Sunday, January 11, 2009

Roland Double Beat AD-50 Fuzz Wah Pedal


Many years ago, long before eBay and Craig's List, I was walking around downtown San Diego just basically being a tourist in my own town. I live about 25 miles north of San Diego proper in a little beach community, and unless I'm headed to a Padres game or I have a gig, I just don't head downtown all that much. So, when I happened upon a pretty cool pawn shop on 5th Avenue I had to wander in and take a look around. It was one of those pawn shops that tries to be sort of old-timey, with a wooden indian by the front door and a giant antique scale and other antique decor. They had a few guitars, but nothing too nice. Then, up on a glass shelf, I spied what looked like the remnants of some old science experiment. Or was it a weird wah pedal?

I asked the lady if I could take a look and she carefully pulled down a double handfull of pedal, wires, capacitors and a battery and put it on the counter. I'd never seen a pedal like this before, but it turned out to be a pretty beat up Roland Double Beat Fuzz & Wah pedal, missing it's bottom plate. Although it looked like a mess, it did appear to all be there...just missing the plate.

I asked how much and she said $50. I said how about $20, since I only had about $20 to my name. However, I knew I needed this pedal for some reason and, even if it was my last few bucks, I was going to offer it up. To my surprise she said okay, and the pedal was mine. Now I had to carry it around for awhile with all the wires and guts hanging out.

I'm sure I looked like an amateur bomber walking the streets.

I got the pedal home and found a piece of thin wood which I cut out to fit the bottom. I screwed it all together and it actually looked acceptable. Barely. But the cool thing is that it worked. I played around with it and got some funky fuzz tones out of it. It has a knob that lets you choose between three fuzz waves. Then you can kick in the wah and either do fuzz wah or plain old funk wah with no fuzz. The pots could have used a cleaning, but otherwise it was pretty decent.

Like I said, this was before eBay and the like, so there was no way to really get this in the hands of someone who knew it's value and would be willing to pay top dollar for it. I took it down to my local music store one day and used it as a partial trade for something...no clue what. But I do remember the guy being pretty happy to get this rare pedal. I never went back to see what he was actually selling it for. Sometimes that's for the best...get what you can, be happy with it, and don't look back.
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One of the photos "borrowed" from DiscoFreq, a GREAT pedal archive
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5 comments:

Mr. Goldblog said...

I had one of these, and it got stolen. I played in an indie band in the 90s and this was a fantastic pedal. It has a killer over-driven fuzz sound, perfect for that Dinosaur Jr type shoegazer soft-loud type dynamic and a terrific wah-wah. I'm desperately trying to find another of these, I really can't stand my Sovtek Bigmuff.

Anonymous said...

Im sitting with mine right now! I got it in a Japanese shop in Hiroshima for about $100 (as a favor from the owner). Its quite big muff-ish and I do like the wah. I also have a Roland Beebaa and I have to say I like the DB much more. It cleans up lovely-ly, yes, it can work as a boost as well. It has the volume drop (but this thing is from 1973 or so), but theres schematics online now to fix that. The guitarist from White Zombie used one for his heavy sounds. I like a Colorsound Power Boost into the DB. Soooooo awesome!

Anonymous said...

Yep...have one of these babies since about 1985...lovely wah and great fuzz tones...ome of them is very similar to the classic "Fuzz Face"
This is one that I will never part with..unlike some of the others that have gotten away :)

Cheers

Tonebender

Anonymous said...

My lucky day...just scored this baby's lil brother the Roland WAH BEAT AW-10 off ebay complete with the original manual and BOX! $122.50...this is another that will not get away :D

Cheers

Tonebender

Anonymous said...

This is one guitar effect I'll never part with. I bought it new in 1974 and the only maintenance it has required is a good cleaning of the wah pedal pot. Like most units used at floor level, years of dust accumulation left it crackling so I would think most can be restored with a cleaning or pot replacement. What I like most about this unit is its sustain function. Tweaked just right it can make a note scream for what seems an eternity.