A good boost pedal is the type of utilitarian tone tool that can make the ultimate difference in your rig. Whether you’re looking to drive your amplifier or dirt boxes into further saturation, increase the overall volume of your signal chain, or take your solos to another level, a boost could be just what you need. There are a lot to choose from, from tiny one knob wonders to complex devices that add coloration. The Lift from Pettyjohn Electronics contains useful features without being overly complicated, and it aims to preserve the sound of your guitar and amplifier while giving you up to 32 decibels of beautiful clean gain. Built around a discrete op-amp, it is both an always-on buffer and a boost pedal. Having it in your signal chain means you are using the buffer, and clicking the footswitch activates boost mode. The buffer has an input gain knob, which allows you to boost overall gain levels while still retaining fidelity and clarity.
The first thing I observed about the Lift, as with other pedals from Pettyjohn, is the incredible build quality. This thing will be passed on to your childrens’ childrens’ children. If it had wheels, it would indeed look like a miniature tank, and you could throw it out of a ten-story window, pick it up off the sidewalk, and use it at the gig that night with no problems. But, you know, don’t ever do that.
With my trusty Epiphone EA-250, the Lift enhanced the hollow-body’s liveliness and harmonics when run into a clean amp. Delightful harmonics were at my fingertips, and I had a lot of fun moving back and forth from the amp to enhance or decrease the harmonic overtones. Using the High and Low Cut filters, you can alter the tone of your pickups to match your guitar with different amps, or just to get some new sounds. These may sound like buzzwords, but the Lift truly does add detail and nuance to your tone. You would be wise to leave it on all the time and use your guitar’s volume knob to access various shades of boost.
To see what the Lift could do with dirt boxes, I used it in conjunction with an original Catalinbread Karma Suture, EarthQuaker Devices Speaker Cranker, and TC Electronic Mojomojo overdrive. In front of the Speaker Cranker and Mojomojo, the Lift added girth and saturation to relatively mild overdrive settings. I found this to be particularly useful with the Speaker Cranker, which has a great tone, but is somewhat limited with its single knob. With the Lift placed post-Karma Suture (which I dialed in for a thick fuzz), it boosted my overall signal while adding some nice presence. It was also fun to mess with the filters to alter my fuzz tone. Essentially, it enhanced all the other boxes in many different ways. If you’re tired of your dirt box(es), you may not need a new one—try giving it a Lift first.
The Lift is a fantastic utilitarian pedal that you should consider adding to your rig. It doesn’t alter your tone in a drastic way, but enhances it. If you love your guitar and amplifier, this pedal will help you squeeze even more goodness out of your already beloved setup. It gives you more of your favorite things, and introduces you to some new ones that you’ll be hard-pressed not to enjoy. If you’re thinking about adding a boost pedal to your setup, don’t make any final decisions before you try out the Lift.
What We Like: Versatile boost with tone shaping options. Built Pettyjohn tough.