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Jackson Audio Belle Starr Overdrive Pedal

Overview by GAK

The Belle Starr overdrive is the result of a fruitful collaboration between premium pedal builders Jackson Audio and acclaimed guitarist Drew Shirely (of the band Switchfoot). This fantastic stompbox accurately captures the characteristically smooth and inspiring tone of a small low-wattage valve amp that’s cranked up.

Cranked Amp Tone

At the heart of the Jackson Audio Belle Starr’s tone is its low to medium gain overdrive circuit, which delivers a spot-on recreation of the sound of a dimed low-wattage valve amp. Running small amps wide-open is an essential part of Drew Shirley’s jaw-dropping tone and with the Belle Starr, you can experience that inspiring sound without incurring a noise complaint! Jackson Audio and Drew Shirley spent several months tweaking & dialling in the Belle Starr, which included using it with a wide variety of amp types - including Marshall, Fender, Vox and Jackson Audio’s own amps. This means the Belle Starr will sound great no matter what kind of amplifier you pair it with.

A key part of the Belle Starr’s wonderfully natural expressive overdrive that’s akin to a small, non-negative feedback amp is a proprietary clipping circuit, which utilises MOSFET transistors instead of standard silicon diodes. An advantage of using MOSFET transistors in a clipping circuit is an ultra-smooth tone that’s very reminiscent of an actual guitar amp.

Versatile Controls

The Belle Starr’s Gain control presents a lot of tonal flexibility. When the Gain is fully counter-clockwise and the other knobs are at noon, the Belle Starr presents a totally transparent boost. In this way, you can use the Belle Starr as a potent tone-enhancer & sculptor by using the beautifully-voiced EQ controls to boost/cut low frequencies (Body, active EQ circuit) & high frequencies (Tone, passive circuit that acts like the Cut knob on a Vox amp). Both the Body and Tone knobs feature centre detents, which makes it easy to jump back to a flat response with no colouring. Once you’ve got set up your sound, you can use the Volume control as a full-on booster that can drive the front-end of your amp or other dirt pedals to yield extra saturation.

As you start to turn up the Gain knob, you gradually transition from pristine clean to a subtle medium gain without any wild jumps in dynamic response. When the Gain knob is fully clockwise, you’ve got a spot-on emulation of a small amp that’s fully cranked.

Extra Headroom, Premium Build

Jackson Audio have enabled the Belle Starr to run at both a traditional 9V or at 18V for additional headroom & dynamic response. Throw in a robust USA-made chassis that’s ready to withstand the rigours of constant stomping and mechanical true bypass switching and you have yourself one well-built, great-sounding overdrive pedal.

If you love the liquid-smooth and dynamic tone of a small valve amp that’s pushed to its limits, we highly recommend plugging into a Jackson Audio Belle Starr.

  • Low/Mid Gain Overdrive pedal
  • Smooth and natural breakup style of non-negative feedback amps
  • Unique clipping circuit featuring MOSFET transistors instead of silicon diodes
  • Tiny footprint and top mounted jacks - for ease of pedalboard mounting
  • Powered by 9-18 V DC PSU (centre -, 2.1mm, ~ 20 mA current draw)

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