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2021 June Pedal-Chain Update - Episode VI - Particle Acceleration

Alexander PedalsBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCatalinbreadChorus and VibratoCornerstone Music GearDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDrunk BeaverDryBell EffectsDumble Style OverdriveEl GaratgeEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlower PedalsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzHarmonizerJoe GoreLo-Fi DelayMarshall Style DistortionModulationOctaverOverdrivePitchPitch-ShiftingPLBR EffectsPolarbear EffectsRedbeard EffectsReverbRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzTone Bender Style FuzzTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWah and Fixed Wah+-
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2021GPXSKPedalChainUpdateJune700V5.jpg

June has been another incredibly busy month - with editorials going out on almost a daily basis - which kind of leaves me a little exhausted, but still warmly satisfied with proceedings. There has been something of a plethora of releases in June - a number of which were delayed from previous months because of parts sourcing issues and other production challenges.

 

A very respectable 23 pedals were added to the collection in June - and most have been featured on the site already, with just a few of those remaining to appear over the next week or so. I’ve noted that July is going to be a mostly ’Boss Themed’ month, in part because of the two recent Waza Craft pedal arrivals - the TB-2W and HM-2W. I also covered off my favourite Boss Modulation pedals - and to which ends I acquired also a couple of missing bits - the AW-3 and MO-2. Finally - and ahead of Boss Month I also added an ST-2 Power Stack - as will soon be revealed.

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June was also a sort of Croatia month, as I acquired 4 pedals from that corner of the world - picking up a Polarbear Effects Young Hearts at last (one year after launch), and the other two new Polarbear releases - the V2 Compact Floral Green Dual-Channel Overdrive, and Drowner Fuzz Crush Reverb Shoegazer Multi-Effect. The crowning glory was probably DryBell’s The Engine Plexi + RangeMaster Foundation Preamp - which was another that I have wanted for a while - in fact for nearly a year since its release.

 

The new arrivals breakdown is roughly per the following categories :

Boost / Overdrive

Another busy month for overdrives - with a number that were ordered last month, but have only latterly arrived, as well as the delayed Redbeard Effects Angry Rhubarb - which I've had for nearly two months now! Others here included the Beetronics FatBee, Catalinbread Skewer, Cornerstone Antique, Cornerstone Gladio SC, DryBell The Engine, Polarbear Floral Green, and Tsakalis Six Ma1s Ltd edition (article coming soon).

Distortion

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These include the Boss HM-2W (article coming very soon), and ST-2 Power Stack. Also the Catalinbread Dreamcoat, Drunk Beaver Heavy Bat Rat (article coming soon), and Tsakalis Room #40 Plexi/JCM800.

Fuzz

Unusually for me - just a couple of new fuzzes for the month - obviously the long anticipated Boss TB-2W, and of course the recently featured Joe Gore Filth Fuzz.

Modulation

I ordered a couple of Alexander Pedals, while only the Sugarcube has arrived thus far. Also as mentioned I picked up a couple more Boss modulations - the AW-3 Dynamic Wah and MO-2 Multi Overtone. Finally a long-term target - the Catalinbread Heliotrope Harmonic Pixelator, and the Flower Pedals Castilleja Phaser ordered last month arrived too.

Delay / Reverb

Just the one effect this month - the excellent super-versatile Polarbear Effects Young Hearts Lo-Fi VCR Glitch Delay. Other targets in this area include of course the CBA CXM 1978, Demedash T-120, and Walrus Mako Series R1 - oh and I really like the look of the Foxgear T7E Baby.

Utility / Other

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I'm working up an article with recent pal Oriol Domingo of El Garatge - just trying to find the broadest serving/usage examples and which pedals are best compatible - requiring a lot of research - and some suitable candidates turn out to be not that suitable in the end - very much a work-in-progress. Also in this category is probably the fairly unique Polarbear Effects Drowner Fuzz Crush Reverb - which I've billed as the perfect Shoegazer effect!


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Here are the key pertinent changes for the month of June :


Slot #02 : Octaver / Pitch-Shifter / Harmonizer / Modulator / Bitcrusher / Utility

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So following on from my Boss Modulations article, and coming into Boss Month, we have the PS-6 Harmonist in place of the usual Meris Hedra on this slot, And reverting to type - I use it mostly in its S-Bend / Tom Morello mode!


Slot #04 : Envelope Filter / Auto-Wah / Fixed Wah / WAH

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Here the Flower Pedals Hosta Wah-Filter is getting a rest - while the Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah / Vocal-Wah takes over for a couple of rotations. Lots of fun here with the Vocalizer Wah - it does take some fine-tuning though to get this performing to its best.


Slot #5 : Germanium / Sensitive Fuzz

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Obviously I've just recently passed opinion on this much anticipated pedal - which I feel has well been worth the wait. Authentic rich breakup and self-oscillating tones, with added versatility courtesy of that 3-way Battery / Voltage Bias switch - and which I tend to prefer on the 7V setting. Congratulations to all who managed to snag one, and commiserations to those who wanted won but ran out of luck. I will be doing a follow-up article of suitable high quality alternatives that should hit the same kind of spot.


