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Boost and Overdrive

2021 March Pedal-Chain Update - Episode III - An Atypical Pedal Plethora

Big Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlackhawk AmplificationBoostBoost and OverdriveCrazy Tube CircuitsDrunk BeaverElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlower PedalsFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzLone Wolf AudioMetal DistortionModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePettyjohn ElectronicsRat Style FuzzReverse DelaySilicon FuzzSwellTone Bender Style FuzzTone ElectronixTX PedalsVox Style Distortion+-
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March seems to have been unusually busy on all sides really, particularly with the day-job’s annual keynote event. Generally this year has been off to quite a moderate start, but that seems to have accelerated somewhat during this month.


It’s been a mixture of January NAMM pedals materialising and spring-time special offers, all of which contributed to a somewhat bumper month - with a record-breaking for me 29 acquisitions, prior to that the record stood at 26, while that in itself is more than double the typical monthly flow.


Of course a big chunk of March’s horde was made up of the 9 x Big Tone Music Brewery EQ’d Vintage Series that I acquired from new friend Scott Hager of Axe and You Shall Receive fame - in fact 8 were acquired from Scott and one was direct from Keith Vonderhulls (Mr BTMB himself). As always a number of these were strategic acquisitions from the infinite wishlist, and some in part to service the featured article content.


As of writing this there are just 5 pedals here still to land - with the Big Ear Wood-Facia Loaf Fuzz and CopperSound Triplegraph expected to land early April. I’m still hoping that my two Pettyjohn’s come in before Easter which is currently highly likely.


A number of long-term targets were finally landed, including the Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Supreme Fuzz and Lone Wolf Audio Left Hand Wrath - both courtesy of Joe Light of Joe’s Pedals. Thanks also to Matt Knight for the assist on the Boss PS-6 Harmonist.


I also finally captured a Blackhawk Balrog Distortion, Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation CV7003 Fuzz (thanks to Christos Ntaifotis), Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Polyphonic Pitch-Shifter, Flower Pedals Hosta Wah-Filter, Spaceman Artemis Modulated Filter, and Tone Electronix Animalizzer MufferFuzzer.


Obviously owing to the slow start to the year I had some funds in reserve, in fact some I was kind of saving up for the CXM 1978 - while I now need to re-start on that cycle!


I picked up an intriguing Doxasound Deluxe Beetle Fuzz off (special offer!) - which contains Scarab Deluxe Fuzz (Basic Audio Clone) + Octave Up + Chopped OC2 + Nurse Quacky Autowah - all in the same compact box. I also acquired 2 pedals from by friend Vitalii Bobrov of Drunk Beaver fame - the Bat Cold War Dual-Opamp Rat, and Bloom Expandora clone with additional clipping options - both are superb, and just pending demo videos to be featured on this site.


I also acquired the ’wrong’ EBS Multidrive, turns out there are quite a few more variants than expected - while the one you want it the very first and still Swedish-made True Bypass version. Before that there were two other Swedish variants of which I have the latter, while later pedals - i.e. the 2 most recent variants are made in China and not quite to the same quality standard! This was all on a tip from my good friend Bob Guido, but I kind of got carried away by a great price on a pristine example and ended up with not quite the right variety - which is missing the True Bypass, while it still sounds suitably impressive. The EBS Multidrive is supposedly many players’ secret weapon.


My friend Scott also brought the Electro-Harmonix Attack Decay to my full attention - as I had sort of overlooked that until then. It is the perfect pedal for me to get my Sigur Rós on - so to speak, and is momentarily in rotation on the Cooper FX Arcades slot - while that will return to the fray soon enough!


I have acquired a couple more pedals from my now good friend Stephen Pettyjohn - a Clipping Mods edition of his best-selling Chime Overdrive, and the new sort of Junior variant to that - the Core Edge Overdrive. There will be a feature for those two coming very soon. (The just need to land first!)


Brand new 2021 pedals acquired this month were the Wampler Ratsbane Mini Rat Distortion and Way Huge Atreides Weirding Module Synth-Fuzz.


I know of a flurry of activity occurring in April - we’ve already had recent announcements from Origin Effects and Spaceman Effects, and I am aware of imminent release by Boss, Demedash Effects, Redbeard FX, Thorpy FX and Zander Circuitry to name just a few. April should be fairly busy too!


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


So it turns out that the best pedal for my needs (principally auto-wah) is the Flower Pedals Hosta Filter-Wah. While I've also had the Dr Scientist Dusk and Spaceman Artemis in rotation this month. Those are definitely my 3 filter pedals of choice - while I will also be looking to acquire a Subdecay Prometheus DLX somewhat opportunistically at some stage. The Flower Pedals Hosta though sounds immense and does just what I need!


