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End of Year Pedal-Chain Update - Final Formation - Class of 2020

Acoustic SimulatorAmbient EffectsAnasoundsBeat MachineBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCooper FXCrazy Tube CircuitsDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveKMA AudioLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMidValleyFXModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXTimmyToneczarTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTweed Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMEndOfYear700.jpg

And so here is the culmination of everything that happened to the pedal-chain in 2020.

 

There were quite a few more displacements than I had expected - all told 22 slots changed over this year - including 19 Brand New Pedals for 2020, then 3 slightly older pedals, and some incidentals.

 

The most significant shift, and the one that caused the most disruption was the arrival of Boss GT-1000 CORE in October. This is often the case when you bring in a big new pedal - and you need to re-calibrate he chain to a significant degree. Yet everything was back to standard nominal values within a few days - with a little help from a couple of Boss geniuses.

 

Obviously the Chase Bliss Audio Preamp MKII has made quite a splash, but generally the mechanics of the pedal-chain have been preserved - and that overarching methodology still seems to work very well.

 

This article plots this year’s odyssey - and highlights some of the decisions made, and many of the pedals added to the collection this year - along with a significant number of perennial favourites.

 

I am content that I have a strongest possible candidate in each slot - while there is still some fine-tuning I would like to make. Generally though it’s all sounding pretty stellar these days - and the rig is very much beautifully balanced as right of this moment - with wholly noise-free playback at all times!

 

For the Final Formation of the year we see a few incidental changes - the only totally new arrival is the KMA Audio WurHM, while EQD Sunn O))) Life Pedal V2 returns to Slot #19, the Thorpy FX Field Marshal goes back in on Slot #20, and the Redbeard Effects Honey Badger goes back in on Slot #23.

 

The Year End snapshot represents all the best of that which was released in 2020 - I may still prefer other older candidates on some of those slots - so we will see how that all unfolds in 2021!

 

Here follow some of the key points :


November Formation

November Formation

For the penultimate chapter of the year - November's Pedal-Chain Status - we saw the not at all unexpected Chase Bliss Audio / Zvex Bliss Factory - get introduced on Slot #5.

 

New for the month also were the MidValleyFX Ignitor Fuzz #23 and Peaks V2 Rectifier Style Distortion on #26. The Toneczar Openhaus arrived with a bang on Slot #24 - with its sibling - the OTP Fuzz back in on #19. Slot #25 also saw the reappearance of the Pushking Ironfinger Parametric Mids Distortion.


October Formation

October Formation

October saw some significant early disruption with the introduction of the Boss GT-1000 CORE - while alls was pretty much back to normal within a week - while it did take some re-calibration of several pedals.

 

Apart from the Boss GT-1000 CORE there were a number of new entries - including the Vick Audio Lucky 13, Nordland Electronics ODR-C Custom Overdrive, Vick V-2 Plexi-Muff on #19, and the Andy James StL Tones Signature Revenant Distortion pedal on #25 - Oh and of course the immense Strymon NightSky on Slot #39.

 

The Fulltone Wahfull was also brought in on the rotation for a while on slot #4.


September Formation

September Formation

The September Pedal-Chain Update sees a slew of new arrivals, some reappearance, and the Toneczar Openhaus and Strymon NightSky appearing on the imminent arrivals radar for the first time.

 

New for September were the Boss OC-5 Octave, Shnobel Tone Daily Driver, Toneczar OTP Fuzz, Jackson Audio El Guapo Overdrive/Distortion.

 

The Toneczar Vault High Gain Fuzz went back I on Slot #5, and the Demon Pedals Kondo-Shifuku rightly reclaimed its place on Slot #12.


August Formation

August Formation

The August Pedal-Chain Snapshot saw the arrivals of the Danelectro Roebuck Distortion / Mostortion on Slot #12, and the new Sitek Freya Dual-Natured Overdrive Booster on Slot #15.

 

The Buffalo FX Patriot MKII was introduced on Slot #19, and at last the Boss EQ-200 replaced its small GE-7 sibling on Slot #28.

 

We also had the Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive back in on Slot #25 - following mine and TPS's features on Programmable Preamps.

 

The short-lived Jackson Audio El Guapo JCM800 + Plexi appeared on the radar for Slot #22.


July Formation

July Formation

July's Snapshot has something of a Buffalo FX Theme to it and funnily features an imminent arrival marker on the Reticon Flanger which I was expecting to land any day soon - we all know how that story ended!

 

Along with the never arrived Reticon Flanger we have the soon to be relegated Carrera Overdrive on Slot #15 - somewhat ousted by the Automatone Preamp MKII which landed that same month and for which my first random setting turned out to sound exactly like the Carrera! The Buffalo Evolution has had more staying power and puts in still frequent appearances on Slot #19.

 

I also took delivery of a brace of amazing Expresso FX Custom Compact Dual Germanium/Silicon Transistor Switching Fuzzes - one based on Germanium and Silicon Fuzz Faces, and the other a unique and innovative take on TB MKII with a trio of OC75 transistors of course and a single switchable Silicon OC202.


June Formation

June Formation

The June Snapshot shows just a couple of significant changes - the Reuss Germanium Dirt on slot #12 - a sort of Not Quite a Rat LM308AH Can circuit with fantastic harmonic dynamics.

 

The excellent all-rounder / super-versatile Kuro Custom Audio P.h.A. Boost / Overdrive also puts in its first appearance on Slot #15.


May Formation

May Formation

Quite a lot of activity for the May Status Update - as the Jackson Audio Golden Boy finally lands - and the previously 'lost-in-the-mail' Menatone Vertical Trifecta all materialise.

 

Also the intriguingly textured Kuro Custom Audio Akuma Fiery Fuzz put in its first appearance on Slot #5 - an excellent mix of High Gain Fuzz Face, Super-Fuzz and Jordan Boss Tone.

 

And last and certainly not least - the formidable EHX Oceans 12 lands on slot #39!


April Formation

April Formation

The April Pedal-Chain Snapshot indicates two new arrivals for the chain - the excellent Dr Scientist Dusk Dynamic Filter for Slot #4, and the suitably dynamic Anasounds Ages Touch-Sensitive Harmonic Tremolo - for Slot #31.

 

The recently announced Spaceman Effects Sputnik III and revolutionary Cooper FX Arcades appear on the radar for the first time.


March Formation

March Formation

So March is the first of the official Pedal-Chain Updates and sees a slew of new arrivals.

 

Note also the introduction of yellow-coloured labels which indicates 'lost in the mail' which was the case for a long period.

 

New in March were the ThorpyFX Field Marshal Fuzz and Bunker Intermodulation Distortion - along with their Redbeard Effects Honey Badger Sub-Octave Fuzz sibling. The Sinvertek N5+ had actually landed just before year end 2019 - but this was it's first official numbered #Slot outing.

