Buying Guide: Klon Klones Under $100

I get it, the original Klon Centaur pedal may be a polarizing, over-hyped, over-priced pedal.  Also, the subject of cloning pedals can also be polarizing.  I’m not here to make those arguments, these products are out there and getting cheaper and cheaper.  I’m just trying to compile what’s on the market to let you know what options you have.

I also understand there’s new stuff all the time, so I will try to update this guide as I come across new options.  I’m trying to limit this to pedals that are currently for sale from United States sellers.  I know you can go on eBay and there are tons of unbranded Klones coming from the east, and you can take a gamble on those if you wish, I’m trying to stick to ones with brands behind them.

In a nutshell, “Klon-Style” of overdrive pedal is one that is low to moderate gain, emphasizes the mid-range around the 1k frequencies, and has a lot of volume output.  People usually use these to boost an already dirty amp, stack with other pedals, or as just a light overdrive on its own.  These are also often referred to as “transparent overdrives” (which is kind of an oxymoron, but don’t shoot the messenger here).  I find they work well with both single coil and humbucker equipped guitars.

To be honest, I haven’t actually played most of these pedals, and frankly, they will probably all be indiscernible tone-wise if you were to listen to them side-by-side.  The differences will be in the form factor, some have a few more options, and whether you want compact or a pedal with more size.  Some brands also have a better reputation for quality control, you generally get what you pay for there.

Mosky Golden Horse: Street Price $23.98

From what I’ve found, this is the cheapest and most consistent Klone out there.  To me, compared to some other Klones, it adds a nice “sizzle” to the tone.  This is one I actually own.

Specs from Amazon:

  • Guitar overdrive effect pedal based on Klon Centaur Effect Pedal
  • 3 functional knobs(TREBLE/OUTPUT/GAIN) for adjusting the performance of the overdrive effect.
  • True bypass footswitch for switching between overdrive effect and bypass status.
  • LED light for indicating effects or bypass status.
  • Full metal shell and compact size, durable and portable

Mosky Silver Horse: Street Price $26.99

As much as I love the Golden Horse above, the Silver Horse has that AND another mode.  When the switch is up, it is nearly identical to the Golden Horse with a more crisp high end, but when the switch is down, it shifts from the “high-mids” to the “mid-mids,” if that makes sense.  To me, it’s worth the extra couple bucks over the Golden Horse.  Or, buy both and stack them!

Specs from Amazon:

  • This effect pedal is designed based on Klon Centaur Effect Pedal.
  • This item has overdrive/ boost effect, with 2 modes of voice to choose (Normal/ Soft).
  • 3 functional knobs(TREBLE/OUTPUT/GAIN) for adjusting the performance of the overdrive effect.
  • True bypass switch; On/Off LED indicator
  • Full metal shell and compact size, durable and portable.

Caline Pegasus: Street Price $39.99

This is one I actually haven’t played yet, but the videos seen good.  Unlike the Mosky’s above, this pedal seems to have a bit more size and heft.

Specs from Amazon:

  • Wide Tone Range — Can control clear clean boost, cream overdrive and hard rock. And strong integration with speaker.
  • High Fidelity — Do the best to persist the character of your guitar and amplifier,the sound could be still clear even when you increase the gain.
  • Excellent Dynamic — Increase the intensity of string sound and feel that each tone is linked together. The tension of the undulation and contraction is very good. Beneficial to express the feeling.
  • Easy to use — There are Tone, Gain, and Volume three knobs. In accordance with the habits of most musicians, the simple three knobs allow you to change a variety of wonderful sounds.
  • Excellent Design — With classical mini size, portable and easy to carry. True bypass produce a transparent tone. And the aluminum alloy shell make the effect pedal durable and stable.

Tone City Bad Horse: Street Price $52.88

This is a pedal I actually owned (hence my own demo of it above).  This take on the Klon is slightly different from others in that it has a “Tone” knob instead of a “Treble” knob.  To me, the Treble knob on most Klones will only affect the treble frequencies.  The tone knob on this acts more like a tone knob on most pedals were it will also shift the mid and low frequencies.  As a result, this pedal is a little darker than say the Mosky’s above.

Specs from Amazon:

  • The Bad Horse gets it’s inspiration from prior well known stomps and it’s tonal response and is both powerful and direct.
  • A real strong response, while keeping the notes clean in the mix and does not muddy or wash out. The little units are some of the best out there along with a great entry price.
  • Real nice unit from Tone City and this entire lineup does not disappoint!
  • Dimensions: 1.5″ wide x 3.5″ long x 1.25″ high. Weight: 9 ounces

Joyo Tauren: Street Price $55.99

This is another one I haven’t actually played, but the R-Series by Joyo has quickly gained a good reputation for build quality.  It’s a nice sleek design, and from other peoples’ video of it, it seems like it does what it’s supposed to.

Specs from Amazon:

  • Overdrive pedal delivers the nuances of great Music
  • The Tonal possibilities range create by wide Range of High-Gain
  • Adjusting Gain knob to boost the distortion
  • Low Gain and High Gain can be delivered vividly
  • Decorated with ambience LED light for futuristic and retro mod

NUX Horseman: Street Price $69.00

This is a relatively newcomer to the Klone universe, but out of all the pedals in this list, it seems to have the most options under its hood.  It has both “gold” and “silver” options, along with internal converters that will ramp you up to 18v with a voltage converter, giving you more headroom.  Plus, you can choose between buffered bypass or true bypass.  The buffer is a good option if you’re using a lot of cable, or the true bypass option is good if you want to put it in front of some fuzz pedals.

Specs from Amazon:

  • Gold and Silver modes,2 independent pedal sound in one mini stomp box
  • Gain, Treble and Output Controls
  • Voltage Converter
  • True Bypass / Buffer Bypass

Electro Harmonix Soul Food: Street Price $86.20

=Electro+Harmonix+Soul+Food&icep_seller

Specs:

  • Overdrive pedal for electric guitar
  • Wide-ranging drive control gives you everything from clean boost to fully-saturated distortion
  • Higher drive settings boost mid frequencies for richer tone
  • Treble control can boost or cut high frequencies, perfect for taming single-coils or adding bite to humbuckers
  • Boosted power rails ensure high headroom and excellent note definition
  • Switchable true bypass or buffered switching

This is another one I haven’t actually played, but Electro Harmonix has a well-earned reputation for quality with a side of quirkiness.  Plus, there are a thousand modifications available for this pedal if you want to heat up that soldering iron.

 

Cheers,
Chuck

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