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2018 Guitar Pedal Goals and Wishlists

12 Degrees of SaturationBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionCatalinbreadChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCryBabyCustom TonesDawner Prince EffectsDelayDelay WorkstationDiezelDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveDunlop EffectsEmpress EffectsEQFlangerFoxpedalFriedman EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGuitar Synth and SequencerHamstead SoundworksHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOverdrivePedalboard and Pedal-ChainPhaserPigtronixPitchPitch-ShiftingReverbReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerSilicon FuzzStrymonTC ElectronicTech 21 NYCToneQuestTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTunersUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWampler+-
2018AfBlgSKSignalChainMKV700

So by the end of 2017, my chain was in a particularly good place and numbering 36 strong. In one of my more recent posts I had set out a rough future phase plan, but as always that got somewhat bounced with the unexpected arrival of the Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver - which turns out to be a superbly versatile OCD+ replacement / swap-out for my chain. Over Christmas I discovered a new favourite band - in the guise of In This Moment, which led to my acquiring my second MI Audio pedal - this time the proper heavy Megalith Delta - completing my heavy artillery section, and upping the chain number to 37! (It surely can’t get larger than this.).

 

My aim is always to have the best pedal for every slot - in terms of combination of sound, versatility and form factor mainly. I tend to shy away from larger vintage-style pedals and those with odd power requirements. The chain is a mix of analogue and digital in all the right places as far as I am concerned, and it’s pretty much already fully-formed. This current phase is simply just upgrading some of those pedal slots with preferential pedals - usually with more versatility and features added, but often too just for the sake of something different for occasional swap-out.

 

A number of the slots are very much multi-purpose and accommodate several pedals on rotation, and all-in-all there are still some pedal varieties that I don’t yet possess and would like to add to the relevant slots. It’s all about maximum creative and inspirational flexibility so that if something sparks me off, I can first recreate that tone and texture, and then evolve and improvise to make something of my own.

 

As with most things in life - there will always be room for improvement, but the further I get along this journey, the less I really need to add.

 

Here follows an overview of all the different slots and the actual and potential pedals assignable to those slots. A slot number followed by an asterisk in the above visual indicates that I have not yet acquired that preferred choice. As stated also, many of those slots have several swap-outs, so the one pictured is the one that is most used / or the default:

 


01 : TUNER : TC Electronic PolyTune 2 Mini Noir

I use a combination of the Roadie 2 automatic peg tuner and the pedal-chain-based PolyTune Mini for my main tuning needs - so I really have no need to make further changes here, although I really like Roman Shnobel’s Dunlop Mini (X) Volume pedal mod - where he includes a PolyTune Mini within the treadle of that pedal - something for the future.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : None currently

 


02 : WAH / ENVELOPE FILTER : Dunlop CryBaby Mini Wah

This is a somewhat multi-purpose-slot where I already have a couple of swap-outs, and intend to get a few more. The mainstay will always be a Wah, currently the CryBaby Mini, which I am very happy with. Most likely next acquisition for this slot is the DigiTech FreqOut. I still would like a proper dedicated Envelope Filter Pedal, and there are several alternatives for that - with the Subdecay Prometheus DLX the leading contender.

Main Swap-outs : DigiTech Whammy Ricochet | Dunlop CryBaby Q-Zone Fixed Wah

Wishlist : DigiTech FreqOut | Jimi Hendrix CryBaby Mini Wah | Subdecay Prometheus DLX

 


03 : OCTAVER | HARMONIZER | PITCH-SHIFTER : TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer

This is another multi-purpose-slot with plenty of possible swap-out alternatives. I have the Sub ’N’ Up currently, but intend to get a few more options here to swap-out for particular usage scenarios.

Main Swap-out : TC Electronic Sub ’N’ Up

Wishlist : DigiTech The Drop | Electro-Harmonix Pitchfork | TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer

 


04 : BOOST : Jackson Audio Prism Boost / Buffer / Pre-Amp / EQ

I am very happy with the Prism at the moment and don’t intend to replace this currently. I already have an Xotic EP Booster for swap-out, and may try a Dunlop Echoplex Preamp at some stage, but probably not in 2018.