Rotation :

  • Flower Pedals Hosta Wah Filter
  • Dr Scientist Dusk Dynamic Filter
  • Spaceman Effects Artemis Modulated Filter

Slot #5 : Germanium / Sensitive Fuzz


I have so many quality fuzz pedals - they are forever in constant rotation with new ones fighting for a spot, and older favourites continuously coming back into the mix again. For the month of March it was largely the two Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation editions (OC45 and CV7003), while several more fuzzes put in an appearance per the following Rotation :

  • Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation CV7003
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation OC45
  • BTMB Classic Germanium Fuzz
  • BTMB Classic Silicon Fuzz
  • Chase Bliss Audio Bliss Factory
  • Demedash Spidola Germanium Fuzz Device
  • Electro-Harmonix Ripped Speaker Fuzz
  • Expresso FX Custom Dual-Switching TB MKII Fuzz
  • Fulltone Queen Bee
  • Reeves Electro BlackHatSound
  • Sitek Fuzzie V2 Germanium Fuzz
  • ToneTuga Salvage Fuzz
  • Vemuram Myriad Fuzz

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


Obviously the new Pettyjohn Edge (Junior Chime) goes straight in on this slot, but is still in rotation with the earlier Pettyjohn ODI, and Zander Circuitry Surplus Drive. I will be running some in-depth comparison test between the imminently arriving Chime and Edge pedals - which are both hewn from the same stalk as such.


Rotation :

  • Pettyjohn Electronics Edge Overdrive
  • Pettyjohn Electronics OD-1 Overdrive
  • Zander Circuitry Surplus Elemental Overdriver

Slot #16 : Top Boosted Distortion / Vox


Here my recently acquired Pettyjohn Electronics is taking over from the Menatone TCIAB for at least a few rotations. I'm still in the process of exploring the Pettyjohn range - so there may be a few more changes yet, while of course some of the older favourites will creep back in again eventually.

lot #19 : Silicon & OpAmp Fuzz / Big Muff / Octave Fuzz / Oscillating Fuzz / High Gain Fuzz / PLL / Rat 2


I'm still a little obsessed with the Tone Electronix Animalizzer and feel I need a few more rotations to fully extract all its capabilities. March also saw the arrival of the Way Huge Atreides which will take up a more permanent position on this slot eventually, for now there are roughly 3 pedals sharing the slot at the moment.


Rotation :

  • Tone Electronix Animalizzer MufferFuzzer
  • Pharaoh Supreme Muff-Style Fuzz
  • Way Huge Atreides Weirding Module Synth-Fuzz

Slot #20 : High Gain Fuzz 1 / Fuzzstortion


Although the Drunk Beaver Cold War Rat has been on this slot the most for March, it's still been in quite heavy rotation with a number of other pedals - in particular the Wampler Ratsbane and Zander Circuitry Cranium - obviously both also Rats. I intend to do a feature on some of Vitalii Bobrov's pedals - as soon as there are demos available for those. Currently none of the 3 I own have demos out there yet. Hence I cannot feature the Bat Rat in the top video slot. UPDATE! There is a video now as added.


Rotation :

  • Drunk Beaver Bat Cold War Rat
  • BTMB American Ram Fuzz
  • BTMB American Triangle Fuzz
  • BTMB Classic Distortion
  • BTMB Gray Box Overdrive
  • Wampler Ratsbane
  • Zander Circuitry Cranium

Slot #23 : High Gain Fuzz 2 / Modern Metal 1 / Mid-Pushed High Gain


The Balrog Distortion has been a long time coming and it totally lives up to expectations. Just a fantastic monster saturating doom distortion! It doesn't quite have things all to itself, as the Redbeard Honey Badger is still very much in rotation.


Rotation :

  • Blackhawk Balrog V3 Distortion
  • Redbeard Effects Honey Badger Sub-Octave Fuzz

Slot #25 : Modern Metal 3 / High Gain Metal 2


As part of the build-up to the imminent Boss HM-2W June launch I've been completing my own HM-2 tribute selection with most of the usual suspects. I will for sure be snagging a Klirrton Grindstein in honour of the event, while I would really like to get my hands on an Abominable Electronics Pedalboard-friendly Evil Ned too. Another long-term target for this slot is the Rock Fabrik Mind Abuse Distortion - which I'm aiming to acquire this year. In the meantime the Pushking Ironfinger is still in on the rotation for this slot.


Rotation :

  • Lone Wolf Audio Left Hand Wrath
  • Pushking Ironfinger Distortion

Slot #33 : Glitch / Multi-FX 1


So this is the first time the Cooper FX Arcades is getting a breather for a wee while on this slot. While I wait for Tom Majeski to send me my next 2 Cards for review I've taken to deploying the EHX Atack Delay in its stead - and very specifically for the bowed Sigur Rós style effect. The Arcades has been glued to this slot since its arrival last August, and it will for sure remain the main action on this slot - while I really also need to think about bringing some of my other glitch-style pedals back into rotation at some stage in the fairly near future.


Rotation :

  • Electro-Harmonix Attack Decay
  • Cooper FX Arcades

Final Thoughts and Future Vision

Final Thoughts and Future Vision

I though it opportune to bring up the Future Pedal-Chain Visual again - to show kind of where I'm heading this year. Priorities will obviously continue to chop and change so not every planned acquisition will necessarily happen in 2021 - some will be shifted back a little. And some might even diminish in appeal based on newer and more appealing entries for those genres.


So truth is that March was in many ways a catch-up month where I secured a number of my long-term targets as those pedals became more accessible to me - either by way of improved cost proposition or more general availability.


I had had the Big Tone Music Brewery pedals on the radar for quite some while - and I was really just waiting for them to hit my acceptable / target buy-in level. This was the same with a number of this month's acquisitions where most of the pedals acquired had some discount applied, and a a few were actually second-hand.


As mentioned in the introduction - there should be a flurry of activity in April and I already have around 6 kind of secret pedals spoken for - I will reveal those details to you as soon as I'm given authority to do such.


Did you guys land anything notable in March - possibly something that I overlooked? Do let me know!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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