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Old 10-31-2017, 09:41 AM
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Bob Womack Bob Womack is offline
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Default Review: BK Butler Tube Driver



You know, there are some things in this world that we take far to long to try out for ourselves. The Tube Driver was one of them for me. After tracking one down, I've let the honeymoon phase pass and tried it out with a bunch of guitar/amp/? combinations and in various gain situations and have gotten a good feel for this rather excellent tool. Read my review, HERE.

Bob
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Old 10-31-2017, 05:01 PM
muscmp muscmp is offline
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very well written bob. you'll have to include some sound samples eventually.

i know what you mean by the complications and the impedance problems, as mine gets a hum when i back off my guitar's volume knob until about 7 or 8. i'll have to test different pedals before and after it.

play music!
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Old 10-31-2017, 07:13 PM
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Great review Bob, I am not a pedal guy as such but your reviews are always the best! -- Darwin
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Old 11-01-2017, 08:02 AM
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Originally Posted by Darwin View Post
Great review Bob, I am not a pedal guy as such but your reviews are always the best! -- Darwin
You know, I really hate pedals too. If I could, I'd do everything with a guitar, amp, and cord.

Bob
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Old 11-02-2017, 10:27 AM
Dru Edwards Dru Edwards is offline
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Hi Bob, I had a quick look at your review but given that it's so in depth I bookmarked it for a thorough read later. I've read other reviews you've written in the past and you always do a great job.
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Old 11-02-2017, 11:07 AM
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very well written bob.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dru Edwards View Post
Hi Bob, I had a quick look at your review but given that it's so in depth I bookmarked it for a thorough read later. I've read other reviews you've written in the past and you always do a great job.
Thanks, guys!

Bob
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Old 11-02-2017, 12:53 PM
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Nice review. Now I'm tempted to get on the list

Last edited by Kerbie; 11-29-2017 at 04:16 AM. Reason: Removed masked profanity
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:22 AM
M Sarad M Sarad is online now
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Interesting...
I have had the Chandler version since 95. Seems the bias is cranked way up.
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Old 11-12-2017, 11:44 AM
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BK ships the current Bias Mod units with the knob set roughly where Eric Johnson keeps his, and that is here:



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Old 11-28-2017, 01:57 AM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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When I saw this, I was actually kinda hoping it was regarding the BK Butler TubeDriver amps, which have the same circuit in them as the pedal (except lacking the external bias adjust), used as a preamp. I have a couple of these and they're real sleepers and one can still find them for well under $300.00 (for a long time they were widely available for about $100 bucks). I found one pic I have showing the amp with some other stuff...the other amp is the earlier, black-face/yellow lettering version...this one is the white with black lettering version (lower left-hand corner of the pic)...



These are the TD 752 version, with a 100 watt mosfet power amp. Butler's genius with these is that he sort of reverse-engineered the response characteristics of tube amps and came up with a mosfet design tailored for guitar...something he called 'Mosvalve'...very tube-like, and one of the first hybrid amps out there.

With that great distortion circuit in front of the mosfet power amp, they get a surprisingly tube-like warmth and they absolutely love pedals. Without the Tubedriver circuit switched in, they get a very respectable, big clean tone that is perfect for manipulating with pedals, or in my case, an old Line 6 POD. I tend to use the TD circuit as a mildly distorted boost, which works very well if you swap out the 12ax7 tube for something with a bit more clean headroom and/or attenuated mids (very easy to do). It's great for punching out in a live mix for solos. That's another great thing about the design of both the pedal and the amp...it is very little trouble to customize the type of overdrive, insane shred, soft bluesy burr, or a beeatch of an old Marshall, with a simple, single tube swap.

I finally wore out the custom Eminence (Legend-ish) speakers that came in those amps and replaced them, one with a Celestion V30 and the other with one of the newer Celestion 'V-series'; in both cases the tone is much improved. For live use I also use an Avatar 1x12 closed back extension cab with a V30. For some gigs I use both amps, driven off the stereo outputs of the POD for a big, spacious feel.

I've never found a more practical amp...versatile, consistent, rugged, LOUD as hell, musical sounding and lightweight (about 26lbs). I've taken my Supro Titan to a few gigs; the Supro is a great sounding little amp, usually, but in some rooms it just isn't as easy to dial in the tone I need. I have NEVER had that problem with the TD-752s.
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Last edited by maxtheaxe; 11-30-2017 at 12:04 AM.
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  #11  
Old 11-28-2017, 09:13 AM
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I've often wondered about those little amps. A few years ago a friend of mine was given a two-box rack rig containing a Marshall JMP-1 preamp, a Rocktron Intelliflex 24-bit Intelligent Effects Processor, a Digitech IPS33B Super Harmony Machine, a Rocktron MIDI Mate MIDI Foot Controller with a road case full of patch cords, and germane to this discussion, a Tube Works MV-962 MosValve Power Amp. That's an 80 watt per channel stereo version of the MosValve technology. A friend of his had bailed out of the rack electric guitar scene for a combo amp and just handed him everything.


My friend had no use for any of it so he gave it to me. The rig provided hours of fun creating all the cool '80s and '90s rack sounds.

Bob
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Old 11-29-2017, 02:59 AM
maxtheaxe maxtheaxe is offline
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They still come up from time to time...Reverb, Ebay, etc, although they're usually asking a bit more for them now...$200 to $300 range. Still, for what these are it' a great deal. The BK Butler stuff is all high quality, handmade in the USA, and for an aging rocker north of 60 years old with bad knees I really appreciate how lightweight they are.

They are also very reliable...still gigging with the one I bought in about '91, with no issues. About 4 years ago, one of these came up on consignment at a nearby music store and I pounced on it...$125.00...just to have a spare...I keep one at home and the other at our rehearsal space. I immediately replaced the speaker with the Celestion V-series, not that there was anything wrong with the stock Eminence.

BTW, they still have documentation (manuals, schematics) for these at Genz-Benz, which company bought out Tubeworks about 15 years ago.

I just googled these and found one that sold about a year ago on Reverb for under $200. Incidentally, the heads (TD-752ES) are pretty nice too, although they're asking a bit more for them when I see them. Sellers also tend to ask a premium for the ones with tweed tolex.
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