- Full Featured Shiba Drive Reloaded
- Compact, Pedal Board Friendly Size
- 2- Position Smooth Switch (Hi-Cut)
- True Bypass
- Super versatile
Suhr is helping lead the way to make more room on your pedal board. The Shiba Drive Reloaded Mini is their second pedal in the mini-series following the successful Riot Mini. These pedals include all the features you love at a much smaller footprint. They’re perfect for Fly Rigs with their small size & weight, yet still keeping with the original specs. John Suhr is an avid animal lover and many of his pedals are named after his dogs. Shiba Inu is a beautiful Japanese breed and the pedal namesake. The Shiba Drive Reloaded is a modified version of the original Shiba overdrive pedal. It was originally released in 2009, and reloaded in 2013. The Reloaded version has a tighter bottom end, that you’ll notice especially if you are using it with a neck pickup. There is an increase in available gain, and the smooth switch was re-voiced to make each setting more noticeable.
OUT OF THE BOX
The Shiba Drive Reloaded Mini weighs in at just under 6 oz. and is housed in a custom 3.8” (l) x 1.83” (w) x 1.27”(h) blue metallic metal enclosure. On top are three knobs. Two small black ones: Tone and Level up top, and one large clear Drive knob. There is a heavy-duty True Bypass footswitch and a mini 2-position Smooth (Hi-Cut) switch up top between the small knobs. In and Outs are on the sides with a standard 9Vdc type power jack on the top back. Suhr has a tag line with this new line that says, “Your pedal board just got bigger”. Pedal board real estate is a never-ending issue for guitar players. There always seems to be at least one pedal you can’t fit on.
I like the simplicity of the layout. I also like how sturdy the pedal is. I yanked on all the knobs and they aren’t budging. I found this great sounding pedal has three possible functions on any given board.
With the Drive turned down, Tone at 2:00, Volume maxed, and the smooth switch to the right, it is a great clean boost. As the volume goes up there is a nice barely noticeable compression as it hits the amp slightly harder. It’s not like a Klon boost, or a vanilla MXR type boost, but has a definite character to it that I like. I would probably leave it on all the time to push signal through all the pedals. Just a little extra goodness if you know what I mean. In clean boost mode, I’d add a little top end if I’m using Humbuckers. That works well with my Gretsch to get a little more presence while still clean.
As you bring up the drive to about 10:00, Tone and Level at 2:00, Smooth switch to the right, you have a great crunchy Drive that’s open sounding with rich even harmonics. The Shiba Drive has Silicon Diodes and Symmetrical clipping. It definitely compresses as you turn up the drive. With a Strat in the neck position it gives you that overdriven thing perfect for the Hendrix-ish soulful double stop stuff. Otherwise a great rhythm crunch overall.
I cranked the Drive all the way up with the Tone at 3:00, Vol. at 2:00 and the Smooth switch to the left. It’s a great bluesy sound yet still modern. Lots of sustain, and gives you that violin like solo sound. It’s quite dynamic if you play soft, but has that compression thing that is so fun. It’s one of those settings that makes time fly because it sounds cool. With the Smooth switch left, you can turn the tone up without cutting your head off. There are still plenty of upper harmonics but more musical and controlled.
If you like the Shiba Reloaded Drive already, it’s a no-brainer. Just the room you save on your board will be a welcome feature. As I got to know the pedal more and more, it really grew on me. It has those complex harmonics that make it a pedal that I can use in the studio all by itself. It’s also very happy with other pedals, and I would keep it near the front of the signal chain. I like it as a slight boost to give weight to the guitar in a complex board adding a little top when playing with Humbuckers. As a rhythm drive, again I really liked it a lot. For that LA solo thing where you can hear all the subtleties with your playing it’s fantastic. So, there are three great ways to use it. With the friendly price point and size I give it two thumbs up! I hope you get to check it out.