Most people are not strangers to Hillsong’s music director and lead guitar player Nigel Hendroff. Probably one of the most influential players in the industry, his sound has become the standard for worship guitarists all over the globe. A few years back Nigel teamed up with pedal builder, Selah Effects, to build the Scarlett Love, Nigel’s signature dirt pedal. This pedal has undergone 2 different revisions and in this article we will be looking at the newest revision, Version 3.
Some Scarlett Love for ya…
Version 3 adds a few new upgrades from version 2. The first being the new color, its now a sparkly red which stands out more than the classic white on black from the previous versions. They also upgraded the pedal with an active 3 band EQ, which is great to dial in that perfect mid-range sweet spot. The predecessor only had a tone knob, which limited how much you could adjust. For someone (like Nigel) who is into EQ’ing the signal this feature will be very handy. The Gain knob was also upgraded so that the clean signal is blended with the driven signal as you turn the knob up. This means that with the drive all the way down the Scarlett Love acts as just a clean boost and EQ if desired but i think you’d be missing out on some of the pedal’s best features if you did that.
The pedal now has 3 different clipping modes: TS808 Style, Plexi, and new to this version the Germanium diode clipping mode. Selah has incorporated the same NOS diodes that were used in the original Klon Centaur. The addition of this new mode effectively gives you 3 pedals in one, which adds to the value and versatility of this pedal. They also added midi support for controlling and changing between the 3 different clipping options or to engage bypass remotely. This midi functionality was a request directly from Nigel so that he could change the clipping modes via his Mastermind PBC Controller in both his flight and main rigs.
Before he would have to use two pedals dialed in to the different modes, but with midi control he can now change remotely With out taking up any extra loops on his switcher. To cycle between the drives manually just hold down the bypass soft switch, the LED will change colors pertaining to the different modes; Red for Tube Screamer, Green for Plexi, and Blue for Klon.
Unboxing was beautiful, the attention to detail in the packaging was something that I would expect from Apple if they were a vintage pedal builder. The Selah linen pouch was a very nice touch that possibly could be recycled for me to carry around my slides, ebow, and other accessories. The taper of the pots was smooth but firm at the same time, and I expect that it would be very hard for the knobs to get moved while in a pedalboard case in travel. On my first international flight I experienced this as the settings remained in tact through the entire flight. No more worrying about having to reset the pedal or remembering the perfect setting.
The 3 band EQ works as it should. In TS808 clipping, I can dial in more or less of the mid-hump and the option to add additional low end is a dream come true. Like with other 808 flavors, some remove the low cut but don’t give you the option to get a more musical bottom end. My ear guided me to make the EQ curve do the “smile” figure which sounds more natural to what would work in all the 3 clipping modes. Being able to to play a Klon style pedal with more bottom end definitely makes it different from most of the other Klon pedals I’ve used (with the exception of the Soulfood mod by JHS).
Does it rock?
Midi implementation was easy thanks to the fact that the Mastermind PBC had built in presets for the device. I would have loved to have seen midi control options for the rest of the functions of the pedal and presets for all the settings, but lets hope for that in version 4. If you need to use it with another midi controller, the manual provides all the Midi CC so that you can set it up with any other midi controller you have. Presets for the 3 clipping modes can also be programmed into the pedal itself (you get like 127 presets but I think you would only need 3 due to its limitations)
All three Clipping modes made a lot of sense and the the drive knob being a blend knob made it very easy to find a sweet spot. I will say that you start to hear the different characters of the clipping modes after 9 o’clock, but not so much before. The Klon 9 o’clock sweet spot people like does sound different. It still feels like that clean signal is still very present with some light break up. If you are stacking it with something before, to boost the signal , it will break up more but retain the clean signal. After 11:00 I feel the like the clean blend is mostly gone with just a touch remaining in the signal. The pedal has great definition through the entire gain sweep and even when in the higher gain settings. This is exactly what I would expect from Nigel’s signature drive.
If you ask me, I think this pedal works best as a stage 2-3 drive, where the clipping modes make a huge difference. I especially loved the dynamics in each mode, the TS808 very much reminds me of my TS808 reissue as far as character, but without the things I hated about it. It’s probably one of the best 808 pedals I’ve played for sure. The Plexi mode is big, and while it isn’t my personal cup of tea it is awesome to have all of that higher gain amplifier tone just a click away. The Klon mode is also very nice. I’ve had at least 5 pedals in this style and while it’s definitely one of the best I’ve played, that 9 o’clock sweet-spot is very different from the others. It’s not a bad thing, just different.
Image Source: Coast Sonic
Selah Effects Scarlett Love V3229.99
- Great 3 in one drive pedal with beautiful sound and feel.
- Probably one of the best second stage drives around.
- Great definition on all of the drive settings
- Klon style clipping is missing that classic 9 o'clock sweet-spot.
- Preset saving is limited to clipping
- Would have been perfect to have the ability to midi control EQ and drive setting and save them in presets like the clipping settings.