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    Evening all,

    Looking for a GPCB board with a low to mid gain sound. It’s unusual for me, since I usually mod my pedals to squeeze out every last drop of distortion and every bit of clipped fuzzy goodness. But I’m looking for something that will keep me a bit more honest, if you will.

    I just finished an old version of the Blues Power and the LED side is pretty close to what I’m after. My MKC with the gain rolled back came close too. But both can be pushed farther than I’d like this project to go. I’m aiming for a kind of early-mid 60’s surf sound like Dick Dale. He pushed a strat through Fender Bassmans I believe with a hung verb tank. I’ve got my Ancestoral built, now I just need a tiny bit of break up to drive it.  I run a solid state Fender amp, so I didn’t think the boost circuits were the answer but the Stage 3 could be it yet again. I do have one populated just waiting for the right build to need it…



    I don’t want to be the only opinion on this (a good topic) but I often shoot for a similar tone when I want to play something like Lynyrd Skynyrd or perhaps other punchy clean tones like A.B.B. or Eric Clapton. So I can relate.

    Your search will be based on your ears and rig but I think I can offer some insight. What I typically do is stack more than one Boost or Low Gain Drive with each other and sometimes incorporate a MoRC (Modified Ross Compressor) to achieve my goals. My go to rig is a Marshall Silver Jubilee Reissue and while many would think that an amp like that would offer plenty of clean punch (it does) but not when playing at realistic volume levels. I simply cannot get that punchy tone I love particularly when I set my guitar volume on 7-8 and save 10 for some grit or a solo.

    That said this is what I suggest. I like our MKC (Modified Klon Circuit) as a PRE-Boost before all other Drive or Boost pedals but after the MoRC. Pedal placement is extremely important. When that is still not enough I use a Stage 3 Booster (yes it is still on all my pedal boards) as a POST-Boost. In between these two is where I put my Fuzz and Drive circuits.

    So lets say I am playing Needle & the Spoon by Skynyrd and I want those picked notes and harmonics to really POP but not breakup up I use the MKC and Stage 3 in tandem (no Ultra Drive engaged) and put my guitar volume on about 7. When I get to the verse section where the chords have more grit I roll up my guitar volume. In this particular case I find the MoRC very useful to even everything out as well. This is not always the case that I choose to engage the compressor.

    Here are some circuit suggestions that can work well and all work nicely with single coil or humbuckers:

    • Blues Buster  – (Bluesbreaker) (with or without AfterBlaster Mod)
    • Killer Bee – Low Gain Honey Bee style drive (with built in boost stage)
    • XX DoubleShot – A Dual Stage 3 Boost (use one stage or both)
    • 3 Time Champ – Nice, powerful low to medium gain circuit
    • Sometimes just installing the AfterBlaster (add-on) to any favorite drive set at lower gain settings.

    I hope that helps and keep in mind I did not discuss using any of these in tandem (or stacked) with any Fuzz or Drive pedals which I also get excellent tones from because that doesn’t answer your question but I really want to stress that by stacking all sorts of pedals you can have a painters palette of tone in your arsenal not achieved by any other means.

    Taking your time to properly gain map your pedals in a proper pedal order is key to your success IMHO.

    I hope that helps.



    Barry’s response is very thorough. I’ll just add that you should be able to get what you’re after with either the MKC or Blues Power used as a boost to just-breaking-up overdrive. Both of those work very well with clean Fender tube amps that need a little push into the dirt zone. With solid state I’m not sure, but worth a try.


    Yup- that’s about what I was thinking- thanks Barry. I built the MoRC a loooong time ago when I got it in the Gilmour bundle! I have the 3XC and its too meaty. (I have a second one that I’m reserving for a bass player friend.) I don’t have a BB so perhaps that will go on my next order. I’ll finish up this S3 I’ve had kicking around for a while and see how it does with the verb and maybe put the MKC in with it to see if perhaps another one needs to come home with me. I’ll have to look at my notes when I get home to see how I finished that particular build- I remember I didn’t put a switch in for the Ultra Drive, but I can’t remember if that’s because I just goosed it and left it there or if I decided I liked it a bit tamer… As always, thanks for your input. I’ll let you know when I have this one wrapped up. I currently have four and a half projects on a shelf in my new shop in a few stages of completion…

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