The Klon Centaur is perhaps the most hyped boutique guitar overdrive pedal on the market. This crazed boutique pedal can produce transparent boost to warm rich overdrive tones, all with the signature mid-range boost that it’s famous for. The pedal comes in both gold and silver enclosures, and it’s been said that that’s where the differences stop.
The Klon is meant to be played into a guitar amp that is on the edge of breakup, as its frequencies are voiced to push the amp further into overdrive…producing a “searing” lead tone. Besides its obvious mid-range voicing, it is a rather transparent overdrive pedal that wedges its way into your amp to really make it sing in a focused, classic rock and roll kind of way.
Current Klon Production Status
The maker of the Klon Overdrive discontinued the pedal in 2009 and announced a new successor to the Klon some time in 2010. Several years came and went with no mention of the Klon’s successor on www.klon-siberia.com. All we had was this video and a constant reminder that it’s coming soon.
After quite some time, it was finally announced that the Klon KTR would be released as the successor to the original Klon Centaur. The circuit was not the same, but similar to the original Klon. It comes in a smaller enclosure and sells for much lower than an original Klon Centaur sells for on the used pedal market. Adding a bit of drama, Bill Finnegan (designer/inventor) chose to add the following text to the KTR: “Kindly remember: the ridiculous hype that offends so many is not of my making.” On the front side of the pedal is a switch to select between buffered or true bypass that also has text reading, “Almost always better. Almost always worse.” The pedals are very hard to come by as they are not in regular production. They can sometimes be found at stores like Axe and You Shall Receive.
Klon Clones (aka “Klones”)
Over the years, several respectable clones have popped up on the market. Most of these are parallel-circuit overdrives like the original, although the builders weren’t all necessarily attempting to clone it. Many were simply inspired by it’s circuitry . Here’s a few you can take a look at:
The Lovepedal Kalamazoo stormed onto the scene when PGS did a video comparing it to the Klon. Apparently the Kalamazoo was not designed as a “Klone,” but it certainly sounds similar. The Kalamazoo features a custom 4 knob IC based natural overdrive circuit. The tone control (wired to work in series with it’s treble booster) offers up super smooth, controllable highs. Visit the Lovepedal website for more info.
The Boostier is known to get a boost tone that rivals the Klon. It’s not quite marketed as “Klone,” but it’s a clean gain preamp with both input and output gain controls. You can dial the pedal in to get a bit of it’s own internal gain to compliment pushing the front end of your amp. Overall, the tone is very warm (and offers a High cut knob). Visit the Burriss website for more info.
Jimmy Behan Klon Clone
It’s not clear whether Jimmy Behan is making his Klon Centaur clone pedals to order, but he’s produced some fine looking (and sounding) clones according to gearheads who have used them. You probably won’t find a Behan Klon clone on the used market, so visit Behan’s Facebook page for more info.
Stigtronics Tone Vitamin
There’s not much information available on this Klon Centaur clone, but it apparently does the natural amp overdrive, yet transparent, “thing” quite well. Visit the Stigtronics website for more info on the Tone Vitamin Klon Clone.
Soul Sonic Illuminated Overdrive
The Illuminated Overdrive is the result of Soul Sonic FX’s work in reverse-engineering the popular Klon Centaur overdrive. But the Illuminated Overdrive isn’t a simple clone. Soul Sonic made some adjustments like using higher-quality components in certain areas to maximize the performance from the circuit. The most glaring difference between the Illuminated Overdrive and the Klon, however, is the addition of the 3-way toggle switch labeled “Norm, Hot, Asym”. This unique switch allows the guitarist to select between three different clipping modes, each offering its own characteristic tone. Visit the Soul Sonic FX website for more info on the Illuminated Overdrive Klon Clone.
The Yellowcake Blackbox is a cloned circuit of the Klon overdrive pedal, adding alot of character to your sound whether your guitar is equipped with single coils or humbuckers. Each comes with a super cool custom “burnt to hell” finish, and is handmade so that no two pedals look the same. However, they of course sound the same. Visit the Yellowcake website for more info on the Blackbox.
Build Your Own Tone
Raymond at BuildYourOwnTone.com offers some very cool Klon clone kits, so you can build your own clone if you have some soldering skills, of course. Check ‘em out.