029 | Wampler Pantheon: A Closer Look this Overdrive Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 29 of the Sonic Renegades podcast. We're exploring Renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today, we have a pedal from one of my favorite brands, Wampler Pedals, specifically the Wampler Pantheon Overdrive. It's a good one, and we can't wait to unpack it on the other side.

Hey everybody, Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you guys today, and today we are going to be talking about the Wampler Pantheon Overdrive. If you love the classic bluesbreaker circuit or the classic bluesbreaker pedal, hopefully you will enjoy this discussion. Because this is a pedal that was inspired by that circuit, and it's a fantastic one. I've had it on my board for quite some time, and we've been testing out rigorously over the last day or two as we prepped for this episode, and yeah, we're excited to unpack all the great features and benefits that you get with this fantastic stomp box.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I've gotten the chance to mess around with it this morning, and so far I'm really happy with the tones I'm getting, it's a really great, just bluesbreaker variant. I know I've owned my fair share of them and this one holds up with the best of them.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, and if you're new to the world of bluesbreakers, and maybe you don't aren't quite aware of the history behind that. Basically, if you go back a couple episodes, we actually covered the original Marshall Lewis breaker that came out in 1991. It was quickly discontinued, but it's been able to really kind of create a legacy of its own. A lot of pedals have been inspired from it, ones that stand out to me, I'm thinking of pedals like the JHS Morning Glory, the Analog Man, King Of Tone. There's also the Prince of Tone. There's the Blackbox, and the one that we're talking about today that being the Wampler Pantheon.So, I know this pedal, specifically, a lot of Brian's fans were kind of encouraging him to kind of, put his take and spin on this, and I know Brian has made it very clear and apparent across multiple interviews.

Things that you can see about him online, that he really doesn't like to build direct clones, and so if he was going to do something that was bluesbreaker inspired, he really wanted to really do his homework and do his due diligence and put his own personal spin on it, and that's a lot of the things that you're going to find in this pedal is that he did add a lot of really cool features, different toggle, switches, different clipping options to really help it stand apart from a lot of the other bluesbreaker clones that are out there. So, it's a really great pedal, very affordable. I mean, it's your typical kind of boutique price of about 199, $200 or so, and yeah, what you end up getting here kind of the headline would be just a solid bluesbreaker type of pedal with again, a lot of added bonuses and extras.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, and I think like you were saying, it's kind of loosely connected to the King Of Tone and the Prince of Tone, and if you look at the prices of those, you can get one directly from Analog Man for $250 for a King Of Tone, and $150 for Prince of Tone, but then you start getting into the resale cause there's like a two year long wait and you're paying $400 to $500 for a bluesbreaker style pedals, so when you consider all those things, and then how good this pedal is, it's a great alternative if you were looking for that kind of King Of Tone, Prince of Tone sound.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. I know I'm back in the fall of 2018, which is when this pedal actually released. Brian actually put together a really, just great video about kind of his thoughts and sort of the process that went into creating this pedal, and he kind of summarizes it kind of, as you mentioned there, Eric, that it really is just kind of a... If you had to sort of summarize the Pantheon, it's really sort of like a cross between the original bluesbreakers circuit, and the Prince of Tone with those extra bells and whistles, which is what we'll walk you guys through today.So, yeah, as you mentioned, Eric, you kind of get a really great pedal. You don't have to be put on a waiting list, and you get that classic bluesbreaker sound and tone, with some extra stuff, which is awesome.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I love the fact that Brian brought all the internal controls that you get with like a King Of Tone, Prince of Tone and just put them on the front of the pedal and making them just more accessible when you want to just change things on the fly.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, exactly. I know one of the big things that a lot of people love about this is they... He particularly took the whole presence idea and brought it to the outside. In fact, that kind of idea is, I don't know if... That was... So, I'm stopping real quick. That was one of the things that inspired me to put the presence knob on the outside for the Juno as well. I don't know if I want to go there or not. Yeah. Okay. I'm going to respond to your thing, but I'm going to leave that out. Yeah. I know a lot of people, one of their big praises about this pedal is that he actually took the whole idea of presence and actually brought it on the outside, which I know was like the Analog Man stuff. Typically, the present stuff is kind of hidden within the internals, and so it's nice to have that extra bit of control on the outside. So, yeah. It was nice to see him making those types of changes, within this or... on this pedal, which is great.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I've really enjoyed having that presence control on the outside. It makes it really easy to switch up just the high end responses, you're switching out guitars with different pickups, maybe from humbuckers to single coils. So, it just really helps to adjust for whatever guitar you're playing with.