 

The fantastic VS Audio Analog BBD Chorus with 6 footswitchable presets also landed in March.

 

Note that the Jackson Audio Golden Boy, Automatone Preamp MKII and EHX Oceans 12 Reverb are all indicated in orange as pending targets.


February Formation

February Formation

This is a slightly different sort of Projected Post-NAMM arrangement - mapping some of those more appealing NAMM Show pedals onto the Chain. This is a circa end of January Update - but intended really as a February Snapshot and Projection.

 

It includes the purely speculative GPX Deviation and mockup of a GFI System Specular Tempus V2 - based on the Synesthesia topology - no such pedal exists yet - and is probably quite a long way off in any case.

 

Otherwise we see a number of my pedal targets for the year - indicated by the NAMM legends.

 

Note that some NAMM-featured pedals had landed already - including the EQD Sunn O))) Live Pedal V2.

 

The Camoflange, Blooper and Synesthesia were essentially 2019 releases really. And only my GFI Synesthesia actually landed in 2020.

 

Generally Orange means target / impending - while green means that pedal has landed and is already active.


January Formation

January Formation

This is really the Pedal-Chain right at the start of the year - actually if memory serves my correct it is the Pre-Namm Snapshot from round about the 2nd week in January.

 

Note the 3 remaining Chase Bliss Audio Analog Modulations - those would be unseated fairly quickly - otherwise a lot of the usual suspects - and still quality in every area.


2020 Final Pedal-Chain #Slot Overview

2020 Final Pedal-Chain #Slot Overview

Here follow the #Slot Overviews with relevant pedal allocations.

  • PRIMARY : Current Top Spot
  • MAIN : The Pedal that is the mainstay for this Slot - i.e. lives here the most
  • SECONDARY / ROTATION : Understudy Alternatives that get Rotated in on the slot fairly regularly
  • WISHLIST : Pedals under consideration for acquisition and for deployment on this slot

Slot #01 : Pickup Enhancer / Remodeler

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I still use this Pickup Enhancer / Remodeller fairly regularly - largely for its Single Coil Modes - as that is something my PRS CE doesn't do quite to my satisfaction - the EXchanger's output is far closer than the coil split on the PRS.

 

I still really like this pedal - it has not useful alternative really, while I do occasionally use this slot for a Mini Ditto - largely when I'm tuning in a new pedal or recalibrating the signal chain.

 

Here's the overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Keyztone EXchanger Pickup Enhancer

MAIN :

  • Keyztone EXchanger Pickup Enhancer

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • TC Electronic Ditto/+

WISHLIST :

  • DigiTech FreqOut Natural Feedback Creator
  • TC Electronic Ditto+

Slot #2 : Octaver / Pitch-Shifter / Harmonizer / Modulator / Bitcrusher / Utility

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I've enjoyed the simplicity of the Boss OC-5 here for a while now - while into 2021 - we will likely see the return of the slightly more feature-rich Meris Hedra. We might also have a Pitch Fork+ on rotation here for a while during 2021.

 

Slot overview is as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss OC-5 Octave

MAIN :

  • Meris Hedra 3-Voice Rhythmic Pitch Shifter & Delay

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • DigiTech The Drop Polyphonic Drop-Tune
  • DigiTech Whammy Ricochet
  • Dr Scientist BitQuest
  • Mu-Tron Octavider
  • TC Electronic Brainwaves Pitch Shifter
  • TC Electronic Sub 'N Up Octaver
  • TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer

WISHLIST :

  • Catalinbread Heliotrope Harmonic Pixelator
  • Electro-Harmonix Mainframe Bitcrusher
  • Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork+ Dual-Voiced Polyphonic Pitch-Shifter and Harmonizer

Slot #3 : Guitar Synth

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Slot #3 has been turned over entirely to synth sounds nowadays - while I dare say we may have bticrushers or other otherworldly modulators appearing not his slot too.

 

For now the Boss SY-1 pretty much rules the roost - the obviously improvement would be to have a pedal of this size with dual footswitches and footswitchable presets - that is surely the goal. For now though the Boss SY-1 is the most versatile and most fun at this form factor.

 

Slot overview is as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss SY-1 Synthesizer

MAIN :

  • Boss SY-1 Synthesizer

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • DigiTech Dirty Robot Analog Synth
  • Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analog Synth

WISHLIST :

  • Subdecay M3 3-Oscillator Monophonic Guitar Synthesizer
  • Subdecay Octave Theory Octave Modulator / Synthesizer
  • Subdecay Octasynth Synthesizer

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

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I've thoroughly enjoyed the Dr Scientist Dusk Dynamic Filter this year - and even though I'm considering getting in the Flower Pedals Hosta and Spaceman Artemis sometime next year - the Dusk will still remain the principal pedal on this slot - it's just so user-friendly and fun to deploy!

 

Slot overview is as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Dr Scientists Dusk Dynamic Filter

MAIN :

  • Dr Scientists Dusk Dynamic Filter

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • CryBaby CBM95 Mini Wah
  • CryBaby CBM535Q Mini Wah
  • CryBaby CSP030 Q-Zone Fixed Wah
  • Fulltone Wahfull Fixed / Cocked Wah
  • Mu-Tron Micro-Tron III Envelope Filter

WISHLIST :

  • CryBaby CBM535AR Mini Auto-Return Wah
  • Flower Pedals Hosta Auto-Wah / Filter
  • Mooer E7 Synth Mini
  • Spaceman Artemis Variable-State Modulated Filter

Slot #5 : Germanium / Sensitive Fuzz

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There's no question this has been the busiest rotation slot this year as in previous years. I obviously have circa 250 fuzzes and probably almost a half of those are Germanium or Sensitive varieties which are best deployed here.

 

I would imagine the Bliss Factory will have quite a long stint - generally the Spaceman Sputniks and Gemini have been most prominent this year - alongside my 2 recent Expresso FX Custom Fuzzes.

