It turns out that I’m quite the fan of Zach Broyles and his many circuit confections. And despite having only been officially properly in business for a handful of years now, Zach’s output is really rather prolific and a number of his classic circuits are already discontinued. Most of you will know his story of how he started dabbling with pedals while working at celebrated guitar hangout Carter Vintage. He got to a stage where he had established enough contacts with clients and local guitar heroes and struck out fully on his own sort of around 2016/17 - later to be joined by his wife Morgan in sharing the build and assembly duties.
Zach encountered both Joey Landreth and Rob Chapman relatively early on into his then fledgling pedal business - which led him to associations with Andertons and Riffy City Music also which kind of gave him a spring board to success. And a number of appealing collaborations and signature pedals along the way.
I was fortunate to have had an in-depth conversation with Zach at the still relatively recent Birmingham Guitar Show - back on February 29th this year - in fact my last outside event before I went into Coronavirus isolation / social distancing. Zach had then just launched the Lark and Susmaryosep signature pedals for Rhett Shull and RJ Ronquillo respectively - two more YouTube guitar heroes that I follow. In fact I was familiar with most of the celebrated Mythos Pedal advocates before making the connection back to Zach. These are some of the most formidable and influential personalities in this industry and they have all collaborated together at various times to great effect. For me the Lark and Susmaryosep are more for stand-alone fly-rig purposes really, and not so compatible with my own pedal-chain - so those alas don’t feature in my favourite 9 pedals listed here.
I have acquired just 2 of these to date - each sort of associated with Joey Landreth - first the Golden Fleece Mini Overdrive/Fuzz, and then the High Road Mini Gated Fuzz - both exceptionally versatile and touch-sensitive fuzzes at their heart. I really should have more of Mythos in my collection by now - but they are ever in rare supply and there are only a handful of dealers in Europe, and it doesn’t help that Deluxe Guitars of Australia does not ship abroad.
Zach has obviously been prioritising his two new signature pedal launches, and as a consequence pretty much everything else is sold out near enough everywhere at the moment (there are just 4 pedals listed on Reverb.com). In fact at my nearest and only UK dealer Andertons there is only a single Mythos pedal in stock - the diminutive Cestus Mini Clean Boost. For some reason my most-wanted - the Chupacabra has not been available at Andertons for a couple of years now. I’m of course a big Billy Gibbons fan - and Zach has captured the sound of the early ZZ Top albums within the circuit and output of the Chupacabra. My second most wanted is Zach’s take on the Prescription Electronics Clean Octave Boost - or the Argo Octave Fuzz. Based on another of my guitar heroes - one Josh Smith I’ve been convinced I also need the Argonaut Mini Upper Octave for more occasional use.
I’ve long listed the Erlking as my favourite take on the Nobels ODR-1 circuit. The Runestone was a Riff City / Andertons limited edition - a sort of beefed up Daedalus or Blues Breaker style circuit. And finally last but not least is Chappers’ signature Titan - a beefed up variation of Zach’s Mjolnir Klone style circuit - with additional clipping and fatness options. Ah - I forgot to mention the AU 79 variant of the Golden Fleece - a somewhat softer lower gain derivative of the core Golden Fleece circuit - made as a special / limited edition for Mass Street Music - which though seems to have found its way into a lot of my British colleagues’ hands - I of course need that to complete my Mythos Mini Fuzz Trifecta!
All of these are incredibly hard to get at the moment and probably for the immediate foreseeable future - until Zach gets on top of his backlog. Obviously there are 3 discontinued pedals in my listing - the Erlking, Runestone and Titan - which will be very difficult to track down. I’ve already set up automated feed trackers for those on Reverb.com - in fact I had the opportunity twice to claim an Erlking in the past year - but I was distracted on other priority missions at the time!
As I keep saying - you really can’t collect them all - there are so many different factors involved, and it does not necessarily help if there is limited supply in your particular corner of the world. I discovered one remaining Chupacabra in the wild - at Deluxe Guitars in Australia - but they have already admonished me several times that they don’t / won’t ship outside of Australia - how very insular of them!
I will persevere though as at least 4 of these should be relatively easily within my grasp - and then I just need to be lucky with the remainder. I do very much want all of those here I don’t yet have - no doubt some will take a little longer to land. I have reached out a couple of times to Zach - but he’s understandably busy at the moment and thus far not able to reply. In any case I hope to have a lot more of these in the collection in the not too distant future.
Here follow some further details about each :
A slightly softer lower gain - somewhat more over-drivey version of the Golden Fleece Fuzz. Which I believe is a single Silicon Transistor based circuit - not a million miles away from a Fuzz Face - but obviously lacking that second stage - as far as I'm aware. This is a limited edition run created specifically with / for the USA-based Mass Street Music store - and can only be procured from there - even though and as I reported - several of my UK colleagues seem to have got their hands on a copy. I could possibly have negotiated one at the Birmingham show had I been more alert at the time - I possibly wasn't on my sharpest form that day - that's typically what early Saturday starts do to me though. This will most likely be my third Mythos acquisition - I need it to complete the set!
It took me a while to figure out that the Golden Fleece is supposedly based on the incredibly rare Alan Yee Fuzzy Nuts pedal in that same single-knob format, while the Golden Fleece has been optimised to a mini enclosure. It does though have a sort of Fuzz Face style character and dynamics to a degree with great cleanup potential via guitar volume. I like this so much that I don't even need to properly audition the Au79 derivative to know that I want that too! The Golden Fleece was my first Mythos Pedal - I missed out on the first of the mini runs - but snagged one of the second run units - via Mythos's store on Reverb.com.
