This is a guest post by Robert Payne
The Analogman Beano Boost is often a very misunderstood pedal. There are a slew of pedals that sport clean boost, line driver or micro amp capabilities for a guitarist to help their solos stand out in the mix, however that is quite the opposite of the Beano Boost’s intended use. Analogman admits the simple design of the pedal originally was meant to emulate one particular guitar tone: Eric Clapton’s tone from the infamous John Mayall’s Bluesbreaker album. Purportedly, Clapton used a Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster in front of the dark 1960’s Marshall amps to achieve the tone. A classic effect in its day for sure and this pedal’s replication of it is spot on.
Eric Clapton’s tone on this record really shaped much of the modern blues tones we are now familiar with. The original effect, as is the Beano Boost, is meant to be on all the time in front of a tube amp. Think of it as a new master volume for the amp. This is what makes the design of this pedal so bold. It also is probably the reason you don’t see this pedal making its way onto too many pedalboards, because in a sense it will become the new master volume for your pedalboard too.
If you are a pedal stacker like me, you might find that many combinations create feedback unless the Beano Boost is first in the signal chain. The volume sweep and shear dynamic range makes integrating it with other effects almost impossible without using another pedal or device to intentionally bring down the output. Personally, I have mine in front of a Barber Launch Pad (Clean Boost) and in a loop based system to control the volume. Both pedals are on and off at the same time via the loop. That said, this pedal also has a tough time recreating that legendary tone with solid state amps. Because the pedal was designed to push tubes, the solid state amps I’ve heard it through create a high micro-phonics issue that you can’t get rid of when you play. This is just my experience and may not be the across the board result. However amps aside, the pedal works fantastic with both single coil and humbucker pickups.
If you’re not interested in nailing that Clapton tone, the pedal also sports a three way toggle switch that allows you to do a Treble, Mid, or Bass boost. This is really where this pedal shines. If you are going for modern country tones, you can’t deny the extensive use of mid boosted overdrive. It’s all over the place on the radio. With the Beano Boost’s mid-boost toggle selected, you can run it into another overdrive pedal a get that killer mid crunch. Again, volume output of the pedal is still out there, so controlling it in conjunction with an additional overdrive, fuzz or compressor pedal just makes sense and seems to be apart of the design. This is my exact application of the Beano Boost.
In the end, the Analogman Beano Boost is a boutique of boutique pedals. It really has a very specific use and specific sound. The pedal is fantastic when setup with it’s recommended use all-the-while inspiring new and unique configurations with other pedals. It’s volume is unwieldy, but if you can harness it, you can truly shape your tone to stand out in the crowd.