 

Slot overview is as follows - note that there is no way to reference every pedal rotated in on this slot - so its most of the new ones - with some earlier classics in the mix too! :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Bliss Factory

MAIN :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Bliss Factory

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Analog.Man AstroTone Fuzz
  • Anasounds Crankled Bitoun Fuzz Face / Super Fuzz
  • Blammo Electronics Tomb Sender TB MKIII
  • Buffalo FX Stiletto Fuzz
  • Catalinbread Giygas Fuzz
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation Multi-Fuzz
  • DanDrive Austin Pride Germanium/Silicon Switching Texas Square Face Fuzz
  • DanDrive Secret Weapon Zonk Machine
  • Danelectro 3699 Octave Fuzz (Foxx)
  • Demedash Effects Spidola Germanium Fuzz Device
  • Expresso FX Custom Compact Fuzz Bender MKI
  • Expresso FX Custom Compact Germanium/Silicon Switching FF Style
  • Expresso FX Custom Compact Germanium/Silicon Switching TB MKII Style
  • Function F(x) Professional MKI Germanium Fuzz
  • JDM Pedals Elektrika Fuzz TB MKI / Zonk
  • KMA Audio Minos Germanium Fuzz MKII / Super-Fuzz
  • Kuro Custom Audio Akuma Fuzz
  • Paul Trombetta Design Bone Machine GTX Hybrid Fuzz
  • Pettyjohn Electronics Rail Fuzz
  • Pigdog Juju MKIII Fuzz
  • Ramble FX Twin Bender MKI.V/II
  • Red Witch Fuzz God IV
  • Reeves Electro Black Hat Sound Fuzz
  • Sitek Fuzzie V2 Germanium Fuzz
  • Spaceman Effects Gemini IV Dual Fuzz Generator
  • Spaceman Effects Sputnik I Germanium Fuzz
  • Spaceman Effects Sputnik III Germanium Fuzz
  • Toneczar Vault High Gain Fuzz
  • Vemuram Josh Smith Signature Myriad Hybrid Fuzz
  • Vick Audio Lucky 13 Fuzz
  • etc.

WISHLIST :

  • Analog.Man Peppermint Fuzz
  • Dusky Electronics Augustus Octave Fuzz
  • Fjord Fuzz Fenris Super-Fuzz
  • Tonetuga FX Salvage Feedback Fuzz
  • Zander Circuitry Siclone Silicon Chaos Initiator
  • etc.

Slot #6 : Preamp Style Boost + Buffer + EQ

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I can't see anything unseating the Jackson Audio Prism - unless they do a new edition per my recommendations! This has proven to be just a fantastic dynamics enhancing boost for the start of the signal-chain - works brilliantly and sounds just how I want it too!

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Jackson Audio Prism Boost + Buffer + EQ + Preamp

MAIN :

  • Jackson Audio Prism Boost + Buffer + EQ + Preamp

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • TC Electronic Spark Mini Booster
  • Xotic Effects Mini EP Booster Alchemy Audio Mods

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #7 : Compressor + Secondary EQ + Secondary Boost

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This is just another wonder product from Jackson Audio - with that clever 3-way footswitch action - so you can smartly switch on and off and change modes for Compressor, EQ and Boost. The smartest compressor by far!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Jackson Audio Bloom Compressor + EQ + Blooming Boost

MAIN :

  • Jackson Audio Bloom Compressor + EQ + Blooming Boost

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Wampler Mini Ego Compressor
  • Xotic Effects Mini SP Compressor Alchemy Audio Mods

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #8 : Texturising / Harmonic Saturating Germanium Tertiary Boost

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Another indispensible pedal for me - just a touch more clever than the equally brilliant sounding Spaceman Mercury IV Germanium Harmonic Boost. This adds lovely saturation and harmonics - particularly useful at lower levels of volume!

 

PRIMARY :

  • ThorpyFX Heavy Water Dual Boost

MAIN :

  • ThorpyFX Heavy Water Dual Boost

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Expresso FX OC44 Germanium Boost
  • Spaceman Effects Mercury IV Germanium Harmonic Boost

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #9 : Neutral / Light / Organic / Transparent / Klone Overdrive

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The Thorpy Peacekeeper is still taking on all that comes before it - really super-versatile pedal. This slot has not seen a lot of Rotation this year, while in previous years it's been pretty busy - plenty of quality rotational alternatives available in any case.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

 

PRIMARY :

  • ThorpyFX Peacekeeper Overdrive

MAIN :

  • ThorpyFX Peacekeeper Overdrive

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Anasounds Cerberus Custom Overdrive/PreAmp
  • Decibelics Golden Horse Overdrive Mini
  • Decibelics Golden Royale Dual Overdrive
  • Electro-Harmonix Should Food JHS Mods
  • Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2
  • Greer Amps Lightspeed
  • Matthews Effects Architect V3 Overdrive + Boost
  • Menatone Vertical Fish Factory Red Snapper + Blue Collar Overdrives
  • VFE Merman Overdrive
  • Wampler Tumnus + Deluxe

WISHLIST :

  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer
  • Klon KTR JHS Mods
  • Walrus Audio Ages 5-State Overdrive

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

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This has largely become a Blues Breaker slot of late - again plenty of high quality rotation alternatives - while the Golden Boy is holding its own. I also get some magnificent Blues Breaker tones on the Wampler Pantheon in particular.

 

And I still have lots of acquisition targets for this slot too!

 

Slot overview as follows ;

 

PRIMARY :

  • Jackson Audio Joey Landreth Signature Golden Boy Overdrive + Boost

MAIN :

  • Jackson Audio Joey Landreth Signature Golden Boy Overdrive + Boost

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Bogner Wessex Harmonic Overdrive
  • Boss SD-1W Super Overdrive Waza Craft
  • Foxpedal The City V2 Overdrive + Boost
  • Greer Amps Southland Harmonic Overdrive
  • Jackson Audio Broken Arrow Overdrive + Boost
  • JHS Pedals Bonsai Multi-Screamer
  • MI Effects CrossOver Drive
  • Paul Cochrane Timmy Overdrive
  • Snouse BlackBox Overdrive 2 Stage Pro Mod
  • Spaceman Aphelion Harmonic Overdrive
  • Tsakalis Audio Works Six BOD
  • VFE Blues King
  • Wampler Pantheon Overdrive

WISHLIST :

  • Analog.Man Prince of Tone
  • Bondi Effect Del Mar Overdrive
  • Crowther Audio HotCake V2 Overdrive
  • Jetter Pedal: X Overdrive
  • Lovepedal Tchula White Josh Smith Signature 2-Stage Overdrive
  • Menatone Vertical Working Man's Blue Overdrive
  • MXR Mini Timi
  • Pedal Pawn Texan Twang Overdrive
  • Pettyjohn Electronics ODI Overdrive
  • Walrus Audio 385 Overdrive

Slot #11 : Mid Gain / Blues Driver

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Still my favourite overdrive of all time I think - while logically it should be the Preamp MKII by now - but there's just something eternally enduringly appealing for me about the tone, texture and clean-up ability of my Keeley Freak Fuzz Modded BD-2. This is one flavour the Preamp MKII definitely cannot approximate adequately!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRMARY :

  • Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Keeley Freak Fuzz Mods

MAIN :

  • Boss BD-2 Blues Driver Keeley Freak Fuzz Mods

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss/JHS JB-2 Angry Driver
  • Keeley Retro Super Germanium Phat Mod
  • Mooer Blues Mood Mini

WISHLIST :

