These days it seems everyone is searching for that perfect transparent overdrive – that tonal sweet spot that summons an enormous amount of hype. If you've only heard tell of that tone in murmurs or in passing, it is a story worth sharing and definitely one worth hearing.
Bowman Audio Endeavors is a brand that knows tone. Founded by James Bowman of the punk band Against Me!, these creations come together with an ear to the ground and an eye on the ball. If you're looking for your own share of some mythical transparent overdrive, meet the BAE Bowman.
Few words can be properly chosen to match the glowing reputation of this transparent voice. Luckily, few are needed. The following behind the legendary transparent overdrive is massive. From world-famous guitarists to the blog-scrollers of the internet, everyone who hears this tone clamors for it. Many pedals attempt to capture its magic. Today, the Bowman stakes its own claim in this endless chase for an overdrive so mythical. All you need to do is listen.
The BAE Bowman's setup is smooth and streamlined. A sleek finish and classy logos will make the Bowman stand out on looks alone. If you'd like a couple shots for your camera roll, the Bowman isn't shy. Like other popular transparent overdrives, the Bowman rolls out with three dials and one footswitch. The pedal is immediately inviting – from the second you hit the footswitch, you'll already feel at home.
Dedicated Gain, Tone, and Output knobs easily open up the Bowman to quickly acquaint its first-time players with the overdriven tone at hand. Those hearing this overdrive for the first time are welcome to a minute to take it all in. Right out of the box, your chances of landing on a combination of settings that are immediately intriguing are high. Naturally, the experience doesn't stop there.
Bow Knows Tone
The Bowman's voice strikes a tonal spot that makes the pedal both classic and modern at once. If you're looking to float along on low tone and gain settings or push the voice to its limits on high settings, you are welcome to do so – the Bowman passes both tests with flying colors. What is truly impressive about the pedal is the in-betweens. The Bowman has a spectrum of voices that range from an organic clean boost to a naturally occurring overdrive – both tones that will make your amplifier bloom.
Let's take a minute to talk mixes. The Bowman's expertise in summoning a wide range of voices is impressive and it only gets better the more you explore. While the three-knob, one-switch setup may seem minimal, the Bowman is awesomely deceiving. Rolling through the three controls produces heavenly tones that probably sound like something reminiscent of a "dreams come true", "angel gets its wings" kind of deal. Make no mistake, the Bowman is a wishing well of transparent tones that will not dry.
With Gain and Tone at about noon, the Bowman shows off one of its many tonal specialties – making you sound like you. The transparent quality of the Bowman gives your signal a noticeable bump in volume and some extra brightness. These two tonal qualities are present throughout the whole Bowman experience, but to start here will give you a look into the tonal experience ahead. This transparency will not overhaul your entire tone, but that is the beauty of the Bowman. Its transparent boost lights up the character of your signal to make your style stand out. The phrase “always on” gets tossed around a lot these days. When it comes to the Bowman, that moniker has never been more fitting. Clean amps and guitars bloom with the Bowman's boost, but this is not to say the Bowman cannot handle some grit.
Turn the Gain and Tone past noon to get into some overdriven action – this is part of what separates the Bowman from similar transparent overdrives. The Bowman is incredibly responsive to your playing and articulation at any setting, but those looking for some creamy breakup with their riffs and licks are sure to find a couple sweet spots at higher settings. Roll the Gain and Tone back and the Bowman creates some homey warmth for your signal. An important point about the tonal capabilities of the Bowman is its ability to create a natural amplified tone, exactly as if your amp is being turned up. If you're looking to hear your amp open up, breathe, and glow but need to stay quieter and more controlled, the Bowman knocks it out of the park. Inversely, if you’re looking to get some real gain and grit from the Bowman, you’ll find some extra gain on tap when you start to crank the controls. The Bowman can provide some serious kick if you’re looking to use it as a primary overdrive. It is an awesome pedal for classic transparent tones or for a new take and kicking into high gear. Give the Bowman a spin and see for yourself what good it can do for your setup. When it comes it different rig setups – single-coils, humbuckers, amps with gain, reverb, you name it – the Bowman will find its spot, it’s a gift that keeps on giving.
Bowman Audio Endeavors Bowman Final Thoughts
Legends of transparent overdrives can be found nearly everywhere, from show floors to stadium stages, personal collections to touring rigs, and everywhere in between. It is far from an overstatement to say that the elusive mythical transparency is a treasure to many. With the Bowman, the transparent true believers of the world have another reason to be excited. Bowman Audio Endeavors is brand that knows tone. James Bowman’s experience from years on the road and in studios comes alive with his namesake pedal. Play it for thousands of fans, play it for a click track. If there’s anything this pedal doesn’t know, it’s a limit. An outstanding match of classic and modern sensibilities, the Bowman is a pedal for the ages.