Clapton's Tone in a Box
Aclam Guitar's "The Woman Tone" is their own tribute to Eric Clapton’s amazing sound during his Cream era. An accurate approach to the unique tone he attained with a simple yet effective combination of a P.A.F equipped Gibson and 100W Marshall stacks all the way up.
Cream’s last show before their dissolution was The Farewell Concert at The Royal Albert Hall, filmed on November 26, 1968. Clapton was delivering his signature blues licks and amazing riffs with such an amazing tone; impossible not to notice how cool and unique the “Woman Tone” was. That characteristic silky, but at the same time gnarly tone, he attained by rolling off the tone control of his guitar.
The Woman Tone was one of Clapton’s most famous tricks during that period, and after watching the Farewell Concert again, we had renewed interest in re-listening to Cream’s records. We ended up paying special attention to songs like “SWLABR”, “I Feel Free” or “Sunshine of Your Love"
Even though the underlying concept could be considered as simple, you would just need a guitar with tone control and an overdriven amp, we realised it wasn’t; so, tests with our own vintage gear started.
Rolling off the tone pot and turning it back on while playing was certainly not easy, and what was going on was way more than that: The combination of that specific Gibson SG with humbuckers, potentiometers, and tone capacitors, in conjunction with the Marshall plexi amp would make it incomparable to other tones of the time. We realised how a “Woman Tone” pre-set controlled via footswitch would have made Clapton’s life much easier when it came to switching back and forth from standard to The Woman Tone.
At that point, Aclam Guitars were challenged enough to attempt to create The Woman Tone “in-a-box”. A pedal with a dedicated footswitch capable of reproducing Clapton’s main overdriven sound, keeping it as close to the original as possible, with its same character, emphasising certain frequencies to match Eric’s own 1964 Gibson SG, without having to reach any control with the hands; and that could be used on any guitar & pickup combination.
So, they designed a custom all-analog pickup simulation circuit to reproduce the tonal qualities of a vintage Gibson P.A.F humbucker. We paired it with a Plexi style overdrive with a great dynamic range, so you can achieve The Woman Tone with your own rig.
Aclam Guitars fine-tuned The Woman Tone footswitch to slightly increase the gain when engaged, so when you roll off the tone control of the pedal, the saturation does not decrease. It also enhances the low end to make the guitar sound fuller when melodies are played. A joy to play!
As with the Dr Robert, Aclam Guitars wanted The Woman Tone to pay tribute to Cream both from the inside and outside. They've been lucky enough to get Marijke Koger, former member of the incredible The Fool Dutch Art Collective, to sign the artwork of The Woman Tone.
Marijke is the artist responsible for the art of Eric Clapton's iconic 1964 Gibson SG nicknamed “The Fool”, in honour to the artistic collective Marijke formed with Simon Posthuma. Her artwork illustrates the fantasy of The Woman Tone, depicting a woman in paradise with a very colourful illustration, very representative of the psychedelic movement of that period. The result is a pedal with whom you will achieve the legendary Woman Tone by simply pressing a switch. It will not disappoint both Cream fans seeking Clapton’s signature sound, and players in search for a classic plexi tone plus a unique feature for solo and rhythm parts!
Engages the unit allowing the signal to flow through the Woman Tone circuit. It also lights up the LED above it
Sets the amount of overdrive. Turn it clockwise all the way up to get a roaring plexi saturation!
WOMAN MODE SWITCH
Activates The Woman Tone knob. It also lights up the led above it.
WOMAN MODE KNOB TONE
This knob has the same behavior as the tone control found on most electric guitars. By turning it counterclockwise, it reduces the treble content of the guitar signal making it sound darker and silky. The trick inside the Woman Tone is our custom pickup simulation circuit that reproduces the tonal characteristics of a classic humbucker pickup. This is the key to reproduce the iconic sound that was Clapton’s trademark during the Cream days!
Aside from enabling the knob, this mode boosts the gain in order to compensate for the slight volume drop caused by the tone control rolled off so if you use this mode with the Woman Tone Knob fully clockwise you can use the pedal as a dual stage overdrive!
Controls the overall volume of the unit!
INTERNAL DIP SWITCH (Darker Woman Tone)
When Aclam Guitars designed the Woman Tone, they focused on getting the closest to Clapton’s live and studio sound but at the same time to make the pedal versatile and even with few controls, to suit different tastes. Because the pickup simulation circuit behaves the same as a real pickup, by changing the tone capacitor value we can change the response of the Woman Tone mode and make it darker or brighter. And this is exactly what the dip switch does! For the ones that like a mellower and darker Woman Tone, all that needs to be done is to open the pedal and using a small flat screwdriver slide the dip switch to the ON position. We encourage you to experiment and find which mode is better to your taste