Visual Sound Route 66 Pedal Review – It’s American Overdrive!

I used a DOD digital effects pedal for years on a solid state amp, and one day a friend came over to jam – and he had his pedal board with him. He plugged it into one of my amps and we were playing some classic rock, and he was using this overdrive pedal that looked like home plate on a ball field. Actually, it had some scratchy pots – and he asked me if I would clean it for him.

Cleaning electronics isn’t my favorite thing, but I agreed to do it mainly just to have the pedal to play around with for a week or so. The version he had was from the 80’s or 90’s I believe, and the pedal was built like a tank. It looked like this one:

route-66-pedal-review

All I really did was take the pedal apart, and then spray the volume pots with De-Oxit (to take the scratchiness out), and then I tightened the input jacks a bit, and bent them in a tiny bit (to make the connections tighter). Then it was time to fire it up and check it out!

You can see in the image above that the Route 66 is actually two pedals in the same unit. You have an overdrive distortion pedal on the left, and a compressor on the right. Even though both pedals are in the same box, you just have one input and one output jack, and 3 separate pot controls for each, in addition to a switch.

First off, I want to point out that this pedal is still being made new (by Visual Sound) today, and it looks nearly the same, with the exception of the the raised backplate, and the broader foot control switches (that look like smushed mushrooms):

visual-sound-overdrive

You can see in the image above that all knobs and controls are the same in both versions. I plugged the pedal into my tube amp, which at the time was a Carvin Legacy. I started with the overdrive side, and the drive and tone at about 2 o’clock, and the volume at 10 o’clock.

I have to say I immediately fell in love with the overdrive side of this pedal. Since testing this pedal, I have bought one for my own pedal board, and the settings are the exact same to this day. There is a “bass boost” switch (which I never use). You can swing the gain up or down and get from Tom Petty and ZZ top sounds, all the up to Metallica, Judas Priest, AC/DC – you truly have nearly every single American “classic rock” sound covered. With the volume you can choose to use it only as a straight overdrive, or to boost the signal for a lead / overdrive. Generally I use it as an distortion overdrive only – and I’ll tell you why next.

The other side of this pedal is a “compressor”. A compressor is an effect that “compresses” the signal and makes it louder. You can think of it as a boost, but it also gives it a bigger, fatter, rounder character as well. The compressor also has it’s own sustain, tone, and gain knobs. The switch is whether the tone is on or off. The sustain knob controls how compressed the signal is, the higher it is the longer the notes “sing”. The gain isn’t exactly an overdrive, but it does make the signal more dirty. So you can choose if the compressor is more of a dirty or clean boost for your signal.

The reason that this pedal is so unique, is because you can just use the clean channel on your amp, and then use the compressor to get a rolling stones type dirty sound. It’s also great for country, and even blues. On the other hand, you can use the overdrive side for an entire song “on”, and then hit the compressor for leads. This is great for that “little change in your pocket, going jang-a-lang-a-lang” type songs, or even heavier stuff. I also own a Tubeworks Realtube pedal that I use a lot that is more Bluesbreaker-ish – and I like to play with that on blues songs, but then use the Route 66 overdrive (with the Tubeworks pedal still on) for just searing, stinging leads.

I think it’s unbelievable that you can get the Route 66 for only $149 brand new, and compared to all the boutique pedals on the market, this thing is priced quite affordably for what you get. I’m a pedal addict, but I can’t get rid of this one no matter what I find. It just blends with any amp I use (solid state or tube), it sounds great with every guitar I own, and combines well with all other pedals I try it with. In the future I’ll review the other Visual Sound pedal that’s on my board.

You can get the Route 66 Pedal at Musician’s Friend:

Route 66 Pedal

Visual Sound Route 66 American Overdrive Compressor Guitar Pedal SHIPS WORLDWIDE

USD 85.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 02:34:02

TrueTone Route 66 V3 Overdrive / Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal P-04520

USD / 140.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Truetone Route 66 V3 Series Overdrive / Compression Pedal, New!

USD 179.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Truetone Visual Sound Route 66 American Overdrive Compression Pedal

USD 179.95 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Visual Sound Route 66 V2 Overdrive / Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal P-04523

USD / 75.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-24 22:56:03

v3rt66 route 66 v3 series overdrive/compression pedal

USD 230.56 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Wenko "Vintage Route 66" Pedal Bin, Multi-Colour, 3 Litre

USD 62.27 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-18 08:57:50

Putting the metal to the pedal: Cycling Route 66 with Love Hope and Strength by

USD 19.44 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-20 13:55:15

My new Fender Thinline 72 RI is Awesome!

This is my new Fender Thinline 72 RI (reissue):

fender-thinline-72-RI-deluxe

The image is stock, I’ll post one of my playing it soon. I used to be a Gibson man, and I was kind of “anti-Fender”. I liked classic rock, metal, 80’s hair bands, modern rock. But the last couple years I’ve been heavy into the blues. It’s funny sometimes – as you age you learn to appreciate different types of music more. For the first time in my life I pretty much (now) understand how and why players use different configurations of Fender and Gibson guitars and amps. Now I use my volume knob (on the guitar), and I used to just play on “10”, and the only use the amp volume. Then again – I used to have solid state amps, and now I have really good boutique tube amps.