Scott Schwertly:
Exactly. Since we're talking about the presence, not maybe this is a good time then for us to go and just jump into, yeah, really what you can expect with this pedal. They're actually a total of five knobs and two toggle switches. We'll just kind of run through those, so I'll kind of give you guys a quick highlights and then Eric, if you just want to kind of touch on each one. Basically the five knobs kind of looking in the upper left hand corner and moving along, on the upper left hand corner you've got a bass knob, right there in the middle you've got a treble knob, the presence knob that we're talking about, volume, gain, and then right between volume and gain, you've got two toggle switches, one to control the gain level and one to control the overdrive voice. And again, that whole section right there, those two toggle switches, that's really where you get kind of the extra bells and whistles, and obviously kind of true to most one foot pedals, the whole idea of bass and treble. Again, you get some additional control that well, so that way as well. We'll just kind of quickly go through these, and yeah. Just kind of give you an idea of, yeah, what they all do, even though they all kind of do sound a little self explanatory.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So, at the top there to the left, you have the bass control and then right to the right of that is the treble control, and those are both active VQ controls. There's really a lot of tone shaping possibilities with those. Then you move over to that presence snob and it's operating to my ear is somewhere to like a low pass filter. So, as you turn it to the right, it's adding, it's kind of releasing more of those highs and then it kind of filters them out as you turn it left, but all usable positions I've really enjoyed having that control on the outside, and then when you move down to the second row, you have the volume control where there's really a lot of volume on top with this. So, really usable pedal really easy if you need to get a boost tone out of it, then to the right of that, you have your gain level, and so at the bottom you have just the regular amount of gain at the top, you get just kind of like a modified amount, and then in the middle is the highest gain version, and so once again, I mean, my favorite I'm kind of a purist when it comes to bluesbreakers. So I like it all the way down, but all usable positions, and then obviously that works in conjunction with the gain control all the way to the right.

So, obviously each clipping mode gives you... each switch mode gives you kind of a different range of gain you can get, which is really helpful, if you need to have those higher gain settings, or if you need to have the lower gain settings and you just need more control. And then the last switch on there is the overdrive voice where at the bottom, it's your typical soft clipping bluesbreaker kind of setting, at the top is just a hard clipping mode, and then right there in the middle is a mix of the both. So, that's kind of where it gets just a little bit unique and kind of takes its own take on the bluesbreaker and on this whole circuit, so those are the basic controls I've really enjoyed playing it.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, no. As we were talking about this pedal earlier, I know the volume knob, I mean, there's definitely lots of headroom. So, you get a lot of that with this pedal, and it's always funny how you and I have kind of different tastes. I know when we were talking about the... our Nirvana distortion pedal, you have it on one setting, I have it on another. So, I know for me, I'm actually the opposite of you, where I [inaudible 00:09:32] typically don't have it when thinking about that overdrive voice, I think mine is typically up. So, it's just fun to see how we have different tastes. So, which is great. It was just really highlights the versatility of this pedal and just all the variety that you'll get with something like this. So, fun indeed. It's a great one to have, and as I mentioned earlier, when we started this episode, I've had this on my board for quite some time and it's held a really good position. I've had it, I've kept it, it's solid. I really do like it.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I think my only hesitation with this one was when I first like put it on the ground, I looked at all the knobs and I was super overwhelmed. I don't know what it is, I've always just been one of those guys that likes... I'm fine with a pedal that has one knob and it does one thing, but really once you like dive into the controls and you actually learn what they do, if you're okay with reading a paragraph, it's really not that bad.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, no, definitely. I think I would agree if there's one thing to criticize about it, which really it's hard to criticize this pedal. It probably would be that it is a little kind of quickly overwhelming because again, if you compare it to some of the others that are out there, like the Morning Glory, obviously a little bit more simple, even our own very own Juno, which will be coming out soon that's our take on the bluesbreaker circuit. That was one thing that we try to do as well is just, keep it simple, and again not that this thing is really overly complex because it's not, but it's more complex than some of the others that are out there.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, for sure. I mean, it's not in the territory of... I know we talked about the Chase Bliss Thermae, a few episodes back, and there's nowhere in the world of that. But, yeah. So when, I mean, if you really just sit down with it for even five minutes, it's not hard to figure out. But at first glance, it can seem a little overwhelming.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, yeah. No, that's a good sediment for sure. Particularly for new guitar players and all that, and you know, I actually, I didn't mention this earlier, but I actually have a warm fuzzy towards this pedal. Because, I actually really started to get into pedals not too long ago actually, and my wife actually got me this pedal for Father's Day and it was kind of like my baptism into the world of guitar pedals, and I was hooked. So, I will always keep this pedal. It just has a... I don't know, a warm place in my heart. So, again, it just kind of opened up the whole world of guitar pedals for me. So, I will always love it for that basic fact. So, yeah, it's a fun one. Awesome. Well, that's what we wanted to cover as far as kind of the specs and details about the Pantheon. So, what we're going to do now is we're going to plug it in and actually demo it for you guys and let you guys actually hear what it sounds like, and we're going to try something new. We did this in the last episode, we're going to, kind of just experiment moving forward of kind of pairing it up with other things, Eric, I don't know if you plan to do that on this one, but, yeah. What's kind of on your mind as far as what we're going to do here for the demo.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So I'm going to play a Strat, because for some reason whenever I play Bruce Loose breaker, I want to play a Strat too. Someone played that going through the Iridium, and I forgot, I've never actually mentioned what amp I use an Iridium. So, I typically, I have like one setting in the chime setting that I kind of keep pulled up almost all the time, and so that's what I've used for this podcast since, I've been on here. So, I'll be running through the Iridium and then, maybe throw on a little bit of reverb, a little bit of delay, might stack a boost with it and see how that sounds, but we'll see.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. We're looking forward to it. So we're going to get everything connected here and yeah, we'll take this thing out for a spin.

