The Solar Chug, a high gain preamp with gate, is the first pedal released by Ola Englund’s Solar Guitars brand, and no name would have been more appropriate than that, since the guitarist hosts a popular YouTube series called “Will It Chug?”
Created, as expected, with the heavy guitarist in mind, the Chug was designed to replace the High Gain preamplifier circuit channel in your amp. The amount of gain it offers is enormous (which bodes well for chugging), and so are the sculpting and dynamic options thanks to four two-mode knobs with concentrical controls.
The EQ section here is rather remarkable: there’s basically a 5-way (!!) EQ section with Bass and Depth for the low end grouped in the top-left knob, a regular Mids knob, a Treble and Presence for the high end bundled in the top-right knob.
But that’s not it, because the Gain section is also contributing to the sculpting of the tone: it consists of another one of these concentrical knobs with a Low-Frequency Gain and a High-Frequency Gain. This means that your signal is split in two and is then sent to two different gain circuits, one dealing with high frequencies and the other with low ones. This configuration allows for an almost unheard range of sculpting options for a compact pedal.
There are two more of these concentrical knobs, one for Gate and Cut, which respectively sets the threshold and the amount of volume attenuated when that threshold is reached.
And for those wondering if the pedal actually “chugs,” the answer is utterly unnecessary… Ola is here to prove it in the pedal’s presentation video.
Solar Chug Preamp, Builder’s Notes
Welcome your CHUG Life. The Chug Pedal is born from years of testing thousands of pedals, amplifiers and plugins to create a unique perspective resulting in the Ultimate Metal Preamp Pedal, simply and effectively named: CHUG.
The CHUG pedal circuit has been optimally voiced as a “pre-amp”. This means that it is designed to take the place of the High Gain preamplifier circuit channel in a guitar amplifier. The signal starts by passing through a network of High Frequency and Low Frequency filters while offering the ability to add an enormous amount of Gain and overdrive. Equalization options are extensive with Bass, Middle and Treble controls preceding Depth and Presence for true amplifier feel. A keenly programmed noise Gate fed by the input signal and indicated by change in color of the LED is followed by the output that works like a master volume. It is housed in an all metal “built like a tank” enclosure with top quality jacks and switches. Power supply is not included (9VDC 100MA minimum). The sound, flexibility and overall style has been supremely tailored for maximum CHUG!