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FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / HAO Rust Driver Review

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Aug 23rd, 2008 06:00 AM   Edit   Profile  

Just picked one of these up for use as a distortion pedal for my living room rig (V3 Epi Valve Junior combo). My goal was to have a rig with nice warm clean tones with great Marshall-esque OD. I've got a bunch of expereince with VJs (head and combos) over the last couple years so I picked up one of those for the base tone. This pedal takes care of the rest.

It's a strange distortion pedal in that it only has one knob. The distortion level is preset and not adjustable. The single chicken-head knob on the face of the pedal adjusts level. It can be set for parity with the bypassed (true bypass) signal as your clean tone or it can be cranked up to hit the front of the amp hard. Doing this works out well too. You may not be stepping on the switch to go to clean tones, but a twist of the guitar volume will get you there. It's like playing a single channel amp. You work with the dynamics available.

This pedal does Plexi tones in spades. There is a 3-position switch on the face of the pedal to select a voice. Normal, bright, and warm are the choices. Pretty self-explanitory. All 3 are good but so far I prefer bright. To compare it the the MI Audio Crunchbox (which I used to own) this pedal is lower gain and has less compressed tone. The RD is very dynamic and responds really well to pick/playing dynamics and the guitar's volume control. It does this better than the CB, IMO. In short they both do Marshall, but this one represents an earlier era.

The pedal sports an aluminum housing and is painted a hammered green metallic. Lettering on the face of the pedal is gold. Great looking device!

It came with a (Maxell) 9v battery installed but I've been running it on my 1-Spot. The info sheet that came with it is pretty good in general. It recommends running on battery power to eliminate hum, but I haven't noticed any noise running on my 1-Spot. The bottom plate of the pedal has to be removed (4 phillips screws) to access the battery.

It is a very nice Marshall-esque pedal. It predates the Crunchbox in the Marshall tone lineage.

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Aug 28th, 2008 08:59 PM   Edit   Profile  

Tonight was the AVG-Caster, the RD, and the VJ combo.

Wow does this sound great! Very woody tones. I really like this guitar even more now. Finally got the pickups balanced out tonight. Had to drop the neck pickup quite a bit.

I am really impressed with the Rust Driver. I recently picked up up my first fuzz pedal, a Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz. It's pretty neat but I haven't played with it much yet. I need to see where that is going to plug in relative to the RD. Before or after.

The RD is shaping up to my favorite distortion pedal of all time. I liked the Crunchbox for what it did. I did sell mine though. I think between it and the RD you could have the entire range of Marshall, and done really well at that.

The articulation and tone of the RD is really great. It has "feel" too. I know I raved about the CB, but this edges it out only because I appreciate this era Marshall a bit more.

I was always a bit hesitant on these because of the one knob approach. I'm over that now.

DanL
Contributing Member

Northern CT - USA

"We're not University material."
Aug 29th, 2008 08:20 AM   Edit   Profile  

The Rust Driver sounds really good to me.

Here's a link to a video demo I recently saw on Youtube.

Hao Rust Driver pedal demo

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Aug 29th, 2008 09:24 AM   Edit   Profile  

Very cool video!

Interesting to hear the OCD and the Rust Driver side by side. gives me a much better feel for the OCD.

DanL
Contributing Member

Northern CT - USA

"We're not University material."
Aug 29th, 2008 10:01 AM   Edit   Profile  

I agree. YouTube is a fantastic way for guitar players to hear what new gear sounds like. It's not as good as actually trying out gear in your own home, but it's the next best thing. I find myself out there all the time listening to pedal demos.

The Rust Driver is a very cool pedal. It was reviewed recently in Guitar Player mag as well.

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Aug 31st, 2008 10:22 PM   Edit   Profile  

I've moved through a couple more of my guitars with this pedal and also added the Danelectro Cool Cat Fuzz (a FDP-recommended pedal) to the setup.

The Cool Cat is my first foray into fuzz - albeit a cheap one. I like it well enough. It does fuzz well - not that I'm any sort of expert on fuzz. What I really like is the fuzz in front of the RD. So far I've run my AL3000 (Humbucker Agile LP-o-copy) and my SX Strat-o-copy into the Cool Cat fuzz>RD>amp. Amps actually. My new VJ combo and my PV Bandit (V3).

I love the hair and grit the fuzz puts on the tone of the Rust Driver. I don't use much fuzz, but it's enough to add some raunch and harmonic content to the tone. I have used an OD pedal of one sort or another over the years in front of various distortion pedals. That gives a more refined OD result. The fuzz is the opposite. It lends dirt. Digging that a lot.

I'm thinking maybe I need to explore fuzz pedals a little more. I really have no reference as far as fuzz tones are concerned. This is my first rodeo.

