The Klon Centaur is a classic overdrive pedal that is highly in demand and has been for decades at this point. For this reason, original Klon pedals come with a hefty price tag.
Thankfully, for guitar and effects pedal enthusiasts who are on a budget, the pedal market has been saturated in recent years with various clones of the Klon Centaur.
We’ve compiled a list of all the best ones here, along with their individual characteristics and where you can buy them.
The Klon Centaur was first made back in the early ‘90s by Bill Finnegan. He made this pedal with the idea of creating an effects pedal that captures the harmonically rich sound of a guitar amplifier at high volumes.
Once he released the pedal, it became so popular that he sold units for highly inflated prices, as Finnegan was unable to meet the demand.
Originally, very single aspect of the Klon Centaur was made by hand, including the knobs and the enclosure.
Over the 15 years after the first Klon Centaur was released, Bill Finnegan manufactured approximately 8000 units. Today, original Klons are selling second hand for thousands of dollars.
The Klon Centaur has become the industry standard for high-end overdrive pedals. They have been used by many well-known guitarists, such as Jeff Beck, John Mayer, and Matt Schofield, among many others.
In the following list, we will include a variety of Klon clones, ranging from inexpensive to more mid-priced overdrive pedals. All of these pedals are based upon the original Klon Centaur, but they are all far less expensive than the original pedals.
Let’s start things off with the least expensive pedal on our list. The Mosky Golden Horse is a miniature pedal with a miniature price!
Mosky have built a reputation for themselves as a brand who make really great effects pedals for incredibly low prices. What’s surprising about such an inexpensive overdrive pedal is that the Golden Horse by Mosky contains two germanium diodes.
The main difference between this pedal and the original Klon is that the Golden Horse is true bypass rather than buffered bypass. Because of this, you may notice a difference in timbre when used in conjunction with other effects pedals.
For the crazy low price, the Mosky Golden horse is definitely worth a try, especially if you are on a tight budget and looking for a good overdrive pedal.
The Golden Horse does a decent job at replicating the sound of the original Klon pedal, and the difference in price is astounding.
This pedal has a 9 volt power input and a good-quality metal enclosure. It gives you three simple knobs for output, tone, and gain.
Because of the compact size of this pedal, you may find it difficult to grab and maneuver the individual knobs, as they’re quite close together.
Although this pedal does sound great for the price, once the gain is cranked you may find that it has a little extra sizzle in the higher frequencies compared to the original Klon.
- Great value for money
- Compact size
- Uses germanium diodes
- The knobs are a little close together
The Mosky Golden Horse can also be purchased from the following webstores:
- Mini Klon Centaur Guitar Effect Pedal
- For Musical Instrument
- Very small and exquisite
- Convenient to use
- High Quality
Next up is the Soul Food by Electro-Harmonix. This is the second most affordable of the Klon clones on our list.
Electro-Harmonix are really well-respected in the world of guitar effects pedals, and for good reason.
The Soul Food has earned a place on many pedalboards, and it’s easy to see why. This pedal captures that beautiful, transparent sound that is much loved about the original Klon.
This highly-affordable pedal instantly gives you that boutique sound that so many search for. Right out of the box, you can get tones ranging from a subtle bluesy overdrive to a fully saturated distortion that edges on the side of a fuzz.
Many people note how clear and smooth this overdrive pedal sounds, as there is little to no fizziness even as the notes fade out. You may find that the Soul Food has a little more gain on tap compared to other pedals on our list.
- Authentic-sounding Klon clone
- Genuine germanium diodes
- Affordable price
- A little “thinner” sounding than the original
The Electro-Harmonix Soul Food can also be purchased from the following webstores:
- Transparent overdrive
- Boosted power rails for extended headroom and definition
- Super responsive
- Compact, rugged design
- Selectable true bypass or buffered bypass modes
The Sugar Drive from MXR is another mini overdrive pedal, a similar size to the Golden Horse by Mosky as seen above.
This overdrive pedal is a worthy addition to our list, as it is an authentic-sounding Klon clone in a sleek, compact enclosure. The Sugar Drive captures that highly sought after transparent driven tone that the original Klon provides.
MXR’s Sugar Drive can give you tones ranging from a transparent boost to a fully saturated driven tone that is rich in harmonic distortion.
This pedal gives you that sound of an amp that is being pushed to its limits, but without actually having to annoy the neighbors with sheer volume.
The Sugar Drive, unlike the previous pedals on our list, features a switch on the side of the enclosure that allows you to choose between true bypass or buffered bypass modes.
The original Klon is a buffered bypass pedal, so with the Sugar Drive you can get closer to that iconic tone when using the Sugar Drive in conjunction with other effects pedals.
This compact pedal is very reasonably priced, so not only will you save valuable real estate on your pedalboard, you will also save money.
Unlike the original Klon, the MXR Sugar Drive doesn’t contain germanium diodes, but silicon instead.
While the difference isn’t that obvious, if you want a truly authentic Klon tone then you may want to choose a different pedal.
- Competitive price
- Great, varied tones
- Compact size
- Doesn’t contain authentic, germanium diodes
The MXR Sugar Drive can also be purchased from the following webstores:
- Brings out the best of your Guitar and amp sound
- Diverse range of tones, from boosting to overdrive
- Based on a rare & elusive overdrive circuit
- Blends in clean signal to maintain your guitar’s personality
- Clear & transparent performance
This pedal from Wampler is a little more expensive than the previous ones on the list, but with that higher price tag, you get a more versatile and tonally malleable pedal.
