Trail Boss

"Classic Germanium Beano tone treble boost"



The Trail Boss boost rack effect module compares to the Dallas Rangemaster germanium treble boost.  While it may be ideally suited for a Les Paul and Marshall setup, the creamy boost can thicken tones and help cut through in practically any setup.  Great for pushing a tube amp harder.



Eric Clapton used a Rangemaster to offset the darkness of his Les Paul and Marshall Bluesbreaker amp setup to create his legendary "Beano" tone, killer for blues and classic rock.  It isn't a complex circuit, but the tone varies a bit from unit to unit due to the widely varying specs of the germanium transistors used.  In the Trail Boss, we use germanium transistors that meet more strict requirements than just "random pulls" of transistors out of the bin.  The original OC44 transistors can still be found, although they are getting a little pricier all the time as supplies dwindle.  The CV7003 is a special military version of the OC44 manufactured to tighter tolerances.  OC44 and CV7003 transistors with the same specs sound the same, or as "same" as any two germanium transistors can sound.  However, this circuit works well with a variety of germanium transistors, as long as the transistor is picked to meet the specs that sound best for this circuit.  Or if you like the circuit, but dislike the tone variability that germanium transistors can produce at different temperatures, then we can also build the Trail Boss with a silicon transistor.  It'll sound a little different, sort of like the difference between germanium and silicon Fuzz Faces. 

The Trail Boss is a treble boost, but that's not all it does.  As you crank it up, you start getting a bit more drive added.  With a clean amp, the drive gives you that extra little "somethin' somethin'" to fill out the tone.  You can also use it to push a tube amp into overdrive.

Originally meant to brighten up that humbucker and dark Marshall setup, it still sounds good with single coils and brighter setups.  We offer a tweak to select between Single Coil or Humbucker.  If you are concerned about a treble booster producing a tone that is too bright with your setup, the Single Coil setting compensates for some extra brightness.  The Humbucker setting gives you the original circuit's tone shaping.



  • Trail Boss - Compares to the Dallas Rangemaster, Analogman Beano Boost, Keeley Java Boost, and many other variants of the germanium Rangemaster circuit.




No buffers



  • Custom Transistor - We'll use an OC44 or CV7003 by default.  If you prefer another germanium or PNP silicon transistor, let us know.  We have a variety of transistors in stock.
  • Single Coil / Humbuckers switch - (described above)
  • Components - We use metal film resistors and a selection of capacitors that provide good tone and low noise.  Carbon comp resistors sound good in this circuit, providing a little bit of "good noise" or "vintage mojo", whichever name you prefer.


Front Panel

  • Boost
  • (optional) Single Coil / Humbucker switch


Rear Panel

  • Audio In
  • Audio Out
  • On/Off Footswitch
  • On/Off Override
  • DC Power
  • DC Power LED


Module Width

  • 1.5"
  • 2" left wing available
  • 1.5" right wing available


Power Consumption (aprox)

10 - 15mA


Base Configurations

Part # Description List Price
MOD-TBOSS Trail Boss module $199



Part # Description List Price
MOPT-TBOSS-TRANS Custom Transistor $0 - TBD
MOPT-TBOSS-SCH Single Coil / Humbucker Switch $19
MOPT-TBOSS-CC Component Changes $0 - TBD



Part # Description List Price
MPT-TBOSS-CA Replacement pot, switch, jack, LED cable assembly $19
MPT-TBOSS-KNB Replacement control knob $2
MPT-TBOSS-PB Replacement power board $29
MPT-TBOSS-SB Replacement switching board $29