SAVE 15% ON OUR ANVIL COMPRESSOR PEDAL. USE THE CODE: HAMMER15

083 | Analog Man King of Tone: A Closer Look at this King of Overdrives | Transcript

Transcript

Back to Episode Homepage

Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to episode 83 of the Sonic Renegades Podcast. We're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. Up for today's discussion, we have an exciting pedal. This is the King of Tone by Analog Man. I'm shocked that it's actually taken this long to cover it, but I'm glad it's on our agenda for today's discussion and we're looking forward to covering it on the other side.

Hey, everybody. It's Scott Schwertly of Siren Pedals with you today, and I'm excited because today we actually have a new co-host on the Sonic Renegades Podcast. For those who have been following this podcast for quite some time, know that in our last episode, that was Eric's last one and he officially had his sign-off. So, I'm glad to be welcoming somebody else new to the podcast today. I've got my friend Andrew King, who's going to be joining us and super pumped to have him as a part of this show.

Andrew King:
Thanks for having me, Scott. Honored you asked me to do it and yeah. Pumped to talk about the King of Tone.

Scott Schwertly:
Awesome. Me too. I know this is an exciting pedal. And I guess before we jump into the details of this stomp box, I guess just for the folks out there, do you want to just give a quick intro on kind of who you are and kind of... Yeah. Just sort of your contributions to the music space and guitar space.

Andrew King:
Who am I? Yeah, I ask myself that question all the time, but man, I'm from Philadelphia originally. I've been in town here for about six and a half years. I'm a producer, I'm a session musician. I own a Vibe King Studio in East Nashville, Tennessee. And man, I'm just taking it day by day. I kind of got my start in Nashville as a touring guitarist and eventually got busy enough producing and doing sessions and that's kind of my thing now.

Scott Schwertly:
Well, super pumped to have you on the show. And for those that not only follow the Sonic Renegades Podcast, but may be if you're admirer or a fan of Siren Pedals, if you go on our YouTube channel and you see a lot of the... If you watch a lot of our sort of pedal demos, that's Andrew out there doing his thing. So, I appreciate all your contributions, not only for Siren Pedals, but looking forward to your contributions to this podcast as well. So, excited to have you on board. All right. Well, let's go and just jump into. I know Andrew, you're a huge fan of this pedal. Now, you've had it on your board for a while.

Andrew King:
Yeah.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. What are your sort of your just initial thoughts about it?

Andrew King:
Yeah. I mean, I have... Here in the studio, I have basically a few boards that are kind of, for lack of a better term, dolly-chain together. One is kind of my core session board that has a King of Tone on it. My other board is what used to be a fly board. I don't do many [inaudible 00:02:52] anymore, but when I did, that also has a King of Tone on it. So, needless to say, I don't really play without this thing. To me, it's top of the line, transparent, overdrive, super easy to use, no noise. It's awesome.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it's a pretty amazing pedal. For those that are familiar with the King of Tone or have a little bit of familiarity or no knowledge whatsoever, right now as we're recording this episode, there's about a three year waiting list for one of these things and... A good reason why, obviously, is because all of the things you just described. It's a great pedal. It does a lot. No, it's not a magical device. It's not going to make you this amazing guitar player, but I mean, if you're looking for something versatile, something solid, it definitely fits the bill on that one.

Andrew King:
Yeah. I mean, once I first became [inaudible 00:03:50] back in maybe 2015-ish, I obviously checked out, "How do I get one of these?" And then there was the wait-list, of course. And then you get on... I don't even know if reverb was around back then, but you get on reverb or wherever you get on Craigslist to try and find one and you see the used market and it's like [inaudible 00:04:08]. And then from there I just kind of stayed patient and searched on Craigslist. And eventually, man, I met a guy and he was like, "Come meet me and I'll do it for 300 bucks." And I was like... It's still a ton of money, but for the King of Tone market, it worked for me. So, yeah, man. They're hard to come by.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, that's actually a steal because I know right now a brand new... If you're willing to wait the two to three years, I think they run for about 265. But yeah. You mentioned the reverb market. I've seen prices upwards of 500, 750. It's ridiculous for those that are probably a little bit more impatient.

