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GUITAR TONE IS ROCKET SCIENCE!—Vintage, high voltage, vacuum tube technology harnessed to create radical effects pedals!

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Merry Christmas!


We’d like to take this opportunity to express our sincere gratitude to all the guitarists, sound engineers and musicians that have supported us. Thank you for your trust and belief in us – without you Effectrode wouldn’t be Effectrode! Wishing everyone peace and prosperity in the New Year. Phil & Sam

Secrets of the Tube Alchemists


[The photograph above shows a jar of barium carbonate and pure nickel ingots—the essential ingredients required to make a tube] Well not so much alchemy as chemistry, and physics too, and, even worse, maths. It turns out all those mind numblingly boring subjects my teachers worked so hard to drum into me during my school days are of vital significance to guitar tone. But as an 11 year old boy, … Read More →

Blackbird Nominated best Drive Effects Gear of the Year Awards

Gear of the Year Guitarist Magazine

We’re delighted that ‘Guitarist’ magazine have picked the Blackbird vacuum tube preamp for The Best Drive Effects Category. They said, “It’s exceptionally quiet with almost inaudible hiss and hum levels. The drive effects cover the full spectrum of vintage and modern tones, going from Dumble-like smoothness to a more aggressive bite with practically endless sustain.” The Blackbird preamp raises the bar to an unprecedented new level – guitarists now have … Read More →

Five Fast Facts About the PC-2A Compressor


The PC-2A is the ‘go-to’ compressor for guitarists Adrian Legg and David Gilmour. In fact Adrian and David’s tech (the other Phil Taylor) were involved in audio testing the PC-2A in it’s early days. You can hear the PC-2A’s signature smooth, velvet sound on their albums and the Pink Floyd’s latest album “The Endless River”. The PC-2A utilises a tiny vintage tube to do its stuff. These tubes were manufactured … Read More →

How Tubes Work in Plain English


The purpose to this short post is to explain how a vacuum tube (electronic valve) works in no nonsense, straightforward terms. Here goes… We all understand how a flashlight works. When it’s switched on an electrial current (electrons) flows from the battery through the thin metal wire (the filament) inside the glass lightbulb causing the filament to heat up and emit light. Light is actually composed of particles called photons, … Read More →

What? Mullard Tubes made in India


Mullard’s empire had a long and mighty reach. Not only did they build advanced tube manufacturing facilities in Blackburn, Southport, Mitcham in Great Britain, but also set up tube plants overseas in Holland, France, and even the distant shores of Japan (Matsushita), Australia (Philips Miniwatt, Hendon, Alberton) and India (BEL, Bangalore). These ‘foreign made’ tubes were manufactured utilising Dutch Philips/Mullard British-supplied tooling and expertise (“transfer of Technology” or “TOT”), which … Read More →

Project ‘X’ a.k.a. the Ultimate Leveling Amplifier… in a Pedal!

The Ultimate Leveling Amplifier

We’ve secretly been developing a vacuum tube leveling amplifier pedal which is now in production. The driving force behind this project has been customer requests for a four knob version of our legendary PC-2A photo-optical tube compressor to include attack and knee knobs. We also wanted to add some other really cool features, these include balanced transformer isolated output, gain pad, tube boost, dynamic equaliser and parallel tube input stage … Read More →

Tubes and Guitar Tone – It’s All In The Cathode


The solid-body guitar, magnetic pickup, loudspeaker, output transformer and electron tube are the stuff of rock ‘n’ roll and rock music—without these cornerstones guitar tone as we know it would not exist. Moreover, tubes are considered by many to be the heart of any self-respecting guitar amplifier as they perform the task of boosting (amplifying) the small signal from the guitar pickup so that it can drive a loudspeaker to … Read More →

Tubes: The Old Verses the New


As an electric guitarist, it’s probably a safe bet to assume you’re constantly seeking that edge that will give you the ultimate tone—this kind of OCD seems to go with territory and I wouldn’t be exaggerating at all if I told this search is what drove me to begin building effects pedals in the first place. And as guitarists we’re all aware that tubes are the sonic foundation of many … Read More →

Mullard Southport Factory Visit


Mullard Limited was a British manufacturer of electronic components and vacuum tubes. In their heyday they had factories in Mitcham, Blackburn, Fleetwood and Southport. As part of our ‘Secrets of Guitar Tone’ series Effectrode visits one of Mullard’s long shut-down electronic component works in Southport to investigate what remains of Mullard’s Empire of Rust…