Although the KHDK Ghoul Screamer pedal is the first Kirk Hammett signature overdrive, it features a host of tonal options for helping you dial in your personal sound.
This isn’t just Kirk’s signature OD, KHDK is actually his pedal company. He’s the KH in KHDK, so I imagine he was heavily involved in the design process, and as a member of the biggest metal band in the world and a living legend I’m sure he had no shortage of options.
Although this pedal does the job of the classic OD pedal, it’s more than just a Tube Screamer clone. I met KHDK’s engineer Antonin Salva in the Czech republic a couple years back after playing his Randall RMS modules for many years, and his work is top-notch. He and Kirk have done an excellent job making the pedal what I think an OD should be, which is a tonal control center for your amp. Amps and guitars all have their own characteristics, and the OD pedal is the best way to smooth out inconsistencies between the two. For instance, if your guitar is too honky sounding and you can’t fix it with the amp controls, you can use the Ghoul Screamer to mellow it out with a little less tone knob, or if it doesn’t cut enough, you can crank it up a bit. For instance, in the demo I just played, I wanted the intro solo to be really smooth like on the recording, and since there’s only the clean guitar accompaniment, it doesn’t have much to compete with, so I could roll off the tone knob a bit. For the outro solo, I wanted it to cut through the mix, so I turned up the tone knob and flipped the High switch on to help it shine through.
The pedal features the usual drive, volume, and tone knobs, but the real innovation lies in the switches. The bass switch adds bass back into the signal that gets lost when you crank up the tone knob, which allows you to have a full sound that also cuts. The high switch modifies the tone knob to reach farther for more cut if your guitar sounds too mellow or if you want a djentier tone. The Body switch seems to boost the mids pretty handily. The other switches (marked Compression) are for choosing the type of clipping the pedal uses if you are using the drive knob at all. I generally don’t, but I gave them a whirl anyway – the major noticeable difference is that one of them is considerably louder than the rest, which will of course push your amp a bit harder, but they each have their own flavor.
So if you’re looking for an all-in-one overdrive that will give you maximum control over your tone but doesn’t take up more room on your board than a standard size pedal, then you can check out the Ghoul Screamer overdrive from KHDK and you might just find what you’re looking for.