I bought this distortion pedal gently used somewhere in the mid-nineties, the price was next to nothing. I remember the pedal being advertised as some kind of over-the-top gain machine (“only way to get more gain is to put microphone in your chainsaw”), but in reality the distortion in this thing is kind of mild. Only the maximum gain settings give you hard rock kind of distortion and you can set the pedal have more old Metallica kind of no-midrange sound by tweaking the contour – knob. The guys from Radiohead (at least Jonny Greenwood) have mentioned using this pedal on their rigs several times, combined with the fact that these are not produced any more, means that these pedals have gone up in value radically. I am sure they used also other pedals or amp distortion too, it is not easy to get Creep-like distortion sound from just the Shredmaster.
Sounds and features:
Sound wise this is not a heavy metal pedal really – the name is kind of confusing and this is probably the reason why the pedal was not very popular back in the day. But this does not mean the pedal is bad, it is actually pretty versatile pedal for hard rock type sounds or even old-school metal like Iron Maiden. For lead playing the gain is just adequate, maybe some shredders feel there is not enough juice but you can always beef up the distortion by using overdriven amp. Using this pedal with amp which already has distorted sound is probably one the best ways to use this pedal.
The pedal has simple setup, along the usual volume, gain, treble and bass knobs, there is the contour – knob which controls the midrange frequencies. If you set it to zero, you can get really scooped-kind of tone which Dimebag from Pantera used all the time.
Quality and reliability:
Pedal has sturdy metal case, no problems using at gigs at all. The only build quality thing I have noticed over the years is that the pots scratch a bit nowadays, but it does not bother the usage too much.
My favorite Shredmaster settings:
Gain: 2 o´clock
Bass: 12 o´clock
Contour: 10 o´clock
Treble: 12 o´clock
Volume: 1 o´clock