Brian Nelson is the owner/operator of 323 Effects out of Birmingham, Alabama. Like many smaller builders, he’s crafting hand-made products of his own design. With a background in engineering and a passion for worship his goal is to create high-quality stomp boxes without the high prices. As a man passionate in his faith, you’ll not be surprised when you find out that 323 is actually a reference to Colossians 3:23 which states, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart as working for the Lord, not for men.” What I know about faith you could fit in an upside down thimble, but I do know that basing your business off a sentiment of passion and hard work – regardless of its origin – will get you a long way in this world. Brian seems to embrace both.
Having started out as strictly a custom builder, Brian eventually opted to step away from one-at-a-time builds to focus on building up a line a pedals. Currently he has three to choose from, the Timbers Overdrive, the Steel City Overdrive and the Ridges Reverb:
Timbers Overdrive: This pedal is a well rounded overdrive, designed to let the guitar/amp foundation of your tone shine. The clipping portion of the circuit allows the full range of your guitar through to avoid that nasal mid hump of so many drive pedals. But don’t be afraid of getting lost in the mix! The two tone controls give you the option of boosting or cutting both the treble and bass frequency ranges. An internal “Presence” trimpot also gives some extra flexibility to dial in your ideal sound. The clipping toggle switch is just another layer of flexibility! The UPposition is an open-sounding drive that maintains a nice chimey quality. Flip the switch DOWN for a more compressed, smooth drive. In either position, it can do clean or fairly distorted very well.
Steel City Overdrive: The Steel City overdrive is a dynamic drive pedal that can follow you to any gain destination you want. Whether it’s low drive settings to fatten up your guitar signal and send your amp into its own natural overdrive OR gainy chunky riffs using the higher gain from the pedal, it’s got you covered! Featuring cascaded J-FET gain stages, the Steel City provides a more natural tube-like distortion than the standard op-amp and diodes method of clipping. An internal voltage doubler supplies the FETs with 18V for more headroom and a fatter tone. The full amp-style tone stack gives you complete control over how it interacts with the tone settings on your amp.
Ridges Reverb: The Ridges Reverb is here to satisfy all your verb-like needs in one small package. Fill out your tone with subtle amp style verb or go completely over-the-top ambient with seemingly never-ending trails, it’s up to you! Your beloved guitar tone will be preserved through the analog dry signal path, but you can dial in just the right amount of verb for your taste. The Ridges is not yet available and is in ‘coming soon’ status, so keep on the lookout.
Besides these pedals, Brian has also teamed up with PureSalem Guitars on the SALEMFUZZ PROJECT. This project includes the SalemFuzz Honey Bunny, the SalemFuzz Pink Beard and the SalemFuzz Attack Captain. You can learn more about these pedals over at Pedal Finder or by visiting the PureSalem Guitars Website. Really good stuff!
These pedals are a really great start to what we hope is a long career. If you want to keep up to date on what Brian is up to, make sure to follow him at Instagram and keep an eye on the 323 Effects Website. In the meantime, if you have one of Brian’s pedals, please leave a review at Pedal Finder to let us all know what you think. In the meantime: a demo of the Steel City Overdrive: