Clever marketing terms such as “tube-like” and “tube-sounding” abound while shopping for an overdrive. Rather than clipping diodes, Greece’s Crazy Tube Circuits opted to keep it real for the true-bypass Locomotive: The heart of the purple pedal’s drive circuit is a 12AY7.
The control set includes gain, tone, clean (unaffected signal), and mean (drive level). I plugged in a P bass converted to B-E-A-D stringing/tuning and set all the dials to noon for starters. The pedal expressed a convincingly natural and warm breakup out of the gate, and with a bump of the tone dial to 3 o’clock, I was quickly in a happy place. The Locomotive, however, delivers a wide range of gain flavors, and I found plenty more to like with both its raunchier and subtler sounds. The pedal paired well with my pushed solid-state G-K, and I was impressed with the sensitivity of the tone dial and overall dynamic response and clarity. Though things naturally thinned out when I maneuvered the pedal into “meaner” grind-y territory, it still maintained its natural and warm characteristics to a relative degree.
I didn’t have a different tube on hand to swap in, but a cool thing about the Locomotive is just that. The 12AY7 can be replaced with any standard dual triode (like a 5751) to explore more tube flavors. If your OD tastes lean more classic than modern, the Locomotive is a train journey worth exploring—provided you can afford the ticket.