Eric Wilson:
All right. That's the Wampler Pantheon Overdrive, a really great bluesbreaker variant. I know, I've really enjoyed having it. If I need a bluesbreaker, anytime soon, I may have to go, try and get my hands on one of these.

Scott Schwertly:
When I say, you really, I mean, at the end of day, as I mentioned at top of this episode, I love Wampler Pedals. You really can't go wrong with a Wampler pedal. I deeply admire, the stuff that Brian puts together and puts out and yeah, check him out. If it's a new brand to you probably isn't if you're listening to this podcast, but Brian's done a fantastic job with his company. He's got a great YouTube channel as well. So yeah,you really can't go wrong with a Wampler pedal. This one fits the mold of a typical Wampler product. So it's solid.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, I know. I have a few friends who have had the ego compressor on their board for years, and I know some people who have picked up the [inaudible 00:15:31] in the recent past, so he's always putting out just really good products and stuff that holds up with the best of them.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. The ego compressor is probably one of my favorite pedals. In fact, that has probably stayed on my board longer than any other pedal. So, I love the ego compressor. In fact, I think that was either episode one or episode two that we did. Actually, I think it was episode two that we did on this podcast. So yeah, again, deep admiration and appreciation for the work that Brian does. Awesome. Well, there you go guys. That's what we wanted to cover with the Wampler Pantheon Overdrive Pedal. It's a good one. Go get it, if you don't have it. Join us next time, we're actually going to be covering a Danelectro pedal. We have not actually done that, shockingly, super affordable pedals specifically we're going to be talking about the FAB Chorus pedal by them and yeah. Should be a good one. We're going to add another course, a pedal to the mix. So I think we've only covered the Walrus Julia up to this point. So, should be a good one.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I've always loved the Danelectro pedals, because they're like $30. So I mean, you kind of get what you pay for at the [casing 00:16:43] , but they're a lot of fun and they're cheap.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah, for sure. I think this one, maybe like 25 bucks, 30 bucks, like you said, so... It's a great way to kind of dip your toe in the world of pedals and get a quality sounding device. I'm not going to be as far as quality bill because of more of like the plastic enclosures, but you still get some great tons of them.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah, for sure. Well, that's all we got for this week. Have a great week and we'll see you next time.

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