REVIEWS

Lovepedal Limited Edition Tchula Gold

Published 7 years ago on August 1, 2017

By Guitar Interactive Magazine

I know this review is light on technical details and heavy on feels, but that’s really what this pedal is all about. There’s nothing to fiddle with, no menus to get lost in, nothing to distract you from the task at hand. You turn it on, and you make music. In a world of endless tonal tweakery, the Tchula is the perfect tonic.

Nick Jennison

Pros:

Inspiring tone and feel
Absolute simplicity
Well built

Cons:

Very revealing! There’s nowhere to hide with this pedal

Lovepedal Tchula Gold

We have been hoping to take a closer look at what custom effects manufacturers Lovepedal have to offer for quite a while now. In the first in a series of Lovepedal reviews, Nick Jennison tries out the limited edition Tchula Gold.

Let’s get one thing straight before we go any further: Josh Smith is a guitarist who you need to know about. Equal parts jazz, country, blues and mad genius, Josh Smith is a total monster. So when Josh Smith talks about tone, you’d do well to listen.

Josh is a long time user of Lovepedal’s fabled Church Of Tone (or “COT” for short) - a now discontinued but highly sought after overdrive inspired by a late ‘60s plexi with 6550s in the power stage. The COT50 only had one knob: a bias control. Such was the dedication to simplicity and tonal purity that there wasn’t even an input for a power supply - it was batteries or nothing!

The Tchula is, essentially, a two stage COT50; a limited run based on a custom design for Josh Smith. You’d be forgiven for wondering why there’s still only one knob though. The left side of the pedal is hard wired to Josh’s favourite COT setting (11 o’clock), while the right-hand footswitch (the “boost”) engages the bias knob so the user can dial in as much grinding overdrive as they like.

While the Tchula works admirably boosting an already distorted amp, for this test I chose to follow Josh Smith’s lead and play into a clean amp - a Matamp GT20 in this case (full review also in this issue). Using the left footswitch to engage Josh’s preset tone, I was immediately struck by how great this pedal feels. There’s an almost supernatural sense of breadth and warmth, and the dynamics are somehow flattering and incredibly responsive at the same time. It’s quite an experience, a lot like playing through a great vintage amp at a generous volume. There’s not a lot of gain per se, or a great deal of compression, but there’s so much life in each note that everything just sounds better with the pedal on. I couldn't imagine wanting to turn it off, and given how easy it was to achieve a stellar clean sound using the guitar’s volume control, there’s really no need to.

The boost switch takes us into a more rowdy territory, with a fair amount of distortion on tap if required. Crucially, however, the single knob is not a simple gain control but adjusts the internal bias of the pedal’s clipping stages. As you wind up the knob, things get hairier and more compressed in a way that’s very reminiscent of a power amp being driven into distortion. It sounds superb, but the feel is even better, and I found myself brimming with new ideas inspired by the glorious tone of this tiny gold box. Personally, I preferred setting the bias control to maximum and using the guitar’s controls to manipulate the sound, much like the blues rock pioneers of yesteryear. I felt connected to the history of the guitar. It was pretty special.

I know this review is light on technical details and heavy on feels, but that’s really what this pedal is all about. There’s nothing to fiddle with, no menus to get lost in, nothing to distract you from the task at hand. You turn it on, and you make music. In a world of endless tonal tweakery, the Tchula is the perfect tonic.

 

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