First unveiled in 2014, the Bogner La Grange Overdrive Boost pedal was all but assumed dead after years of silence from the manufacturer until it reemerged a few years later looking much different from its original incarnation. When it was finally released earlier this year, it was clear that the extra time and effort Bogner put into the La Grange was well worth it, as it’s seen by many as one of the best pedals of 2016, and arguably one of the best pedals in its class, period. Read on to find out what makes the La Grange such an awesome pedal along with what it can bring to your own pedalboard.
As we mentioned in our first look at the La Grange a few months back, the pedal’s core function is a Marshall Plexi amp emulator. More specifically, the La Grange can simulate the tones from a mid-‘60s Plexi all the way up to the modded ‘90s version, but what separates it from the dozens of other stompboxes with the same goal in mind is the versatile controls Bogner has added in. Aside from the traditional set of Volume, Tone, and Gain controls, the La Grange features a slew of unique knobs and switches that further enhance the pedal’s abilities.
First in at the far left you have a boost knob which – with the Boost toggle engaged -- allows you to dial in your desired amount of signal boost. Better yet, this feature can work independently from the pedal’s coloring, meaning you can use it as a pure, clean boost if you wish.
Next, we have the Volume, Tone, and (all the way to the right) Gain knobs, which all work as you would expect. But in between the Tone and Gain, the La Grange features a unique Channel Blend knob, which is where we begin to see the true versatility of the pedal. Essentially, this knob works as a mix control that simulates the two channels of a 4 input 67-69 Plexi; turn all the way to the left for the brighter, boosted "T" channel, all the way to the right for the more subdued "B" channel, or any combination in between. Better yet, leave it a 50/50 for an equal mix of both, not unlike using a jumper cable on a real Plexi (a common technique used to link both channels).
The toggle switches on the top end of the pedal further push what's possible with the La Grange. For example, you can use the Variac switch for extra dynamic compression and enriched harmonics that give off a very EVH-style 'brown sound', or use the Presence and Structure switches to further fine tune the response of the pedal's sound. Used together, they offer a huge range of tones that should make nearly every kind of Marshall amp fan happy.
As far as the build goes, the La Grange is easily a top-of-the-line pedal, inside and out; impressively sturdy with a look and feel that resonates high-quality through and through. It should easily last years of consistent use and take the occasional drop without much issue. Housed inside its tough exterior, the pedal consists of several high-grade components throughout, including German WIMA and Japanese Nichicon capacitors, double-sided gold-plated circuit boards, gold-plated relays, Carling switches and more. If that all sound like jargon to you, suffice it to say that Bogner didn’t cut corners when building the La Grange.
It's really hard to emphasize just how many tones the La Grange is able to pull off. Sure, it can pull off ZZ Top-style overdrive that its name suggests but that's just the very tip of what this pedal can do. AC/DC, Led Zeppelin, Van Halen, The Who, Jimi Hendrix -- if they used Marshall Plexi, you can more than likely dial in that tone.
Starting with everything on its mid settings (or completely off in the case of the Variac switch and Boost), I was instantly able to get a satisfying overdrive tone reminiscent of late 60s classic rock. After playing through a few licks, I was instantly impressed by the amount of touch sensitivity expressed by the pedal. Small nuances in playing that other OD pedals tend to cover over (especially at higher gain settings) were all coming through with no problem.
Speaking of gain, the La Grange features plenty of it, able to dial in anything from a slight yet smooth bit of grit to a full-on, hard rock crunch. Personally, I rarely used the pedal with maxed out gain settings as at it was a bit too much for my taste but it's definitely there if that's more your style.
Further exploring all the various settings and switches, I grew to love Presence and Structure switches in particular. If you really want to explore what makes this pedal so great, make good use of these two. For example, the Presence switch set on high can instantly give you a very open, bright tone (great for lead work), while the low position will grant a rounder, smoother tone with a subdued high-end response. As for the Structure switch, it further controls the gain response, able to give you a very focused, tight sound on the smaller black dot setting or a loose, thick sound on the open dot setting.
I can go on and on but the best way to really appreciate what this pedal can do is by hearing it in action for yourself:
Easily one of the best Marshall-inspired pedals around, the Bogner La Grange is a Swiss Army Knife of Plexi tones built into a high-quality, durable stompbox. Add in the independent boost feature and you essentially have two pedals in one. While the $249.99 price tag might make some players shy away (especially if they had bad experiences with other premium priced pedals), I can whole-heartedly say that the La Grange is worth every penny and then some. If you want the tones of what many consider the best amp in rock history, look no further than the Bogner La Grange.
If you have any questions regarding the purchase of the Bogner La Grange or any other piece of gear, don't hesitate to chat with one of our friendly PAL pros by using the live chat feature below or by calling us toll-free at 1 877-671-2200!
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