This is a primitive, bare-bones transistor gain stage based on the Dallas Arbiter Rangemaster, truly the Occam’s Razor of guitar effects. At the heart of the machine, I use an RCA 2n414 germanium transistor*, which I like for its clarity, smooth transition into overdrive, and woody quality. The left knob controls the amount of boost, the right knob varies the frequency range that is boosted. Counterclockwise is standard rangemaster treble boost, where your low open E is at unity gain, and you start to hear a pleasant soft distortion and volume boost as you move up in octaves. There’s a familiar sounding midrange bump that will instantly remind you of some classic recordings that you never knew were rangemasters straight into a Marshall (or Laney Supergroup *wink*). Moving clockwise, the knee of the boost’s range moves lower in octave, until at 7:00 you have a raw, full-frequency boost with the never-harsh, saturated germanium transistor clipping that makes these a favorite. You can go everywhere in between with your guitar’s volume knob.
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