Guitar pedals can do a lot more than what we are used to, and London-based David Rainger has always shown an interest in expanding the stompboxes’ functionality (and shape) in new and intriguind directions. Enter the Rainger FX Break Box, an asymmetrical fuzz pedal that does a bunch of crazy things, including scratching!
The “normal” part of the Break Box is borrowed by the company’s El Distorto overdrive circuit, with an added Tonebender-style fuzz (or at least the “back half of it” whatever that means) just to get things overly gnarly. You can control that through the three small knobs on the top of the pedal: Vol, Tone and Gain. Things can get really loud and really fuzzy, but also punchy, bassy, and not as scooped as the typical Tonebender.
Under those three controls, there’s an (unexpected and as small) Chorus Speed knob. This works in a very interesting way: the chorus effect fades in after about one second after your last note was played, therefore remaining off on any riff or guitar part and only appearing – as if by magic – on sustained notes, adding a liquid spatial character, and also adding a little volume to the signal.
Finally, we get to the elephant in the room: the hip-hop-style scratching feature. A vinyl scratching-like sound can be triggered by stomping on the big black pad at the bottom of the pedal, and the sound’s pitch can be controlled through the Pitch knob. Apparently, the sound is not a sample, which makes us wonder how it gets generated.
If you wonder how this bizarre pedal sounds, we’ve got some videos for ya!
Rainger FX Break Box, Builder’s Notes
Break Box is a deceptively simple distortion pedal, with active sustain, and a record scratch trigger facility! Using our original El Distorto overdrive circuit, we’ve added the back half of a Tonebender circuit to end up with a deeply satisfying high intensity gain stompbox with colossal low end, plenty of mids a less ‘scooped’ sound than a Tonebender and searing highs.
And yet it’s incredibly quiet, noise-wise; when not playing, a noise gate quietly shuts off the hisses and buzzes you’d normally associate with this much drive.
About one second after the initial note attack, a chorus effect fades in adding a spatial element to the sound; from the up close chunk of the basic tone, it blooms into a room-like ambience. The speed of this chorus is adjustable, from a slowly churning grind to a fast psychowobble, and as this is added to the main sound it actively adds sustain; there’s a slight but noticeable building of the volume, with an excitement like a wave pushing you forwards…
To introduce this mighty sound to your audience, you can press and hold the turntable pad and turn your guitar into a trigger for a record scratch sound, like a DJ cueing up the guitar track that follows! The pitch/speed of this can also be controlled from a slow, hip-hop scratch to a fast, manic flick of the deck. The scratch itself is generated inside the pedal itself (not a recording). A slight random pitch variation keeps it sounding less ‘sampled’ and more human.
This unique distortion pedal includes…
• Focussed, tonally wide, high energy rock distortion sounds
• Tasty chorus swells on every held note and chord
• Over-the-top volume levels
• An unobtrusive noise gate – keeping things totally silent when they should be
• An amazing vinyl record scratch facility – guitar triggerable
• Hi/lo trigger sensitivity button
• Another Rainger FX custom asymmetric enclosure – with all top panel sockets