DanL
Contributing Member

Northern CT - USA

"We're not University material."
Sep 1st, 2008 06:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

Cool Leftee.

Yah, I must say I've been playing a long time (over 30 years) and the fuzz pedal is one of the only pedals I've never really checked out. I've got a ProCo Rat which I consider to be a distortion/fuzz hybrid if you will......but I've never owned a true fuzz pedal...like the Fuzz Face or Cool Cat.

To be honest, I've never really needed a fuzz tone. Although I've been playing mostly classic rock covers for lots of years, I've always focused in on overdrive and distortion tones. The bands I've been in have never really played much Hendrix or other bands where you really need a fuzz box...and the Hendrix I have covered I've used my other pedals like my Rat.

Some day I shall ck out this fuzz thing of which you speak. Great, more $ to be spent on pedals... It never ends ;)

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
******

Buckeye Country, USA

Emoticon-Free since 19Sep07
Sep 1st, 2008 06:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

I hate coming into this forum. The gain channel on my Chubster is superb and I still lust for OD/distortion pedals.

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Sep 1st, 2008 07:37 PM   Edit   Profile  

Rocky,

Having run the CB into your amp and doing that A/B test I'd say the RD does a different thing. It's the older Plexi Marshall tone. Darker and mid-range-ier than what we found in your amp and the CB that day. Think Jimi or Clapton era Cream. Check out Joe's tone in this clip too. The RD does this really well.

You have such a sweet rig it's hard to improve upon it.

Walk Away

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
******

Buckeye Country, USA

Emoticon-Free since 19Sep07
Sep 1st, 2008 08:41 PM   Edit   Profile  

Cool clip! I've not seen that one. I liked the A/B/C clip above, too.

I was reading this thread earlier and decided to see if I could get fuzz out of my rig. I set the gain channel on my amp to 10 and maxed out the gain on my Keeley BD-2. It was a very nice fuzz with a sweet sustain.

Thanks for the inspiration, Eric.

Steve Dallman
Contributing Member
**

USA

Oct 14th, 2008 06:28 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's an interesting pedal. I stumbled on the schematic some time ago, and I'll attach it here.

It starts with the signal going through a .056uF cap, which might filter out some low end. Next is an op amp stage that sort of acts like a buffer, but with a bit of boost. Next is the clipping stage, which is very close to a Tube Screamer with a pair of silicon diodes in the feedback loop. There is a larger cap in parallel with the diodes than a TS which rolls off more high end. Then the volume.

Simple pedal. Judicious low end limiting, a little high end rolloff in the clipping circuit, and a volume control. One dual op amp...a bifet it seems. No transistors.

I've played this pedal and liked it.

Rust Driver

Leftee
Moderator

NC

Oct 15th, 2008 07:25 AM   Edit   Profile  

I assumed it was simple. Never really looked at the board when I was in it. I really like the pedal as well. It's grown on me even more. I really appreciate the simplicity of the thing.

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 07:29 AM, Oct 15th, 2008)

Deacon Blues
Contributing Member
****

If the hippies cut

off all their hair, I don't care...
Nov 17th, 2008 03:33 PM   Edit   Profile  

It's simplicity is one of it's strongest features, and it sounds good.

Leftee
Contributing Member
**********
**********
********

VA

Jul 26th, 2018 08:58 AM   Edit   Profile  

Here's a blast from the past!

As evidenced here, I had one of these 10 years ago. Back then I was a gear flipper so eventually it was sold.

It has always haunted me. Over the years I've never found another pedal quite like it.

So I just bought a NOS Rust Driver on Reverb. (-:

This one stays.

Leftee
Contributing Member
**********
**********
********

VA

Jul 28th, 2018 03:46 PM   Edit   Profile  

It arrived today.

It truly is NOS. I think the one I had before had the voicing switch (Normal, Bright, Warm) on the top. This one is on the side.

It is *everything* I remember. This is my favorite Marshall in a box. It does the old Plexi-panel Marshall in spades. It's not a buzzy/rattley distortion type of pedal. It's that old slightly dark Plexi tone with broad shoulders under it.

LeftyMeister
Contributing Member
**********
*

Buckeye Country, USA

Tone is in the lingers
Jul 28th, 2018 03:49 PM   Edit   Profile  

Sweet!


reverend mikey
Contributing Member
**********
***

N of I-90, E of I-29

You're old. Then vintage. Then good!
Jul 28th, 2018 04:45 PM   Edit   Profile  

Deja Vu all over again!

Leftee
Contributing Member
**********
**********
********

VA

Jul 28th, 2018 05:17 PM   Edit   Profile  

Indeed!

Glad to have this one back. It bumped the Xotic SL Drive off that board. Not that there's anything wrong with that pedal.

(This message was last edited by Leftee at 09:35 PM, Jul 28th, 2018)

FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / HAO Rust Driver Review




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