Cleared for Take-Off: TWA “Fly Boys” Ultra-Compact Pedal Line

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First class tones at coach prices

 


Godlyke’s TWA (Totally Wycked Audio) line of pedals emerged on the scene a couple of years ago, bringing musicians a new breed of flexible, innovative pedals based on old school designs with the Triskelion Harmonic Energizer (see the Tone King’s in-depth review here), the Great Divide Analog Synth and the Little Dipper Envelope Filter.  Now, TWA answers the mayday from those of us who are unsatisfied unless every single inch of our pedalboards is used up with it’s ultra-compact Fly Boy series.

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Line 6

 

TWA’s hand-built line is priced accordingly, which is to say that they (like most hand-built pedals) will typically run you a bit more than your standard stomp box offering.  With that in mind, I expected the Fly Boys line to generally his somewhere slightly above the $100 price point, which is where many boutique and higher-end ultra-compacts reside.  I was pleasantly surprised to see that all of the pedals in the Fly Boys line are priced a fair amount under $100.

The ultra-compact pedal market has come up huge (see what I did there?) recently as guitarists and bassists seek to make every inch of pedalboard space count without sacrificing tone and tweakability.  Design innovations like offset jacks, miniaturized potentiometers and internal DIP switches have enabled manufacturers to offer the same robust feature sets we find in many larger pedals without sacrificing space.  In addition to making the most of these design options, the Fly Boys line also has an interesting feature that I can’t recall seeing elsewhere: the C-BAT/R cable, which connects a 9-volt battery to the pedal via a power cable similar to the ones found with most pedal power supplies, making mid-flight battery changes a snap.  


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All of the timeless effects known and loved by musicians are covered in the Fly Boys line.  The FB-01 Distortion offers sweet JCM-style grind that responds to the volume settings on the guitar, enabling the player to dial in everything from full saturation to light grind with a simple twist of the volume knob.  The FB-02 Overdrive serves up vibey, amp-like overdrive sounds with a Hot/Warm switch that adjusts the low end response and increases the output, giving players flexibility that isn’t even offered in many pedals twice the size or cost.  The FB-05 Metal is a must for those seeking the tight, aggressive saturation needed to power heavy modern and classic metal sounds.  The FB-05 also offers additional switching features, with a three-way boost switch that enables the player to tailor the pedal’s EQ to the rest of the rig.   

On the modulation side of the aisle, the FB-04 Chorus offers warm-yet-chimey doubling effects at moderate settings, with the ability to evoke rotary speaker and vibrato effects as the Rate and Depth controls are turned up.  The amount of effect can be precisely controlled with the Level knob, allowing the player to dial in just the right amount sparkle or warble.

Finally, the FB-03 Echo is equipped with 600 milliseconds of analog-voiced delay, making it perfect for everything from rockabilly slapback and lush, U2-esque syncopated echoes all the way to thick, spacey, psychedelic excursions.  For the more experimentally minded among us, cranking the Intense control sends the delays off into self-oscillation.

All of Godlyke’s Fly Boys are true bypass and come dressed to kill in an extruded aluminum case that echoes the classic gleam of Douglas and Lockheed aircraft from the 1930s and 1940s.  And considering that you can get one of these pedals for less than the cost of parking at the airport for a couple of days, it shouldn’t shock anyone if numerous guitar players out there become Fly Boys frequent flyers.

 

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