  • Boss BD-2W Blues Driver Waza Craft
  • CMATmods Signa Drive

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

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The Kondo Shifuku has really made a home for itself on Slot #12 - definitely another of my perennial favourites - and my favourite fuzzy-drive of choice.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Demon Pedals Kondo-Shifuku D-Style Drive

MAIN :

  • Demon Pedals Kondo-Shifuku D-Style Drive

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Analogwise Germanium Pocket Rocket Fuzzy-Drive
  • Basic Audio Futureman Overdrive
  • Bixonix EXP-2000R Expandora Reissue
  • BYOC Overdrive 2 Mosfet Mod
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Starlight Liquid Fuzz Distortion
  • Cusack Music Germanium Screamer Fuzz
  • Custom Tones Ethos TWE-1 PreAmp/Overdrive (Trainwreck Express)
  • Danelectro Roebuck Distortion
  • Fulltone OCD Overdrive - V1.7 + 2
  • Fulltone OCD Ge Overdrive
  • Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver
  • JHS The Kilt V2 Fuzzy-Drive
  • Mad Professor Amber Overdrive
  • Mad Professor Golden Cello Overdrive
  • Mad Professor Simble Overdrive
  • Mad Professor Sweet Honey Deluxe Overdrive
  • Mythos Pedals Chubacabra Fuzzy-Drive
  • Mythos Pedals Golden Fleece Fuzzy-Drive
  • Side Effects Il Mostro Multi-Drive - Boost/Drive/Distortion
  • Skreddy Pedals Hybrid Fuzz Driver
  • Stomp Under Foot Dirt Preacher
  • True North Pedals Rocky Mountain Fuzz
  • Wampler Euphoria Overdrive

WISHLIST :

  • BJFE Effects Model R
  • Caroline Guitar Co Hawaiian Pizza Fuzzy-Drive
  • Ibanez Mostortion
  • J Rockett Mark Lettieri Signature Melody Overdrive
  • Menatone Dumbstruck V2
  • Menatone Wreck'T V2
  • Pettyjohn Electronics Fuze Fuzzstortion

Slot #13 : Multi-Drive 1 / Boost

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Yet another perennial favourite is the super-versatile Strymon Riverside Multistage - all the Strymon pedal are precision instruments and just so easy to dial in as the results are pretty much always per expectations. This is just a really great universal amp-like drive that I actually use mostly for Low Gain and Mid Gain Applications - occasionally too for searing 80's liquid lead tones - it's something of a super-reliable comfort blanket for me now - and it's very unlikely to ever be unseated.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive

MAIN :

  • Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • None

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #14 : Main Multi-Drive - Oversize

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The magnificent Chase Bliss Audio Automatone Preamp MKII has taken up full residence on this slot - and I very much doubt it will be bettered for a very long time. This is the ultimate Multi-Drive - with Fuzz in tow too - and can deliver the widest variety of Low to Mid Gain tones. Obviously not really geared for High Gain - and with all its prowess still doesn't displace any of my perennial favourites! Still magnificent though and obviously the best thing since sliced bread!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Automatone Preamp MKII

MAIN :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Automatone Preamp MKII

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Analog.Man King of Tone JHS 4-Star Mod
  • Beetronics Royal Jelly Overdrive/Fuzz
  • Bogner Ecstasy Red Distortion + Boost
  • Custom Tones Ethos Clean-Fusion II
  • Demon Pedals Ganapati Drive + Boost
  • Electronic Audio Experiments Dude Incredible Harmonic Percolator + IVP
  • Elektron Analog Drive
  • Empress Multidrive
  • Hudson Electronics Dual Broadcast Germanium Pre-Amp
  • Hudson Electronics Sidecard Germanium Clipping Overdrive
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors Alpha Haunt Fuzz
  • Origin Effects RevivalDrive Custom
  • Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz
  • Spaceman Effects Polaris Resonant Overdrive
  • Suhr Galaxy Eclipse Multi-Drive
  • Truetone Jekyll & Hyde Multidrive

WISHLIST :

  • Bogner La Grange + Boost
  • DryBell The Engine Preamp + Treble Booster

Slot #15 : Multi-Drive 2 / Tweed / HiWatt / Analog Amp-like Overdrive

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Something about the Shnobel Tone Daily Driver has really captivated me this year - it has such a beautifully textured breakup matched to an almost impossibly sparkly / chimey high end. Just a really unique overdrive for me even though there have been a number of magnificent pedal on this slot this year - including the amazing Kuro P.h.A.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Shnobel Tone Daily Driver

MAIN :

  • Shnobel Tone Daily Driver

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Bearfoot FX Model Hs Overdrive
  • Bearfoot FX Sparkling Yellow OD3
  • Dr Scientist The Elements
  • JHS Paul Gilbert Signature PG-14 Parametric Mids Overdrive/Distortion
  • Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive
  • Sinvertek Drive N5 Plus
  • Sinvertek N5 Ultimate Drive
  • Sinvertek No.5 Distortion
  • Subdecay Vector Multidrive
  • True North Tweed Drive

WISHLIST :

  • Catalinbread RAH Drive
  • Catalinbread Sabra Cadabra Distortion
  • Catalinbread SFT Overdrive
  • Damnation Audio MBD-2 Mosfet Bass Distortion
  • Demedash 112+ Drive Channel
  • Menatone MenaWatt
  • Menatone The Dirty B
  • Paradox Terran Re-Voicing Overdrive
  • Zvex '59 Sound Tweed Drive

Slot #16 : Top Boosted Distortion / Vox

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Still no official demos for the new Vertical edition Menatone Top Boos in a Can that I have - this for me is Brian May in a box - just beautifully textured and the perfect rendition of those tones for me. I might want a little more granularity on the tone-shaping but that's an unnecessary quibble really as tonally and texturally this sounds just right - not even considered getting any further alternatives for Rotation!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Menatone Vertical Top Boost In A Can Vox Distortion

MAIN :

  • Menatone Vertical Top Boost In A Can Vox Distortion

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Bearfoot FX Emerald Green Distortion Machine
  • Catalinbread Galileo Drive
  • Suhr Shiba Drive ReLoaded Mini

WISHLIST :

  • None

SLOT #17 : Marshall in a Box / Plexi

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I found the Menatone King of the Britains a little fiddly to dial in initially - but have got the hang of it now. This is a superbly flexible Plexi style overdrive and my favoured choice of the moment - while there is of course a whole lot of competition!