Main Swap-out : Xotic EP Booster Alchemy Mod

Wishlist : Nothing for 2018

 


05 : COMPRESSOR : Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe

I am currently very happy with my Wampler Mini Ego, but the Cali76 CDLX is an obvious step-up, probably the current high-end industry standard. As this is a utility pedal, and I tend to prioritise drive and fuzz pedals, this may get pipped a few times this year before I get around to buying it.

Main Swap-out : Wampler Mini Ego

Wishlist : Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe

 


06 : ’KLON’ : Wampler Tumnus Deluxe

I currently have and love the original Mini Tumnus, so the Deluxe is an obvious step-up with its added feature set, but there are several additional alternatives on my wishlist here. I will most likely get the Tumnus Deluxe, but you never know really before it happens, and one of the wishlist alternatives may prove to be my favourite.

Main Swap-outs : EHX Soul Food JHS Mod, TC Electronic MojoMojo | Wampler Tumnus Mini

Wishlist : Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2 | Greer Lightspeed | J Rockett Rockaway Archer | Keeley Oxblood / Germanium | Side Effects Il Mostro | Wampler Tumnus Deluxe

 


07 : SYNTH / SEQUENCER / BITCRUSHER : Pigtronix Mothership 2

Finally available in the UK, this is surely the best compact synth pedal available for guitar, and will displace my DigiTech Dirty Robot when I eventually get it (need to update power supply too for this). I still have designs on various bitcrushers too, so the wishlist may be a little eclectic.

Main Swap-outs : DigiTech Dirty Robot | Dr Scientist BitQuest

Wishlist : Alexander Pedals Syntax Error | EQD Data Corrupter | Iron Ether FrantaBit | Malekko Scrutator Bitcrusher | Meris Ottobit Jr | Pigtronix Mothership 2 | Subdecay OctaSynth

 


08 : ’TUBE-SCREAMER’ : Foxpedal The City V2

I am very happy with The City as my main Tube-Screamer of choice, but Ibanez has somewhat upset the apple-cart by introducing its brand new and revolutionary NuTube Screamer (£239) which is due out soon after NAMM. I will likely check that out, snd I also have my eyes on a Nobels ODR-1 - those pedals will be great swap-out alternatives.

Main Swap-outs : Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini | OneControl Persian Green Screamer

Wishlist : Ibanez NuTube Screamer (NTS) | Nobels ODR-1

 


09 : ’Dumble’ : Custom Tones Ethos TWE-1

If you’re really keen on the sounds of the Dumble amp you will probably want to invest in either a full-size Custom Tones Ethos Pre-Amp pedal, Van Weelden Royal Overdrive, or Shin’s Music Dumbloid Twin Channel - yet all those are quite large, and rather pricey really, so I prefer the look of the more diminutive Ethos Trainwreck Express and other more compact alternatives.

Main Swap-outs : Mad Professor Golden Cello | Mad Professor Simble | Wampler Euphoria

Wishlist : Custom Tones Ethos TWE-1 | Mojo Hand FX Extra Special OD | OneControl Golden Acorn ODS

 


10 : ’Blues-Driver’ : Boss JB-2 Angry Driver

For the longest time the Mooer Blue Mood was my favourite in this slot, but I love the additional options the Angry Driver gives me, so that is my mainstay now. There are a few other Blues-Driver type pedals I have my eye on, but which I am unlikely to do anything about unless I spot them at an amazing price.

Main Swap-outs : EWS Little Brute Drive | Mooer Blues Mood

Wishlist : Analog.Man Prince of Tones | EQD Acapulco Gold | MI Audio Super Blues Pro

 


11 : ’OCD’ : Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver

I never thought my Fulltone OCD would be displaced, but along came the Odyssey just before Christmas and did just that! It gives me OCD-style tones and much more besides! I’m really happy with that as my new mainstay; and while I have always intended to get the Fulltone Plimsoul as a swap-out alternative for this slot - that may or may not happen in 2018

Main Swap-outs : Fulltone OCD | Mooer Hustle Drive

Wishlist : Fulltone Plimsoul

 


