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SoundLad Liverpool original design, this is not a clone - Designed, hand wired, and assembled in Liverpool, UK

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Players notes - Original bass overdrive that aims to recreate the sound of John Lennon’s bass on “The White Album”, and expand on it for modern players. Belter Skelter presents players with a gig-ready, no nonsense, plug and play bass drive solution for plugging into the front of an amplifier or preamp. Because it was designed to re-create the tones of The White Album, Belter Skelter may be the only pedal on the market that was designed specifically, though not exclusively, with the Bass VI in mind. Great fun, simple controls (Gain, Tone, Volume), lots of classic and original sounds on tap, and you don’t have to be a sound engineer to know how to use it. Feels just as great in your chest as it does under your fingers. Absolute Belter.

Hailed as the first “Heavy Metal” song by some of the original metallers, Helter Skelter by The Beatles has it all; pounding drums, heavy guitars, loud vocals, a fat riff, simply put - blood sweat and tears on record. “I GOT BLISTERS ON ME FINGERS!”. And tying the whole thing together, John Lennon on bass.

During the recording sessions for the white album, John would pick up an unusual instrument from the Fender instrument company, the Bass VI, to lay down some support bass tracks. Without wanting to give a full history on the Bass VI, there’s plenty of videos on YouTube that will do just that, the Bass VI was Fender’s answer to the Danelectro UB-2, a 6 string electric bass. It quickly found use as a studio instrument to offer a complimentary top end tone to a double bass (Crazy by Patsy Cline) but also found a niche as an instrument in its own respects (The Man With The Golden Arm - Jet Harris).

It had 6 strings tuned E-e for a guitarist to easily pick up if needed, 3 individually selectable pickups, and a “strangle switch” that when on would remove the lows and create space for a double bass in the mix. John’s tone on the white album recordings can best be described as a very aggressive form of “Tic-Tac” bass, a phrase coined to describe the plinky, low bass, high attack twang of the bass guitar on country records of the late 50’s early 60’s, typified on “A Swingin’ Safari” by Bert Kaempfert. Pushing this low bass, strong attack sound hard with an old Fender Bassman during the recording sessions for the white album produced what many consider to be the first “Metal” bass sound. You heard it here first, John Lennon is the OG metal bass player. End of.

Belter Skelter takes those famous tones from Yer Blues, While My Guitar Gently Weeps, and Glass Onion, and uses them as a launch pad for a whole new style of bass overdrive that’s as simple to use as it is effective. Professional fit and finish, finely engineered original circuits, solid build quality, and distinctive designs are standard across the SoundLad Liverpool range, but for Belter Skelter we’ve pulled out all the stops and teamed up with Disney/Pixar/Dreamworks animator Dalton Grant (The SpongeBob Movie, Cars, Shrek 2) to bring some of our favourite characters from that album to life.

  • Internal charge pump for increased headroom

  • Reactive discreet overdrive path

  • Internal phase matching mixer

  • Bass VI mode

  • High Quality SMD and through hole components

  • Genuine Hammond enclosure

  • Painted, drilled, and printed by HammondMFG UK

  • Off board Input and Output Jacks & DC Jack

  • Off board True Bypass Switching

  • Fully ISO9001 and RoHS compliant

Runs on 9v Center Negative (Boss style) power supply  -  Current Draw: 40mA

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Belter Skelter has 3 controls and 4 preset switches that control two sides to the sound;

“John” - The main sound of the pedal. A discreet, flexible, and reactive bass overdrive that has been designed to sit perfectly in any mix. This side of Belter Skelter has a gain dial, tone dial, two switchable tone stacks, a mid-scoop selector, and the “strangle switch” from the Bass VI built in.

“Paul” - A fixed clean blend that has been specifically engineered to support the “John” side of Belter Skelter.

These internal signal paths have been pre-mixed and phase matched in the low end to provide a solid, easy to dial, cohesive bass sound that is perfect for beginners and professionals alike. The volume dial controls the overall output.

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Rocky is yer Gain control and sets the gain on the “John” path. What happens here depends a lot on which tonestack you use (preset switch 2), whether or not you have the “strangle switch” engaged (preset switch 1), if you have “Paul” activated (switch 4) and where the Piggie dial is set…but largely (assuming both sides of the pedal are on) this will act as a blend control for the Piggie (Tone) control in the early part of the dial and add grit as you go.

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Piggie is yer Tone control that adjusts the position of a mid cut in the “John” side of the circuit while also acting as a treble cut. You can adjust the frequency band of the mid-cut using switch 2 on the presets and the depth of the cut using switch 3. You will find that adjusting Piggie also contributes to the sound and intensity of the overdrive.

Bill is yer Volume control. Belter Skelter packs a fair punch with most of the volume you need for running into an amp or preamp between 8 and 11 o clock. We’re not really sure if bass players in general ever use boost circuits for slamming the front end of their amplifiers, in fact we rarely see valve bass amplifiers out there anymore…but if you did use a valve bass amplifier and if you do like to slam the front of it with a boost like we do, or wish to use it as a preamp to drive a power amp by plugging it into the FX Return, or send a line level signal into a passive DI, there’s a lot of fun to be had after 12 oclock.

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Lifted straight from the internals of a Bass VI, the strangle switch has been built into the “John” (Drive) side of the Belter Skelter to give a bass cut right at the start of the signal chain, just like it would be if it was on the guitar. For Bass VI users specifically it means you can keep your switch down for rich clean sounds while using this for the drive without having to reach down to adjust the “strangle switch”, and for everyone else it means you can thicken or tighten the gain as you see fit.

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Select between two tonestacks to set the overall sound of the drive. Up is yer high-mid cut (400-1000Hz) “works great with a load of guitars” type bass sound, heavy hitting on the bass and treble….down is yer grinding “three piece” low mid cut (200-450Hz).

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Up is a big cut, down is a small cut.

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The only control over the “Paul” (Clean blend) path you have, whether it is on or off. “Paul” has been engineered and mixed to provide a solid bass foundation for the “John” path. Uniquely, “Paul” is phase matched to “John”. Phase mismatching is one of the most common causes for a bass sounding “weak” or “thin” in the mix and it is common practice to phase match bass guitars with kick drums when in the studio. By matching the phase of the two paths Belter Skelter ensures that the full “chest feel” of the low end is preserved and the drive doesn’t “drop out” when engaged.

*Does not take batteries... stop using batteries you pigs!*

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