NAMM 2024: Keeley Electronics and Andy Timmons have gone back to the breadboard for an all-new pedal, described as a “veritable drive workstation” that can be deployed as a clean boost, as a tube-like overdrive pedal, or for square-wave fuzz shenanigans.
It’s called the Muse Driver Full Range Overdrive, and range and drive is what it’s all about. This new do-it-all drive box is the second collaboration between guitar effects pedal guru Robert Keeley and Timmons within a year. In May 2023, they put a Blues Driver circuit under the microscope and came up with the Super AT Mod Overdrive – “a drive pedal that responds just like a tube amp”.
The Muse Driver has got some of that tube voodoo about it too, and it similarly draws upon Blues Driver DNA to fashion a drive sound, and then offers players lots of control over it. Under the hood you’ve got a line dance between op-amp, JFET and germanium transistors, which is presumably why this thing has got so much range.
And yet, look at the enclosure. It’s a simple three-knob setup – Level, Drive and Tone, easy peasy – with toggle switches for switching things up with the Drive and Tone circuits. Those toggles are marked AT and RK, and let you choose between Timmons and Keeley’s preferred voicing.
With the Drive switch (located under the Drive knob) in the AT position, you’ve got asymmetrical LED diode clipping for Timmons’ Super AT Mod sound. In the RK position, a pair of germanium diodes do the heavy lifting. “This mode can sound a bit like a vintage fuzz pedal with a softer, smoother feel,” says Keeley.
It’s a similar idea over at the Tone switch, which, again, is located under the Tone dial (one of the nice things about this pedal is that it sounds initially bamboozling on paper but makes perfect sense on the pedal, which is where it counts).
In the AT position you have Timmons’ preferred low-end response, i.e. super-clear, articulate, with good note separation. In the RK position it’s all about the Phat Boost, which will add some width and warmth to single-coil electric guitar tones.
The AT/AT setting is exactly my Super AT Mod tone: just the right amount of breakup available at your dynamic command
The Muse Driver can be run in true bypass or buffered. Holding down the silent footswitch for a couple of seconds lets you toggle between both modes. Other stray observations: Jacks are located on the top of the unit; the pedal is designed and made in the USA. And, well, here is what Andy Timmons has to say about it.
“The Muse Driver is the ultimate expression of the clean/slightly broken-up tone I’ve been going for over the last several years,” said Timmons. “Robert Keeley and his incredible team have once again knocked it out of the park! The AT/AT setting is exactly my Super AT Mod tone: just the right amount of breakup available at your dynamic command.
“Every note and nuance is clear as a bell. The crazy thing about this mode is that it also sounds great with the gain turned up, providing an incredibly cool Marshall-esque crunch tone.”
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Timmons describes the Keeley-modded BD-2 Blues Driver circuit as “total luxury”, and says the germanium diodes are the pedal’s secret weapon. Where have we heard that before!