I've never been big on guitar pedals. Less is more, or so I believed until I started working on my sound for my solo Bossa Nova guitar gig. I was already getting the right amount of reverb tone from my Sadowsky SS-15 through my AER Compact 60 (set on the second setting), but something was missing.
If you're playing solo chord/melody guitar, you need a robust sound that sits in a close but dynamic range. I currently play with a custom set of Tomastik-Infeld flat-wound strings (.015, .017, .019, .027, .035, and an .050 on the bottom). It came to me that a compressor might be the key to even out some of the discrepancy between strings. A Keeley compressor was the first thing that came to mind.
So, I reached out to the kind folks at Keeley to see if a review model was available. A week later I was in business. I've always hated having to fiddle with any extra power cords, so I undid the four screws on the bottom of the Keeley Compressor Plus, inserted a fresh 9 volt battery, and started playing around with the settings. Pretty quick I cranked up the Sustain, Level, Blend, and Tone knobs all the way with the unit set on Humbucker, and viola, I had the sound I was looking for.
I was certain that the 9 volt battery wouldn't last a week with my daily practice schedule, but it's been three months on the same battery and the Keeley is going strong. It doesn't seem to matter if you leave it "on" because no charge seems to pass through it when the amp is turned off. The unit is very sturdy, looks great, it's the right size, and yes it's the only pedal I use.
I had a feeling that this would be the right choice, but the Keeley Compressor Plus has exceeded my expectations. If you're ever in Peekskill on a Sunday, you can check out my solo Bossa Nova with some great food, beer, and atmosphere at Birdsall House Craft Beer Gastropub's lovely patio dining between noon and 3pm (so long as the temperature is above 66 degrees), and you'll get to hear the Keeley in action. Indeed, I'm using it on my version of Doralice, which you can hear in the video above.
Many thanks to great people at Keeley. My guitar life is still as stripped down as can be, with the only pedal I need. Cheers!
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