15th Sept 2015:
Review of the handmade Treble Booster Deluxe footswitchable model by Mark Bram in USA:
“In my Band, Ruby Topaz, it’s important for me to have access to many tones to cover the songs that we record. I have a huge rig consisting of a 300 watt Line 6 Vetta modeling head on top of two 2×12 open back cabinets (loaded with Celestion G12H-90 speakers) and two 4×12 cabinets loaded with Eminence speakers (Patriot Screaming Eagles in the left Cabinet and Red Coat Wizards in the right cabinet). I have two EV powered PA speakers on each side that handle all my reverbs, delays, Roland GP10 acoustic and 12 string electric (as well as clean Strats and synthy) patches and my Roland GR55 and axon (running a Yamaha Motif Rack unit) guitar synths. I have a pedalboard that is over five feet long with a lot of pedals (into a true bypass strip) and foot controllers.
I own both the TB Touring and TB Plus treble boosters and I love them. The Plus is on my pedalboard. I use it for some leads. It’s nice and thick, but I sometimes miss the sparkle of the Touring Booster, especially when I turn down the volume on my guitar.
The problem is that the TB Plus doesn’t always play well with my Vetta. I was talking with Greg and he said that he developed a new TB circuit type that will work really well with my rig. It has the battery adapter and bypass switch that I have been asking him to make… plus, it has a gain control to find that sweet spot. He sent me a hand-made version (serial number 001…how cool is that?).
This pedal is AWESOME! It sounds amazing with my Vetta. It is very touch sensitive, very dynamic and, with the gain at about 3 o’clock, drives my sound to that perfect sweet spot. My main tone is a 1953 Fender Tweed Deluxe, with a Tube Screamer on the left and a Marshall Super Lead (“Plexi”) with a Variac on the right. All I do is shut off the Tube Screamer and turn on the Treble Booster Deluxe and I’m in tone heaven.
The TB Deluxe has the meat of the Plus with the Sparkle of the Touring AND…because of the gain control, it’s VERY versatile.
I love this pedal! I can’t stop noodling when I turn it on. It makes me want to play…very inspiring.”
Mark Bram – Ruby Topaz
Youtube video review demo by Mark Bram:
27th August 2015:
Handmade TB Deluxe available (with latest 2014 version TB Deluxe circuit), please email Greg Fryer to order: email@example.com
Price is $AUD250.00 (approx 115.00 GBP) plus shipping
Footswitchable Treble Booster Deluxe (with latest 2014 version TB Deluxe circuit), only one unit available at present.
Price is $AUD485.00 (approx 229.00 GBP) plus shipping
TB Deluxe background:
In late 2007 I designed the Treble Booster Deluxe with a particular purpose in mind: to achieve the fatter sounding Brian May late 1970s sounds when using the Red Special guitar and Vox AC30 amps at lower amp volume levels and when using attenuators such as Marshall, Mango, Weber, THD Hotplate etc which tend to reduce sustain and fullness at lower amp volume levels.
In the middle 2000s I had been experimenting with treble booster designs for my own use which were more powerful and fatter sounding than the standard Treble Booster Touring pedal. On a couple of occasions Brian had asked me if it was possible to get a little more output level from the standard treble booster, but for the majority of the time Brian was perfectly happy with the amount of boost level and balance of trebles to bottom end produced by his TB Touring pedal. (In early 2006 I made several of the TB Touring for Brian’s on stage use in mini strap mounted version for the Sennheiser wireless system).
The Treble Booster Deluxe was therefore not designed for Brian’s use but for the many Red Special players who like myself play at much lower amp levels than a flat out full volume AC30, and often at home using speaker attenuators at lower volume levels. Players in those situations are helped by the extra boost level, sustain and fullness of sound from the Deluxe. It won’t come as a surprise to hear that my own playing is not nearly as precise or fluid as Brian’s and I found that the Treble Booster Deluxe offered something that was perfect for me and I hoped that many other people found a similar use for the Deluxe.
It also became clear to me that the TB Deluxe would be a very useful pedal for guitarists using other instruments like Gibson Les Pauls through Vox AC30s and amplifiers like Marshalls and Fenders.
TB Deluxe 2014 redesign:
With the development of the Treble Booster Super pedal in 2014, I had found a new transistor that to be honest I wished I had known about back in 2007 when I first designed the TB Deluxe and TB Plus. Both these pedals use the BC239C transistor which gave me the output that I was looking for (considerably more powerful and with more bottom end in this usage than the TB Touring’s BC182L), but both the Deluxe and Plus designs required some circuit additions to overcome the hardness and brashness characteristic sound of the BC239C so that the pedals produced more of the sweetness of sound of the Touring’s BC182L.
The TB Deluxe has been a wonderful sounding pedal since 2007-8, but with the arrival of the new transistor and some circuit changes to suit it I have found something a little extra tonally for the Deluxe that I hope people will love just as much as the previous design. To be honest there is not a great deal between the two – but I feel there is enough to make the change worthwhile.
On 25th August 2014 I spoke to Brian in Sydney about the new TB Super and about my design changes to the TB Deluxe. At first Brian said ‘oh…which one is that?’ which I half expected because the Deluxe was never really designed for his use and I suspected that Brian had never used it either in recording or live. After I reminded Brian about the Deluxe, he said that the only time he could remember using the pedal was in Holland a year or two back when he borrowed someone’s gear at a live performance.
