It took two years of intensive development to see the birth of the new range of effects from the very serious Japanese brand. The Integrated series, is entirely designed and manufactured by the Custom Shop, based in Yokohama. The String Slinger SS-1V is a very high-end pedal equipped with the best and most reliable components on the market. Here, production was not taken into account with a cost price in mind, but with a need for a goal to be achieved.
The Free The Tone String Slinger adopts a new case specific to the Integrated range. Extremely well finished, painted in the cabin, with an irreproachable finish and ultra easy access to the battery. Appreciable thing, it will be noted that the food was placed on the top. The pedal has a sober and classy aesthetic. And believe us, it's as pretty on the outside as it is on the inside! Very high-end PCB, sorted components, perfect welds... It's beautiful, a real exercise in style. In terms of controls, very classic. Level, Tone, Drive and that's it!
Statocaster and 339 in hand, we stack it on a Two-Rock Studio Pro 35. To get all the quintessence of the String Slinger, you need a suitable amp. Namely, a clean channel with plenty of headroom, because the pedal will exploit this reserve of "complexity" at 100%. With the Integrated series, Free The Tone simply wants to recreate the naturalness, dynamics and compression of a real tube amp. The goal is to replace a second channel. On a clean channel, your lead channel is the String Slinger! Pedal engaged, the first thing you notice is the ultra transparency of the SS-1V. Gain at 09:00, tone at 12:00 and Level at 11:00, you have the equivalent of a clean boost, except that the clean boost adds dynamics and volume; the SS-1V adds dynamics, compression, volume and above all, and that's all the difference, it thickens and thins your sound. With this configuration you therefore have a very dense "big" clean with a slight break-up, more lows, more mids, more binder, without ever modifying the original character of your clean.
By slightly lowering the Level, with the Tone at 2:00 p.m. and the Drive at 1:00 p.m., you get a drive that symbolizes the very concept of the String Slinger, namely, a Philipp Sayce-style overdrive, punchy, nasty, with a soft attack at the bottom and slightly pinched at the top of the spectrum, all with an ultra-fast response. The dynamics are huge, it's tight, it slaps and you are challenged to tell the difference with a very good crunch channel in the blind test;) Fan of SRV, Sayce, Patlansky and other angry bluesmen playing on Strat is for you! With the gain at the bottom, we fall back on this typical grain of a Black Face pushed to burne, with a slightly extended gain range for even more versatility.
What to say? The Free The Tone String Slinger is a big slap in the face of the competition. The pedal is ultra well made, sounds wonderful, with an impressive signal to noise ratio. If you are a Strato player at heart and you like the artists mentioned above, the SS-1V will be a must. The String Slinger is certainly also premium priced, but it deserves every penny spent!