The Old Black Shoe is a first for the Reuss brand in several ways. It’s the first pedal in the smaller ‘1590B’ foot print (‘MXR size’) and it’s the first featuring a circuit design which is my own, and not a clone of something old and rare
The Old Black Shoe is a signature pedal I developed for Australian artist Harry Howard, who is the singer and guitarplayer of Harry Howard And The NDE – and maybe better known as the bass player of Crime And The City Solution and These Immortal Souls. Harry is also the younger brother of Rowland S. Howard.
Harry Howard initially asked me to make a pedal featuring the distortion side of the RSH-03, with a tone control added, but the development took on its own life, and I ended up with a pedal far beyond a modified Distortion+ clone. It's a unique design more than anything else.
At the heart sits a ‘holy grail’ metal can LM308H opamp IC, which is legendary for its wonderful sound and distortion texture in early 1970/80s RAT pedals. Other features of the Old Black Shoe are a hybrid silicon/germanium clipping arrangement and a subtle and tasteful tone control (only rolling off the most harsh highs and never muffling your signal completely). The circuit is revoiced for a slightly fuller and warmer sound, compared to a Distortion+, making it useful for bass guitar too. The Old Black Show is also a great boost pedal, with the TOE (drive) control all the way down.
The tone is switchable to a 'vintage MXR' setting via a DIP switch at the circuitboard inside the pedal.
The Old Black Shoe is one of the best drive pedals I’ve ever encountered, and it sounds great from subtle, sparkly crunch to full on heavy drive. The pedal is finished in grey/silver sparkle and features artwork from Harry Howard’s own hand.
Mick Harvey is currently using the Old Black Shoe at the pending PJ Harvey world tour.
- The clips features my friend Fzat playing a a custom PAF humbucker equipped guitar and a Tokai Les Paul Jr. copy through his 1980s 100W Marshall Super Lead amp. Fzat is a hard rocking dude, and shows the heavier side of the Old Black Show here. I'll record som additional demoes of the pedal's more subtle qualities as soon as possible.
Here's a youtube demo featuring Terry O'Tool giving the Old Black Shoe a go at my workshop (some clipping in the audio):
Inside the Old Black Shoe:
Download the Old Black Shoe manual here
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