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June 2017 Giveaway

Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2 Overdrive Pedal Reviews

4.5 stars based on 15 customer reviews
Questions about the Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2 Overdrive Pedal?

Questions about the Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2 Overdrive Pedal?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • Steve Ploense

    Living in an apartment means it's difficult to turn up my amp to get a great saturated tone for recording. Fortunately, I can plug the Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2 into my interface and don't have to worry about bothering the neighbors anymore!
    This pedal has extremely sensitive controls that give me the ability to tweak my sound until it's perfect. The Character knob is a cool function that allows me to dial in everything from silverface to tweed sounds. Plus, the defeatable speaker emulation means that in addition to using it direct, I can also put it in front of an amp and use it as a distortion pedal!

  • from San Diego,CA U.S.A July 2, 2016

    very impressive!

    Pros: Not a modeling,takes overdrive/distortion pedals in front of it amazingly when set to a Fender clean. Does excellent on a direct FOH application and recording purposes.. Great Overdrive sounds when set like a Fender DR on overdrive..

    Cons: NONE

    Thank you Scott Bennett (X1738) for all your help and being an awesome sweetwater sales engineer..

  • from June 29, 2016

    Great for Direct Jazz Guitar Recording!!!

    I thought the Tech 21 GT2 would fit my needs for an amp simulator for direct recording and PA system connection. It's a great unit, but it had one basic clean sound. The Blonde V2 suits my needs perfectly. It reacts differently with each of my guitars (like an amp!! Duh!). I really am finding this a joy to use. I highly recommend it!!

  • from February 3, 2016

    Jack Bruce, Jack Casady, and James Jamerson in a box.

    It's marketed as a guitar pedal, but, I bought this for bass, 5 string no less. And. I. Love. It!

    Old School FAT, clean or dirty. It's not a mud box. If you want mud, it's there for the tweaking just like any other box. But, if you want articulation, it's there too. The bottom does not fall out when you crank the dirt. No need for a blend knob. But, if you want a more focused sound, it's there for the tweaking also. All the controls are usable from just plain old flat to subtle to drastic.

    I also tried their VT pedal and I didn't like it. Fat sounds were very limited. The VT's range is found more in the higher frequencies. It's a very mid scooped pedal. In contrast, the Blonde is more versatile (at least in my opinion). It has a lot more low end options, as well as articulation.

  • from NY, USA April 2, 2013Music Background:
    Recording Engineer

    Plays well with others!

    At first, I couldn't quite find the tone I wanted with this pedal. The cleans were nice and creamy, but I needed some bite and jangle for a client's tracks. Throwing a good compressor or overdrive before this pedal turns it into a BEAST.

    With the character halfway up, a good overdrive with some brightness to it turns this into instant Stevie Ray Vaughan with a single coil neck pickup, and stunningly punchy Foo Fighters style distortion with a good bridge pickup. You'll be surprised just how good even higher-gain tones work out with this pedal.

    The big surprise for me is how well it responds to a compressor or overdrive run before it. Digital amp models don't seem to saturate realistically when driven, so I assumed the same would have been true for a solid state stomp box. And thankfully, I was quite wrong. You can channel practically any style (maybe not hardcore metal, but that could be possible with the right distortion/overdrive) with this one.

    I have been using this as a preamp (cab sim disengaged) into a tube power amplifier hooked up to cabinets for studio recording. Fender amps are quite versatile, and the same can be said for this preamp.

  • from Dallas, TX April 30, 2012Music Background:
    Recording engineer, live sound, studio and stage performance

    Great as a pedal or DI

    I got this to allow me to get some crunchier Fender tones in my studio- my old '64 Princeton has to be pretty cranked to get nasty. This is just the ticket- I can set it up to sound just like a louder version of my amp, dial the character back for loud clean tone, or set it at about 2 o'clock for great tweedy tones. The drive let's you go from squeaky clean to "12". I love the sound thru my amp with the speaker emulation turned off the best, but it does work great as a DI. Also makes a great bass DI- set it up for a little blackface Bassman grit, add a compressor and you're got a great, punchy tone. The EQ lets you go from old school to modern. Very versatile.

