I’ve had Pedal Crush since it first came out. I kind of caught the tail-end of the Kickstarter campaign and had the book in my hands right at the start of December. I was considering how best I could feature / review and recommend said book, and I’ve decided to do it kind of as a skim-through rapid overview in 12 referenced pages.
Pedal Crush was written by Kim Björn of similarly stylish Patch & Tweak and Push Turn Move fame, and in collaboration with Scott ’KNOBS’ Harper - artful YouTuber extraordinaire.
The overall stats are as follows :
The book can be be approached and consumed in several ways :
The style of the book is highly visually oriented with 100's of pedal pictures and dozens of illustrations - up to a dozen visual elements feature on near enough every page. It's not quite a D&K Visual Guide style work - but a long way along similar lines. There's so much that this book has in common with this Guitar Pedal X site - the various pedal roundups and references - we obviously adhere to the same sort of philosophy. And I was heartened to see so many brands featured / covered - tiny lesser-known boutique brands as well as the market leaders. The book is not quite fully catholic or all-embracing, but it would be churlish to focus on the omissions when everything is so positive and at such a high quality here.
Of the 800+ pedals featured, only around 140 of those overlap with my own collection of 400+ - so there is plenty of scope for further inclusion or more category-specialist books in the future. Also I felt there could have been a little more about some of my own takes on Pedalology - standardised enclosure sizes, mini pedals - and a lot more on Fuzz pedals. I also would have liked to have seen more on enclosure and graphic design - genre colour associations etc. which I have covered extensively on this site.
What I liked a lot in the book was seeing several different generations of a pedal's life-span where you see prototypes and early editions alongside current favourites. It really cannot be understated how much detail is covered by this book.
Generally though it is a really cleverly assembled, curated and crafted work with real attention to detail and a really rich, deep and wide-ranging coverage. I own most of the main Pedal Books as referenced in the back of Pedal Crush too - and while the 'Boss Book' is possibly still the benchmark reference work on pedals overall - obviously just concentrated on a single brand - Pedal Crush's eclecticism is very much on a similar level.
I think all guitar players would benefit from ownership of this book - even those who profess not to like or use pedals - you still need to understand the influence and development of pedals as part of the core guitar sound! You can get Pedal Crush from the official publisher - BJOOKS site.
INTRODUCTION - Pg 11
GAIN - Pg 84
DYNAMICS - Pg 143
FREQUENCY - Pg 167
TIME - Pg 191
MODULATION - Pg 261
PITCH - Pg 325
APPENDIX - Pg 355
Many of my favourites feature here, but there are some significant omissions too in terms of key characters in pedal history, development and innovation - yet a great many are represented here and the breadth and depth of these also underlines the all-encompassing nature of this book.
My first reference is from a double-spread covering the different formats of pedal construction - this illustrates the depth of detail and reference nature of the book.
From a fantastic double-spread covering the Effects Chain - and transitioning from Tuner on the Right through Compressor etc. and onto Reverb on the left. A great mix of illustration with some simple but great advice.
7, 8 or 9 strings too much for you - how about 47? It's not only Guitarists and Keys players making great use of these effects pedals, but various other woodwind, brass, and stringed instruments of course - including the Harp. Giving a multi-textural instrument even further nuances and levels of texture!
The story of probably the most advanced effects pedal to date - Empress Effects Zoia Modular Synthesis / Multi-Effects masterpiece. Empress's Steve Bragg gives a potted history of the birth and development of said pedal.
I'm a big fan and practitioner of gain-stacking and have lots of those pedals featured on the page - of course gain stacking is even more fun nowadays as you have switching devices which let you play in parallel as well as either-way series - to build up impossibly complex and articulate saturations and textures which weren't possible previously.
Another fantastic double-spread taking us through different circuits of distortion - Boost, Fuzz, and then on the opposite page (out of shot) - Distortion and Overdrive - just beautiful details here - really elegantly communicated!
One of my favourite distortion / fuzzstortion types where I have 15 representatives of the genre in the collection - with still the Wave Cannon and Earthbound Iron Pig to add - I probably also want an original red Rat at some stage too. There really should be a picture of the Jam Pedals Rattler here too as it is really that iconic for that style of Rat.
You cannot ignore the legendary Tube Screamer Overdrive - which is at the foundation of most pedal maker's early histories - near enough everyone has made one - several of my own favourites are featured on this page - and my former all-time favourite Foxpedal The City V2 is featured elsewhere in the same chapter - on page 135!
Yet another great double-page spread on different types of gain staging - series and parallel, boosted, disintegrated and oscillated.
I'm a big fan of all types of Granular pedals and a proud owner of both the Fabrikat and Cloudy featured on this spread. The Infinite Jet is also of course amazing but a little large for my preferences and practicalities. All these pedals need more presets!
A cool page showing the development of the first major version of the Red Panda Particle Granular Delay - I have and love this year's follow-up Particle V2 - which is improved in every area - with better algorithms, dual footswitches and 4 presets onboard - all in a smaller chassis!
in previous years I've presented a selection of possible stocking fillers and Christmas gifts for guitarists. This year I'm only suggesting this one fantastic book. Everyone should have one - lots of Pedal vendors have bought copies for re-sale which are available via Reverb.com for instance for an average of around £65 equivalent including delivery.
I've been dipping regularly into the books since I got it - and I will admit that it's size and hardback format makes it a somewhat challenging bathroom read - but I'm still persevering! It mostly sits right next to my desk / main centre of operation in any case.