Barber Tone Press

I've owned a vintage Ross as well as many of the usual suspects but, of all the contenders, the Psychopompos Hall of Fame Award for stomp box guitar compressors goes to the Barber Tone Press. I've been using one for several years and I haven't found anything that can beat it. There are some fancier (and more expensive) units on the market, but, as far as straight forward, no bells and whistles compressors go, the Tone Press is the clear winner.

Barber claims to have "developed a one-of-a-kind and quite proprietary continuous 'blend control' circuit and combined it with a discrete 'Class A' FET mixer circuit ... [that] allow[s] you to continuously blend the natural signal of your carefully selected guitar with a 'phase-corrected' classic compression circuit. The result? What guitar players have always wanted - unaltered attack and supernatural sustain and resonance." True to their words, the Tone Press delivers the goods.

I set the volume to unity, the blend control somewhere between 11:00 and 12:00, with the sustain knob between 10:00 and 12:00. The blend control is useful for dialing in the desired amount of bass by reducing or increasing the amount of processing: if you're chicken pickin' just blend in more of the processed signal to get a skinny but balanced tone; if you're aiming at chunky riffage just pull back on the blend knob a little and let more of the unprocessed signal in, thereby increasing low frequency content. The Tone Press does not 'squish' your note attack, rather, it smooths out your string-to-string balance while providing all kinds of 'traction' and sustain for single notes. It's a very nice and simple effect at a very reasonable price.