12 : ’VOX AC30 + BOOST / QUEEN’ : Catalinbread Galileo

I am really happy with the Galileo here, and it’s the most suitable of the compact Vox Top Boost -style pedals for me, although I would prefer if it cleaned up a little more, and had a couple more controls - otherwise it’s excellent really for its form-factor. I have a mind to get two more signature / foundation Catalinbread pedals - which I will likely occasionally swap out on this slot - they’re not alternatives to the Galileo though, just offer different flavours.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Catalinbread RAH : Catalinbread Sabra Cadabra

 


13 : MULTIDRIVE OD / DISTORTION (A) : Empress Multidrive

This is a fantastic pedal and I have no designs for currently replacing it, I have my eye on a couple of alternatives for sometime temporary swap-outs - in the form of the BYOC Crown Jewel and Truetone Jekyll & Hyde, although I will be very unlikely to add those in 2018 - more something for the future.

Main swap-outs : Elektron Analog Drive | Pigtronix Disnortion Micro

Wishlist : BYOC Crown Jewel | Trueotn Jekyll & Hyde

 


14 : MULTIDRIVE OD / DISTORTION (B) : Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive

Despite my initial reservations, I really like this pedal now, and don’t currently intend to replace it - works really well for my needs and has no obvious alternative or potential replacement candidate.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : None

 


15 : AMP-LIKE DISTORTION : Dr Scientist The Elements

I love The Elements and don’t intend to replace it currently, although I have in mind to acquire some possible swap-out alternatives which loosely fit within this category (2019+).

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Keeley Filaments | Subdecay Vector | Wampler Sovereign

 


16 : EVH BROWN SOUND DISTORTION : MI Audio Super Crunch Box V2

I love my Super Crunch Box and have no intent to replace it - it is a wonderfully versatile pedal - there are some alternative temporary swap-outs that I may or may not get at some point in the future, unlikely to be 2018 though.

Main Swap-outs : Mad Professor 1 | OneControl Anodized Brown | Xvive Golden Brownie

Wishlist : JHS @ Andy Timmons | JHS JHS Charlie Brown | MXR EVH 5150 OD

 


17 : DUAL FUZZ MULTIDRIVE : Chase Bliss Audio Brothers

I love this pedal and it’s my main vanilla / sort of regular-style fuzz - with lots of tone-sculpting options. Not looking to replace this one currently, nothing else out their close to it either really as far as I can see.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : None

 


18 : REGULAR FUZZ / FACE / MUFF / TONEBENDER : Foxpedal Defector

Seems I’m into Fuzz in a big way in 2018 - I’ve crossed off most of the key overdrive and distortion types, but still have a number of Fuzz flavours to investigate - and they come in such a wide variety - from warm singing Germanium to all manner of strident, screechy, gated and shuddering variations. I’ve acquired a number in the last few months, and Fuzz has the largest wishlist of any of the pedal slots. I would love a Spaceman Gemini III, but they are going for around £1,000 these days. I currently tend to alternate most between the Defector and Muffuletta, using more specialist types more occasionally. I am currently on the hunt for a dual Germanium / Silicon Fuzz in a compact form factor - possibly the Tight Fuzz Jr or JDM Union Fuzz.

Existing Swap-outs : DR Scientist BitQuest | EWS Little Fuzzy Drive | JHS Muffuletta | Malekko Omicron Fuzz | Side Effects Woolly Mammoth | Zvex Vertical Fuzz Factory

Wishlist : Amptweaker Tight Fuzz Jr | Analog.Man Sun Face Red Dot NKT | Electro-Harmonix OpAmp Big Muff Pi | JDM Union Fuzz | Jimi Hendrix Fuzz Face | Jimi Hendrix Gypsy Fuzz | Jimi Hendrix Octavio Fuzz | Lovepedal Bonetender | OneControl Baltic Blue Fuzz | Pigtronix Octava Micro | Pro Analog Devices Mark IV Fuzz | Spaceman Effects Gemini III | Stone Deaf Fig Fumb | Vemuram Shanks 4K | Wampler Velvet Fuzz | Zvex Fuzzolo | Zvex Vertical Mastotron

 


19 : ’RAT’ / EXTREME FUZZ : Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler

The Frazz Dazzler is my go-to extreme Fuzz, with the Wrath as a decent Rat-alike swap-out. Really looking to get a Boss FZ-2 in decent nick - secretly hoping Boss will re-issue. I also really like the sound of the OBNE Haunt and Subdecay Harmonic Antagonizer.

