Why does the world need another tube screamer? Well, that is the question Jamie Stillman, the brains behind Earthquaker Devices asked himself before building what is now their spin on the classic overdrive/distortion, the Palisades. If I’m being honest with you all (and I’m not) I was never always a tube screamer player. I have owned several over the years and they didn’t always work well with my setup at the time. Maybe it was because I never ran a JCM800 like everyone else did? Who knows, but It always sounded good to me when others used them however I could never make it work with older setups. Eventually my tastes shifted and I wanted to try that sound once more. Luckily for me at the time of my Tube Screamer quest the Palisades was new and readily available. I tried it out amongst other overdrive/distortions and it was the clear cut winner and I have never looked back. It’s a staple on my pedal board with Tigers Jaw either if Im using unknown rental gear, or my trusty ’68 Bassman, Orange Dual Dark 100. Oh and you best believe it sounds REALLY F*CKING GOOD on any JMP or JCM800 that I run it through.
So, here are five reasons why you should at the very least try this pedal at your local guitar shop. I have convinced several other players into using this machine, so when I came to my senses about what pedal to talk about on this segment there really was no other option but the Palisades. I freaking love this pedal. Okay, so for starters…
It Has Over 480 Options For Tone, Thats A LOT of Tone!
Hold on a second and let me reiterate that statement. This all analog computer of an overdrive has 480 tone options. That is INSANE, and probably overwhelming for most players (myself included). However when you break down what everything does it’s not so bad. Well technically it has more than 480 tone options but we are only talking about the numbers of configurations with five- and six-position rotary switches, two stomp switches (not including bypass), and a pair of two-position toggles, giving us the answer to the meaning of life. 42. Its actually only 42 settings.
No, actually its 6 x 5 x 2 x 2 x 2 x 2 = 480 (do you trust me?)
So lets break this down shall we? This box has a rotary switch labeled “Voice” for six different clipping diode configurations: lift, silicon, asymmetrical silicon, MOSFET, LED and Schottky. In simpler terms these diodes clip the signal at different levels, adding compression. For example Lift or “no diodes” has little to no compression. On the other side of the pedal is the “Bandwidth” rotary with five different input capacitors ranging from 33nF to 10uF. Position five being an enormous and wide open sound.The rest of the pedal is a little more simple with two stomp switches for gain, and a third switch for an added boost.Volume and Tone controls like a standard Tube Screamer would have. If you use humbuckers such as myself the bright switch should most likely be turned onto to get rid of the muddiness of the pickups. And last but not least is the switchable input buffer switch which really doesn’t give a noticeable different when its on or off but instead leaves you with a certain “feel” when you’re really rocking. Sure.
The only sort of downside with this is that the Boost switch doesn’t work on its own, meaning that the first stomp switch has to be engaged in order for the boost signal to work. It’s not a huge problem really, if you want to boost your signal even more than you have a serious ego.
It leaves you with more real estate on your Pedalboard
Theoretically if you had this on your board you probably don’t need any other type of dirt pedal. But that all depends on what your setup is. But if you’re anything like me Im constantly adding pedals into my chain to see how they interact with one another. Currently (that means as I am typing this) I am running a Keisman Klon clone before anything else, straight into my amp to add a little more sparkle and warmth. Then I use the Palisades to really push into creamery overdrive and sometimes fuzz like tones with the boost and second gain stage engaged. My guess is that you can easily get away with just this pedal as your main source of overdrive/distortion if you need to save some real estate for more unique pedals on your board. But like I said before, have fun with using other preamps/clean boosts before and/or after the Palisades and see what best suites your tastes and needs.
Easy To Dial In With Any Guitar/Amp Configuration
You’re probably thinking “With over 480 options it sure as shit better work with my setup”. This seems like a no brainer really but its such a fun pedal to make work with whatever you have. I myself often switch between a lot of different style of guitars and amps when I am home because I never know what mood I’m in. Right now my favorite setup while at home practicing is a ’68 Princeton Reverb -> Klon Clone (clean boost) -> Palisades -> Tomkat Violet Muffer -> MXR Carbon Copy -> Boss RV-5 plugged right into a Telecaster. And when I want that Humbucker sound I switch that bright switch to ON and plug in my Les Paul and Im pretty much good to go.
It has been proven already in this article how much you’re getting in one pedal. You’re getting essentially two gain stages and a boost added on top of all that in one clean white enclosure. And If you’re no dummy and buy this pedal used you can find them from anywhere from $170-$195. But if you like shiny and new in the extremely valuable cardboard box, untouched by anyone but the magicians over at Earthquaker, they go for $250.00 out the door. Still not a bad price at all.
Only The Coolest People Use This Awesome Machine
Okay I really couldn’t think of a fifth reason as to why this pedal is so good other than the fact that anyone that I’ve met or known to use this pedal is really, really cool (myself included). Chances are you’re still probably pretty cool if you don’t use this but you’re not AS cool. To really let this point come across even more, can you turn on two gain pedals and a boost with one foot? If you have a looper than your answer is yes, but if you don’t then its probably really hard. Right? No? Well shit.
Alright so there you have it, my very first legit (Ha!) and well thought out (HA!) pedal review. Let me know if this helped you in your quest for new tone, or if it was actually straight bullshit of a read. If you want more reviews, let me know what you want me to play and i’ll play the shit out of it. Please leave your opinions/thoughts in the comment section below and if you end up purchasing one of these cool units let me know what your thoughts about it. If you hate it and you want to blame me for pressuring you into this then I will claim absolute zero responsibility for your dumb actions.