Cruiser - Lazy J Projects
Effects Pedal
£205 review
Lazy J
A truly great-sounding booster/overdrive is the majority of guitarists’
desert island pedal. How has high-end amplifier maker Jesse Hoff
tackled this most touchy of challenges? Review by Hayden Hewitt
pedal with headroom
settings. 9 volt power or
battery (supplied).
Made in the UK
Controls :Gain, Drive,
Sat, Volume
Price: £205
Lazy J Projects
0843 289 4089
here’s no doubt that the
retro overdrive pedal market
is currently vibrant, to say
the least. Not a minute seems
to go by without yet another builder
claiming to have found the holy grail
of valve tone goodness, often with
hand-painted daisies or suchlike all over
the front. It takes something special to
stand out from the crowd these days –
and the Cruiser is certainly special.
Jesse Hoff will be known to readers
of this magazine as the expat American
responsible for Lazy J amps. First
he built the Lazy J 20, a 5E3 tweed
Deluxe-inspired combo that nabbed our
coveted Best Amp Over £1000 prize just
last year; then he upped the volume
stakes with the Lazy J 80, a tweed Twinalike with gobs of power on tap. And
why should you sully the signal path
’twixt your best guitar and your Lazy J
amp with anything but a pedal built by
the same maker?
The genesis of the Cruiser pedal
dates back to the mid ’90s, when Hoff
decided he wanted a clean boost to
drive his amps at a lower, more clubfriendly volume. With that achieved,
the pedal design evolved according to
needs and suggestions, leaving us with
the Cruiser as the boost and overdrive
pedal we have before us today.
On the front of the pedal everything is
kept nice and simple with input Gain,
Drive, Sat (saturation) and Volume
knobs. Turning down the Drive knob
fully removes both it and the Sat knob
from the equation, leaving you with the
boost side of the pedal. This done, you’ll
find that there’s a large amount of clean
boost available even with the input gain
set low, which can really beef up the
clean tones on the amp. Dialing in more
input gain slowly adds a little hair to the
sound, giving a very musical breakup.
Like this?
Try this...
The Cruiser is not a high-gain pedal,
more an organic overdrive which seems
to mimic amp breakup remarkably well
Having control over the input gain is
an unusual feature on a pedal, but one
that seems so obvious – whether you’re
giving your vintage Telecaster some
extra teeth or backing off your highgain pickups.
Bringing in the Drive knob slowly
introduces the overdrive aspect of the
Cruiser. This is not a high-gain pedal,
more an organic overdrive which seems
to mimic amp breakup remarkably well.
Even at extreme settings with your
low strings dissolving into a huge fuzz
breakdown, the upper registers retain a
singing tone so thick you could chew it.
Lastly we come to the Sat knob,
which has three settings that affect the
headroom, clipping, and compression
of the pedal. From right to left you
have maximum headroom, increased
headroom, and finally low headroom
with soft clipping. Turned to the low
headroom setting, the Cruiser feels as
if you are playing through an absolutely
cranked valve amplifier. That’s how
complete the aural illusion is.
The Cruiser is a deliciously addictive
pedal which delivers on all counts. If
you like having everything from massive
cleans through to filthy fuzz all in one
pedal, then you’ll love it.
final score
Lazy J Cruiser
Build Quality
Carl Martin
Hot Drive’n Boost
Now on its third
incarnation, this
ever-popular pedal delivers
healthy boost and bags of
warm overdrive and carries
its reputation well.
Stylistically, it’s a little
more rock than retro
RRP: £149 approx
Xotic Effects
Custom Shop AC Comp
Boost Overdrive Pedal
The chaps at Xotic know a
thing or two about heavenly
low gain tones. Combined
with a booster, this pedal is
a very solid package with
some great sounds inside
RRP: £199 approx
Rothwell Audio
Two gain modes and plenty
of boost from a UK-made
pedal which can push a
little further into hard rock
Value for money
territory but also offers
plenty of flexibility
RRP: £149 approx
June 2011 Guitar & Bass 97
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