Every once in a while amidst the throngs of pedal manufacturers who contact me, one or two products fly under the radar in terms of being out there and in your face. Enter Fairfield circuitry. Last week, I was innocently standing there holding up the counter when I received a very unassuming phone call from Guillaume Fairfield, owner/operator/designer/self-confessed pedal geek. We arranged a meeting for the following week and got together to talk shop.
I got a chance to check out some cool “top secret” projects that he had coming down the pike. A very cool overdrive pedal called the Barbershop Overdrive highlighted the visit. It seems like one can get lost in a sea of dirt boxes, but when I plugged this one in, the amp exploded into classic SRV/Eric Johnson/Eric Clapton tones. I can’t just sluff it off as a Tube Screamer clone or any other clone for that matter. This pedal totally has its own mojo/voodoo going on. The sound was rich yet nasty, complex yet elegantly simple and the way it reacted to volume knob changes made me think
I just plugged into a Marshall JTM 45 that had been juiced by our own John Fletcher. The pedal features a true bypass design with a Drive, Sag, and Volume. The coolest feature is the Sag control. It pretty much does what it implies in that when cranked, the overdrive gets loose and has a “power amp meltdown” feel to it. With a more minimal setting, the overdrive is a little tighter, yet still retains a very cool roundness to the overall tone. It even works well on bass as a pre-D.I. Input to a board to warm up the sound and add tube like dynamics.
In a nutshell, this very industrial looking box rendered us speechless. You have to give Guillaume credit for his unassuming sales skills by plugging me in and then leaving the room for me to get all gushy over the pedal. If you’re looking to get the classic sound of a Bassman/Vibrolux/JTM 45 amp going into Beelzebub heat territory yet retaining a somewhat “PG” rated volume level then this is your pedal. Consequently, if you’re looking for a killer overdrive pedal for your “reach out and hurt someone” rig then this is your pedal. Either way, this is one of the coolest overdrive pedals that I’ve plugged into this year. So will that be a little off the sides, a mullet or shall we do a full faux-hawk?