B Custom Cool Review

manufacturer: Barber date: 06/11/2012 category: Guitar Effects
Barber: B Custom Cool
This pedal will feel at home for blues, classic rock and probably even some dirty jazz. Just plain good stuff, full of wonderful tone.
 Sound: 10
 Overall Impression: 10
 Reliability & Durability: 9.5
 Ease of Use: 6
 Overall rating:
 9.5 
 Reviewer rating:
 8.9 
 Users rating:
 10 
 Votes:
 2 
 Views:
 1,242 
reviews (2) pictures (2) 2 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 9
B Custom Cool Reviewed by: Strangeman86, on april 26, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 174.95

Purchased from: www.tonefactor.com

Ease of Use: First, this is a low to medium gain Overdrive pedal which comes with a single sheet of paper for a manual detailing mostly the functions of all the controls. It has the most controls I've ever had the pleasure of using on an overdrive, ever. I'll try to stick to the keep-it-simple-stupid mentality while explaining them all to you. I'll describe them in the sound section, since you can tweak this pedal for days. Not all the controls are external, 5 of them are trim pots on the inside of the pedal. While I enjoy the sheer tweakabiblity of this, it's a pain in the rear to have to open the pedal up and tweak things when I change to a different amp. // 7

Sound: From left to right on the top of the pedal you have volume (no surprises here), tone (just like the tone control on most other effect pedals; leave the knob down and you have "SR eq" whatever that means, pull it up and you get "snarl eq" which is a bit louder and more bold and punchy; if you haven't guessed by now, this is a push/pull knob), dynamics (adjusts dynamics and compression in conjunction with the mini-toggle switch; this is also a push/pull knob; when down you get the pedals' "smooth" sound, when up you get its "crunchy" sound, the crunchy IS quite a bit louder), and gain (again, no surprises here). On the INSIDE of the pedal you have four different trim pots, and all are distinctly labeled so you do need a diagram; Note Shape (adjusts the amount of bass that hits the circuit, this is a fairly subtle control to my ears, but it does help adjust to a new amp a lot), bass (adjusts overall bass, nothing special), midrange (adjusts overall midrange) and presence (adjusts the amount of treble which hits the circuit and can give you a little bit more "cut" in the tone of the pedal). There's also a mini toggle Switch on the top of the pedal. In the far left position you get "cascading compression sounds", in the middle you get a simulated asymmetric preamp and on the right you get a simulated asymmetric power amp. Again, all of the settings on the mini toggle mostly affect how the dynamics knob works. Now that I've tried my best to describe the multitude of ways you can tweak this pedal, how about I tell you how it sounds. It's always smooth and growling at the same time. The best tonal reference I can give you here is that the pedal kind of sounds like a mix somewhere between a dumble sound and a Marshall sound. The Cool part of the name is an apt description to say the least. This pedal makes you just want to sit back and jam a little. And while you can tweak the controls for days and keep tweaking, it isn't really hard to dial in for your amp. I'm playing this pedal through a Roland JC 50 and I'm driving the pedal with my Warmoth tele with a single HighOrder Pickups T-top replica in the bridge. It's very easy to dig in and get some great crunch and bolder tones. And at the same time it's equally easy to play lighter and get a smooth, singing, sustaining tone. A gentleman on youtube who does excellent demos described this as the best Overdrive he'd ever played. Saying it's the most amp-like pedal he's ever heard. I'd say that's a very solid assessment. I actually think this pedal sounds fairly similar to the Rothwell Hellbender. Which WAS my favorite overdrive, but it doesn't have enough tonal control and I could never get the bass equalized with my amp. No such problems here. This pedal is spectacular. It ain't flashy and it ain't over-the-top, but it still sounds amazing. A truly unexpected 10. // 10