(This was later confirmed by Gerben van Dooremaal). Using Gerben’s AC30s and attenuators at less than full amp volume, the Treble Booster Touring pedal that Brian first plugged in just didn’t have enough sustain and fullness to give Brian the sound that he was used to. So Gerben whipped out the lilac Deluxe and this did the job for Brian.
See Gerben’s letter Mon 25 April 2011 to Brian’s website:
Brian liked my idea of what I had designed for the new 2014 Deluxe version and gave me the go ahead, and said that he would also try the TB Super at the Queen + AL soundcheck in the following days in Sydney. The schedule has been busy for both of us since then and soon I’ll be chatting about these and other things with Brian.
Gerben’s photos 2011:
Treble Booster Deluxe 2014 version is available in the same ‘prototype-style’ format as pictured below.
Price is $AUD250.00 plus shipping which to most countries is $AUD30.00
Please see http://www.xe.com/for currency converter website
To order please email Greg Fryer at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com or telephone +61 (0)2 9938 3379
Soundfiles and reviews:
22nd Jan 2015: review of the 2008 and 2014 Treble Booster Deluxe pedals by Mark Reynolds with soundfiles and comments:
“This Deluxe (December) 2014 is incredibly good!
I compared it to the 2008, the Prototype 2014 and the second mid 2014 (slightly modded) version.
I hear quite a difference between them all…..not massive….but obvious.
There is a nicer clarity to the Dec 2014 booster. They all sound good in their own ways but there is a little more sparkle to the overall sound to the Dec 2014 booster……….especially the rolled back volume in which it is like a bell! That is just beautiful. You can hear everything.
The in phase bridge and middle retains the clarity all the way up the volume control run until you get to the full volume for a solo. The strings then gel together for that warmth but there is a hint of edge there that isn’t in the others. This gives you just enough string separation not to make it too mushy.
The Dec 2014 booster is quite a hot pedal and pulls the guitar closer to Brian’s stage sound of old……..not quite as sweet as his studio sound…… the TB Super booster I feel is perfect for this.
The Deluxe 2014 is perfect as a gigging booster because there is that slight extra output.
The out of phase neck and middle is superb. The harmonics are leaping out….possibly because of the additional slight extra boost to the booster.
You can hear everything going on in there.
The neck and bridge out of phase (Stone Cold Crazy) has a great scratchy edge that still keeps the raw power there as well.
Regards, Mark Reynolds
TB Deluxe 2008 handwired:
TB Deluxe (December) 2014 handwired:
2014 version TB Deluxe circuit:
Danny Rodd from Mexico is using a Burns BM Red Special 2005, Fryer 2014 TB Deluxe prototype, Vox Pathfinder R15 amp
From Danny 2nd Feb 2015:
‘It has been a little difficult for me to upload new videos, but I want
to share with you some of the new instagram videos that I’ve been uploading.. with
great comments, on the facebook red special groups.
Hope you like them. I’m seriously in love with your Treble Boosters.. I WANT THEM ALL.. Really!
I’m SO happy with the sound they give me with my Pathfinder Amp, and
I’m looking forward to repair my Ac30 very soon.
Red Special – TB Deluxe 2014 – vox pathfinder 15R with all levels at 0 ,
only using the gain and volume’.
‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ solo:
‘Hammer To Fall’ solo:
Final passage from ‘I Want It All’:
Solo from ‘Somebody To Love’:
Just noodling around on the Red Special:
15th Feb 2015: review of the TB Deluxe 2014 by Gerben van Dooremaal:
I owned a 2008 TB Deluxe in the past and never really used it as I missed the ‘sparkle’ in the cleans. The good thing about it was that the amount of drive was spot on, mainly because I play with Marshall PB-100 attenuators. Using attenuators often seem to give a bit of loss in drive. Not because of the attenuators I think (to my ears Marshalls are still the ‘least worse’ attenuator combined with a TB and an AC30) but the speakers are not driven as hard, and therefor don’t ‘distort’, compared to playing flat out without attenuators.
When Brian played my rig in 2011 he also thought the sound lacked some gain when I first plugged in my TB Touring. Switching over to the Deluxe gave the amount of drive he wanted. Listening back to the videos made back then, you can clearly hear the cleans were thicker than what we’re used to, listening to Brian’s regular (live) sounds in that period. Though my rig isn’t totally identical to Brian’s so there can be more factors adding to that obviously.
This new TB Deluxe 2014 from Greg is very good. The bit of extra drive compared to a TB Touring is very useful for the earlier mentioned reason and now the cleans have this ‘sparkle’ that the 2008 version Deluxe didn’t have. It really became a different booster. Once you turn the guitar volume up, the differences between this TB Deluxe and the Touring are not that big once you set the guitar volume a bit higher with the Touring to balance it with the extra drive that the Deluxe gives.
No loss of definition anywhere, where as other, more 80’s style TB’s with lots of boost and warmth can get a bit muddy at times.
Highly recommended for those who look for a big fat sound (think Queens ‘Jazz’ album, according to Greg himself).
The new TB Super is very good too but can be a bit trebly for those playing with modern AC30’s and/or small rigs with a short signal path. A worthy addition to your TB collection!
Gerben van Dooremaal
more soundfiles soon