NAMM Preview: What Do Keeley Electronics Have up their Sleeves?

Well I guess Keeley electronics has been locked in a warehouse with a few cartons of coffee and meth, because they’re bringing four new unreleased pedals to NAMM. Yes, that’s in addition to the just-released Red Dirt Overdrive and Seafoam Chorus. Seriously, what kind of company releases six new pedals in one shot like this? It’s okay to sleep, guys.


So what else do the insomniacs at Keeley have cooked up fresh in the lab? A deluxe Seafoam Chorus/Vibrato, a new fuzz called the Clipper, a filter/fuzz hybrid called the FTW-109, and a Compressor Pro pedal that I can only assume is meant to replace the old 4-knob version of the Keeley’s original compressor.

This Compressor Pro pedal is the most interesting to me for a few reasons. First of all, most of Keeley’s pedals are great, but they’ve really made a name for themselves in the compressor market. They’re far from the only company to make a solid compression pedal, but that market isn’t as saturated as the mid-gain Tube Screamer clone one (which is second only to American Craft IPAs for its paralyzing quantity of solid options). Second, I like that the knobs are a little more standard in their naming scheme. On the old 4-knob Keeley what does “Clipping” do? Is that the input control? Or a threshold knob maybe?

Third, you can’t see it well in the photo, but you’ll notice there’s two LEDs. The one on the right is the bypass indicator, but the one on the left is labeled “Clipping” (no relation to the aforementioned knob). I can only surmise that this light is active when the pedal is compressing your tone, and I’m really hoping it’s not just a binary on/off light, but instead one that shines brighter the harder the compressor is working, like the light on Carl Martin’s Compressor/Limiter. A compressor is so, so much more useful when you have a meter. It’s a deal breaker for me, personally, and part of the reason why I’ve shied away from using Keeley’s otherwise excellent dynamics pedals (well that, and I find them more useful for guitar because they tend to fatten the mids, and I play bass more than guitar nowadays).

Speaking of which, there’s one more pedal that Keeley might have at NAMM. Robert Keeley’s Facebook page had this mockup image of a “Bassist Compressor.” It’s not actually listed on Keeley’s website along with the others as far as I can tell, but he posted the jpg at the same time as he was showing off the other new pedals? Was he just giving fans a glimpse of something down the line, or will this compressor also be available for demos next week? And will they add a meter to it? Tune in next week for answers to these burning questions, but for now just sit home chewing your nails off and shaking with fever.


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Chris Alfano has written about music and toured in bands since print magazines and were popular. Once in high-school he hacked a friend's QBasic stick figure fighting game to add a chiptune metal soundtrack. Random attractive people still give him high-fives about that.

Latest comments
  • The Keeley comp is great for guitars but It’s pretty terrible for bass.

    • Yeah, it’s like a double-shot of mids. Awesome guitar comp, never use it on bass.

  • Shit, I would love to get my hands on that bass compressor

  • Kind of interested to hear that chorus/vibrato. I’ve wanted a gigging replacement for my big box Polychorus, and the XO model just didn’t cut it. It seems like none of these new chorus pedals are quite able to get into the “holy shit weird” territory of the Polychorus.

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