BACKGROUND: This pedal is made by Alan Durham of Durham Electronics. As the story goes he never intended to mass produce boutique pedals. Alan’s friend Charlie Sexton, a guitar player who played for Bob Dylan, David Bowie, and others as well as an award-winning producer, asked Alan to make him a clean boost pedal that wouldn’t alter the tone of his amp, adding a pinch of bottom end as to avoid the common “nasally” sound of many clean boosts. When demand for this pedal became too high to ignore, the Sex Drive was born (Sexton, Sex Drive get it? Of course you did; you’re smart).
AMPS: ’85 Mesa Mark III, 65 London Combo
GUITARS: Gibson Les Paul Custom Classic (It may or may not have been a Guitar Center “Exclusive”), ’86 Fender MIJ Telecaster ’62 Reissue (Candy Apple Red with binding) equipped with Texas Special Pick-Ups
FIRST IMPRESSION: The first impression was based on the name. And it was probably the same impression you have right now. I asked my friend Jeff, the owner of the pedal I borrowed, how he felt about playing a pedal called the Sex Drive in church. He chuckled and said “I’m married so I think its okay.”
They say not to judge a pedal by its enclosure but on first touch this one screams quality. Plugging it in before I did any research, I was surprised by what I heard. I thought with “Drive” in the name that it must just be a Tube Screamer clone with true bypass. I was wrong.
PROS: The true bypass, Telflon wiring, and Switch Craft jacks makes this a quality pedal from the get-go. This quality translates into tone. It doesn’t tamper with your tone, but lets you if you want to.
One very cool thing about the Sex Drive is the “Comp” switch. A built-in compression switch at the top of the pedal gives you the option of “Off,” “Soft,” and “Hard.” The built-in compression makes this pedal great for when you need to boost for a solo.
Also, it’s a good looking pedal…sexy…sort of.
CONS: The title makes for an awkward moment when my pastor starts a conversation about “All those pedal you push. What are they?” “Well, Pastor, let me show you–wait. How’s the wife?”
It would be nice to get a bit more grit and dirt from the gain knob. If the gain gave more grit it would be like having a clean and dirty boost in one pedal. Volume up and gain down and there is the clean boost. Gain up and volume down and there is the dirty boost. With the way the pedal is designed, it is strictly a clean boost with a pinch of bite when you crank the gain.
FINAL IMPRESSION: Inspired by a recent Brad Paisley concert, I plugged in my tele and played the only two country licks I knew. I’m not a country guitarist by any means, but my instincts tell me that this is a great pedal for country solos.
As a clean boost it is top notch. There is no nasal sound unless the Tone knob is cranked. The compression switch makes for one less pedal to push for a solo and gives flexibility to choose what level of compression to use.
If your interested in more check it out at http://durhamelectronics.com/sexdrive.html.