HipKitty Glaze Pedal
Neal Logdahl from HipKitty sent me over one of his Glaze pedals to check out and review. The Glaze is a boost/overdrive pedal that has a unique design which retains the warmth and clarity for each note and chord. The added harmonic content creates a “glaze” as Neal puts it on the upper notes while the lower notes stay focused and clear. There is enough volume boost to push an amplifier’s preamp well into clipping. So is it a boost or an overdrive…? Let’s find out. To the shop!!!
On the Bench: All of Neal’s HipKitty pedals are hand-crafted, ROHS compliant and he’s been serving the musical community since 1987. Each pedal is also hand-painted so no two are alike in the world! There is also a Limited Lifetime Warranty on electronics with a 1-year warranty on switches, jacks and pots to the original owner. So basically…you’re covered.
So…….that’s why this particular Glaze pedal looks hand-painted…because it is! Cool! The Glaze pedal Neal sent me had a very sturdy case with smooth feeling pots, bright LED annunciation, heavy-duty switch and high quality jacks. Off to a great start on the outside but what about the inside? One word: neat & clean. Ok that’s two words but that’s what I saw inside. Excellent workmanship on the innards means better reliability over the long haul.
In the Shop: The test guitar for the Glaze review was my home built Tele using Brian Poe ash body, Musikraft maple neck, Glendale hardware & stainless bridge and Joe Barden pickups. The test amp was a 5F6-A Bassman clone using Mercury Magnetics transformers, Sozo caps, carbon comp resistors, a Larry Rodgers tweed covered pine cabinet and 4- Eminence 1028K speakers. Current production Sovtek 12AX7LPS’s and Tung Sol 5881’s were used and the GZ34 was an N.O.S. General Electric. The amp was hand built by me here at 300Guitars. I plugged into the Normal channel and set the Volume at 12 o’clock, Treble at 11 o’clock, Bass at 9 o’clock, Middle at 11 o’clock and Presence at 11 o’clock. The Glaze was set with the Gain at 2 o’clock and the Volume at 10 o’clock.
Playing the Tele through my 5F6-A amp without the Glaze engaged sounded great. It’s a sound that I am very used to because I have been playing Teles and Bassmans for a long time so it’s always a good place to start as my personal benchmark. Ok, hit the button and let’s hear some Glazed goodness!!!
Wow, nice! The Glaze pedal is a little hard to describe because there is a transparency about it that very noticeably unnoticeable…….if that makes any sense. In other words it does not sound like you kicked in a pedal at all. The sound was just like the amp was turned up to get all the harmonic goodness and somehow very clear as if the amp was not so turned up. Sometimes when you really crank up an amp the notes and chords can blur together and you lose the definition which can spoil fast single note runs and ruin complex chords. Not so in this case.
The more I played with the Glaze the more I started to really get to know it and totally dig it! Chugging rhythms were clear and defined and had really nice harmonic content for texture. Complex chords retained all their clarity so you could hear every single note, even the dissonant ones. Single note lines sang and reminded me of the Roy Buchanan tone. I could use the guitar’s volume control to vary the degree of “glaze” and this is one of the best pedals for interacting with your guitar’s volume control that I’ve played.
This is a pedal you could almost leave on all night and even if you set the Volume on the Glaze to match your straight signal volume there is a very cool enhancement while still being transparent. After playing it for a while I started to forget if the pedal was on or off and found myself glancing down at the LED to make sure.
On the Gig: I took my Tele and 5F6-A along with a few other pedals to see how it would work on a live gig. Just like in the shop setting The Glaze made my Tele sing with single note lines and growl with chords. This pedal is like an extension of your amp. I found myself leaving it on most of the night and working the guitar’s volume control and varying the Gain control a little on the Glaze with my foot. I really wanted to be careful with the hand-painted finish but it’s tough and durable so there was no damage….whew!
Another thing I really liked about the Glaze is that I was able to get more tones by using my guitars Tone control….imagine that! My tone control was very effective with this pedal because the Glaze retains all that the clarity and definition.
The Glaze helped make the gig fun and it was easy to express myself through my playing because it inspires you to play.
Final Analysis: So is it a boost or an overdrive pedal? I say it’s both depending how you set it. Lower Gain settings will get you a clean boost type of effect and higher Gain settings gets you into overdrive territory. Adjust the overall Volume to suit the situation and that’s it…….nice and simple but very effective.
Clarity is the name of the game here and while it will give you a great harmonically rich overdrive sound you will hear every nuance of your guitar and amp. Nothing is blurred or “mucked up”. This is an excellent pedal for all you country pickers because of the clarity. I found that out with my Tele and 5F6-A amp! Fast chicken pickin’ single note lines stay totally intact.
Simple but effective, this is a great flavor to have on your pedalboard! Go to the HipKitty website and check out Neal’s new Glaze pedal. Clearest overdrive/boost pedal I’ve ever heard!