NAMM 2024: Our records show that the last week a new overdrive pedal wasn't brought to market was in late November 1853, and they're still coming thick and fast. Each promises a tantalising prospect for our rig and the MXR Gran Torino is no exception.
As far as we know it's not a tribute to the 2008 Clint Eastwood film, but follows on from the MXR Custom Shop Il Torino boost and overdrive. Where does the Gran come in?
It looks to be a relaunch of that pedal with a new colour, design and name tweak – and the Ill Torino is no longer listed in the MXR lineup. The Gran Torino has appeared on the NAMM floor and Jim Dunlop site without making reference to the previous metallic blues incarnation but we can see it offers a similar control layout with the three-band EQ now called Hi, Mid and Lo. There currently aren't even any video demos or retail listings for it either, further suggesting a soft relaunch of sorts.
Like the previous pedal it uses MOSFET transistors to 'amplify and enrich the natural sound of your rig with the the warm, organic sound of classic tube amps'. We've heard that before, and yet still it pulls us in like moths to the flame. But one thing we like about both these pedals is the switch between Boost and OD modes – something the MXR/ Analogman Duke Of Tone has in its armory too.
'Boost for cleaner notes and rich sustain, OD for smooth, mellow overdrive,' says MRX. In addition, the Gran Torino uses a Class A Low Impedance Output Driver to 'preserve the integrity of your sound and prevent signal loss across long FX chains.'
Everyone will eventually find their go-to lower gain pedal, and this might just be yours. The MXR Gran Torino will retail at $149.
Check it out at jimdunlop.com