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At UpFront Guitars we have always kept a rather tight focus when it comes to pedals. The market is intensely saturated with good and bad stuff, so we only indulge ourselves with products that truly standout. At winter NAMM, JAM Pedals caught and maintained our full attention. The artwork alone drew us to the booth, but the tones sealed the deal. Their artist roster is also incredible with some of our all-time favorites: John Scofield, Julian Lage, Bill Frisell, Nels Cline, Kirk Fletcher, Steve Lukathor, Greg Koch, Al Di Meola, Leslie West, Dweezil Zappa, Jim Campilongo, Andy Timmons and many more. Now let's get down to Dreaming.
The Lucy Dreamer is a dual circuit pedal that offers tube-style overdrive and a finely tuned boost with an unparalleled focus on tone shaping. Fear not, while the sonic possibilities are virtually endless, the controls are simple. Here's the breakdown:
Right side - Transparent Overdrive
According to JAM, the Lucy Dreamer drive circuit is their most transparent offering to date and to us, they nailed it. However the word transparent is a buzzword that is used so often it has started to lose it's meaning. So in this case we think natural is much more appropriate. The Lucy was designed to be the perfect "tube-style" overdrive, so in our initial testing we took two identical Electric Blue Fender Deluxe Reissue's and let it rip: one with the Lucy and one turned up to 10. The results were pretty much dead on, with a few happy surprises. It's got a strong mid-range presence a la the venerable TubeDreamer but less compression, fatter low end bloom, and the same stunning harmonic content in the high register. The grind factor is all there but in a linear fashion that's both sparkling and saturated. The familiar controls are laid out up top: Level, Tone and Gain. Once you dial in your general direction, the real fun begins.
Blend Control - This is a wet/dry signal mix for the drive circuit that opens up a universe of tonal options. All the way left is pure clean signal with gain seeping in as you turn the knob clockwise. It's almost like playing in stereo through two identical amps: one dialed in for beautiful cleans and one turned up to searing levels. Our personal favorite is just under halfway on the blend with the gain cranked. You get a wholesome clean note surrounded by a flaming hot signal that adds both sustain and depth to the sound. It's just downright fun and only one of a million ways to use this control. And for the super tweakers they even added an expression pedal out so you can control the blend with a flick of the foot.
Low/High Gain Toggle - Similar to the switch found on the Tube Dreamer 88, the center toggle switch adds a gain jump in the overdrive. It's geared more towards saturation and harmonic content rather than volume, so if you generally like it hot, this could easily be an "always on" switch.
Left Side - Boost
The Boost side of the pedal is a one-knob affair with a handy order switch. In addition to controlling the level of your boost you can decide whether it is in pre or post gain, which is a generous feature in the world of dual pedals. We leaned toward post in testing but it was fairly hard to determine if the difference was just a volume boost or change in harmonic push too. In the end both sound great and the pre gain setting added a touch of compression in lower mid range content. Like the blend knob, the boost can also be controlled via expression pedal while in the post-mode, essentially rendering it an onboard volume pedal!
We often tout JAM's ability to capitalize on the technology of the past, but the Lucy Dreamer is proof that they don't need any NOS components to break barriers. The Boost/Overdrive category is nothing new, but the Lucy Dreamer is a clear winner in both quality and functionality. It is the ideal pedal for players who need a world class overdrive that can morph itself to fit the mold of their artistic expression.This is a brand new product, and we are an authorized JAM Pedals dealer and keep a good stock of product on hand at all times. Please feel free to browse our listings, or contact us about other JAM products.