Your Source For Steel Guitar Pickups

STO Steel Tuned Overdrive


The STO Steel Tuned Overdrive is designed and voiced specifically for the steel guitar’s bright acoustic tone, and the clean amplifiers and the low distortion/wide bandwidth speakers used by steel players.

It is NOT a re-labeled guitar overdrive. Guitar overdrives are voiced for lower wind pickups and the different acoustic tone of fretted electric guitar, and then typically used with slightly to heavily overdriven amps and low wattage speakers that distort relatively easily.

The unique circuit of the STO has 3 basic stages:

Overdrive Module
The overdrive module is optimized for the input impedance and the gain range needed for the heavier wound pickups of steel guitars. This stage gives a smooth overdrive signal that is very responsive to the volume pedal.

Tone Shaping Module
This module shapes the post overdrive highs to the same steep high frequency rolloff at around 3 kHz as that of a typical steel pickup. A two position switch is provided to give two different shapes, one similar to a lower wind Lap Steel pickup and the other similar to a higher wind Pedal Steel pickup. This tone shaping keeps the overall frequency range leaving the STO similar to the bypass tone, but with sustain and harmonics added to the signal in the frequency range that works well for steel amps and speakers, or even if you are going direct.

By contrast the tone shaping of most guitar overdrive pedals starts rolling off at too low of a frequency and has a flatter slope than is optimal use with steel, so it can be difficult to find a tone setting that preserves the 2 kHz range important for steel tone without also passing higher frequency content that sounds harsh and fizzy when reproduced by a steel amp / speaker.

Shelving Tone Control Module
For additional fine tuning, the STO also includes a Baxandall type active shelving bass and treble control. This tone control section is flexible enough to provide slight treble or bass boosts or cuts, or at more extreme settings of both knobs can provide a mid boost or cut.

The STO Steel Tuned Overdrive is built to last with premium through hole components, no electrolytic capacitors in the signal path, socketed opamps, and premium footswitch and jacks that are enclosure (not PCB) mounted. The pedal is true bypass via the quality 3PDT switch.

The pedal can be powered by any industry standard center negative pedal power supply from 9 volts to 18 volts. As with other overdrives that can be powered from 9 or 18 volt, the tone and response is slightly different at 9 versus 18 volts, so this can be experimented with.

The standard configuration is designed for pedal board mounting, however for an additional charge the STO can be ordered with a steel guitar leg mount.

Steeltronics utilizes on demand 3D printing for key components, therefore normal production time is 4 weeks for most orders.

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