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FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Tech 21 Blonde /V2 (Character Series)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Aug 14th, 2014 07:29 AM   Edit   Profile  

Rather than revive a six-year-old thread about this pedal (which is about version one anyway), I decided to start a new one.

I picked up one of these hoping it will allow me to not haul an amp around - at least to practices; we'll see about gigs.

I haven't had a chance to try it through our PA yet, but I've been running it through an Acoustasonic Jr. for the last few days, and I'm really impressed - I think it's going to be a keeper.

When set up to a few of Tech 21's recommended "presets", with slight tweaks for guitar/power source/environment/volume, the pedal does what it claims - creates tube amp tones! I'm especially impressed at how good it sounds through the Acoustasonic Jr., which is dialed in for acoustics specifically. I could actually gig through this set-up with the AJ as my monitor and be happy.

I didn't realize these had been around since at least 2008 (see review link below), but the Blonde at least, is still a practical tool for my purposes. The last Tech 21 product I owned was the old XXL pedal, which I never used that much (finally sold). However, I've always wanted a Trademark 60 amp - beautiful clean tones to build on... just pricey.

I haven't tried it through my tube amps yet as a gain/boost/drive pedal; I'm sure it will handle that also (version 2 has a button on it to defeat the speaker emulation for this purpose).

I got 10% off on this from MF because I originally tried to order a returned one, and it disappeared from stock; they couldn't find it to ship it to me (it's still listed on MF's website - maybe they found it now!).

Happy camper/picker here!

"Old Blonde" thread...



Aug 26th, 2014 06:44 PM   Edit   Profile  

You can also buy a Joyo American Sound pedal which is a cheap Chinese clone of Tech 21 Blond and it sounds great and is real cheap! As low as $40-$50 depending on where you order one. Great backup pedals. I own 3 different versions of them .Check them out! You can also see demos of these if you search.

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Aug 27th, 2014 01:35 PM   Edit   Profile  

Thanks, I'll check that out.

I've been able to get this thing sounding great with my single coil guitars (and a Warmoth "Strat" with DiMarzio dual blade Cruisers); I'm having a bigger challenge getting humbuckers dialed in. Getting close, but the Blonde was made for single coils.

Maybe the Vox or Marshall models would work better with humbuckers...?

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Sep 5th, 2014 01:14 AM   Edit   Profile  

I would have posted this sooner, but I only discovered the thread today...

I too have the the Tech-21 Blonde and find it very amp-like. I absolutely love it.
I only use it with the speaker emulation on and have it set clean, with occasionally set to a "mild dirt". I use overdrive pedals to get my dirt from there. (FYI: I prefer the Blonde at the end of my chain like an amp with no FX loop)(happy to share more on that if anyone's interested)

I run it into a powered FRFR speaker and if you had your eyes closed, you would think I was playing through a Fender amp.
I have a small 4-way splitter with individual volume controls that allows me to send one signal to the powered speaker and another to the mixer. This allows me to adjust my "monitor" level without affecting the FOH level.

Like you Rev Mikey, I used the "suggested settings" as a starting point, but tweaked from there to get "my sound" which actually is not that far off the suggested "Clean" settings and then a variation of the "Blues" setting for my aforementioned "mild dirt".
(I *really* didn't like the Ted Nugent setting. I thought it was just horrible. ymmv)

Further more...
I also own the Joyo clone of this pedal (American Sound) and get absolutely great results with that as well. It is more like the V1 Blonde in that it does not have the speaker emulation switch. The emulation is built in "always on".

As a direct comparison of the two, the T21 is a *little* richer tone-wise, but I can't say 5 times the price richer! I will also note that the T21 is a bit quieter in the higher gain settings, but even the T21 gets noisy if pushed to the upper limits.
FWIW, If my T21 blew up tomorrow, I would happily carry on with the Joyo. At $45 AUD, I would just buy another to keep as a backup. However, that said, I've had the Joyo for 2 years and it's had quite a bit of regular use in that time and still going strong.
I'm quite sure the components in the T21 are far superior (silent foot switch for one) but again, I can have 5 American Sounds for the price of one Blonde and the way I use it (as an "amp") it's an always on scenario so the click of the foot switch is not an issue for me. (most all of my effects pedals have the same click and I'm constantly switching them on & off!)

I have A/B'ed the two (as well as some other Joyo clones, but that's another thread) and what I found (with all comparisons) is that setting the knobs to the exact same positions on each pedal yields slightly different tones, but with tweaking the clone slightly, I could match the tone of the original spot on.

Thanks for posting this review topic!

(This message was last edited by Mick Reid at 03:30 AM, Sep 5th, 2014)

reverend mikey
Contributing Member

west Omaha, east NE

Life gets in the way of my G.A.S.
Sep 8th, 2014 09:18 PM   Edit   Profile  

That's helpful info, Mick - thanks. Now I really need to check out one of those Joyo's as a back up (although I'll probably never need it). I also might use it to set up for humbuckers, and use the Blonde for single coils...

(This message was last edited by reverend mikey at 10:46 AM, Sep 12th, 2014)

Mick Reid
Contributing Member


American-made in Oz!!
Sep 10th, 2014 05:08 PM   Edit   Profile  

"I also might use it to set up for humbuckers, and use the Blonde for single coils..."

At one point I had both the Joyo and T-21 on the the same board of my "ampless" rig. One set clean and one set with a bit of dirt. (IIRC, I had the Blonde clean)
I never stacked them. (didn't work well imo)
I just used them one at a time in conjunction with an OD pedal. It gave me 4 easily accessible distinct sounds.



Feb 15th, 2015 05:40 PM   Edit   Profile  

Hey telegib...just a shout out. Think you need more gear!! lol. Noticed your Joyo lineup.
Me too. Went with their American Sound, Analog Chorus, Scorpion Compressor and the Noise Gate.
Really happy with those pedals.



Feb 17th, 2015 08:02 PM   Edit   Profile  

"Hey telegib...just a shout out. Think you need more gear!! "

We always need more gear. Lol

I just added a Boss GT-100 processor to my collection!

Now it's your turn to add something. Lol.

I like the Joyo pedals a lot. They are great pedals for a low price. Can't beat that.

(This message was last edited by telegib at 10:04 PM, Feb 17th, 2015)

FDP Forum / Non-Fender Gear Reviews / Tech 21 Blonde /V2 (Character Series)

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