Main Swap-outs : BYOC Lil’ Mouse | Foxpedal Wrath V2 | Mooer Black Secret

Wishlist : Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz | Old Blood Noise Endeavours Haunt | Rainger FX Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep | Subdecay Harmonic Antagonizer

 


20 : DUAL DRIVE / DISTORTION : Strymon Sunset Dual Drive

Another great Strymon pedal - in some ways similar to the Chase Bliss Brothers, but with quite a different tonal pallet. I think I may acquire a D&M Drive at some stage for occasional swap-out.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Keeley D&M Drive | Suhr Ecplipse

 


21 : DARK ’MARSHALL PLEXI’ : Xotic SL Drive Alchemy Mod

The Xotic gives me that perfect darker Led Zep kind of sound - so it’s a definite keeper as such. I really like the sound of the Dawner Prince RedRox too - even though it has a somewhat different tonal profile.

Main Swap-outs : OneControl Purple Plexifier

Wishlist : Dawner Prince RedRox Distortion

 


22 : HEAVY ’MARSHALL PLEXI’ : Friedman BE-OD

Another one of my favourite distortions which I’m not really looking to replacing - although would like to occasionally swap out with the slightly more rounded and not quite as tight Dirty Shirley.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Friedman Dirty Shirley

 


23 : HEAVY DISTORTION (A) : Empress Heavy

I have plenty of options for Heavy Distortion, and depending on my setup occasionally run a couple of heavy pedals in combination - swapping out the Empress Multidrive on occasion, or sometimes even crazily extending the chain (actually semi-permanent now!). These 3 give me everything I need for this slot and I’m not currentlylooking for any further additions.

Main Swap-outs : MI Audio Megalith Delta | Wampler Dracarys

Wishlist : None currently

 


24 : HEAVY DISTORTION (B) : MI Audio Megalith Delta

This was intended as an occasional swap-out for the Empress Heavy, but I like it so much that it has become a permanent part pf the chain now.

Main Swap-outs : Empress Heavy | Wampler Dracarys

Wishlist : None

 


25 : EXTREME DISTORTION : Diezel VH4-2

The Diezel is my main Extreme Distortion and I’m looking to add a one or two Boss metal-type pedals along the way, as well as the Rock Fabrik Mind Abuse.

Main Swap-outs : MI Audio Megalith Delta

Wishlist : Boss MT-2 Metal Zone | Rock Fabrik Mind Abuse

 


26 : NOISE GATE : TC Electronic Sentry

I love my Boss NS-2 and am not in a particular hurry to replace it, even though the TCE Sentry gives you a fair few more functions - including the amazing ’TonePrint’ feature. If I find a Sentry at a decent price I may well make the switch otherwise I’m quite happy to stick.

Main Swap-outs : Boss NS-2 Alchemy Mod

Wishlist : TC Electronic Sentry

 


27 : EQUALIZER : Boss GE-7 Alchemy Mod

I am unlikely to move away from the Boss GE-7 as it perfectly fulfils my needs - while the rotary dials of the Parametric types are not as easy to set or as quick to read off. Here’s hoping someone does a Parametric EQ with sliders eventually. I have felt that TC Electronic could certainly do a TonePrint-enabled pedal in this category. There are several EQ pedals with presets - like the Source Audio Programmable EQ and new Free The Tone 10-Band Programmable EQ, but both of those are a touch clunky to set up, and the latter rather chunky to boot.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : WMD Utility Parametric EQ

 


28 : CHORUS / VIBRATO : Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl II

Only a month or two after I acquired the MKII Warped Vinyl, Joel went on an launched a new variant in the guise of the ’HiFi’ - which I am unlikely to acquire this year. There are a number of more univibe-style pedals too that I have an eye on - like the Viberator and Vibe Machine V-2 - but none are a current priority.

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl HiFi | Dawner Prince Viberator | DigiTech Nautila | DryBell Vibe Machine V-2 | Jimi Hendrix Univibe | Mooer Soul Shiver | Strymon Ola | TC Electronic John Petrucci Dreamscape

 


29 : FLANGER : Chase Bliss Audio Spectre BKM

Both Flangers I have are excellent and I am not looking to acquire any more right now, although all the wishlist items listed are desriable at the right price.

