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 handbuilt in the USA. Do NOT mistake them with that other pedalbuilder/modder!
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 Shove has 4 controls, volume and Gain don’t need an explanation, Shape and Tone however do. These 2 work together closely to get a lot of different tones. The pedal has true bypass switching and the build feels solid. I think the 9v DC input is not in the easiest position being just next to the input.
I have a couple of amps I test the pedals with and sometimes there are unexpected outcomes. One of my amps did not get along with the Shove although the Push and Pull sounded really good with it. The Shove into the clean channel of the amp sounded very weird, I was able to get a better tone running it into the crunch channel but being a booster isn’t the Shove’s forte. However, with the right amp, this pedal rocks hard!
Compared to the Push and Pull pedals, there’s a bit more going on here. The Shove has a lot of gain on tap and there’s also plenty of output from the Volume control. The volume control needs to be above 10:00 though then the pedal starts to breathe and spit fire. With the Gain control flat out, this is rocking hard, big fat tones but with enough clarity to sit well in a mix. Dialing back the gain, you will get a good range of tones ending in a gritty clean-ish tone. It can be dialed in to be a booster but this is more of an acquired taste.
So what about the Shape and Tone control? Well, the 1st one would suggest that it lets you dial in the wave of the distortion but I think this is only part of it. I felt it also changes the mids of the tone. Below 12:00 the distortion will be rounder, smoother sounding but also have less high mids. The range of this control is plenty. The Tone control has an equally big range, from dark to pretty bright. The combinations of these 2 controls are almost endless though! With the 4 controls of this pedal, you can get an amazing range of distortion tones.
Throwing some different guitars at it, the Shove had no problems getting good tones whether it had to deal with single coils or humbuckers. I found myself actually looking for the more whacky tones as I knew it was able to get these without a problem!
It takes a bit of time to tweak this pedal because of how interactive the controls are but the rewards are high. It’s a very musical sounding distortion that also can get you plenty of “out there” tones. It made me think outside of the box and it deserves a lot of praise, just for that!
- More info: Keeler Designs Shove - High Gain Distortion