The Marshall Guv’nor Overdrive came around in 1988. It was Marshall’s first foray into the pedal world after decades of immense success in the amp world.
Marshall designed The Guvnor to be a solid-state version of a cranked Super Lead tube circuit. The solid-state version of the circuit has more compression and gain by design. All of that adds up to one hell of a powerful overdrive pedal that can be used for a whole lot of things.
Nembrini Audio has quickly become a household name in the top ranks of the amp sim world. The company has nothing but top quality products with incredible accuracy so when the company release The Boss LED Diode Overdrive, I was pumped.
It comes in a simple pedal version, a more elaborate rack looking version or together in a bundle. This review is mostly focused on the pedal version.
The GUI looks great, it looks like the real thing. The pedal version is laid out nicely and the real deal doesn’t have a lot of controls so there’s not a lot of navigating to do. The rack version is considerably more advanced in both it’s controls and abilities. I would say for guitar and bass purposes, the pedal version is all you’ll need but advanced users will definitely appreciate the rack’s additional capabilities and parameters.
I tried The Boss in every way I could think of, ways I read about and saw in various YT content. For a pedal that some deem to be only good for classic rock and such, there certainly is a lot of ways to dial in and use it effectively.
One application I really like it letting the plugin loose on the clean channel of a Fender-inspired amp sim. I was able to create some really nice vintage type tones from classic rock to blues, southern rock, garage rock and more. It really does bring an element of “cranked Marshall” to just about any clean tone. In this situation, The Boss creates crisp and full tones while being loud and angry.
I really started to fall in love with the pedal when I added it to a crunchy mid-gain crunch type tone from a Marshall amp sim. This was where The Boss really started to show me things and I have used it as such several times. In this case, the gain knob on the pedal version holds the key. Lots of gain can turn the tone into a nice thrash tone or a great lead tone with some delay. A little gain can give the crunch more bite and a nicer punch.
A follower reminded me that the Guv’nor had been used by Carcass at some point but I don’t think it was used outside of a bit of the “heartwork” tour. It sounds like an odd combo but when I tried The Boss in front of my favorite 5150 sim, it sounded unbelievable. Since then, I have tried The Boss in front of a few hi-gain amp sims with a lot of success. There’s extra punch, saturation and more that really enhances metal / heavier tones.
Tim Commerford of Rage Against The Machine, Audioslave, Prophets Of Rage and more used the Marshall Guv’nor on the first and now legendary RATM self-titled album. After that, he switched to a mysterious silver box that is said to simply be a new chassis for a now modded Guv’nor. When I used both the pedal and rack versions of The Boss in front of a variety of bass amp sims, I was able to get some truly awesome dirty bass tones. I would recommend The Boss to any bass player looking for some extra dirt, grime or sleaze in their tone.
UPS / DOWNS
The pedal version can be used to create so many different tones. Give a clean tone a nice kick of gain, give a rock tone more punch, make a metal amp crush even harder, the options are vast. As always, Nembrini Audio has ensured that users have a very high quality representation of the real thing. The authenticity and realism are in completely in check here.
I couldn’t find a downside to this bundle at all. I definitely liked the pedal version better than the rack but as mentioned, the rack has additional applications that go beyond the guitar or bass. For strictly guitar and bass needs, the pedal version will likely provide everything needed.
All in all it’s another unique addition to the guitar and bass plugin world. I really like seeing developers putting out gear that hasn’t been done or in this case, been done often. It adds to the possibilities for all users.
See more: Nembrini Audio release video