Main Swap-outs : A/DA PBF Flanger

Wishlist : Alexander Pedals F-13 Neo Flanger | Mooer E-Lady | Strymon Orbit | Subdecay Stalight V2

 


30 : TREMOLO : Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas

All 3 of my current tremolos are excellent in their own way, not really looking to make any imminent additions althoug I have long wanted a Strymon Flint, and quite fancy the recent TCE Pipeline.

Main Swap-outs : Mooer Trelicopter | Stone Deaf Tremotron

Wishlist : Strymon Flint | TC Electronic Pipeline

 


31 : PHASER : Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone II

Again 3 great phaser pedals with no pressing need for additions or alternatives - would quite like a Quasar DLX and Helix some day.

Main Swap-outs : Alexander Pedals La Calavera | MXR Phase 95

Wishlist : Subdecay Quasar DLX | TC Electronic Helix

 


32 : ROTARY : Tech 21 NYC Roto Choir

I’m very happy with my 2 current rotary pedals, although I do have a mind to add a Neo Instruments Ventilator / Mini and Strymon Lex at some stage.

Main Swap-outs : DigiTech Ventura Vibe

Wishlist : Neo Instruments Ventilator II / Mini | Strymon Lex

 


33 : MODULATION WORKSTATION : Boss MD-500

I’m very happy with the MD-500, and the Mobius provides another excellent backup. I would at some stage like to add an Eventide H9 Max - although pretty pricey at £654, I also have my eyes on a Keeley Super Mod Workstation and Mooer Mod Factory.

Main Swap-outs : Strymon Mobius

Wishlist : Eventide H9 Max | Keeley Super Mod Workstation | Mooer Mod Factory

 


34 : DELAY WORKSTATION : Empress EchoSystem

I’m not looking to make any immediate additions here - the EchoSystem is truly an exceptional delay and provides everything I could need. There are several more pedals on my wishlist - for future acquisition though, and very unlikely for 2018.

Main Swap-outs : Strymon TimeLine

Wishlist : Boss TE-2 Tera Echo | Chase Bliss Tonal Recall RKM | Keeley Delay Workstation | Meris Polymoon | Source Audio Nemesis | Strymon El Capistan | TC Electronic Alter Ego X4 | TC Electronic Flashback 2

 


35 : REVERB WORKSTATION : Boss RV-500

Again - the RV-500 and BigSky pedals are both amazing and give me all the Reverb I need really, I’d quite like to get my hand on a Specular Tempus for temporary swap-out purposes, and I would snap up an Empress Reverb if it came out in a dual effect variety similar to the EchoSystem.

Main Swap-outs : Strymon BigSky

Wishlist : Empress Reverb | GFI System Specular Tempus | Meris Mercury 7 | Source Audio Ventris | TC Electronic Hall of Fame 2

 


36 : LOOPER : TC Electronic Ditto X2

I really don’t use the looper too much at the moment, but would snap up a dual-button compact form-factor version if ever one materialised - would not mind one with decent beat-machine onboard either - there is definitely a market for that ...

Main Swap-outs : DigiTech Trio+

Wishlist : Boss RC-3 | EHX 22500 | Pigtronix Infinity Looper | TC Electronic Ditto

 


37 : DOUBLE TRACKER : TC Electronic Mimiq Doubler

This is one pedal that I’m never likely to change, although I would like to add a Strymon Deco at some stage too. Nothing out there has quite the same magic as the TCE Mimiq does - it’s pixie dust for stereo rigs!

Main Swap-outs : None

Wishlist : Strymon Deco

 


XX : MISCELLANEOUS WISHLIST ADDITIONS

The following are additional wishlist pedals which are above and beyond the set 37 current pedal-chain slots. They’re currently a low priority and will only be acquired if the price is definitely right. Most likely acquisition here is the Moorer GE 200 for use with my Katana Mini - just for fun really!

Acoustic Simulator : Boss AC-3 / Mooer Akoustikar
Drum Machine : DigiTech SDrum
Jimi Hendrix : Keeley Monterey
Pink Floyd : Keely Dark Side
Multi-Effects Pedal for use with Boss Katana Mini : Mooer GE 200

Wireless Practice Amp : Boss Katana Air 30W

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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