Rangemaster

The “Dallas Rangemaster Treble Booster” is one of those early classic effects you hear about. It was first made in 1966, and rumour has it that it was used by Clapton to help get his ‘Woman Tone’.

I’ve never used one before, but while browsing Sabrotone, I found a layout for it and thought I’d give it a go.

It’s described as a treble booster, but not in the way I though – it doesn’t simply roll off the bass to make the treble seem louder, like most treble boosters. Here’s how Kenny Rardin from Premier Guitar explained it:

“It is basically a frequency selective boost. The higher frequency you put in, the more dB’s of boost you get. It certainly does get brighter, but not in the typical way. When played through an amp that is overdriving the lowend remains tight, but the higher you go, the sustain and gain is increased.”

I think in the 60s, a lot of dudes were using big dark sounding amps combined with Les Pauls with humbuckers, so this effect was designed to help higher notes cut through and not get buried in the mix.

When I finished the build and jamming with it, I noticed that the treble boost wasn’t really that prominent. It did add some sort of ‘sparkle’ to the sound, but it didn’t seem like it was boosting the top end that much. That’s until I ran a buffer before it – holy crap – it’s like a whole new effect! Way more top end boost. I like the way it sounds both ways – it would nearly be worth putting a switchable buffer in with it just to get both sounds from it. It’s not a clean boost either, it fuzzes up slightly, which is really nice.

I know that lots of transistor based fuzz pedals hate being after a buffer, but this thing loves it. I used a 25k pot, and the transistor is a 2N5088, but I’ve been told a OC140 might be best.

I’m glad I built this one, it might find a place on my board – either as an ‘always-on’ bit of sparkle, or as a tasty boost for leads.

 

 

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