Andrew King:
Yeah. That's it. It's like, you either wait or you pay. And it's like at this point in the game, in this pedals development, there's not really an alternative. I think I got pretty lucky and I think always if you're willing to wait, there's someone out there that's willing to sell, but it's a test in patience.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, for sure. Yeah. I'm one of those folks right now that does not actually own one of these. So, it's definitely at the top of my list and I'm probably more of the inpatient type. So, I don't know. I may be forced to spend more than what's needed, but we'll see what happens there.

Andrew King:
Usually I'm impatient too. I don't know why I was so patient with this, which I wanted so much, but it worked out, I guess.

Scott Schwertly:
No, I see. That's not a bad price point for this thing. Well, for you guys out there who are not familiar with the King of Tone or maybe even looking just to learn a little bit more about the history, this thing was actually released, I believe, in 2003. And it was created by Mike Piera of Analog Man, which is based in Bethel, Connecticut. And Mike actually got his start. He was actually making mods to Tube Screamer pedals, specifically the TS808 and started to get recognized by big acts like Scott Henderson and Kenny Wayne Shepherd, and they all wanted him to make mods on their Tube Screamers. So, that kind of evolved. And eventually he got contacted by, I believe, John Weider, I think I'm pronouncing his last name, of the Band and got commissioned to put together the King of Tone.

And I know at the time, Jim really did not like the mid-hump that he was getting from just his whole sound. And so, they actually used a Marshall Bluesbreaker as sort of the foundation behind really trying to put together something that really would preserve not only his guitar tone, but his amp tone and not really color his tone too much. And the end result was this pedal that the King of Tone based on that request from Jim. Because of Mike's early success, again, working with Scott Henderson, Kenny Wayne Shepherd on their Tube Screamer mods, this pedal then was quickly picked up by some really big acts like Brad Whitford of Aerosmith, Noel Gallagher, Gary Clark Jr., and the list goes on and on. Now, you've got this super popular pedal with this ultra long waiting list because it's good for a reason. I mean, obviously, the mods that he's made and just the entire package of this thing has turned it into quite a gem of a pedal.

Andrew King:
Yeah, man. Obviously, I'm familiar with a lot of the artists that you mentioned; Gary Clark Jr. and Kenny Wayne Shepherd and the others, but I really came into it through just a lot of the session guys here in town that I look up to. That had it on their boards, whether it was Rob McNelley or Tom Bukovac or many of the other excellent players in town that have it on their boards. And it was kind of like, man, every time they stepped on it, it was like... That sounds like they just walked over and turned their amp up, which I think is the goal of an overdrive pedal. So, it was like, "Man, I got to get my hands on one of those."

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, I've not had a chance to play one. I do run a Browne Amplification Protein, which from what I've heard is pretty similar because they're both, again, based on the Bluesbreaker circuit. Yeah. And I've had my fair share of YouTube videos and samples of this thing. So, from what I understand, it sounds amazing. I love things like the proteins. So, I'm sure I'll love the King of Tone. So, yeah. I mean, you definitely get a solid option here, by having this on your board. So, let's go ahead and talk about... I know, Andrew, since you've got a lot more intimacy with this pedal and actually have it and you've had it for a long time, walk us through some of the things that you do like about it and the things that maybe you don't like about it. Obviously, one major flaw obviously is the waiting list and the price if you're impatient, but beyond that, as far as technical stuff. Anything that sort of gets on your nerves before you talk about the positive stuff?

