Initial one made in 1976, while I was in the UK with Split Enz. The Hotcake is designed to leave the undistorted component of the guitar sound unchanged, while providing a nice fat distortion sound without resorting to a treble cut circuit which will also affect the guitar tonality. 

With the Drive and Presence controls set to minimum, and the Level at around 2 o’clock, you should be hard pressed to hear any change in the sound at all when you switch the Hotcake in and out.

You can get a clean volume boost by increasing the Level control. Increasing the Drive will give you a thick distortion sound with a little bit of edge to it, and the Presence control adds some mid-range punch to the sounds.

The Hotcake also handles chords well.

Note: Since 2008, The Hotcake has included a jumper switch system. This system allows the user to change the setting to The Hotcake Bluesberry specification. Using the same jumper switch system you have a Bass Accentuation facility. We advise the user that the settings should not be altered on a regular basis – the jumper switch system is in place to allow the user to fix a setting and is not intended as a constant switching option.
It is recommended that the Hotcake is patched between the guitar and amplifier, rather than into an amplifier’s effect loop.
Generally speaking, if you are happy with your guitar and amplifier combination, the Hotcake will work well as a primary distortion.

Tech Specs:

  • Input impedance: 1
  • Megohm. (equivalent to a typical valve amplifier. )
  • Output impedance: less than 13k Ohm
  • Recommended minimum output load impedance: 100k Ohm.
  • Bypass type: Circuit converts into a high quality buffer with simple, quiet, seamless switching, using gold plated contacts.
  • Phase polarity: Non inverting.
  • Continuous current consumption approx. 3.5 mA (LED on)
  • External power supply socket. 9-12VDC, 2.1mm, pin negative. Compatible with most popular AC adapters.
  • If more than one pedal is powered from the same adapter, a regulated type should be used to minimise “hum” (100/120hz) which can be caused by circulating ripple currents.


“Beautiful harmonic distortion, controlled feedback, thick growl.. hard to describe. …I love it with my setup.. it is a very warm sounding overdrive pedal.. nothing harsh about it.. very full bass response.. only OD pedal I use.”

“Incredible gain effect! One of the best I’ve ever played.”

“The sound for me is simply unbeatable. I have been giggin with it for the last 2 years and everytime I stomp on it, it impresses me. Its just so warm and full. …It is the best there is. A must have for any rocker.”

“I play in the UK’s top Hendrix tribute, and this pedal helps me to get the sounds that I am after.I have used Ts9’s Ts8’s,Fulltone, Barber, Aramat,Keeley, the list is ensless. If you want a pedal that will do a nice boost through to thick overdriven fuzzy sounds that still responds to your picking and guitar vol dynamics, look no further. Every guitar player will find a use for this pedal.”