The Wampler Tumnus Deluxe is widely considered to be the best Klon clone out there. It has all the features of the original Tumnus, but the deluxe version has additional features that allow you to shape your tone even further.
You even get a switch in the middle of the enclosure that allows you to choose between “normal” and a “hot” mode, if you want even more gain.
This more modern take on the classic Klon Centaur gives you more ability to shape and mold your tone with a knob for bass, mids, and treble. This three-band EQ gives you tonnes of control over your sound.
Much like the MXR Sugar Drive, the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe also has a switch on the side of the enclosure that allows you to select between true bypass and buffered bypass modes. This gives you yet more flexibility within the set-up of your pedalboard.
- Great sounding, versatile overdrive pedal
- Lots of tone-shaping ability
- True bypass or buffered bypass modes
- The additional controls aren’t true to the original Klon
The Wampler Tumnus Deluxe can also be purchased from the following webstores:
- Same magic sounding buffer with all of the clarity, punch, and detailed breakup of the original Tumnus
- Easily accessible true bypass performance for uncolored tonal purity at the flip of the side mounted switch
- A classic treble control like the original perfects the pedal’s higher frequencies
- Active bass and mid controls boost or cut the desired frequencies
- Normal / Hot switch goes from standard Tumnus gain to higher gain
Getting into the more mid-range in terms of Klon clones, the J Rockett Archer Ikon is a great-sounding and authentic version of the classic Klon pedal.
This mass-produced version of the Klon pedal has also found its way onto the pedalboards of many professional guitarists.
It is a lot less expensive than the original, and it is housed in a more compact enclosure, so that you not only save money, but valuable pedalboard space.
The Archer Ikon offers a range of tones from a clean boost to a completely saturated overdrive.
Using the pedal as a clean boost with the gain dial toned down can really push a tube amp further, getting you those great bluesy tones that are just on the edge of breaking up.
Since its release, the Archer Ikon remains the gold-standard of Klon replicas. Its durable, solid construction make this pedal a real workhorse, and it can be toured endlessly.
- Durable construction
- Great, authentic sounds
- True to the original Klon
- Smaller, less expensive alternatives are available
The J Rockett Audio Archer Ikon can also be purchased from the following webstores:
- Can be used as just a clean boost by turning the gain all the way down
- Introduce gain to attenuate the clean signal until you find the magical blend in between
- Can be powered by a 9V battery; battery is NOT included
Our Top Pick: J Rockett Audio Designs Archer Ikon
Out of all the pedals on our list, the standout Klon clone has to be the Archer Ikon from J Rockett Audio Designs.
Its solid build with a great looking gold enclosure make this pedal one that any guitarist would surely want on their pedalboards.
Not only that, but it sounds very true to the original Klon Centaur, but for a fraction of the price.
Many guitarists prefer to use this pedal and the original Klon Centaur as a clean boost.
Its transparency allows you to push a tube amplifier to the edge of breaking up, whilst maintaining the integrity of your guitar’s tone along with the natural tone of the amplifier.
This way of using the pedal lends itself really well to genres of music such as blues rock.
You can control the amount of breakup you’re getting from the amp just by increasing the volume knob on your guitar, which gives you a little extra bite and grit, particularly when playing leads.
The buffered bypass design of the Archer Ikon is true to the original Klon, and it makes it sound the same when used in conjunction with other pedals.
Some guitarists like to use the Klon or one of its replicas alongside another overdrive pedal, such as an Ibanez Tube Screamer.
For a great-looking, great-sounding, durable replica of the classic Klon Centaur, the Archer Ikon from J Rockett Audio Designs is a fantastic choice.
Best Value: Mosky Golden Horse
For the unbelievably low price, you’d be hard-pressed to find a cheaper alternative to the Klon Centaur than the Mosky Golden Horse.
Not only is the price surprising about the Mosky Golden Horse, but it sounds absolutely great.
Of course, one could not expect it to sound the same as its vastly more expensive counterpart, but for the price, who could ask for more?
The Golden Horse from Mosky is great for giving you that signature saturated tone that the Klon is so well-known for.
Not only that, it also can function as a transparent clean boost, for when you don’t want to color your tone, but you need a little extra volume.
The main drawback that you might find when using the Golden Horse is that there is a slight hum when you turn up the output level. This is not something you find so much with more expensive overdrive pedals.
If you’re on a tight budget, but you want that Klon sound, try out the Mosky Golden Horse.
Frequently Asked Questions
What Is So Special About The Klon Centaur?
The Klon Centaur is so widely celebrated because of the “transparent” nature of the overdrive. This means that the pedal doesn’t “color” your tone, it only adds a mild, warm, distortion that blends with the natural tone of your guitar.
It must be said, however, that much of the Klon’s popularity is solely due to hype. It’s rarity added to this hype, and this is why they are so expensive to buy.
Why Is The Klon Centaur So Expensive?
The Klon Centaur became so expensive partly due to the very high demand. Additionally, every part of the original Klon Centaur was custom-made, including the enclosure, knobs, and the pots.
The Klon pedals were made by one man, Bill Finnegan in his garage. Each order took him 12 to 14 weeks to fulfil. Over the years since Finnegan ceased production of the Klon Centaur, they have increased in value.
Is A Klon Like A Tube Screamer?
A Tube Screamer is a soft-clipping overdrive pedal, whereas the Klon Centaur is a hard-clipping overdrive pedal.
Soft-clipped distortion tends to sound more natural as it’s similar to the sound you would get by cranking a tube amplifier to the point of distortion.
Hard-clipping distortion tends to sound more saturated and aggressive, as it compresses the guitar’s signal.