Too date this is only my second Mythos pedal - another great touch-sensitive and dynamic silicon fuzz - this time with a gated character to it. Has very similar properties to the other 2 Mini fuzzes just mentioned - just with a significantly different starved voltage / biased / sort of gated character profile. Obviously one of Joey's favourites, and one of RJ Ronquillo's favourites too for a while.
I wasn't sure I needed this until I saw Josh Smith demo it - both in conjunction with his Lovepedal Tchula Overdrive, and his then brand new Signature Vemuram Myriad Fuzz - and both sounded stellar with it. I want this therefore both as a Mythos and Smith fan - and while it won't necessarily permanently occupy a slot in my pedal-chain - it will certainly get a lot of rotation - I may see if I can sneak it in near the start of the chain - it's only a wee thing after all. Quite genius really as it can make any of your fuzz and drive / distortion pedals sound like a variety of octave fuzz! The octave generator here is a a derivation of a ring modulator effect - not dissimilar to Dan Armstrong's celebrated Green Ringer.
I definitely slept on this one - it's just a really great sounding smart take on the Clean Octave Boost circuit - I love the artwork too and enclosure colour - that metallic aqua shade. I've twice been on the cusp of getting this and I hesitated and lost as it went out of stock again. Once it's back in stock the third time - I won't hesitate again.
My readers will know how much I love all varieties of Fuzzy-Drive tones - and that flavour is very much the essence of the La Grange / Early Billy Gibbons tone. Just gorgeous fuzz-edged rock'n roll refined chewy character. I love and avidly collect Fuzzy-Drive pedals of all persuasions - and his has been a favourite of mine for a long while. It's a real mystery why I haven't snagged one sooner. Equally it's a mystery why Andertons don't seem to stock it any more? Possibly another question for Zach to answer when he gets in touch.
There's a lot of people raving about the new John Shanks Vemuram ODS-1 take on the Nobels ODR-1. While I likely prefer Zach's discontinued take on the same circuit. I have had two opportunities to snag one of these - and I can't think what distracted me at the time. Obviously I'm not a man of unlimited means - and so I like others need to make priority lists and handle things in due order - and that does not always coincide with opportunity and availability. So hopefully the third time's the charm here.
I'm a big fan of Blues Breaker pedals in general - obviously including Analog.Man, Snouse, VFE and Wampler derivations of the same - oh and of course the brand new Jackson Audio Golden Boy - yet another Joey Landreth signature pedal - for whom I believe the Runestone's Daedalus predecessor was also a limited edition Joey Landreth signature style pedal for a while. The Runestone is a beefed up evolution / enhancement of the Daedalus - and it was made as a limited edition collaboration initially for Riff City Music, but then extended to Andertons too - limited run obviously.
Zach's original big seller was his Mjolnir take on the Klon Centaur. Here in its Signature Rob Chapman guise - beefed up with additional clipping and fatness options and a little more gain on tap as far as I'm aware. If you're going to own a versions of Zach's Mjolnir circuit - then this is a cool way to go and gives you something a little different to boot. Only a handful of these were made and sold through Andertons - probably very difficult to get hold of one of these know - and would involve very long-term stalking of Reverb.com!
This one is supposedly about to make a limited run comeback - a unique Zach Broyles take on the Ram's Head Muff circuit with 2-band EQ and Boost - all in a suitably Ghostbusters-style Ghost Trap enclosure. Possibly due for a conincidental smart re-launch event to match with whenever the new film gets a release. I have a distinct preference for compact enclosure pedals - or at the very most vertical medium or medium square enclosures - I really don't have space in the chain to accommodate anything larger - so this pedal could only be used in fairly rarefied fashion within my rig. Really cool execution though.
The selection of 9 here was really very easy for me to compile as these are all pedals I've chased after at some stage, some for a considerable time - and I still want to snag those 7 that I don't yet have - of course as long as that lines up with my priorities and financial liabilities at the time.
I've mentioned before that I'm particularly enamoured with the Chupacabra and Argo, then Au79 and Argonaut, and then essentially the whole bottom row - with the Erlking probably the first in that sequence. I've mentioned before that you buy into pedals for a variety of reasons - you like how they sound and how they look - form factor, usability and versatility are all important for me too. In essence you sign up to a degree to the ears, general tastes and tonal preferences of the pedal builder.
Zach started off like many - following Brian Wampler's 'How to Modify Guitar Pedals' book - and messing around with BYOC and similar circuits - before finding his own signature sounds and ways of working. His pedal constructions are still a mix of Through-Hole and SMD - with a view to move more towards the latter - so that more pedals can be more easily and more quickly made - but with no compromise to the core sound quality. I trust Zach to get the formula right - you can tell he's the kind of guy who won't be satisfied with second best - things have to be right - it's only his reputation after all.
I think there's plenty here for pedal fans to get stuck into - sure it's largely a mix of fuzzes and overdrives - but that's also how I like to roll. These are generally very elegantly dialled in and relatively simple and straightforward pedals. Some might say something of a departure for me as a tone-tweaker. But if the formula is right - you can get away with only one or two or three knobs. Are there any pedals here that you like the look of and are thinking of adding to you own setup / collection?