  • from Calgary AB Canada February 29, 2012Music Background:
    Guitarist, Producer, Music Director.

    Butt Kicking Preamp

    Flexible Pedal, can be used in a thousand ways. However it's greatest value in my opinion is direct into the power amp of a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe or DeVille. This combination gives you an AMAZING sounding single channel Fender amp with the ability to get a cranked up tone at reasonable volume levels. Being in a Canadian band that has to do alot of flying to the U.S. this thing is worth it's weight in gold, as I can guarantee a great sound with whatever amplifier a venue can provide me with. Worst case scenario I also bring along a Radial DI box and can go straight to the board. When we're at home I bring two of them as emergency backups in case either of the bands guitar amps blow up on stage (which happens). A ridiculously useful product.

  • from Zanesville, OH USA November 29, 2011Music Background:
    Musician/Recording Engineer

    Great Pedal

    This pedal sounds amazing. Don't let purist snobs keep you from using modeling gear. It all depends on what you plug it into. I am currently running through the return jack of a cheap Fender FM210 converted to a head/cab with a Warehouse Veteran 30. It sounds amazing! (speaker sim turned off, of course) I have an Eminence Delta Pro speaker on the way to work as a flat frequency monitor so I can use the speaker sim. I plan on buying the British and Leeds pedals as well. Tech 21 Rocks!

  • from Arlington, TX USA November 18, 2011Music Background:
    recording engineer and veteran musician

    An extremely versatile Fender-style amp simulator

    This pedal makes it very easy to get a wide variety of Fenderish amplifier sounds. The speaker simulator is pretty convincing and the DIed sound is excellent.

    Upside: makes it alot easier to get sounds.
    Downside: might make me alot lazier about miking up an amp!

    Speaking of amps, with the speaker sim defeated this makes a great overdrive or distortion pedal.

    The sample settings on the card that comes in the box aren't that great, it's really best to sit down with it and roll your own.
    The Character knob, as on the other pedals of this series, seems to be where 80% of the tone-shaping power lives. Experiment with settings and instruments. I'll be keeping this for many years.

  • from May 25, 2017

    My Favorite Non-Amp... Amp.

    I have owned the Blonde V2 for a little over two years now and have put a ton of miles on it. I use it as my "amp" at the end of a small pedalboard, either directly into a QSC K10 or KW122 wedge or lately (don't laugh) a Fender Rumble 500 bass head through the effects return (bypassing it's preamp), into a small closed-back 1x12" cabinet with an Eminence Swamp Thing speaker. I also use it direct for recording.

    To cut to the chase: it sounds and feels like a Fender amp, even in headphones (when ran through a good headphone amp/audio interface). I find myself leaving the EQ knobs at noon with the Character knob around 10 'o clock and the drive around 11 'o clock, and the speaker emulation engaged (even through the 1x12" guitar cabinet; it sounds better, which I didn't expect!). It will stay perfectly clean, but break up nicely when pushed with a boost/overdrive. Played through the aforementioned amp/speakers, it reacts just like an amp should; I can get singing feedback with no problem in conjunction with the right pedals and a healthy helping of volume.

    As for shortcomings, I feel there are two: 1) There isn't an XLR output, and 2) the output level with a clean sound when running direct isn't very strong. The XLR and line level output would have been useful for use with the QSC wedges as I would run the Blonde through a Radial ProDI and set the speaker with the input sensitivity boosted to mic level. I suggest using a good quality active direct box to give yourself enough level when going into a mixer. I had to use a passive DI because I was plugging directly into the QSC (no phantom power), but between the QSC's preamp and its line level XLR output, I was able to provide a healthy signal.

    That said, when running into the effects return on the Rumble 500 head, it seems to have just enough gain to drive the power section of the amp for my purposes. Considering that the amp is putting out 350 watts at 8 ohms, I have some headroom to work with! With that setup, I intend to just mic the guitar cabinet live, but I may pick up a Radial Pro48 to patch between the Blonde and the amp's effects return.

