Lollygagger FX Canaglia
The Lollygagger FX Canaglia is definitely a drive pedal for gain purists. It is a beautifully simple design that rises above all of the non-sense that typically surrounds the search for a “transparent” overdrive.
These guys didn’t waste any time adding a 7-band EQ for you to fiddle with for five hours; instead, with only three knobs (POST, GAIN, and PRE) and a gain BYPASS switch this little gem gives you a raw, unaltered drive that is faithful to your amp tone. I mean, if you already have your amp dialed in to the sweet spot, why would you want to introduce a pedal to your chain that makes your amp sound totally different?
Avoiding the cliché of calling this a transparent overdrive, Lollygagger more accurately calls the Canaglia a “neutral” overdrive. Its primary function is to shape and sculpt your gain while leaving all the nuances of your amp, including natural compression, intact. (Cue the applause)
Major props to the guys at Lollygagger FX because not only did they make this pedal beautiful on the inside with grade-A totally discrete components and point-to-point handwired soldering, but they took it a step further by encasing this bad boy in solid maple… very rad. They offer nine stunning finishes with these amazing hardwood enclosures.
Now, for the important part. As soon as you engage the ON/OFF switch on the Canaglia it’s like boosting the gain on your own amp. No unwanted coloration. Just gain. As you dial up the PRE to about 9 o’clock, you get a warm overdriven organic tone with a little grit. With the PRE knob at 12 o’clock you get a nice overdriven crunch sure to make Dave Grohl shed a tear. The more we dimed the PRE, the smoother it got with a little more tube amp-like compression.
The POST control is sort of like a master volume knob on an amp and interacts with the PRE control to give you more or less volume, compression, and grit.
We found the GAIN control to be overflowing with sweet saturated drive that sent the amp into a self-implosion frenzy. All of this goodness was accessed by engaging the BYPASS switch which brings the GAIN control in and out of the circuit in a very musical way. Get massive boosted rhythm tones with the GAIN control out of the circuit or bring the GAIN back in for singing leads. It’s like adding two extra channels to your amp! With both the PRE and GAIN knobs maxed out, we got a thick almost fuzz-like tone that would put anyone in a Purple Haze. It was sort of like diming all the knobs on a small low wattage tube amp. You know… that tone.
Lollygagger had a mission: to preserve the most precious of things, your amps natural tone, while providing tons of gain on tap. After playing and hearing the Canaglia overdrive, I’d say mission accomplished and well done! (Cue second applause)