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A true bypass pedal, and based on the Colorsound fuzz circuit (with a modern voicing) the Lucky No. 13 has simple operation (footswitch and volume control), but many sounds accessible from a guitar’s volume control. Of course, you can control the EQ of the tone from both guitar and amplifier. The pedal’s volume control provides upward of 12dB of boost, although it can be set at parity (when combined with an amp) or any other level, e.g., for lead soloing.
When added to a clean amp channel, the Lucky No. 13 varies in tone quality. With a guitar’s volume dialed back to about 50%, the result is a gritty overdrive (although the pedal is classified as a fuzz). With the guitar’s volume around 70%, there is a blend of overdrive, distortion and fuzz – thick and edgy. Once you dial up past 70% there is more of a thick and velvety silicon fuzz sound that may sound retro-psychedelic, but certainly there is a modern essence.
The robustness of the tone also depends on the guitar’s pickups. A single-coil guitar has a smoother and clearer result, whereas the guitar I played in the demo is a Music Man Majesty, which has very raw and somewhat copious sounding pickups. Even then, when switching to a coil-tap on the bridge position the tone is more cutting and less robust. Both instances are exemplified in the demo.
When in full fuzz mode (with the guitar’s volume nearing 100%), the sound remains smooth, albeit more saturated and with a “natural sounding decaying breakup,” as suggested by Mike Vickery, the pedal’s engineer. This is awesome for lead or when playing stoner metal rhythm – dynamic, broad and expressive as you adjust the guitar’s volume control to suit the music’s needs. Now, a drawback of reducing guitar volume too much is that you do lose some volume, but this seems less obvious when running the Lucky No. 13. Whatever the reason, and within the circuit’s design, there is not much volume difference whether the guitar sits closer to 100% or only 50-60%. Interesting… and in a good way. More guitar volume seems to compress and saturate the tone (fatter and woollier) while keeping it only a touch louder than rolling back a guitar’s volume, which works well when shifting between a distorted rhythm and velvety lead coupled with a slight boost.
Other details include a somewhat smaller footprint from the average pedal, measuring 11 cm (D) x 7 cm (W) and 4.5 cm (H with knobs) or 4.3 x 2.75 x 1.78 inches, and that it is developed in the USA with PCB construction and quality components. The pots are very solid when turned, it has it has dual BC549 transistors with a 3PDT true bypass switch, and also Neutrik audio jacks. It uses a standard 2.1mm Boss style power supply (no internal 9V battery clip) while drawing only 13mA of power.