Gear talk for the GAS-afflicted.

Mad Professor Golden Cello (Fuzz + Delay) – a mad good idea!

Mad Professor Golden Cello (Fuzz + Delay) – a mad good idea!

May 5, 2013

How is it that no one has ever thought to combine an overdrive and a delay pedal together? Well, Mad Professor from Finland have done just that – and by god, it’s a game changer.

As the name implies, the Golden Cello is meant to give you sweet, smooth, violin/cello style lead tones, packed with singing harmonics, and with a lush tape echo/delay sound behind it.

The rumour is that the 100lb cello tone this pedal alludes to is that of one Eric Johnson, otherwise known as the most pedantic gearhound in the world. This is the dude who swears that he can hear the difference in tone between brands of batteries, or types of screws in his guitar cabinets.

Well… as usual, I’m a bit weird, and I’m going to get this right out in the open… I’m not really a fan of Eric Johnson. The usual caveat that he can play the pants off me applies (though I’d prefer if he kept my pants on, but that’s personal preference), but his tones and style have never particularly resonated with me. So I guess I’d like to think that I’m going into this with a fairly open mind, without a lot of expectations.

What’s in the box, Prof?

The controls are straight forward:

  • Delay
  • Drive
  • Volume
  • Tone

I don’t think any of those require explanation. Come on, you’re smarter than that I know it. I have faith in you.

But let’s talk about these controls a little anyway.

Delay is a sort of combination control that seems to affect both the level, and number of repeats. Barring that, you are NOT able to fudge with the delay time – it’s set for a very classic, huge sounding arena rock solo timing. I think I might have read something about an internal control for the delay time, but I’m not one to screw with stuff like that.

Drive controls the amount of gain and fuzz you get. It can be turned completely off, so in theory you could use this as a tape delay pedal alone. Oh, I forgot to mention that the same goes for the Delay control – you can turn it right off, so you get fuzz only. To be honest, neither one by itself is particularly astonishing – but put them together, and it’s freaking magic.

Volume obviously is the overall level that gets sent to your amp. I found that the gain isn’t very high on this – with the Volume maxed out, it’s only really hovering around unity gain. This is a slight disadvantage, in the case that you want your soaring lead to be accompanied by a huge kick in the pants volume-wise.

Tone is really like a treble control. It doesn’t do drastic things, but I liked having it at 12 o’clock and above to ensure a bit more “cut” to your tone. After all, who cares about kick-ass tone if doesn’t go through the mix?

Instru-mental \m/

I liked this pedal so much that I decided to do something a little different this time. I noticed that most of the demos on the internet showcase lead playing with the Golden Cello, which is of course completely justified, as that’s the main focus of the pedal. But I found myself wondering… other than widdly widdly, what ELSE might this be able to do?

So  I decided that I would write an instrumental track, with all the guitar parts played through the Golden Cello, on various different settings.

Before you take a listen, let’s step through what tones I used on this track (which I’m undecided about naming – anyone want to suggest some after listening to it??):

  • Delay only.  What you’ll hear straight up, is the GC with Drive on zero, and the delay control fairly maxed, to get a chiming, spacey, ambient tone. 
  • Little bit o’ drive, little bit o’ delay. When the “verse” melody kicks in, the Drive control is set just before noon, and about the same for Delay.
  • Epic solo tone. Most of the “lead” bits have the Drive almost maxed out, and the Delay around noon or just after.
  • Just drive. I used this for the rhythm guitars in the bridge – nothing to shout about, but in a pinch, a usable rhythm fuzz tone. As expected from a fuzz, you can’t really get a lot of “chunk” out of it, so best stay away from palm muting and just try to create big wall of fuzz sounds.

I played my Peavey Wolfgang, into the Line 6 DT25 set on JTM45 mode, as clean as I could get it – so all the drive you’re hearing is coming from the pedal itself.

Okay… check it out!! I’d love to hear what you think, it’s the first time I’ve sat down to write an instrumental, and I’m reasonably happy with the way it turned out! Let me know what you think I should call it…


Well that’s all.. but that’s AWESOME.

That’s all I have to say about it. I love this pedal. It’s instant epic solo tone in a box. Only downside is that the volume control doesn’t really go much past unity, so you can’t really use it as a huge solo boost.

It’s a Guitar Center and Musician’s Friend exclusive, so you can’t buy it from any other retailers at the moment. You can find it second hand on eBay and such though obviously.

I’m gonna go ahead and give this mofo an awesome 4.0 F*ck Yeahs – only slight points off for the volume thing, and the fact that (well, like most fuzzes) it can get a little lost in the mix if you’re not careful.

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