Andrew King:
Yes, Scott. I think you kind of hit on it. I mean, there's nothing about the pedal from a technical standpoint or from a functionality or it's too noisy. I really don't have anything bad to say about it. If there's a "flaw" associated with the pedal, it would be availability and price point. I think those are the two real flaws that I associate with the King of Tone. And then as far as the stuff I love about it, I mean... Like I mentioned earlier, I've got two of them. It's my go-to drive pedal. And really because whether I'm tracking rhythm parts or whether I'm playing lead stuff, at the end of the day, the tone that I want to come through is I wanted it to sound like the guitar and I want it to sound like the amp that I'm using.

Andrew King:
And I don't really... For the most part, I don't want to stray from that. And the King of Tone really... It maintains all of the tone that's in the guitar and in the amp. And it really just... It gives you the... It simulates what turning your amp up does. It maintains the transparency, the saturation that would be in the amp. And it gives you that in a box and the value of having it in a box is whether you're playing a live gig or whether you're in a session and you're moving fast. You don't always have time to walk over and turn your amp up. And so, I think this pedal just kind of gives you that. And to me, that's what I always want out of a drive pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it's... Like you mentioned, it's perfect for doing exactly that without coloring your tone too much. And like you said, it really just simulates turning up your amp really, really well. What about stacking? I mean, have you used it a lot for stacking or you just kind of... And I guess it's a great transition moment here to now talk about sort of the knobs and the foot switches and kind of what's all included here, but yeah. What are your two cents on stacking and where do you typically have your settings with the two different foot switches? It's got, basically, six knobs. So, three sets of knobs. It's really like two Bluesbreakers in one.

Andrew King:
Yeah, that's really it. I mean, to hit on the point you made before you asked about stacking as far as maintaining the tone, there's that old quote with Albert King and if he was still alive, maybe he would be using a King of Tone where they're like, "Albert, that sounds great. What's between your guitar and your amp?" And he says, "A cable." And so it's like, this would perfectly adhere and meet the Albert King standard of tone. But man, as far as stacking, I generally... If you get into the King of Tone, you can kind of mess with the... I might be screwing up the term here. I think it's the dip switches inside the pedal itself. And as you alluded to, there's two sides. They both basically simulate a Bluesbreaker on each side, but those dip switches allow you to make each side a clean boost, an overdrive or a distortion.

Andrew King:
I think the recommended settings out of the factory are you keep the left side as that's the yellow side, traditionally, as the clean boost. And then the right side would be the distortion of the red side. Excuse me, the overdrive. They recommend the left side be clean, the right side be overdrive. And that's how I've always used it. If Mike thinks that's the best, then I'm willing to trust him because I think he's kind of proven time and time again that he's got this thing down pretty well. And for me, it also, to my ears, it just sounds the best. And so, I usually use that clean boost as kind of like... On my board, I have an RC Booster that's just always on. That never really ever turns off, but then if I'm going to stomp on something for a little more, that clean boost is usually the first pedal I'll step to.

And then if I'm going for a phase two, I'll step on that right side for the overdrive. And most of the time... I mean, those two in conjunction with whatever I'm getting off the amp is enough. If I need more than that, then I'll go to some other boxes on my board for kind of more of a distortion or if it's like a specific fuzz thing like... Maybe I'll get into the midnight train, but man, for the most part that, that clean and that overdrive that around the King of Tone, that's kind of where I land.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. I mean, it's... Yeah, I mean it does it so well, which is again why this pedal has such a significant following. And I guess probably the elephant in the room right now, which I'm sure most people are thinking about is, so obviously we've talked a lot about the wait-list and obviously this pedal is very versatile. It's very impressive. And what it can do. I guess, for someone like you who owns two of these, is it worth it? Do you think it's worth the waiting list?

Andrew King:
I think it's worth it. I think you can have great tone without paying the price, but I think if you want the top of the line transparent overdrive, then it's worth it. If you say like, "Transparent overdrive is a key part of my sound." A big thing of what I do is I need to be able to step on a pedal, get a different scene that I didn't have before I stepped on the pedal, but still maintain a lot of the tone that's just coming from my hands, my guitar and my amp. Then you can't beat the King of Tone. I mean, whether it's worth the extra time and wait is obviously up to the individual player, but I think it's... A lot of the guys I look up to in town, it was worth it for them because I think it's so quiet. It's so transparent. The tone is so great that it makes sense if you want that top of the line. It's like, "Do you need Alexis?" "No." "But you might want one."

