khdk-no1-overdrive-1-555x4931Perhaps some of the most sought-after tones of all time belong to heavy metal giants Metallica, specifically their lightning-fingered lead guitarist Kirk Hammett. One of their latest offerings from his new enterprise KHDK Electronics, the No.1 is fueled by a blend of transistor and op-amp design, an innovation becoming more common in the overdrive pedal world.

Cascading gain stages help achieve Kirk’s perfect sound, much like stacking two different pedals. The ‘Gain’ knob controls the gain related to the first stage, and the second Gain knob has dual functionality with the ‘Bass’ EQ control. It tailors the amount of low end in relation to the amount of gain being used. The ‘Hi/Lo’ switch directly affects the gain. ‘Lo’ is designed for warmer rhythm playing, ‘Hi’ for blazing leads and increased saturation.

While the No.1 excels at the thick, singing lead tones associated with its namesake, this pedal is useful for much more than heavy styles, and any player looking for a pick-sensitive ‘transparent’ overdrive might find just what they’re looking for. With a unique gain/EQ balance and hybrid design, the No.1 seems appropriately named. – Stoner