[review] Mad Professor Golden Cello (by LordRiffenstein)
The guys from Mad Professor first came into the scene with a highly regarded amp. After a few years they released their own line of pedals. The pedals were designed by Bjorn Juhl also known from the BJFE brand. Brand new in their line is this Golden Cello, build exclusively for Guitar Center/Musician's Friend. Check out the other pedals they make, there are some real gems!
The Golden Cello originated from a request from Barry Mitchell, Director of Merchandise - Guitar Accessories at Guitar Center. He wanted an overdrive and delay in 1 pedal to get a singing fat lead tone. The drive-side has 3 controls and all are self-explanatory. Drive, Volume and Tone are at your disposal to tweak the sound. With the Drive low, the pedal has a more overdrive-like character but once you reach 11:00 you are in the fuzz world. The tone control doesn't have a huge range but I found it more than useful to tweak the tone just that extra bit. There's plenty of volume to get some additional boost. The delay-side has 4 trimmers on the inside and a Level control on the outside. 2 trimmers set the delay time, 1 sets the amount of repeats and the last one sets the amount of level going into the delay circuit. The trimmers are set-and-forget obviously.
The pedal in use
Let's not beat around the bush, this pedal was designed to get that elusive violin-tone by Eric Johnson. You get a thick sounding overdrive, combined with an analog sounding delay. I tested this pedal using a telecaster and an ES335 and had a lot of fun. At 1st I thought the drive sounded to dark and the tone control didn't have enough of range to balance things out. But it was user error! I setup my old Marshall to have a bit of breakup and then ran the drive around 12:00, volume for a bit of boost and the tone control to taste. I had the delay level around 11:00 and that sounded just right to me. That big fat singing sustaining tone is definitely in there, I had a lot of fun playing around with this setting. Swapping between single coils and humbuckers was no problem and I only needed to slightly adjust the tone control.
The delay has a real analog character and you can hear the repeats deteriorate, this is obviously a big part of THAT tone. The overdrive felt really nice to play and is touch responsive, riding the controls of the guitar can give you all sorts of cool sounds. When you turn down the delay level control, you basically have a really good sounding overdrive/fuzz pedal. If they released this as a standalone dirt pedal, it would be a success and you can use it like that. The added delay part is icing on the cake though. I didn't play around much with the internal controls but they are great to experiment with and maybe dial in a slightly shorter delay.
Although the pedal was designed to be sort of a one-trick-pony, the outcome definitely exceeds that. I think the dirt-side is already well worth the price and the combination with the delay is just excellent. It WOULD have been cool to have the delay on an addition on/off switch but that would have meant the need for a bigger enclosure. You can control the delay level with your toe or the tip of your shoe though. Hey Mad Professor, how about making these available in Europe?? I would buy one!