SLOT #10 : Mid Gain / Dynamic / Blues Breaker / Harmonic Overdrive / JTM45 / Screamer

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I've had the Angry Rhubarb since the start of May really and find it incredibly easy to dial in my preferences. I noted how I use the Pre-Drive as my main gain and then use the Post-Gain to refine - while others use those in a more binary fashion. This is a really cleverly calibrated overdrive pedal with almost instant satisfaction - so easily controllable!


Slot #11 : Mid Gain / Blues Driver

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My favourite Keeley-modded BD-2 will soon be back in action on its slot - while the ltd edition (#6 of 10) Polarbear Effects Compact V2 Floral Green Dual-Chanel TS808-style Overdrive takes up the rotation for this month. There are no demos - while in a follow-up article per the referenced visual I will reference the V1 BB-size Floral Green - from which the compact has evolved. Two differently calibrated channels with the second gainier than the first to my ears - and each with different clipping options - and of course stacking ability - a really smart and versatile overdrive / distortion.


Slot #12 : Mid Gain / Dumble / Fuzzy-Drive / Mostortion / OCD / TrainWreck

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I've obviously just reviewed this Cornerstone Gladio SC which perfectly replicates those classic smooth Robben Ford tones - a slightly different beast to my mainstay Kondo-Shifuku and Ethos Clean-Fusion II - offers a slightly different take on the format - which is just as valid - I now have 3 reference Dumble pedals - all with somewhat distinct voicings.


SLOT #18 : Marshall in a Box / Plexi

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I'm very fortunate to have two exceptional MIAB pedals in the chain - this Tsakalis Room #40 Dual-Voiced Plexi/JCM800 and of course DryBell's The Engine Plexi + RangeMaster - so I've been doing some fun benchmarking of the two - and have found both to be fantastic - with richly defined breakup texture and a huge range of versatility. The Room #40 has a really smart externally accessible Boost trimmer on the rear of the pedal - meaning that the Room #40 has as many controls as its bigger The Engine cousin!


Slot #20 : Silicon & OpAmp Fuzz / Big Muff / Octave Fuzz / Oscillating Fuzz / High Gain Fuzz / PLL / Rat 2

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The Joe Gore Filth Fuzz alas had a somewhat shortened innings on this slot - as the Polarbear Drowner Fuzz Crush Reverb demanded inclusion. As mentioned several times on this site - this is the perfect Shoegazer effect for me - in a brilliant format - just the right combination of tones and controls. And highly and easily controllable.


Slot #25 : Normally - Modern Metal 2 / High Gain Metal 1 / Punchy Metal - currently Plexi 2

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Delighted to have landed DryBell's The Engine at last - and it totally lives up to expectations. The two words that most immediately come to mind are elegance and precision - this is a wonderful MIAB - and you can use the RangeMaster independently too with other pedals in the chain - which is just superb. I've been having some fun combining that side with the HM-2W!. Just a perfectly calibrated pedal.


Slot #30 : Analog Chorus

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Again - following on from the Boss Modulations article, the DC-2W Dimension C Waza Craft Spatial Enhancer / Phasey Chorus takes up the Chorus slot again for a few rotations. I will probably be swapping this around with the Aleaxander Pedals Sugarcube - to give both a run at stereo output.


Slot #34 : Glitch / Multi-FX 1 / Other Modulation

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The Alexander Pedals Sugarcube Stereo Chorus/Vibrato/Rotary has been on my wishlist since Virtual Winter NAMM this year - and mostly because of the Stereo Rotary effect in compact enclosure (via Y-Split TRS Cable). 4 lush modes here - Chorus, Dimension, Rotary and Ice / Shimmer - funnily I've yet to benchmark the Dimension voicing against the original Boss DC-2W - a reader has asked me to do just that - and I will report back soon enough on those results.


Final Thoughts

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I have follow-up articles coming soon for the Boss HM-2W, Boss TB-2W Alternatives, Drunk Beaver Heavy Bat, El_Garatge Smart Pedal Enhancements, Polarbear Effects, and Tsakalis Six Ma1s. All of those should appear with the next week or so.

 

Of course I will still continue to showcase new pedals, but July will very much be a 'Boss Month' - being inspired by the recent arrival of the TB-2W and HM-2W. There will be all manner of mockups and speculative articles on trying to predict and identify likely new 200-Series and Waza Craft pedals. And we will review and compare various aspects of the extensive Boss effects catalogue - past and present. If you have any Boss-related matters you want me to cover - do let me know!

 

July is obviously Summer NAMM too - on July 15th/16th - while builders don't really seem to be holding back their launches for that event - so will be interesting to see if there are any significant announcements over those days - looking rather unlikely at the moment - but you never know!

 

As usual - if you have any pedal-related queries or want me to cover any particular topic or brand - do let me know - and I will see how I can fit that into the schedule!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
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