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Yeah, exactly. And then I think kind of part two of that too, again, I mean, with Tone, I mean, obviously everything is so subjective. Obviously, there are other Bluesbreaker options out there, everything from the JHS Morning Glory to the Wampler Pantheon, to the Browne Application Protein, which we've talked about. So, obviously, you're going to have Bluesbreaker options out there, but again kind of the one thing that makes this one stand out amongst them is obviously you get the two foot switch options where you can do that clean overdrive or clean to distortion or overdrive to distortion. So, you get a little bit more extra versatility. I don't know. And this thing just has such a great sort of story behind it. And it's almost kind of like a legacy pedal. I don't know. To me as somebody who loves collecting pedals, I just love that this thing has got just sort of a nice historical foundation behind it. And plus it's great to support people like Mike who are doing innovative things.

Andrew King:
Yeah. And keeping it... Quality control is at the forefront of what he does and they're doing all this stuff. It's like a one-man band type of thing. I guess we have talked a lot about the transparency. They do offer a high gain version. So, I should mention that. And that obviously comes with a lot more... You still have the three individual dip switches where you can go clean overdrive and distortion, but the high gain option. Each of those three options are at a greater level of gain from a starting point.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I'm glad you brought that up because totally forgot to mention the different options there. Yeah. So, obviously, that's a thing that can be pursued as well through a separate pedal, but... Yeah. So, again, lots of just... Again, like you said, the quality control. Just supporting something that just seems almost historic is always fun. And that's a big reason. I love covering pedals like this on the podcast.

Andrew King:
There's also the eye candy value. If you want to strike up conversations with other players when you're at a festival or playing a gig wherever in your town, that will start a conversation. Someone sees you have a King of Tone on your board, that will start a conversation.

Scott Schwertly:
Most definitely. It is, especially for those that are really embedded into the guitar and pedal scene. Yeah. It's a great conversation starter for sure. Well, awesome. Well, if you guys are now curious as to what this thing actually sounds like, we're going to go and get everything plugged in. Andrew, for this demo, which guitar are you going to go with?

Andrew King:
Yeah, man. I've got my 64 Gibson ES-335 and I'm running that into the King of Tone. Maybe with a little bit of delay, a little bit of verve and then into my 64 Fender Princeton Reverb.

Scott Schwertly:
Perfect. We'll get this set up guys and we'll see you on the other side.

Andrew King:
Yeah. So, that was the King of Tone, man. It lives up to the name, the King of Tone.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, it's so good. It's such a solid choice. And if you have one, it's a keeper and if you don't have one, it's definitely either worth getting on the waiting list or even shelling out a little bit more than 265. Again, it's just such a great pedal to have and you really can't go wrong with it. And, again, there's that whole legacy component that we talked about that really do make it worthwhile and worth having as part of your own personal collection.

Scott Schwertly:
All right. So, there you have it guys. That is the King of Tone by Analog Man. Join us next week as we jump into another Strymon pedal. We're going to be talking about the Strymon Big Sky. This thing is an amazing pedal, particularly, for those who are fans of reverb. It just can't go wrong with this one. So, if you think about overdrives and Bluesbreakers, King of Tone does that amazingly well. You think about reverb, the Strymon Big Sky does that equally as well. So, really excited to get back into the world of Strymon in our next episode. So, until then, have a great day, have a great week and we will catch you in the next one.

Close (esc)

Get Our Free eBook!

Do you love dirt as much as we do? Learn the rich history behind all the overdrive and distortion pedals you know and love. Download our free ebook, The History of Guitar Distortion.

Age verification

By clicking enter you are verifying that you are old enough to consume alcohol.

Search

Shopping Cart

Your cart is currently empty.
Shop now