 

Still no official demo of this vertical edition yet!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Menatone Vertical King of the Britains

MAIN :

  • Menatone Vertical King of the Britains

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Alexander Pedals Jubilee Silver Overdrive
  • Bogner Ecstasy Blue Mini
  • Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret Red Mod
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley
  • One Control Purple Plexifier Mini
  • REVV G2 Crunch Drive/Distortion
  • ThorpyFX Gunshot Overdrive
  • Xotic SL Drive Mini Alchemy Audio Mods

WISHLIST :

  • Lovepedal Purple Plexi
  • LPD Pedals Seventy4 Overdrive
  • Ramble FX Marvel 3 Overdrive
  • Zvex Vertical Box of Rock

Sklot #18 : Multi-Fuzz / Fuzzy-Drive

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The CBA Brothers is now sadly discontinued, but it's one of my favourite actual Multi-Fuzz pedals of all-time. It's billed more as a Multi-Drive - while I use it pretty much exclusively with at leas one fuzz voicing active, if not on both channels - and then the ability to mix in the Boos and Overdrive varieties with the selected Fuzz voicing.

 

It covers quite different ground for me versus the CBA Bliss Factory or Automatone Preamp MKII - so I personally see its discontinuation as something of an odd decision. I initially weighed it up against the Strymon Sunset as a Multi-Drive - and the Sunset kind of won out that head-to-head for me, and was the first of the two I acquired. Once I shifted my focus to the Fuzz-side though it quickly became apparent that there were no other near or suitable alternatives really - and certainly not at this form factor.

 

The Brothers is still pretty unique for me and will likely live on its this slot for posterity.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Gain Stage

MAIN :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Gain Stage

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • None

WISHLIST :

  • None

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

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This and #5 are the most rotated slots in the chain and share between them well over a couple of hundred pedals. I think this is the first year that #5 saw more actions as it's usually this #19 which is the busiest. I have lots of Big Muff and Rat options / alternatives in particular - and all are vying for a Rotation on this slot - some real classics here!

 

Slot overview as follows:

 

PRIMARY :

  • EarthQuaker Devices Sunn O))) Life Pedal V2 Rat Style Fuzzstortion + Boost + Octave

MAIN :

  • Toneczar OTP Multi-Muff Fuzz

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • 1981 Inventions DRV
  • Abominable Electronics Hail Satan Deluxe Muff Fuzz
  • Abracadabra Audio Ayahuasca Trem-Fuzz
  • Beetronics FX Swarm Harmonizer Fuzz / PLL
  • Buffalo FX Evolution Plexi-Muff
  • Buffalo FX Patriot MKII Civil War Muff
  • Buffalo FX M-1 Stacked Ram's Head Fuzz
  • Demon Pedals Parvati Russian Muff Style Fuzz
  • JAM Pedals Rattler / +
  • KMA Audio Dead Stag
  • Lone Wolf Audio Iron Fist V3 Fuzz
  • ProCo Rat2 JHS Pack Rat Mod (NE5534)
  • ProCo Rat2 Kinnatone White Ikebe Mischief Mod (LM308N)
  • ShiftLine Termofuzz
  • ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud Fuzz
  • ThorpyFX Warthog Distortion
  • VFE Alpha Dog Fuzzstortion
  • Vick Audio V-2
  • Wren and Cuff De La Riva BM-20 Fuzz

WISHLIST :

  • Black Arts Toneworks Pharaoh Supreme
  • Caroline Guitar Company Shigeharu Fuzz
  • Caroline Guitar Company Wave Cannon MKII SuperDistorter
  • Dwarfcraft Devices Gold Standard Eau Claire Thunder
  • Earthbound Audio Iron Pig
  • Expresso FX Tup Fuzz

Slot #20 : High Gain Fuzz 1 / Fuzzstortion

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The Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler largely dominates this slot to such a degree that it is very rare anything else appears here - except occasionally during release windows where there are a lot of appealing fuzzes across the board.

 

This is occasionally used as an over-flow slot for its neighbouring #19's Rotation - and all the compact editions listed there can occasionally put in an appearance on #20 - where #19 of late has been somewhat taken over my Vertical-BB enclosure pedals!

 

The Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler still remains as my favourite fuzz of all-time. While the ThorpyFX Field Marshal is almost as brilliant and deserves to be showcased here.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • ThorpyFX Field Marshal Big Cheese Fuzz

MAIN :

  • Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler V2

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Occasionally overflow of compacts from Slot #19

WISHLIST :

  • None

Recap!

Recap!

Slot #21 : Multi-Drive 3 / Boost

Slot #21 : Multi-Drive 3 / Boost

Plenty of people ask my what I still see in the Strymon Sunset - and why it's quite so enduring for me. Same answer really as the Riverside - but with more nuance. It's just a beautifully precise machine which always gives you just what you need - whether combing the 6 options across the 2 Channels, or using them independently. I use the 2 Boost modes here a heck of a lot for honing and augmenting pedals both up- and downstream. You could argue that in many ways I use this more as a sort of Boost utility overall - in any case a really powerful and useful pedal for me!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive

MAIN :

  • Strymon Sunset Dual Overdrive

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive

WISHLIST :

  • 6 Degrees FX Amplitude Eleven
  • Keeley D&M Drive
  • Lovepedal Box of Awesome (OD Eleven + Kalamazoo)
  • Wampler Dual Fusion V1 (Vertical format!) Signature Ton Quayle Dual Drive (Paisley Drive + Euphoria)

Slot #22 : Brown Sound / EVH / JCM800 / Liquid Distortion

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The MI Effects Super Crunch Box V2 has been the longest-running servant on this slot and is still magnificent. While the newer Jackson Audio El Guapo / Asabi has a few more tricks up its sleeve - including that fantastic dual-footswitch action that no one else does.

 

I still have the short-lived El Guapo variety versus the newer Modular Asabi variety - while I'm in no great hurry to switch over as the Large Mouse module doesn't add anything for me for this slot. This is the EVH Slot very specifically for those JCM800 / Brown Sound Tones!

 

Once the Asabi gets a few more decent cards I may reconsider. In any case Brad Jackson seems to be ghosting me at the moment - so will will see how long my patience endures on that!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Jackson Audio Mateus Asato Signature El Guapo JCM800 + Plexi

MAIN :

  • Jackson Audio Mateus Asato Signature El Guapo JCM800 + Plexi

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Aleks K Maple Leaf Royal Drive
  • Alexander Pedals Hot Pink Drive
  • Bogner Burnley Bubinga Distortion
  • Boss JB-2 Angry Driver
  • Carl Martin Panama Overdrive
  • Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret Red Mod
  • Friedman BE-OD Distortion
  • Lawrence Petross Design Eighty7 Distortion
  • Mad Professor #1 Distortion
  • Menatone The King
  • MI Effects Super Crunch Box V2
  • OneControl Anodized Brown Distortion Mini
  • Sitek Wuffy Fuzzy Distortion
  • Suhr Riot Original
  • ThorpyFX The Bunker Intermodulation Distortion Brown Source
  • Wampler Sovereign Distortion
  • Wampler Pinnacle Distortion
  • Wampler Plextortion
  • Xvive Golden Brownie Distortion

WISHLIST :

  • Amptweaker TightRock Jr
  • Dawner Prince RedRox Distortion
  • Friedman Smallbox Overdrive/Distortion
  • Himmelstrutz Fetto Nord 70+ Drive/Distortion
  • Jackson Audio Mateus Asato Signature Asabi JCM800 + Plexi
  • JHS Pedals Andy Timmmons Signature @+ Distortion + Boost
  • Keeley El Rey Dorado Distortion
  • Suhr Riot Mini

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

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This Slot started out in many ways focusing on the Boss Range of Metal Pedals and where the REVV G3 has ended up with the longest residency to date. More recently we've seen a smattering of High Gain Fuzzes on the slot - with the Redbeard Effects Honey Badger taking up the lion's share of the action!

