Trodden upon by Fast Eddie Clarke, Marc Ford and Matt Schofield, Finlands Mad Professor pedals are becoming one of Europes hippest names in guitar effects. Review by Huw Price
The Sweet Honey Overdrive‘s circuit is based on the highly-regarded BJF Honey Bee overdrive and it’s designed to slot straight into any amp and guitar setup to complement and enhance your tone rather than completely transform it. Although the electronics are shoehorned into the usual aluminium chassis, I love the translucent amber finish because it looks almost like violin varnish. It’s a bit lumpy and homebrewed… but that surely adds to the charm.
The controls are simple enough, and we all know what Volume and Drive are there for, but the Focus control provides an interesting twist. Rather than simply providing a treble roll-off, it interacts with the overdrive circuit to induce earlier breakup as well as a slight treble lift as it’s turned clockwise.
The SHOD is definitely an overdrive, so look elsewhere if you need distortion. Drive and Focus fully counter-clockwise and Volume just over halfway gives unity gain with very little difference between the SHOD and bypassed tones. With Volume fully up there’s a small degree of clean boost, then Drive brings in extra volume, harmonic richness and a beefier midrange. So you can use the SHOD to push your amp into overdrive with some enhanced clarity and sustain, or you can back off the boost and rely on the SHOD‘s overdrive. It’s very amp-like, with amazing note separation and dynamic response; play softly and the sound cleans up, then dig in and the SHOD goes with you all the way. It also cleans up superbly from the guitar’s volume knob, providing enhanced clarity at lower volume settings. It’s a potential ‘just leave it on’ pedal.
The SHOD works equally well with humbuckers and single coils and really bring all kinds of guitars to life. It lifts sustain levels to Gary Moore proportions without needing to run anywhere near maximum drive. My LP really sang, with every nuance of pick attack and pickup settings coming through more clearly than ever before. It’s never harsh, but there’s just enough edge to keep it real – and no, it doesn’t sound like a pimped-up Tubescreamer. It’s quieter, clearer, sweeter and simply better.
Sometimes you can plug in a pedal and just know its something special. The Sweet Honey Overdrive is a case in point especially if you like overdrives that are so dynamically responsive and transparent that you never want to turn them off. The background noise is also very low, which adds to the clarity.