Updated: Sep 15, 2022
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King Tone is a company that synonymous with quality and whose pedals adorn the boards of a plethora of professional players. All their pedals are made with great attention to detail and are also all hand built.
Jesse Davey formed King Tone back in 1999 after the award-winning blues band he’d formed, The Hoax, broke up.
Undoubtedly one of their most famous and highly regarded pedals is the Duellist, which is Jesse’s take on a Tubescreamer and a Blues Breaker pedal in one enclosure. The modifications to the circuits made this one pedal very versatile with a huge amount of amazing tones on tap.
However, there was a lot of interest in also having the modified circuits as separate pedals, with many players mainly using the String Slinger side, as the modified TS circuit was known.
Thus was born the Soloist.
Here's the video demoing different sounds of the pedal. I start off with a quick comparison to a classic Tubescreamer circuit then move onto the different sounds using a strat. Finally there are a couple of quick clips using guitars with other pickups - humbuckers and P90s. Please like and subscribe to the channel if you have time.
This pedal comes 100% hand wired, with a beautiful laser engraved control panel, and is available in the black or red models. Mine is a black one, but I’m so tempted with a red one too. Yes, they really are that good!
The Soloist, as mentioned, is a reinvention of the classic Tubescreamer, and it really does have all the benefits of one, but adds a number of fantastic features.
First of all, the circuit just feels a little more open, which gets around one of the common complaints about a TS in that they compress the guitar signal significantly, which is not a good thing if you like to play dynamically.
However, the Soloist copes much better with this style of play.
The two main features which really raise this pedal into the stratosphere are the Glass, Stock, Edge mini switch and the Body control.
Edge and Glass add a beautiful top end to the signal which really brings out the openness of a good single coil. This combined with the Body control which brings in low mids to fill out the tone, just takes us into new echelons of excellence.
To get an idea, just think of a really fat, yet defined tone like that of Stevie Ray Vaughan in his prime. This pedal seriously captures that sound.
The pedal also has top mounted jacks – ideal for pedal board real estate, is true bypass and can be run off a standard centre negative power supply. Interestingly it can be run at 9v or 18v further increasing its tonal palette.
An amazing sounding modern take on a classic circuit, the Soloist really is as good as the hype. With people like Josh Smith calling it the best sounding overdrive for a strat, if you are a strat player, you owe it to yourself to try one.
For those of us who have humbuckers, P90s or other pickups, there are still amazing tones to be found, but it really is with single coils where this pedal shines.
Please comment below - what's your favourite TS style pedal and why?