A name says a lot about something. If we can’t see something, or someone, a name serves as a sort of first impression. When something is named the Gunshot, you expect it to pack a punch. The ThorpyFX Gunshot Overdrive does not disappoint. Housed in a fetching stainless steel enclosure, the Gunshot looks to be bulletproof, and has a satisfying heft to it. The pedal’s four knobs are recessed, and this both looks cool and serves as a practical way of preventing your settings from being knocked around during the gig.
The knobs control Volume, Tone, Gain, and Calibre. Calibre adds girth and attitude when dialed clockwise, while keeping it counterclockwise yields cleaner, clearer overdriven tones. This control makes a static whooshy sound when it is being adjusted, but fear not, this is by design. There is nothing wrong with the pedal.
A pedal like the Gunshot makes me want to get right down to business. When using humbuckers, I had access to everything from light drive to chunky riffage to saturated lead sounds. The Gunshot provides ample amounts of gain, and if you want some country twang with attitude, it’s also in there. Interested in high-gain shredding? The Gunshot will see you now.
The Calibre is key in getting the right sound from various pickup and amp combinations, and it ensures that the Gunshot is usable no matter what the backline is on your gig. My favorite setting was Volume and Tone at noon (what can I say, I’m a simpleton) with the Gain around 3 o’clock and Calibre at 1 o’clock. This yielded thick, complex, saturated drive that cleaned up well just by varying pick attack.
Switching to a Stratocaster, the Gunshot made my anemic single coils robust and full. I was especially pleased when I dialed in heavy drive when using the neck pickup. It can be hard to use words to describe a sound, but it sounded like the notes were on fire, and it was awesome. Light drive yielded sweet, sparkly chime from the out-of-phase positions and I almost forgot I was using a fire breathing dragon. I did need to tame the tone control when using the Strat bridge pickup, but that’s typically the case with any drive pedal I use.
The Gunshot interacts well with other gain pedals and is at home going into clean or dirty amps. If the opposite of a one-trick pony is a fully grown, well-adjusted horse that has a varied skill set, the Gunshot is that horse. Ok, that’s a horrible analogy, but you get what I’m saying.
Just for fun, I made a loop with both guitars. On my SG, I played a chunky rhythm part at a lower gain setting. On my Strat, I played over the top of that while the Gain was set to “stun,” and ran wild for what seemed like several days. The Gunshot sounds stellar in both rhythm and lead settings, and it isn’t difficult to hit a sweet spot, which can’t be said for every dirt pedal.
The Gunshot is most certainly a weapon of mass overdrive—a unique entry into the world of overdrives that sounds great, plays well with others, and looks freaking cool. It’s a killer unit that is built to withstand its namesake.
What We Like: Fantastic overdrive sounds. Wide gain range. Extra tone shaping via the Calibre control makes it a match for any guitar or amp. Looks rad.
Concerns: If you use bright pickups, you won’t be able to set and forget the Tone knob, but that’s not uncommon.