How will this switchable, boosted Blues Breaker fit into a rig that is clearly lacking a transparent drive?
Cost & Overview: $120.00 new from SPS Pedal’s Reverb Shop! (Affiliate link)
Part of my favorite thing about Instagram is that you can discover a new gear brand every single day. Whether it is a pedal company, amp maker, or overseas guitar manufacturer, I’m constantly scouting out gear that I think is worthy of attention. That’s how this SPS Pedal’s Local 2609 pedal ended up in my hands, and I think it is a company and transparent overdrive that is well worth your time. The Local 2609 is based on the legendary Blues Breaker circuit, except with a slightly boosted bass bump and a larger volume boost to help keep the pedal at unity or higher with an amp. SPS Pedals also added a mini toggle switch that lets you choose between a more stock vintage mode, and a higher gain setting that isn’t necessarily a distortion, but takes you into a crunchier, brighter gain stage. Aside from those modifications, you have standard overdrive controls like volume, tone, and gain, and a pedalboard friendly standard enclosure size. It’ll take your standard 9v power adaptor with ease, and you’re pretty much off to the races after that! Extra points for the very convenient top mounted jacks!
Review & Opinion:
Immediately upon plugging in the Local 2609 I realized this pedal can add some serious sparkle as a sort of clean/light drive boost. It really shined on top of single coils, helping to create a more 3-dimensional sound that was a joy to play (see end of the demo). This was arguably my favorite use of the Local 2609, which isn’t far out of the realm of what most people use transparent drives for. However, the more gain-rich tones are great as well, with very sensitive controls letting you go from slight dirt to borderline distortion with the toggle switch and gain knob. While I liked the “stock” Blues Breaker mode with the gain turned up, I think the higher gain “modded” mode is far superior. To my ears, the stock mode was really just a good boost and a perfectly acceptable but uninspiring overdrive. However, the higher gain sounds totally come to life and had me excited to play with the Local 2609. To me, it thickened up the sound considerably which is arguably the most important thing a drive pedal can do for lead lines. This boosted Blues Breaker cut through the mix, added a ton of shine to my guitar signal, and was easy to dial in good sounds with. I see two types of players getting the most out of the Local 2609, those who want a light gain boost to keep always on, or those who need a transparent overdrive to push their tube amp into crunch. SPS Pedal’s Local 2609 can work wonderfully for both, and I think the versatility it provides should make it a great candidate for live/gigging pedalboards where you want your pedal to be able to do multiple things if needed.
Conclusion & Final Score: 7 out of 10
As someone who doesn’t use a lot of transparent overdrives, it was refreshing to connect with this pedal so easily. At a barely boutique price point, with versatile controls, there is a lot to really like here even if a Blues Breaker isn’t my go-to form of overdrive. And maybe most importantly, the pedal seems to be really well built, with clean wiring and soldering on the inside, and no discernible buzz or hum when engaged. I do think anyone looking for a Blues Breaker should consider this before shelling out more money for something fancier or more well known. Likewise, the subtle improvements on the original circuit make this a good choice for vintage Blues Breaker fans who have had enough of the low output and bass cut at high gain. I’m curious to see some more SPS Pedal stuff roll across my board, because I think they’ve clearly got some good ideas on how to improve classic circuits, maybe a Tube Screamer or Fuzz will be more up my alley as well. Either way, I can strongly recommend this and look forward to using it on top of Strat single coils!