70’s Carlsbro Analog Echo Pedal

Where do I start with this crazy pedal? First off, it’s ginormous. Like, unnecessarily vast. I don’t imagine it would leave much space on my tiny pedal board. BUT, once I got over the initial shock of opening the box to find a pedal twice the size of my foot, I plugged it in and actually warmed to it pretty quickly.

Here it is next to a boss tuner pedal:

I was initially surprised to find that it doesn’t do longer delays at all. I opened it up to see if I could calibrate it and make the delays longer but it’s very hard to get into. And to cut a long story short, I couldn’t be bothered! It may well be possible, but I’m not going to attempt it. What this pedal does do very well is shorter surf rock slap back echoes.

It is capable of everything from nice, warm, analog dub reggae tones to harsh, extreme noise rock abrasiveness.

I could see it being used in noise and ambient music to create vast soundscapes. Combined with reverb it creates a huge sound and when you turn the swell knob up (see vid) to the point where it’s almost out of control, it’s actually really exciting to use. I like the element of chaos you get from cranking everything up and letting this pedal go haywire.

It’s possible to run this echo pedal in stereo and mono modes. It has two output sockets. One for the effected signal and one for the clean. So you can run them out to two amps and blend the sound.

I bought this with the intention of reviewing it and selling it straight on but I’ve fallen in love with it. I don’t know if I can part with it! I seem to have found it in a rare finish, too. Most I’ve seen have been in a silver aluminium casing but mine is black and looks much cooler, in my opinion.

Hear me demo this awesome pedal here:

Kay / Univox Effector Guitar

There’s something charming about looking back to a point in history when we thought we were onto something new and then, very quickly, realised we weren’t.

There’s little glimpses of these moments in time sprinkled all over the history of modern guitars and amps. Zero frets being one of them and these Kay / Univox Effector guitars, being another.

They were manufactured in the 60’s and, unbelievably, right through to the 80’s. They were sold via the Sears catalogue as an affordable home guitar with an added extra. Built in effects. It even has a headphone socket, so there’s no need for an amp. I imagine this guitar was a good choice for parents who wanted to encourage their children to learn to play but didn’t want to hear them play loudly through an amplifier.

They’re powered by a 9V battery and the volume knob actually acts as an on / off switch.

I’ve heard the built in effects described as “tone suckers”, and I understand why. The echo effect (it’s not an echo, it’s a tremolo), is very useable, however. It has an old school dub reggae vibe to it. It’s nice for playing more paired back, stripped down tracks and you can get an ambient feel from it.

The other effects are pretty much not worth even mentioning. They create harsh tones and doesn’t really provide anything useful, although the Whirl-wind effect can be fun for an auto wah style sound.

The truly useable effect, though, is the fuzz. It really sounds great for lo-fi punk rock riffs and high energy thrashing chords. But equally as great for noodling solos.

The Kay / Univox Effector is an interesting and rare piece of guitar history but it’s not difficult to understand why the built in effect technology didn’t take off in a big way.

It’s been nice to work on I’m pleased I had the opportunity to fix this one up as best as I could.

Hear the effects here and if you enjoy the video, please consider subscribing to my YouTube channel: