Amp Rescue (Lounsberry Pedals) with demo

There are a few ways to describe the effect of the Amp Rescue, and it depends on whether you’re playing a clean or dirty signal. When playing clean, it’s as though a ‘flatness’ is removed from the signal and replaced with a clean chime, or even a bell-like response. The notes ring out quite differently and with a broader scope of harmonic detail. As Greg Lounsberry put it, “it has been said to replace the chorus effect in some guitar rigs because of the lively top end.” Dirty amps are a different animal, and the result is as noticeable, but unlike to my ears. It’s like adding a presence knob to your amp, but something happens to the overall tone – it seems to ‘balance out.’ That’s difficult to explain, but it’s as though the notes round out more effectively, in that a tone that sounds too bottom end or low midrange seems to stabilize and spread across the stereo spectrum more evenly. The result is a tone that spreads out and sounds more encompassing and broader. In either instance, whether clean or dirty, a guitar tone simply jumps out more effectively.

Amp Rescue was designed to improve the dynamics and amp-like characteristics of less expensive solid-state amps, so that they behave and have dynamic touch responses like vintage tube amplifiers. But this also is true of modelers, which sound good on their own for the most part, but you can hear an obvious difference when adding the Amp Rescue. I also included the Amp Rescue with three tube preamps (from the Victory V4 series), and the results were not as blatant as with solid-state amps or modelers (for obvious reasons), but still noticeable and welcomed. This is one of those ‘always on pedals.’

A true bypass pedal, Amp Rescue has a simple and basic operation – Level and Drive, and both seem to mirror each other when it comes to setting the overall volume for parity, viz., both knobs can be set at 12-noon, or the Volume (left) set to 9-o’clock and the Drive set to 3-o’clock, etc. This has a similar coordinated effect as the other Lounsberry pedals I’ve reviewed (Nigel and Tall & Fat), which makes tweaking for proper output fast and simple. If you need volume more than parity, a very slight increase of the volume knob will do it. The ‘drive’ does not sound like a typical drive – it does not sound like a distortion or typical grainy drive; rather, it has a very fine and smooth grain, so that it can enhance a clean signal without any distortion (with the drive low) and merely adds to the overall bite as the drive turns up, for more sustain and saturation. In effect, Amp Rescue can be subtle (yet obvious) when combined with other drive pedals or dirty amps, and without hesitation.

No matter the gear, the Amp Rescue improves dynamic touch response (I think of how SRV’s tone grabs the listener), while adding compression and second-order harmonics and sparkle, key ingredients for cutting through the mix and eliminating that flat, muddy tone. Built with Germanium diodes, this pedal literally is an enhanced front end preamp to give added punch and drive (I prefer it after any drive pedals and right in front of the amp). All discrete components, and no integrated circuits or surface mount components, Amp Rescue should be a serious consideration for any guitarist. If you like the subtle improvements derived from Echoplex-type preamp pedals, you will flip over the Amp Rescue.