Fly Boys. You could easily fool me into thinking that's the title of a mid-Nineties movie about a group of high schoolers who throw a killer house party while their parents are out of town.
But that’s neither here nor there. Fly Boys is the latest line of pedals from TWA, which is distributed by Godlyke.
This collection of pedals is for on-the-go musicians — or pedal geeks who lose sleep at night over how much free space is left on their pedalboards. Each pedal sports a uniform light-weight aluminum chassis, true-bypass switching and a footprint of only 3 ½-by-1 ½ inches.
Here’s a rundown of each pedal, followed by a SoundCloud playlist of sound clips:
FB-1 Distortion: Modeled after a Marshall JCM-800, the knobs are Tone, Gain and Level. Unlike most distortion pedals, I was able to use this with the bridge pickup on my Strat and not lose definition in the low end or cause ear-piercing harshness.
FB-2 Overdrive: Made to sound similar to a TS-808, the knobs are Tone, Gain and Level. Also included is a switch with two settings; Hot and Warm. Warm is for when you need just a little more to naturally overdrive a tube amp. Hot duplicates a cranked tube amp without a noise citation. I used the Hot setting with my Strat’s neck pickup to get a thick, chunky blues tone.
FB-3 Echo: Finally someone did it — a pedal with the features of an analog delay with the brightness of a modern delay! Knobs are Echo, Rate and Intense. Echo controls the volume of the delayed signal. Rate controls the time of the delayed signal, up to 600 milliseconds. Intense determines how many times the delayed signal repeats. With a Tele, I went from a short slap-back delay to an Edge-inspired tone. I rounded things out with a self-oscillating alien attack.
FB-4 Chorus: A warmer, mellower chorus. It's great if you’re trying to replace and older, finicky chorus pedal in your chain. Knobs are Level, Rate and Depth. On a Jaguar with P90s I was able to channel Kurt Cobain and dial in a light pitch vibrato.
FB-5 Metal: I can’t top TWA’s description of “Brutal output levels and an absurd amount of gain.” Knobs are Volume, Distortion and Tone. There’s also a three-way toggle switch of Hi-Boost, Boost Off and Low Boost. I tuned a Les Paul all the way down to A just to show this beast can rumble or squeal.
All the pedals are powered by a 9-volt power supply, which isn't included. I used my Godlyke Power-All to power the entire line. I would suggest Velcro-ing the pedals to a pedalboard. Due to their light weight, they easily shift when stepped on. Even with all five pedals wired up, the total wingspan was smaller than 1 inch wide.
Price: $69 to $79
You can't believe everything you read on the Internet, but Billy Voight is a gear reviewer, bassist and guitarist from Pennsylvania. He has Hartke bass amps and Walden acoustic guitars to thank for supplying some of the finest gear on his musical journey. Need Billy's help in creating noise for your next project? Drop him a line at firstname.lastname@example.org.