The Vertex Steel String Supreme SRV Mini is the latest iteration of the company’s Dumble-in-a-box line of pedals, inspired by the lesser-known Dumble Steel String Singer amp (while most D-Style pedals are voiced after the more popular Special Overdrive amp).
The original, extremely rare, insanely expensive Steel String Singer is a clean, single-channel amplifier with reverb and several tone-sculpting features, including three-channel EQ, Low and High filters, and three tone switches (Bright, Deep and Rock/Jazz). It produces a sound often described as glassy, warm, and tight in the low end – the foundation of the so-called “Texas Tone.”
Blues legend Stevie Ray Vaughan adopted it in the ’80s as his many amp. The Californian pedal company didn’t hesitate to use the star’s initial for this pedal line, although camouflaging the acronym under the “Slight Return Version” label.
While the “non-mini” (aka, “Supreme) version of the Vertex SRV closely recreates the controls of a particularly sought-after mod of the original amp minus the reverb section, with an added EQ footswitch, this “mini” version (which is not really enclosed in a mini case but a compact one), sacrifices the EQ section and two out of three switches, delivering a more essential, no-frills Steel String-inspired overdrive – at a more affordable price.
The Level, Gain and Filter knobs, together with the signature Rock/Jazz toggle switch, give the player plenty of D-Style tonal options, at something like one-millionth of the price of an amplifier the circuit is voiced after.
We added the SSS Mini RSV to our article about the best D-Style pedals.
Vertex Steel String Supreme SRV Mini, Builder’s Notes
Based on Steve Ray’s Legendary Dumble Clean Tone
When it comes to SRV-style glassy clean and fat lead tones, the Vertex Effects Steel String SSS SRV (Slight Return Version) Mini — based on serial #001 of a legendary six-figure Dumble Steel String Singer — may be one of the BEST ways to impart D-style clean tone to your favorite amplifier.
The Dumble amplifier we used to voice the Steel String series pedal, SSS #001:
Whether you’re front-ending a stage amp with the SSS SRV Mini’s expanded midrange control via the “Filter” knob or glassier highs and fatter lows via the Rock/Jazz switch, this pedal is guaranteed to put a smile on your face. Just like the amp it’s named after, the Steel String SSS SRV Mini is characterized by a fat and glassy tones sound that absolutely marinates signals in tubelike harmonics as you ramp up the gain with plenty of available top end “glass” and a little more low-end “snap” compared to the original Steel String MKII. From subtle fattening and clean compression to full-on overdrive, the SSS SRV Mini edition is the next best thing to having the real-deal SSS in your rig!
Bringing Back A Cult Classic
Reviving the popular “Slight Return Version” model was a no brainer! The original Slight Return Version (during the Steel String MKI era in 2018) routinely fetches upwards of $400 on the used market with its cult following:
However, now in 2022, we’re re-releasing the Steel String SRV (Slight Return Version) in a single channel Mini version separately from our multi-channel “Supreme” format. The Steel String SSS SRV Mini model takes all the great aspects of the original 2018 model and puts it in a smaller, pedalboard friendly format, in addition to EQ voicing controls with the “Rock” and “Jazz” toggle switch.
D-Style Cleans With Some Texas Flair
With gain settings below 1:00, the SSS SRV Mini makes a highly versatile fat boost, with an active midrange “FILTER” EQ section to dial in that D-style midrange shaping your instrument demands. Above 1:00, the SRV sweetens your signal with vine-ripened drive characteristics matured in the Texas sun. Wide open, this pedal packs enough juicy gain to take you well into overdrive territory. All the while, true bypass operation preserves your dry signal whenever you don’t have the SRV engaged — though, if you’re anything like us Stevie Ray fanatics, it’s pretty much a nonissue, since you’ll never want to turn this thing off. The SRV is assembled in California and comes in a rugged steel housing with authentic D-style appointments of the Dumble Steel String Singer:
Steel String SSS SRV Mini Features
- Based on model #001 of an original run of legendary 6L6 blues machines
- A true amp in a box — designed to impart the D-style clean tone to your amp
- Inspiring glassy touch sensitivity, warmth, and low-end snap
- Versatile Gain and Level controls make this a capable clean boost or full-on overdrive
- Re-shaped EQ with the Rock/Jazz switch for the perfect “Texas Tone”
- Rugged steel housing
- Authentic D-style aesthetics
- True bypass switching
- Designed in California
- 9-18VDC operation (center negative)
- Dimensions: 4.5″ x 2.2” x 1.8”
- Weight: 1.0 lbs