Tuesday, May 20, 2008

On the Board- Vintage Electro-Harmonix Small Stone

So I know it seems a little strange to write an On the Board about a vintage effect. Usually, this column is reserved for the latest effect that I’m using, but I thought I’d take a chance to pay homage to my personal favorite in the world of phasers. I’ve been a Small Stone fan for several years now. I remember buying my first one, the black Russian reissue, and being stoked. The sales guy told me that he used to own one and loved. I loved that pedal and used it for quite a while. I think I ended up offing it for a Phase 90- big mistake… Don’t get me wrong, the Phase 90 is an amazing pedal. In fact, I’ve been eyeing some of the script reissues online lately; Very intriguing. No, I don’t hate the Phase 90 by any means, it’s just that that particular Small Stone sounded great and I consider it “one that got away”. If I could go back and not trade that puppy in, I would.

Fast forward a few years… I made my way into Guitar Center Nashville last August to visit some buddies of mine. I used to be a “door girl” (as they are “affectionately” called) and still go in frequently to visit friends and try out/buy new gear. I made my usual bee-line over to the used pedal case and what to my wondering eyes should appear, but a Vintage Russian Small Stone. This was not the black Russian reissue from my past, but it was one of the original green Sovtek boxes. Being unable to pass it up, I grabbed it and ran. It’s a great piece and it’s the kind of thing I keep in the sturdy wooden box. Not because of any issues with its “value”, but just because it’s a toy that I play with here and there. Now, on to the tone- it’s great. You get the very think, warm, swooshes that you would expect. If you’re running a clean sound through it, you’ll be sure to love the results. The one down side to this guy is the noticeable drop in volume that occurs when the effect is engaged, but our buddy Kyle Tompkins has a great mod that will fix that. The mod involves a very simple replacement of two or so caps and Kyle outlines it very well at the link above.

More than a review, this installment of On the Board is about paying homage to the effects we love. It’s about the one(s) that got away and reuniting with the great sounds that you remember from back in the day. If you have a cool story about an awesome vintage effect that we MUST hear, then leave it in the comments section below or email it to us at: geartrap (at) gmail (dot) com.

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