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Radial Tonebone TriMode Tube Distortion Pedal Reviews

5.0 stars based on 4 customer reviews
Questions about the Radial Tonebone TriMode Tube Distortion Pedal?

Questions about the Radial Tonebone TriMode Tube Distortion Pedal?

Or call us at (800) 222-4700

Sweetwater Advice

  • Andrew Plassman

    The Radial Tonebone TriMode Tube Distortion should be in every guitar player's arsenal. In fact, it should be the only distortion/overdrive on their board! The 12AX7 tube allows this pedal to transform a sterile-sounding solid state amp into a massive tone machine. The post-drive EQ section, mid boost and top end selectability, and gain selection allows you to shape your sound into anything from creamy blues to pure rock n' roll. With an effects loop in the 2nd channel you can combine all your favorite pedals to create a blistering lead! Like all Radial Engineering pedals, the Tonebone TriMode is built to last and is a must-have for all guitar players.

  • from Greywolf Lutherie , Duluth ,GA April 8, 2015


    I just received my Trimode and am most impressed . I bought it for an old Sovtek Mig 50 head that has no high gain channel , but tested it first on my Boogie. While Mesa has always had a wonderful lead channel , this box really makes the tone bloom. In amp clean mode , both channel 1 and 2 are great , if you kick in the amps lead channel , you can get serious 'metal crunch . (even out of my pristine clean Taylor T3 Koa with their HD pickups.

    One note , you don't need the " recommended " ac wall wart , ( I picked one up ) there is already one in the box .

  • from Ft. Wayne, In. June 9, 2012Music Background:
    guitar player

    Best overdrive/distortion pedal period

    The pedal does it all. From slight overdrive to heavy distortion and everything in between. Awesome tube tone! You'll want to play for days! Well worth the money! Make room on your pedal boards, you won't regret giving up the space for this pedal.

  • from Little Rock, AR. July 8, 2011Music Background:
    Bedroom studio musician.

    Versatile and well worth the price.

    If you want true tube sound from a pedal, you have many choices. Just make sure to pick one that uses high voltage to power the tube. Stay away from anything starved plate if you want that tube sound we all love.

    That being said, you have a lot of choices in this area: Ibanez Tube King, Hughes and Kettner Tube Factor, a handful of Seymour Duncan types, etc.
    Basically, pick one and enjoy the high voltage effect on the tube. It took me a long time to decide on one and the Trimode does not disappoint.

    First off, it's made in Canada...eh. It's nice to support a company not manufacturing in China for a change. Those Cannucks know how to make a fine distortion pedal. The Trimode has two distortions and a true bypass. Channel Two is the hotter one. Set the Level as high as it will go, turn the drive all the way up and let 'er rip. With a hot set of humbuckers you can get some really nice and heavy tones.

    Channel One is great for a more hard rock tone, a la 70s rock. Want more flexibility? Roll your guitar's volume knob up or down and go from clean to mean. Add High and Low EQ knobs, a three-way Top End slider (Bright, Flat and Dark over both channels), three-way Mid Boost control for each channel, and finally a three way Drive Gain control slider (over both channels). Oh, and they also threw in a Filter knob that acts like a reverse-Presence control.

    I'm running mine with a Carvin CT3 dual humbucker, an MXR DynaComp, Noise Clamp, Boss Octave, Zoom 505II and an MXR 10 band EQ into a Bugera V55HD and 2x12 cab. (Not tested on the Peavey 3120 half stack or Classic 50 2x12...but expect to hear no bad tones when I do) I first adjusted the 10 band to get what I like to hear and leave the TriMode's EQ alone. I want to be as simple as possible and leave EQ duties to the MXR.
    The 10 band EQ really gets you close to just about anywhere you want to go. I don't think you could get to nu-metal/rectified/high-gain land, but I doubt the TriMode was designed for this. If Radial decides to go for that, watch out.

    The Trimode is very flexible and adds another two channels to your existing amp. Since you'll be using this through your clean channel, click the True Bypass button to get those clean tones. When you need a little dirt...or a lot depending on how you set the controls, use Channel 1. But when it's time for that mean solo, switch on over to Channel 2.

    A handy effects loop is included but I haven't tried it. A nice feature for sure.

    At first glance all the knobs and sliders may seem daunting, but it really is a snap to use. Start with the provided examples or simply begin with everything at 12 o' clock or off. Tweak from there. If you can't get a tone you love with this unit, you will never be able to with anything.

    I'd say using the TM with a six or ten band EQ will really nail the tone you want.

    Like mom said, save up for something that will last a long time. The TriMode is worth every penny. If you can't afford the whole thing now, go for the easy pay option. You'll be glad you did. Once you hook this pedal up, you'll wonder how you got along without it.

    My only gripe? I wish they would have cut some slats in the top of the case so we could see that tube glowing.

    No ones and zeroes trying really hard to fake the tube sound here. Maybe it's just the placebo effect and maybe I really couldn't pass a blindfolded Pepsi challenge with a high-end modeler versus a real tube amp, but ******, it's reassuring to know my sound is going through actual tubes.

    This is the real deal. Job well done Radial.

  • from United States March 13, 2014Music Background:
    pro musician

    versatility at its best!!!!

    This is very easy to use very versatile and sounds great. Exactly what you would expect from Radial Engineering. I've been playing for 27 years now and it's on my main pedal board now. I play jazz fusion, rock, modern country,etc etc and it is that versatile to play them all. A must have.....


  • Andrew Plassman

    Before ever plugging this pedal in I knew just from the touch and feel of the knobs and switches that the Tonebone TriMode was a quality piece. After hearing my favorite Fender American Standard Strat through it I instantly fell in love!

    It has 2 separate channels with independent gain controls for both. With its 2 band post drive EQ, mid boost and top end select-ability, and its high, medium, and low gain settings, you can get any sound your heart desires. From blistering lead tones to creamy chicago blues this pedal does it all. The 12AX7 tube enables this pedal to transform even the most sterile sounding solid state amp into a massive tone machine.

    By far the coolest feature of this pedal is the effects loop in channel 2. You can easily hook up any of your other favorite pedals to this already incredible distortion to create insane sounding lead tones. And being a true bypass pedal it only takes one click to turn it all off and it will never effect your tone!

    The Radial Engineering Tonebone Trimode is a must have for all guitar players and as far as I am concerned it is the only distortion/overdrive you will ever need.

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