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Redbeard Effects Honey Badger Sub0-Octave High Gain Fuzz

MAIN :

  • Redbeard Effects Honey Badger Sub0-Octave High Gain Fuzz

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Abasi Concepts Pathos Overdrive
  • Anarchy Audio Deadwoods Fuzzstortion
  • Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion
  • Boss ML-2 Metal Core Distortion
  • Boss MT-2W Metal Zone Waza Craft
  • Boss MT-2 Keeley Twilight Zone Modded Metal Zone
  • Boss MZ-2 Digital Metalizer
  • Boss XT-2 Xtortion
  • Decibelics Angry Swede Mini / V2
  • DOD Boneshaker Distortion
  • Keeley Filaments High Gain Distortion
  • Lichtlaerm Altar High Gain Fuzz + Boost
  • Lone Wolf Audio F.O.A.D. Distortion
  • MidValleyFX Ignitor High Gain Octave Fuzzstortion
  • REVV G3 Distortion
  • Weehbo Bastard Low End Distortion
  • Wampler Dracarys Distortion
  • XIX Tech HMD-1 Distortion

WISHLIST :

  • Anarchy Audio Reignmaker High Gain Distortion
  • Blackhawk Amps Balrog V2 High Gain Distortion
  • Digitech Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion
  • Mooer 001 Gas Station Micro Preamp

Slot #24 : Modern Metal 2 / High Gain Metal 1 / Punchy Metal

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The arrival of the Toneczar Openhaus had totally stamped its identity on the signal-chain. This is a marvel of High Gain Engineering - 6-Band EQ with killer Bass and super-tight Punch and still highly textured and harmonic distortion - all the while with a whisper quite noise-floor. Surely The benchmark for High Gain / Metal Pedals - this one's likely here for the duration. Not really an always-on pedal - but definitely an always-in one.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Toneczar Openhaus 6-Band EQ High Gain Distortion

MAIN :

  • Toneczar Openhaus 6-Band EQ High Gain Distortion

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Bogner Ecstasy Red Distortion + Boost
  • Empress Heavy
  • MI Effects Megalith Delta Distortion + Boost
  • Suhr Eclipse Dual Channel High Gain Distortion

WISHLIST :

  • Horizon Effects Apex PreAmp
  • Goosoniqueworx / GworX Kult High Gain Distortion
  • MP Custom FX Gainiac Plus
  • MXR EVH 5150 Distortion
  • Thermion Gasoline High Gain Distortion

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

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This slot of late has sort of become the home of BB-Vertical Style Metal Pedals - owning to the added girth of the now permanently placed Toneczar Openhaus on the neighbouring #24 Slot. I see the super-versatile Pushking Ironfinger ruling the roost here for the most part - while the superb KMA Audio WurHM is enjoying an extended run-out on this slot for now.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • KMA Audio WurHM Heavy Metal Distortion

MAIN :

  • Pushking Ironfinger Parametric Distortion

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive
  • STL Tones Revenant Andy James Signature Distortion

WISHLIST :

  • Lone Wolf Audio Left Hand Wrath 7K
  • OKKO Dominator MKII Red Distortion
  • Rockfabrik Effects Mind Abuse MK2 Distortion

Slot #26 : Modern Metal 4 / High Gain Metal 3 / Extreme Saturating Distortion / Rectifier / Diezel / Orange

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The Redbeard Red Mist has been the mainstay on this slot for a while - slightly ahead of the REVV G4, while the MidValleyFX V2 is enjoying an extended rotation for now. This slot rotates quite a bit - so no doubt there will be something else in place here in the next month or two.

 

Slot overview as follows :

 

PRIMARY :

  • MidValleyFX Peaks V2 High Gain Rectifier Style Distortion

MAIN :

  • Redbeard Effects Red Mist MKIV Distortion

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Aleks K Red Scorpion High Gain Distortion
  • AMT Electronics Legend Amps Series II R2
  • Diezel VH4-2 Distortion
  • REVV G4
  • Wampler Crush The Button Distortion
  • Wampler Triple Wreck Distortion

WISHLIST :

  • Amptweaker Tight Metal Jr
  • AMT Electronics Legend Amps Series II D2
  • AMT Electronics Legend Amps Series II O2
  • Catalinbread Supercharged Overdrive (discontinued)
  • Lichtlaerm Gehenna High Gain Distortion
  • Mooer Cali Dual 011 Micro Preamp
  • Mooer Gas Station 001 Micro Preamp
  • Mooer Rage Machine Mini
  • OneControl Fluorescent Orange Amp In A Box Mini
  • Wampler CataPulp Overdrive

Slot #27 : Noise Gate

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The NS-2 Alchemy Audio Modded version has been immense for me. I've always thought I might need some more granularity here and have looked toward the TC Electronic Sentry a few times. There aren't many alternative for this particular configuration with parallel loop and pass-through. I've already dismissed the Decimator II G-String - just didn't work as well for me as the my Modded Boss for whatever reason. I will likeliest keep the NS-2 in place until such time that Boss decide to launch a new variety.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Alchemy Audio Mods

MAIN :

  • Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Alchemy Audio Mods

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • None

WISHLIST :

  • TC Electronic Sentry (no way a priority!)

Slot #28 : Graphic EQ

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Suitably placed to re-balance the signal immediately after the Noise Gate and in particular restore some of those higher frequencies which may have been overly filtered out by the gate and/or lost along the fairly lengthy signal-path / signal-chain.

