With a population just under 6 million, Denmark is one of the smallest countries in Europe. But if we measured each country’s size by how many pedals it sells, it would certainly be one of the largest, mostly because of stompbox powerhouse TC Electronic (the company was recently purchased by German Behringer, but still keeps its designing team in Denmark).

However, TC Electronic is not the only manufacturer contributing to Denmark’s guitar effect-iveness . Copenhagen based LunaStone has been making ears turn in recent years with some innovative gain pedals that have received flattering reviews.

On the manufacturer’s website, founder Steen Grøntved is very explicit on the company’s goals and modus operandi – we highlighted in bold some interesting sentences:

I want loads of transparency and sustain when I kick in a drive pedal. I want to hear my beloved amp and the nuances of my guitar, even at various pickup settings, through the drive. From subtle crunch to high gain, I want to be able to hear me. Because that is when I play my absolute best!

Therefore, I decided to start from scratch. I isolated every single component, played, listened, tuned and tweaked until I knew exactly how different transistors like JFETs, MOSFETs, BJTs, and a handful of classic op-amps and diodes, amplified and colored my guitar tone. Based on these intensive experiments and thorough listening sessions, I came up with a brand new design that I call TrueOverDrive™.

The most fundamental finding I made was that diode-clipping is not the answer when your goal is to create the ultimate overdrive tone. Interestingly, though, the vast majority of drive pedals are based on diode-clipping, so this is truly a major leap away from traditional designs.

In essence, my TrueOverDrive approach is based strictly on cascaded gain stages all the way from input to output. This way, it sounds and feels like a real tube amp overdriving the signal. The dynamics are similar to what you get from cranked tubes, and I can control so many tonal nuances with nothing but my fingers and the volume knob on my guitar. And most important of all, I can keep my sole focus on playing the music that I love.

Steen’s scientific approach to engineering seems to have birthed some interesting fruits! Here’s the Lunastone family in early 2017 (the Pusher Boost is the latest arrival). If you are going to NAMM at the end of January, you should check out their booth.