Published 2 months ago on May 5, 2024

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

Gurus DoubleDecker MK II Double MIAB Drive Effect Pedal

MSRP: (UK) £319 / (US) $TBC

Gurus' products are the result of one highly efficient research and design team, creating a vast selection of professional quality overdrives, distortions and modulation units which are meticulously hand-built, with the finest components by a team of highly skilled and experienced craftsmen and engineers from USA, Russia, Poland, Italy and China. Nick Jennison reviews the Gurus DoubleDecker MK II Double MIAB Drive Effect Pedal.

We all love the tone of a raging Marshall amp, but honestly, in 2022, who wants to deal with one? Quite apart from the weight, the bulk, the expenseand the maintenance costs, have you ever tried using one on stage? Good luck getting it past 2 on the master volume without your sound engineer and singer threatening your immediate demise, and sad as it is to say, these amps NEED to be cranked to sound "right".

Fortunately, there are a wealth of "Marshall-In-A-Box" pedals out there that promise to turn your Hot Rod Deluxe or AC15 into a screaming demon of rock, with various levels of success. Well, dear reader, I've played most of them, and the Gurus Double Decker MkII is up there with the very best.

A streamlined, more pedalboard-friendly version of the excellent-but-enormous Double Decker, this pedal offers two channels of ECC83 driven British filth that each runs the gamut from JTM45 to modded 800. There are gain and volume controls for each, along with tone and presence controls for each channel. These powerful controls allow you to tailor the high end on this pedal to match the amp you're running into - be it a bright sounding silverface twin or a dark sounding JTM.

There is also a switch in each channel to engage the "Jose mod" circuit - a loving recreation of the mods performed by Jose Arredondo on the Marshalls used by Steve Vai, George Lynch, Eddie Van Halen (allegedly at least) and many other rock luminaries of the 80s and beyond. Switching it on produces a gloriously compressed "brown" tone that's just fantastic for searing riffs and fat vocal leads, while disengaging it makes everything louder, cleaner and more open - think Page, Hendrix or even Slash.

The two channels each have their own inputs and outputs, so if you run a switcher, you could have each channel in its own loop, and you can even stack them one into another for crazy levels of gain. While each channel is very similar, they do have subtly different sounds thanks to different clipping stages. Channel 1 uses NOS germanium diodes for a chewier, looser feel, while channel 2 uses symmetrical LED clipping for a smoother, tighter feel that's amazing for lead work.

In terms of compatibility, we tried the Double Decker MKII into a whole range of amps with mod scoops, pushed mids, high headroom, early breakup, and there wasn't one amp that it didn't sound fantastic through. It also takes boosts and fuzzes like an absolute champ, so if you're looking for a gain stage to smooth out your dirt pedals, this is a great choice.

The Gurus Double Decker MKII is an absolutely stunning valve overdrive pedal that delivers two channels of Marshall goodness - no matter what that means to you, this pedal will do it. It's not cheap, but for a compact, valve-driven overdrive with this much range that sounds this good, it's worth every penny.

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