Updated: Jun 2
Maybe not the best known pedal in the world, the #Tchula is well worth checking out if you are into bluesy overdrives.
Sean at #Lovepedal made the original Tchula for Josh Smith, who is a guitarist you need to listen to. An incredible player with a real sense of timing and tone, with a huge knowledge of the blues, but also able to integrate beautiful jazz lines into his licks. You can find him on Jam Track Central - #JoshSmith has got some great lessons on there.
Now, the Tchula is based on the Church of Tone (CoT) pedal, which is simplicity itself: just one bias control which, in effect, changes the gain level. The Tchula has a two stage CoT circuit. The first is fixed to Josh's favourite position, which I believe is about 11 o'clock on the original CoT, and the second is controlled by the one and only dial. However, even this dial is different in range to the original CoT and goes from the minimum to the maximum of settings used by Josh.
So, yes, this is a very specialised pedal in many ways as it's been designed to fulfil the needs of Mr Smith specifically. However, we all benefit here as the result is just gorgeous. In tone, Josh is someone worth listening to and emulating in my humble opinion.
For the demo, I used a Fender Telecaster with Bareknuckle pickups and a PRS 20th Anniversary standard with humbuckers. I went through a Two Rock Studio Pro 35, which has plenty of headroom, set pretty clean.
Plugging this pedal in is quite liberating in many ways. You aren't confronted with a plethora of dials and random switches to change clipping diodes or gain stages. You aren't going to be tweaking for hours to get the tone you want. In fact, if you're just using the first gain stage there is absolutely nothing to tweak. Just plug in and there are just great bluesy tones on tap.
With a telecaster, there is a top end sizzle to the pedal, which I love, which will cut through a mix brilliantly. With a humbucker loaded PRS, the sound is a lot more mid focussed but in a great way. Overall the impression you get is that there is nowhere to hide and your technique had better be damn good, because this pedal is all about the interaction between the player, the fingers, the technique, and the guitar. It's very revealing in a very, very good way.
With just the first gain stage engaged, we're into really touch sensitive blues tones. It cleans up superbly with a light touch or with the volume rolled back and inspires dynamic playing. With the second stage engaged too, even at minimum, we get a nice little volume boost and a tad more hair with the Two Rock. The amount of gain on tap here will depend on your amp to an extent and how you have it set. If you have a small wattage tube amp, the added volume boost of even just the first gain stage may lead to your tubes being pushed into saturation and if your amp is already overdriving, you'll notice less of a volume gain and more compression / overdrive as you add in the second gain stage.
As we adjust the bias control, we're changing the way the overdrive clips internally, and as you roll up the dial, things get pretty hot, more so with the PRS with its higher output. This is an overdrive though not a high gain distortion pedal, so don't expect anything too extreme, but it feels great - a lot like a tube amp overdriving.
I really liked this pedal for its feel. It inspires a touch sensitive approach and experimenting with the guitars volume and tone controls is very rewarding. This pedal is not a panacea, it is very specific in its purpose, and what it does, it does superlatively. I can't recommend this pedal enough.
Check it out here: