DJ-13 French Toast Octave Distortion review by Danelectro

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  • Sound: 8
  • Overall Impression: 9
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Ease of Use: 6
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 9 (3 votes)
Danelectro: DJ-13 French Toast Octave Distortion

Purchased from: Classified Ads

Sound — 8
This pedal is a one-trick pony; that being said, it's a very neat trick, and well worth the cost. As stated, the pedal adds a lot of gain even with the distortion knob set to the lowest, so only approach this pedal if high-gain is what you're after. Without Octave on, it's a passable fuzz / biting distortion; nothing spectacular but a reasonable sound none the less. With octave on, the potentials open right up. The knobs definitely produce a much greater range of tone with the octave on; you can produce a tight, electrical searing tone, or a swooshy, spacey sounding fuzz (which sounds great before a delay). I typically set the pedal for trebley, biting solo tone, but it can be used with a rhythm guitar for some.. interesting effects. The tracking the octaver uses is very basic, but this is part of the pedal's charm; playing two notes at once produces an unpredictable (though learnable) tone which it somehow derives through the Harmony. Which is to say, playing two notes will produce the "wrong note", but you can learn how to play this to your advantage. Power chords sound lush and electrical with the octaver on. The bypass is quite clean depending on the power supply you use. With a battery or a Danelectro power supply, I recieved no noticeable noise, but with a slightly over-rated (voltage wise) Radioshack adapter I got a constant hum. A minor inconvenience; follow voltage reccomendations always.

Overall Impression — 9
This pedal will work if you make it work; I'd say it fits best in any kind of rock environment (any sub-genres included), but it's up to the musician to make it a necessary, integral part of their sound. The unpredictable behaviour is very interesting and lends itself well to experimentation and improv, so be aware (it's a double edged sword). I wouldn't choose this as my only gain pedal, as it's limited and quite specific in it's use, but it's definitely got a lot of charm and for the price, ridiculous. Baby it, or re-house it (or buy a new one if it's broken or stolen); it's worth it.

Reliability & Durability — 6
One of the biggest concerns you could have with this pedal relates to the plastic housing. It's by no means frail, but I would not expect it to last too long if dropped on hard surfaces. There are plenty of options for rehousing the unit, such as with a BYOC metal frame, or any metal container of your choosing. If the tone is what you're looking for, have no shame in using it on your pedal board; just be aware that it's a cheap and limited pedal.

Ease of Use — 6
Simple aesthetics, attractive surf-green plastic housing, and compact design. There are EQ, level, and distortion knobs, as well as an Octave toggle Switch. When flipped down, a higher octave is produced (in addition to the original signal). The EQ knob affects the overall tone (position "1" / 7:00 is a very bassy / muddy tone, while 5:00 is a trebley, shrill kind of tone). The level is simply the output volume, and the Distortion knob controls the amount of gain being applied to the signal; at the lowest position, there is still a lot of gain in the signal. The pedal would much more accurately called a Fuzz pedal. That being said, it's got a lot of charm. Unfortunately, the tone shaping is fairly minimal, especially compared to higher end pedals.

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