Reliability & Durability: Barber has been around for a while, and I've never heard anyone talk trash about them for any reason. Even so, they're terribly easy to contact, and they're really nice. EVEN IF I ever have a problem with the pedal I'm sure they'd fix it no problem. I'm not sure what the finish is, but it's a little textured and very thick (the graphics are inlaid into the finish), I don't see any issues there either. Short of stomping through this thing I really can't see any problems in the future. // 9

Overall Impression: I play whatever strikes my fancy at the time. This pedal will feel at home for blues, classic rock and probably even some dirty jazz. But this is NOT a pedal designed for metal music at all. The medium gain description is... Almost stretching it to be truthful. I'm hitting the pedal with a nice humbucker, I imagine a single coil will turn this pedal into a light gain only overdrive. But I don't care about that. I've been looking for a low-mid gain Overdrive pedal that was half this good for a while. Just plain good stuff, full of wonderful tone. // 10

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overall: 8.8
B Custom Cool Reviewed by: unregistered, on june 11, 2012
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 174.95

Purchased from: Wildwood Guitars

Ease of Use: Fairly low marks in this category for a couple reasons. For one, the owner manual is more confusing than it should be. There are some pretty glaring typos, but it also doesn't really explain some of the key features of the pedal. In particular, the "Comp" knob functions and the upper toggle switch are very poorly explained in my opinion. As the other review said, this is one of the most customizable pedals you'll ever use, so it would only make sense to go into some detail about the functions. Granted, I'm a player who really likes to understand this kind of stuff, but unless you're pretty seasoned in the vernacular and/or really know what you're listening for, this pedal could be really hard to figure out for a beginner. Also, the internal trim pots are a pain. I'm VERY glad they're there in the first place, but they're hard to access (whine, whine). // 5

Sound: In a world of moonshine, this pedal is a 18year, single-malt scotch. That's the best way I can describe it. For one, it's a pedal that takes some refinement to appreciate. The fact that it's "low-gain" alone, makes it an outsider in today's world. But there are innumerable subtleties to this pedal that you'll continue to discover as you tweak it. Trying to relate the sound of this pedal to anything else is hard because it honestly doesn't sound like anything else I've played, and you can get so many different sounds out of it. It's smooth like a Tube screamer, but never boxy or overly midrange heavy. It also retains a lot of bass without sounding muddy, and overall retains a great deal of your guitar's natural tone. The way it interacts with other overdrives is also fantastic. Whether you're using it as a clean boost, using it to Drive other pedals, or using other pedals to Drive it, it brings out some fantastic characteristics, and will add a whole new layer of complexity to whatever you stack it with. I also love adding it onto my amp's overdrive. Whether live or laying down tracks, this is a pedal I never leave home without. I'm constantly coming back to it, and constantly impressed by the sounds I can get from it. For the record, the Guitars I'm using are: Fender 2010 American Standard Stratocaster, Fender Custom Wildwood "10" '61 Stratocaster w/John Cruz pickups, and a Gibson ES-355. The amps are: Fender Hot Rod Deluxe Ver. II and a Two-Rock Custom Reverb Signature Ver. II. I also almost always run a Keeley Compressor before my OD pedals. // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've been gigging with it for almost two years now. It's never left my board since I bought it, and I've had no technical problems with it so far. The real test will be five or so years down the road, but everything I know about the pedal and about Barber as a company suggest that there's nothing to worry about. // 10

Overall Impression: Overall, this is one of those truly unique pedals that not only sounds great, but actually inspires your playing. I've gotten some straight-up magic out of this pedal, and I would recommend it to any true Overdrive connoisseur. Be ready to work a little bit to find the tone you want, but once you find it, wow... And if you ever get tired of that sound, you can just mess around for a while and find a totally different one. You can listen to it at 2:45 in this recording, using an American Strat, Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, and also the Keeley Compressor. As with any piece of gear like this, try it before you buy it. Unless you're a metal or hard rock player, I seriously doubt you'll be disappointed, and even if you are, who knows? // 10

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