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The Silver Horse’s Klon Roots
First, a quick primer on the legendary Klon Centaur overdrive pedal on which the Silver Horse is based.
Usually described as a “transparent overdrive,” only around 8000 genuine Klon Centaurs were produced (handmade by the pedal’s creator Bill Finnegan), and then the pedal went out of regular production. They garnered an incredible reputation, and combined with their scarcity the prices skyrocketed on the secondhand market. It also spawned a number of clone pedals (sometimes lovingly referred to as “Klones”).
Other Klon-Clones Available
The Mosky Silver Horse isn’t the only game in town, however. As a reaction to the desirability and inaccessibility of the original Klons, a variety of pedal builders have produced clones of the original Klon pedal, such as:
… amongst many others. All of these are worth checking out, but none can touch the Mosky Silver Horse’s ultra low price point.
Mosky Silver Horse Overdrive
At the bottom of the Klone price range is the Mosky Silver Horse and its predecessor the Golden Horse, available at the time of writing for under $30 on Amazon (and even cheaper on eBay/AliExpress). By most accounts, the Silver Horse and Golden Horse pedals are very similar, except that the Silver Horse has a “Voice” switch that tweaks the gain structure.
I’ve never played a real Klon, and although I briefly owned an EHX Soul Food, I sold it after a few months. I ended up developing some seller’s remorse, so when I saw the Silver Horse’s considerable online buzz, I decided to order one to fill the Klon-shaped hole in my tone. It arrived from China in a few days, and when I plugged it in, it didn’t power on – I sent it back, received a replacement in another week, and proceeded to rock out.
Silver Horse Specifications and Features
The Silver Horse comes in a tiny silver-painted metal enclosure. It doesn’t take batteries, it requires a 9V power supply. It has knobs for gain, treble, and output, plus a vaguely-labeled “Voice” toggle switch that changes the pedal’s gain structure a little – more on that later. The gain knob introduces a little clipping, the output knob acts as a mostly-clean boost, and the treble knob shelves the high frequencies a little bit.
The Voice toggle switch’s functionality is not very well documented, so I’ll explain how I understand it based on what I’m hearing.
In one position, the Silver Horse will clip with the gain knob set at relatively low settings. Flick it to the other position and it gains a lot of headroom and won’t distort. This is an ideal setting if you want to bypass the pedal’s own crunch and more judiciously pummel the front of your amplifier, or if you’re using a more high-output pickup and don’t want the Silver Horse’s distortion to kick in.
How to Use the Silver Horse
Something important that I’d like to point out is that when I use Klon-style overdrive pedals, their drive sound is not the main sonic event. Whereas an Ibanez Tube Screamer, Boss Blues Driver, or other mid-to-high-gain overdrives sound good on their own (to me at least), the Silver Horse doesn’t sound particularly impressive when its gain knob is cranked.
The Silver Horse really shines when you use it effectively in collaboration with other gear. The classic use case for me is to use my Strat’s neck single coil, the Output knob high and the Gain knob low on the Silver Horse, and set my Marshall tube combo just shy of distorting. This gets the amplifier just over the edge of breakup and results in a tastefully distorted crunch. My Strat’s single coils sound proudly Stratocaster-y, aggressive but restrained. It’s one of the best sounds I have access to.
With this as my tone starting point, I can add additional flavor to the distortion by slightly increasing the Silver Horse’s Gain knob, for which the sweet spot for me is between 9-oclock and noon. Beyond the noon position, even on a clean channel, the gain sounds pretty generic.
The Silver Horse can do more than beef up your crunch tones, though. If you use it to push a dirty channel, you’ll get an even fatter and more aggressive tone. Just be careful to make sure the end result isn’t too boomy, because unlike a Tube Screamer style OD, the Silver Horse boosts your whole sound without attenuating the low end.
Another way I like to use it is to add a fractional amount of dirt and body to my sound with more precision than I’d be able to do with my amp’s controls. This is great for effects-laden spacy playing where more than a hair of distortion would be out of place.
Video Demo of the Mosky Silver Horse Overdrive
It took a bit of digging around YouTube, but I was finally able to find a video that demonstrates the range of sounds you can expect from the Mosky Silver Horse. Remember though: tone is very gear-dependent, so your mileage may vary depending on your actual setup.
Note: I did not make this video.
If you’re trying to get a completely new sound from your rig from an overdrive with a very unique character, the Mosky Silver Horse may not be for you. On the other hand, if you have a tube amplifier (or a quality approximation) that you like and are wanting to accentuate its natural character, the Silver Horse could be an excellent addition.
Because the Silver Horse is a “transparent overdrive,” your amp and guitar will still sound like themselves, but with a little more attitude and character, and you’ll definitely be impressed with the price you paid.
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