 

My faithful Alchemy Audio Modded GE-7 was retired this year and replaced by the somewhat more feature-rich and presets-enabled EQ-200

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer

MAIN :

  • Boss EQ-200 Graphic Equalizer

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss GE-7 Graphic Equalizer Alchemy Audio Mods

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #29 : Analog Chorus

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There have admittedly been several great choruses released of late - but none has impressed me more than the Presets-enabled VS Audio Alchemy Analog Chorus - it sounds fantastic, and it works beautifully. There may well be some rotation on this slot in 2021 - but I can't see any other results than my returning to the VS Audio Alchemy in the end - it's been immense for me this year and I've used it on everything and with everything - just a really clever and wholly magnificent chorus! More people definitely need to check it out.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • VS Audio Alchemy Analog BBD Chorus with 6 Presets

MAIN :

  • VS Audio Alchemy Analog BBD Chorus with 6 Presets

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Generation Loss - Chorus Voice
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MKII
  • TC Electronic John Petrucci Signatured Dreamscape Digital Chorus/Flanger/Vibrato

WISHLIST :

  • Boss CE-2W Waza Craft Analog BBD Chorus
  • Boss DC-2W Waza Craft Spatial/Spectral Enhancer Phasey Chorus
  • DigiTech Nautila Digital Chorus-Flange
  • Electro-Harmonix Eddy Chorus/Vibrato with Envelope Filtering
  • JAM Pedals Waterfall Analog BBD Chorus/Vibrato
  • JHS The Emperor V2 Analog BBD Tap-Tempo Chorus
  • Lichtlaerm Trugbild LoFi Analog BBD Chorus
  • Mad Professor Double Moon 11-mode Analogue BBD Modulator Chorus/Flanger/Vibrato
  • Neunaber Inspire Tri-Chorus Plus V2 Digital Chorus
  • Paradox Effects Futura Multiparametric Analog Envelope Chorus
  • PastFx Chorus Ensemble Mini
  • VFE Choral Reef Analog BBD Chorus
  • Walrus Audio Julianna Deluxe Chorus/Vibrato
  • Zvex Instant Lo-fi Junky Vertical Yvette Young Limited Edition

Slot #30 : Analog Flanger

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I've already waxed lyrical to the nth degree for the class-leading, sparkling ThorpyFX Camoflange. Just the perfect sounding flanger for me - I can't see anything ever being able to improve on how it sounds. Even though I still want to add in a few rotational alternatives - which are unlikely to get much of an airing!

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • ThorpyFX Camoflange Analog BBD Flanger

MAIN :

  • ThorpyFX Camoflange Analog BBD Flanger

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • A/DA PBD Analog Flanger
  • Boss BF-2 Analog Flanger Alchemy Audio Mods
  • Chase Bliss Audio Spectre BKM

WISHLIST :

  • Buffalo FX Reticon Flanger (owed!)
  • Mooer E-Lady Mini Analog Flanger
  • Retro-Sonic Flanger

Slot #31 : Analog Tremolo / Harmonic Tremolo / Uni-Vibe

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I'm actually glad that my JAM Pedals Harmonious Monk doesn't arrive this year - as it gives the well-deserved Anasounds Ages some additional time in the spotlight. I will be rotating in the Monk Seal when it arrives early next month - but the Anasounds Ages is still a worthy contender and has several tricks up its sleeve that the Monk does not - including Touch-Sensitive Response and Tap-Tempo.

 

The 'Monk' though has a slightly more syrupy / more pseudo Uni-Vibe style modulation and flavour which is exactly what I'm looking for. That doesn't mean the the Anasounds Ages isn't a modern classic too. It also sounds amazing albeit less syrupy, and is a little clunky on the secondary modes side - while the JAM Pedals Harmonious Monk is simplicity itself.

 

Pedal overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Anasounds Ages Touch-Sensitive Harmonic Tremolo

MAIN :

  • JAM Pedals Harmonious Monk Harmonic Tremolo

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss TR-2 Tremolo Alchemy Audio Mods, including Output
  • Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas Analog Harmonic Tremolo
  • JHS Pedals Unicorn Vibe V2
  • Mooer Trelicopter Mini Tremolo
  • Stone Deaf FX Tremotron Dual Analog Tremolo

WISHLIST :

  • Dawner Prince Viberator
  • DryBell Vibe Machine V2
  • Flower Pedals Dandelion Harmonic Tremolo
  • Ibanez Mini Tremolo
  • Lovepedal Vibronaut Photocell Vibe
  • Mr Black Mini Harmonic Tremolo
  • Sentimental Bob Electronics Tacana Tap Tremolo
  • Swindler Effects Red Mountain Stereo Harmonic Tremolo
  • Walrus Audio Monuments Harmonic Tremolo

Slot #32 : Analog Phaser / Rotary

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I'm still having a lot of fun with the CTC Cyclone - so that will stay in Rotation for quite a while longer, while the mainstay on this slot is still the ever fantastic Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII. I have a number of really strong Rotation alternative here though.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Crazy Tube Circuits Cyclone 4-Mode Phaser

MAIN :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII Analog Phaser

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Alexander Pedals La Calavera 3-Mode Digital Phaser
  • Boss PH-1R Modded
  • DigiTech Ventura Vibe
  • MXR Phase 95 Mini

WISHLIST :

  • Mu-Tron Phasor III Optical Phaser

Slot #33 : Glitch / Multi-FX 1

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The Cooper FX Arcades has been a genuine revelation for me this year - and I've thoroughly enjoyed working my way through all the Modular Cards and algorithms thereon - even though I'm only just over half-way through my official overview of said pedal - per Card - and with their being a two further Cards out there - the Pastiche best-of sampler one and the Ambient Endeavors collaboration special.

 

Tom has at least a couple more Cards to come through very imminently and I will get all the newest ones in that batch. This is the perfect vehicle for exploring the slightly more unusual and glitchy Multi-FX. I'm certainly onboard for the duration!

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Cooper FX Arcades - Delay/Generation Loss/Grain/Lofi/Pitch/Reverb/Reverse/Synth

MAIN :

  • Cooper FX Arcades - Delay/Generation Loss/Grain/Lofi/Pitch/Reverb/Reverse/Synth

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Blooper Bottomless Looper
  • Chase Bliss Audio Generation Loss
  • Chase Bliss Audio Mood Micro Looper
  • Drolo Molecular Disruptor V3
  • The King Of Gear Mini Glitch
  • Montreal Assembly Count to Five
  • MWFX Judder
  • Pladask Elektrisk Fabriktat V2
  • Tech 21 NYC RotoChoir
  • Tomkat Pedals Cloudy Digital Multi Effect

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #34 : Stereo Multi-Modulator / Multi-FX 2 / Modulation Workstation 1

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To be fair I'm still largely scraping the surface with the GT-1000 CORE - so vast is its scope. It's also not without its flaws, but is sill an incredibly compelling device with infinite possibilities. I still hope we can get an iteration some day which has Dry-through and default Standby - oh and BlueTooth connectivity should be a must by now really for such a device.

 

This is much more powerful than the equivalent Helix HX Stomp, but also relatively immature to that one's much longer ongoing development cycle. Nevertheless, and after a few teething troubles - I now have this working perfectly within my rig and will be doing a more in-depth review early next year about those early trials and tribulations. Definitely the right device for me, while you need to decide where within its product development cycle you are best engaging with it. It's likely to improve a whole heap over the next 12 or 18 months.