I like the Telecaster sound, by my main instrument for awhile now has been my Mexican Tele with a Seymour Duncan little ’59 in the bridge, and a single coil in the neck. There’s something about that configuration that just suits me. It’s not too light, dirty when I want it, but not muddy like a Les Paul. It’s great for nearly any type of music.

Last week I saw a guy on the local Craigslist had a ’72 RI Thinline Tele for sale, but he was willing to trade for the right guitar. One of the guitars he wanted was a Reverend, and I just happened to have one that wasn’t getting much use. In 1972 Fender put out a Thinline Telecaster (that I’ve been able to find) in 2 different types – “deluxe” and “custom”. The deluxe ’72 Tele is unique because it has 4 knobs (like a Gibson), 2 volume, and 2 tone – in addition to 2 “wide range” humbuckers. That, and the fact that the thinline has the signature F-hole tonebox on top for a slightly brighter sound.

So, I decided to setup an appt for a guitar swap – and the guy like my Reverend, and I liked his Tele. It had a C shaped neck a little fatter then my Mexican Tele, but was actually easier to play (for me). So I took it home and cranked it up, and if there’s anything I’ve learned the last few years it’s the fact that every guitar is different. The guy I bought it from said that he switched the pots out for 500K because it was (in his opinion) too “dark”. I don’t know about dark, but I like guitars with the 500K mod because the gain rolloff is different than with standard 250K volum pots.

On my Tele with the lil ’59 Seymour pickup it starts to get dirt around 5 or 6, and progresses up all the way to 10 until it’s full bore. On the new Thinline 72 I don’t start to get dirt until about 8 (on the same rig and pedals), and the sound at “10” on the volume is a bit different (slightly more harsh). The “widerange” humbuckers are not what you’d expect. You’re not going to get a Gibson sound, but it’s not a single coil either. It’s not exactly like a P-90 (or as dark). The best way to describe it is a humbucker that has more clarity (and is more defined). The bridge is really bright, the neck pickup is really deep and ambient.

I love my Tele with the little ’59, but the thing about this Thinline is I can set the bridge pickup at one volume, and the neck pickup at another. Then I can go from neck rhythm to bridge leads with ease. With my other Tele it’s one volume for all.

There’s another Thinline back on the market now called the Thinline 69 RI:

fender-thinline-69-RI

You can see in the image above that the Thinline ’69 is a traditional Tele in both pickups and controls. It has the F-hole cutout, but the neckplate is a 3 bolt (where the ’72 RI is a 4 bolt neck).

I’m grateful to have this as a new addition to my guitar collection, you can find it at musicians friend for about $800 bucks:

Fender Classic Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe Electric Guitar Black

Check Musician’s Friend Price for ’72 Thinline RI Deluxe

There are some decent auctions on the Thinline as well:

2013 Fender American Deluxe Thinline Telecaster Olympic White, Fender SKB Case

USD 1799.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 18:58:02

1971 FENDER TELECASTER THINLINE (DELUXE) W/OHSC VERY GOOD CONDITION

USD 4295.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Deluxe Telecaster Thinline Electric Guitar Maple Candy Apple Red + Case

USD 899.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe (Black Transparent)

USD 499.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Brand New Fender Deluxe Telecaster Thinline Tele 3 Tone Sunburst Demo

USD 832.49 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Deluxe Tele Thinline 3-Tone Sunburst Semi-Hollow Telecaster Guitar w

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Fender Deluxe Telecaster Thinline - Sunburst

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Fender Deluxe Telecaster Thinline Candy Apple Red Electric Guitar w/Gig Bag

USD 899.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Modern Player Thinline Deluxe Semi-Hollow Telecaster in 3-Tone Sunburst

USD 499.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 18:17:41

Fender Modern Player Telecaster Thinline Deluxe Electric Guitar 3-Color Sunburst

USD 499.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 14:49:12

Rare Fender Thinline Jaguar MIJ with hardcase

USD / 1200.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-18 04:24:02

2014/15 FENDER Classic Series '72 Telecaster Thinline Electric Guitar Natural

USD / 379.00 (37 Bids) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 21:38:07

2011 Fender Telecaster Thinline '72 Reissue Natural Finish W/Case

USD 599.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Thinline Telecaster '72 Reissue 1994 Factory Bigsby (Made in Japan)

USD 899.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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RARE 2013 Fender American Select Thinline Telecaster Guitar! USA,Tele! w/OHSC

USD 1959.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 15:36:32

Fender Classic Telecaster Thinline Electric Guitar ( RARE ) cherry red, Squire

USD 425.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-21 23:43:33

Fender American Elite Thinline Semi-Hollow Telecaster 2017 Natural Ash

USD 1999.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
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Fender Classic Series '72 Telecaster Thinline Natural Re-Issue (947) (CPP014583)

USD 499.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-22 21:04:45

Fender American Elite Telecaster Thinline - Natural

USD 1595.00 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-22 00:58:43

Fender Classic Vibe Telecaster Thinline Natural 7323

USD 449.99 (0 Bid) | Buy It Now
End time: 2017-11-19 18:09:12