"I a-a-a-absolutely love the Tonebone pedals. They are truly tonefull, expressive and totally rock."

~ Randy Bachman
(Guess Who, Bachman -Turner Overdrive)

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Frequently Asked Questions

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Here you will find the most frequently asked questions about this product. Many of these questions came from musicians like yourself. If you don't see the question you had in mind, feel free to enter it in the form provided along with your email address so that we may send the reply directly to you. Thanks in advance for your participation!

Q: Why do you call it a Trimode when it only has two distortion settings?
A: We felt that getting the ‘clean, rhythm, lead’ point across was so important that we had to come up with a name to relate the function. Trimode says it all.

Q: Is the Trimode like having a Classic and a Hot British in a single pedal?

A: Yes and no. The Trimode’s two channels have been voiced slightly differently to capture the very best rhythm and solo tones in a single unit. This allows the Trimode to get close to some of the fat tones that can be created with the Hot British. However, the Hot British employs three internal gain stages and a different circuit topology while the Classic employs two.

Q: What is a hybrid design?

A: The Tonebone Classic Trimode combines tube and solid-state. The tube provides the harmonics and 'character' and the solid-state gain stages provide the saturation. We found that this winning combination provides great tone, lots of dynamics and low noise..

Q: What kind of tube is inside the Trimode?

A: The Trimode employs a standard 12AX7. Because we are ‘starving' the tube with low voltage, the tube will last a long time and will never get very hot. The air vents on the side panel provide sufficient ventilation to keep the Trimode running cool.

Q: I thought tubes required high voltage to work?

A: This is true. To make tubes sound good and clean, they need lots of voltage. Since we are not trying to get the tubes to sound good, but rather trying to get the tubes to distort, we starve them to suit our purpose. Nasty trick… but it works.

Q: Is it difficult to change the Trimode’s tube?

A: Although it is not difficult, it does take some time, as you have to remove all the knobs and connectors off to do this. The user’s manual provides complete details on the process.

Q: Why does the Trimode require 15VDC to work?

A: Even though we are starving the tubes, we still need sufficient voltage to get the heater coils to work. The typical 9V supply just doesn't have sufficient voltage to do the job.

Q: Are there any manufacturers that make multi-power supply bricks for Tonebones?

A: Yes; The Cioks DC10 and AC10 both have 15V outlets for Tonebone pedals.

Q: What is the benefit of having an effects loop? Can I not simply connect all my pedals in series?

A: The advantage of having an effects loop is that it allows you to take pedals out of the signal chain when they are not in use. This reduces noise and will provide you with better tone. Most pedals are not ‘true bypass’ and therefore introduce a load on the signal which will affect the clean tone.

As for using all of your pedals in series, you can do this, however you would be better off minimizing the number of pedals on the main circuit , as you will enjoy better dynamics and less noise

Q: What is true bypass?

A: The term 'true bypass' comes from problems associated with some pedals that even when off, have the effect of loading down the pickup. This means that instead of 100% of the signal bypassing the effect pedal, some of it is absorbed into the pedal even when it is not being used. The perfect ‘true bypass’ switch would be one that completely disconnects the pedals PC board and circuit from the signal path. Unfortunately, this type of mechanical switching causes pops in the audio path when switched in and out.

Q: Can I get ‘Marshall’ style tones with the Trimode?

A: Tone is subjective. If you read the comments on Harmony Central, you will find that some users find the Classic’s tone to be very much like that of a Marshall, while others insist the Hot British is the best ‘Marshall-in-a-pedal’ made. It is safe to say that if you combine the Classic with a good amp, a good guitar and a good pair of hands, you can get some excellent sounds and be able to perform most musical styles. Try one.

Q: Can I use the Trimode for two different lead tones?
A: Yes of course. We only refer to channel-1 as the rhythm channel for reference sake. The Trimode's rhythm channel is voiced very much like the original Tonebone Classic™ while the solo channel has been voiced for a bit more bite. Both will yield exceptional lead tones.

Q: Is the Interstage™ drive a third drive stage?
A: No. It acts more like an input trim to the 2nd gain stage. Turning it counter-clockwise increases the level and drive.

Q: Do you plan to make a three mode Hot British pedal?
A: Actually we do... it's called the Plexitube!

Q: What is the difference between the Hot British and the Classic Trimode’s distortion circuitry?
A: The Classic and Classic Trimode employ two gain stages while the Hot British employs three gain stages. This allows the Classic to clean up like a real tube amp while the Hot British will produce more harmonics and saturation.

Q: How can I get more sustain with my tone?
A: Generally, there are two types of sustain: A heavily distorted tone will provide plenty of sustain at low levels. A clean sustain is generally played louder and is created by controlled feedback with added mid range. The Trimode is able to do both.

Q: Is the FX loop before or after the distortion stage?
A: After. The effects loop is post distortion as the primary
application would be for an effect like a delay or a chorus which tend
to be better suited when applied after distortion.

Q: Are the pedals in the Trimode and Plexitube loop always available, or is the loop energized when you switch the pedal from "bypass" to "on"?
A: The effects loop works in conjunction with the solo channel. Therefore, an effect like a delay will only go on when the solo channel is activated. When in true-bypass, the pedals in the effects loop and the distortion will be out of the signal path.

Q: Can I set up different lead sounds using pedals?
A: Yes. You still turn on or off the effects in the loop to create different
sounds. For instance you could have a chorus and delay and use one, the other or both for specific solos. For something really fun, try using an EQ to create Queen-style tones. .