights for me was putting the Push in front of my Marshall set up with a touch of crunch and using my ES335. I had gain around 12:00 and the output around 2:00 with the treble to taste. The versatile ES335 got me anything from a clean with a hint of breakup over big crunch tones to a very musical feedback. A LOT of fun!!!

As a final test, I stacked the Push with its fellow Keeler Pedal, the Pull. As you would expect, this sounded really good. With the Push set for a nice crunch, you can kick it into a big fat lead tone with the Pull, great great combination!

Like the Pull, the Keeler Design Push is a fairly straightforward pedal but there are a lot of great tones to be found in this neat package. The tone is very balanced, it works well with pretty much any guitar or amp. Don’t let the treble control put you off, the tone of the pedal is great and you can fine tune it with the treble control. Good stuff!

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