    Otherwise, this is an amazing preamp for going amp-less or to use with an amp's power amp section.

  • from Northeast US December 10, 2014Music Background:

    Sans Amp Blonde Sounds great

    Just bought this for a Gig I did in a small bar where I wanted to run the guitar straight through a mixer and PA together with vocals. It ended up being that the PA we used was an old solid state bass amp. Short of an actual guitar amp, I could not have been happier with the tone. This has a wide spectrum of tonal possibilities. This was one of those times where expectations were actually met. The tonal description of this pedal by most reviewers and YouTube videos were pretty right on. The next night I used it to shape my tone and distortion pedal through the clean channel on my Boogie. I really liked the pedal for both applications. I was playing an American Standard Stratocaster Stock Pickups for both Gigs. The only reason I gave 4.5 Stars is because it is too new to comment on the durability at this point

  • from NM USA July 2, 2012Music Background:

    Tech 21 Blonde series v2

    I play acoustic guitar for 3/4 of my setlist in a happy hr trio. I wanted an electric guitar for some rockabilly and roadhouse blues at the end of the last set.
    We do 1 nighters so we pack lite. I didnt want 2 channels or another amp to lug around for just a few songs. I added the Blonde to my signal chain and (with one channel) problem solved. Just switch guitars hit the stomp amd Tada! I have a sweet fender baseman or a sweetly driven champ no problem and without the hassle of all the setup. Built in the USA and anolog as well. Very useful tool to have in your kit.

  • from Chicagoland March 27, 2012Music Background:
    Singer/songwriter, 1 album... just like a million other people.

    Very nice analog emulator.

    For gigs where I have to bring our p.a. system, mics, stands, mixer, mixer board processing racks, cables, snake, etc... this thing saves me bringing my Fender tube amp (and saves me from having to mic the amp, having loud stage volumes and dealing with feedback issues, and one less thing i have to worry about theft).

    This pedal is actually quite good at quite a few different Fender sounds.

    It's analog, so no AD/DA latency (which can add up if some of your other pedals are digital as well).

    My chain is: guitar < Voodoo Sparkle Drive (for the occasional overdrive) < Tech21 Blonde (with speaker emulation on) < Line 6 M13 < stereo left and right channels < Radial Passive Stereo DI box < mixing board in stereo channel.

    You can also use it in a a guitar amp: disable the speaker emulation if it goes in the input jack, enable the speaker emulation if you plug in to the Effects In .

    Great sound, responsive and very tweakable. I recommend it to anyone who needs to travel light.

    Of course nothing ever beats a real tube amp.

  • from Estero, FL December 3, 2012Music Background:
    Professionnal 35 years

    Tech21 Blonde

    Great pedal for direct to PA. Versatile and captures the essence of those great fender amps.

  • from Union, KY June 26, 2011Music Background:
    Chief Engineer @ The Studio of Light


    I have played with this thing for a nite and I am impressed. I actually play it through an ac4 vox on a clean setting. I bought it to get some variations in chimey clean tones as it models fender amps. You can get some tweed settings to twin settings, I actually feel it to sound better with the sans amp engaged (its just alot cleaner sounding) it tends to be a lil mudded up and harder to find good setting with it bypassed. Just turning any of tyhe knobs changes in HUGE INCREMENTS so take a picture if you like something. The only thing I don't like is that there are no numbers on the knobs so if you REALLY like a tone....you have to get the sharpie out!

  • from NC April 19, 2012Music Background:
    Gigging guitarist

    Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2

    Actually picked up one of these for another member of my band who is going to play a guitar part on only one song. So the signal chain is guitar>cord>FOH. So far it is working well. The part is a dirty guitar part and it works well for this. I am going to take the unit home and mess around with it some more. I am interested in using one as a clean platform for going direct. It's a little dry so would need a dash of verb or delay. Pedal in front for overdrive/dirt.

    Curious to see if I can get that nice warm clean tone as a base. We'll see how it goes. If I can make it work, i may use it to eliminate my guitar amp for some gigs.

Questions about the Tech 21 Character Series Blonde V2 Overdrive Pedal?

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