Got a question you'd like to ask?
Subscribe to the Radial newsletter


Why do you call it a Trimode when it only has two distortion settings?

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 functionality. Trimode says it all.

Is the Trimode the same as having a Classic and a Hot British in a single pedal?

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 gain stages and a different circuit topology while the Classic employs two. The Trimode is more like two Classics in one pedal.

What is a hybrid design?

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..

What brand of tube is inside the Trimode?

The Trimode employs a standard 12AX7. We usually employ a Ruby Tube but this can change depending on availability.

Will changing the tube change the tone?

Yes, but only to a slight degree. Some players find that changing the tube adds a somewhat different character to the sound.

Is it difficult to change the Trimode tube?

No. Although it is not difficult, it does take some patience, as you have to remove all the knobs and connectors to do this. The user's manual provides complete details on the process.

Will the tube get hot?

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.

I thought tubes required high voltage to work?

This is true. To make tubes sound good and clean (without distortion) such as when used in a mic preamp, 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.

Can I use my 9V Boss supply with the Trimode?

No. 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. This is why we use a 15VDC supply.

Can I use the 16V or 18V output from my power brick?

Yes. But this will cause the regulator to heat up as it compensates for the extra voltage. This may shorten the lifespan of the pedal depending on how it is being used. If you choose to do so, make sure you supply the Tonebone with the correct polarity and sufficient current to do the job.

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

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

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

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.

Is the FX loop before or after the distortion stage?

The effects loop is 'post distortion' (after) as the primary application would be for an effect like a delay which tends to be better when applied after distortion.

What is true bypass?

A True Bypass pedal is one whereby when the pedal effect is turned off, the sound of the guitar bypasses the internal circuit and connects directly to the amp. You can easily test to see if a pedal is true-bypass by disconnecting the power supply. If the clean guitar signal still passes, the pedal is true bypass.

Can I get 'Marshall' style tones with the Trimode?

Tone is subjective. Some users find the Trimode's tone to be very much like that of a Marshall, while others insist the Plexitube is the best 'Marshall-in-a-pedal' made today. It is safe to say that if you combine the Trimode 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 with total comfort.

Can I use the Trimode for two different lead tones?

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.

Is the Interstage™ drive a third drive stage?

No. It acts more like an input attenuator for the signal going from the rhythm channel into the 2nd gain stage. Turning it counter-clockwise increases the level and drive.

How can I increase sustain with my tone?

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.