 

Considering how much I sue BlueTooth for my Eventide H-9 I would have thought it a no-brainer. Neural DSP definitely leading the way for how things should be done - albeit for quite a few pennies more. I'm using the CORE as a glorified Multi-FX Box - in fact mainly Stereo Multi-Modulator - while this version hasn't really been engineered for that purpose - it seems more intended for a core central, always-on device - contrary to what some of the literature would have your believe, So great, but flawed, and with infinite potentia!

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss GT-1000 CORE Guitar Effects Processor

MAIN :

  • Boss GT-1000 CORE Guitar Effects Processor

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss MD-500 Modulation Workstation
  • Empress Zoia Modular Synthesizer and Effects Processor / Multi-FX
  • GFI System Synesthesia Dual Channel Modulation Workstation
  • Strymon Mobius Modulation Workstation

WISHLIST :

  • Empress Effects Nebulus Chorus/Vibrato/Flanger
  • Keeley Super Mod Workstation
  • Wampler Terraform Modulation Workstation

Slot #35 : Stereo Double Tracker / Spatial Enhancer

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I've said this many times and it still holds true that this is probably the best spatial enhancer for those with proper stereo rigs. I consider this fairy dust wholly essential - as it adds Depth, Dimension, Dynamics and Texture to your output. It's like pushing an 'infinitely better sound' button.

 

Weirdly it doesn't do that much for mono rigs - stereo is where it's at.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • TC Electronic Mimiq Doubler

MAIN :

  • TC Electronic Mimiq Doubler

SECONDARY :

  • None

WISHLIST :

  • Strymon Deco Tape Saturation and Double Tracker

Slot #36 : Stereo Delay Workstation 1

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Having a rather large Strymon Volante as your main delay, means your auxiliary needs to be rather more compact - and the Boss DD-200 really is the perfect package with 12 thriller, no-filler algorithms and sporting the fantastic Tera Echo, and new Pad Echo variety. Boss has got everything right with the pedal - the perfect collection of algorithms married to the best ease of use. I very occasion rotate in the Red Panda Particle V2 - while the Boss DD-200 mostly reigns supreme on this slot.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss DD-200 Delay Workstation

MAIN :

  • Boss DD-200 Delay Workstation

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Red Panda Particle 2 Granular Delay / Workstation

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #37 : Stereo Tape Style Delay / Delay Workstation 2

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Tape style of Delay - in particular Space Echo has long been my favourite variety, so it made perfect sense to make the Volante my main delay when it launched. Best Delay Pedal ever is still the Empress Echo System which I have and love - but it doesn't get much of a look in nowadays as the Volante give me a good 80% of what I need, and the Boss DD-200 delivers the remaining 20% - I have lots of other options in the chain too. The Volante is definitely here to stay though!

 

PRIMARY :

  • Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo Machine + Reverb

MAIN :

  • Strymon Volante Magnetic Echo Machine + Reverb

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Empress Echo System Delay Workstation
  • Strymon TimeLine Delay Workstation

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #38 : Stereo Rotary / Multi-FX 3 / Modulation Workstation 2 / Harmonizer / Delay Workstation 2 / Reverb Workstation 2

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The H9 Max is weirdly still mostly on Rotary duties - the occasional Reverb, Delay and Harmonizing Patch - but the vast majority of time just doing that Josh Smith thing!

 

Of course capable of a lot more - and really very unique and uniquely powerful for its size - particularly with the added Barn3 OX9 frame and Tesla Mini Switch - does everything I need it to, and just as well that it is BlueTooth connected as its on-pedal interface is way too clunky and really quite poor - wholly redeemed by the App!

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Eventide H9 Max Multi-FX Processor

MAIN :

  • Eventide H9 Max Multi-FX Processor

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • None

WISHLIST :

  • None

Slot #39 : Stereo Reverb Workstation 1 / Studio Reverb

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As I've mentioned several times now - the NighSky 'Build Your Own Reverb' concept is revolutionary and ingenious - and this is a surprisingly easy to use pedal with that enormous feature set - and yes even with a handful of clunky Secondary settings. It is nonetheless the most innovative and revolutionary Reverb to-date. For sure the CBA Automatone CXM 1978 is slightly more 'Pristine' but then again that's based on the magnificent Preamp MKII chassis, and legendary Lexicon 224 Studio Reverb.

 

I will likely have both in eventually in any case - while the NightSky's extended range makes it my favourite.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Strymon NightSky Time-Warped Reverberator

MAIN :

  • Strymon NightSky Time-Warped Reverberator

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • Boss RV-500 Reverb Workstation
  • Electro-Harmonix Oceans 12 Dual Channel Reverb Workstation
  • Source Audio Ventris Dual-Channel Reverb Workstation
  • Strymon BigSky Reverb Worksation

WISHLIST :

  • Chase Bliss Audio Automatone CXM 1978 Studio Reverb

Slot #40 : Stereo Looper / Beat Machine

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The RC-10R remains my favourite stereo looper - while it's not without flaws, and I still can't get quite enough Rhythm Volume - despite playing with all the filters and maxing every conceivable value. Most though it works great and has no real equivalent for its form factor and highly visual display.

 

Slot overview :

 

PRIMARY :

  • Boss RC-10R Rhythm Loop Station

MAIN :

  • Boss RC-10R Rhythm Loop Station

SECONDARY / ROTATION :

  • TC Electronic Ditto X2 Stereo Looper

WISHLIST :

  • None

Final Thoughts!

Congratulations if you've made it all the way to the end! I almost did not make it myself.

 

This has been the most massive undertaking - in fact the whole body of work I've delivered this year has just been enormous and has nearly killed me - I hate to think how many hours of sleep I've lost over the whole year.

 

This Article though is really what this site is about - a massive resource reference, route-map and rolling wishlist. I myself refer back to these several times throughout the year - to figure out what options are available to me, and what route I've already taken through the maze.

 

The recent 12 Degrees features nearly killed me too - and all the Best of Articles at the end of the year may have been the final straw. Possibly I bit off more than I can chew - this is not sustainable long-term - as there are obvious consequences of spending quite this much time at a desk.

 

I will do some thinking over the much needed Christmas Vacation, and decide how best to tackle this all in a way that doesn't do me harm.

 

In the meantime I sincerely hope you've enjoyed the journey this year - we've covered a lot of ground!

 

Just the Christmas Message next and I'm done for the year!

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Stefan Karlsson
Stefan Karlsson
Guitar Pedal X
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6 days ago
JHS 20 Year Pedal Challenge
"Stefan, i'm actually considering to add Bliss F"...
6 days ago
Waiting