While the cutting-edge pedal manufacturers of today are busy in a competition involving packing more and more features in increasingly smaller enclosures, some smaller up-and-coming builders defy this shrinking trend with ginormous (but great-looking) devices. Valco belongs to this category.
The Five-O is their latest release, a beast of a pedal that features a tasteful blend of the most classic of guitar effects: Drive, Tremolo and Reverb.
Built with the goal of creating the perfect pedal for surf music, the Valco Five-O organizes the three effects in vertical sections each with its own footswitch.
The Drive offers the classic “brown sound” voicing emulating the tone of a saturated amp channel, with a Tone control that can add some bite for a more present sound.
The Tremolo is an analog 4-wave circuit based on the Fulltone SupaTrem circuit (that’s a company that deserves to be cloned, so we are totally cool with that!). The three waves are for sine, triangle, square, and random square.
As you may expect, the Reverb circuit is an emulation of a spring reverb but with an added ‘plate’ reverb, and features a Pre knob that lets you route the Reverb section to the front of the chain, opening up some interesting sonic options.
Hear the sound of the Valco Five-O in the videos below.
The Valco Five-O is a multi 3-in-1 pedal, containing independent Drive, Tremolo, and Reverb sections, all housed in a bombproof enclosure.
Conceived originally for giving “surf in a box” tones (Dick Dale/Ventures), it has become more than this through the development process… it’s a pedal that can easily give you a one-pedal setup at a gig or session (maybe add a tuner…), or it can add a whole host of extra sounds and versatility to your existing rig/pedalboard.
DRIVE- ‘Brown Sound’ in it’s voicing/tonality, it’s a natural sounding/amp-like overdrive circuit. Based on the Drive section from the Valco BloodBuzz, but with increased gain. The tone control has an EQ roll-off- neutral at 12 o’clock, adding high end rolls off bass frequencies enabling ‘biting’ rhythm and lead sounds.
TREMOLO- analog 4-wave tremolo, based on the original Fulltone SupaTrem circuit. The ‘SHORT SQUARE’ wave allows for sharp/staccato sounds while the ‘SINE’ wave offers mellow/gentle sounds, with everything in between available.
REVERB- the Five-O reverb is ‘spring’ voiced at its core but with added ‘plate’ reverb. Usable at all knob position extremes, it’s secret weapon is the ‘PRE’ function. ‘PRE’ allows you to route the Reverb section to the front of the fx chain, so the signal chain becomes REV-DRIVE-TREM, opening up another world of sonic capabilities… adding Trem to long Reverb tails, or feeding Reverb into Drive to bolster lead sounds, or just allowing you to get experimental and let the pedal make music!