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GPX Blog

Early Summer Pedal-Chain State of the Union - the Final Formation?

12 Degrees of SaturationAmbient EffectsAnasoundsBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar AccessoriesGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRed Panda EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicToneQuestTremoloTrue North PedalsTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWampler+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainMKV700-min.jpg

This is one of those moments that I feel that my celebrated Pedal-Chain has reached another milestone of ’peak performance’. There are a number of new releases here - and probably all the big ones I was expecting this year - bar the Chase Bliss Audio / Benson Amps Automatone MKII PreAmp - which is due in the Autumn now - and still pending final pricing, but will probably take up the top spot on Slot #14 eventually. Also - my long-awaited Beetronics Swarm Harmonizing PLL Style Fuzz ...

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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large Octave Fuzz Pedals

AnasoundsFuzzOctave FuzzPigtronixWampler+-
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Following on from my usual ’Best of’ features I am now increasingly doing these different enclosure size round-ups, as the main features are mostly compact pedals - and I feel I need to give you options right throughout the range and scale of what is available.

 

I’ve picked the Anasounds Crankled Bitoun Fuzz and Wampler Fuzztration as my recommendation for the compact and medium categories. While for Mini I think the Pigtronix Octava is the most feature-rich / best ...

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16 of the Best Octave Fuzz Pedals - 2019 Edition

AnasoundsBearfoot FXBeetronics FXBossCaroline Guitar CompanyDrolo EffectsDunlop EffectsFunction F(X)FuzzJimi HendrixKing Tone EffectsOctave FuzzRabbit Hole FXSolidGoldFXSpaceman EffectsStomp Audio LabsTsakalis Audio WorksVahlbruch FXWampler+-
2019GPX16BestOctaveFuzzes700-min.jpg

I’ve found myself increasingly interested in Octave Fuzzes these days, and in fact I have two slightly different ones right now in my pedal-chain - the Anasounds Crankled Bitoun near the front of the chain, and the Beetronics FX Octahive around half-way along - they both have quite different timbres and tonalities, and are furthermore set to sound quite different too, but both create incredibly thick and rich fuzz tones.

 

I really enjoyed JHS Josh Scott’s recent Octave Fuzz ...

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24 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2019 Edition

Analog.ManAnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJHS PedalsJRADKlone and Transparent OverdriveMenatoneOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneSide EffectsSnouse Electric CompanyThorpyFXTrue North PedalsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2019GPX24CompactOverdrives700-min.jpg

For this particular selection I tried to get in as diverse number of types, along with all the usual favourites - every year I have readers asking me why I left this one or that one out - so this year is the time for including Menatone in the selection. Obviously between years some pedals rise in prominence while others fall - my intentions are always to provide as broad a selection as possible while still covering all my own personal favourites.

 

There are a few new entrants since 2018...

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24 of the Best Compact Fuzz Pedals - 2019 Edition

Abracadabra AudioAnarchy AudioAnasoundsBasic AudioBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlack Arts ToneworksBossChase Bliss AudioDr ScientistFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzJHS PedalsMagnetic EffectsModulated FuzzOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzPaul Trombetta DesignPLBR EffectsProAnalog DevicesRat Style FuzzShift LineSide EffectsSilicon FuzzSkreddy PedalsSolidGoldFXSpaceman EffectsSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzVFE PedalsZvex+-
2019GOX24CompactFuzze700s-min.jpg

So you may have read last year that I went a little overboard with fuzz type pedals - aiming initially to build up an essential reference collection of 30 of the best - I then published my ’2018 Year of Fuzz Tone Quest’ just about half way through that year - featuring 40 pedals, and right now, my current fuzz quota is running at exactly 100 pedals - with 82 compacts, 11 minis and 7 medium to large pedals making up the collection.

 

This overview is 24 of the best ’...

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9 of the Best True Spring Tank Reverb Pedals

AnasoundsCarl MartinCrazy Tube CircuitsDanelectroDemeter AmplificationGurus AmpsKnas MusicReverbSpaceman EffectsSpring ReverbVan Amps+-
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This particular feature was prompted by Anasounds elegant Element solution to True / Real Spring Tank Reverb - where the control interface is wholly separated from the actual spring tank. There are of course a number of stand-alone spring tank pedals available in various sizes - and I thought I would do the pros and cons of each approach.

 

Generally I find that the larger the spring tank is, the more complex / textured and full-bodied the reverb effect is - yet with size you run into ...

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Pedal Highlights at the 2019 Birmingham Guitar Show

AnasoundsAudio Distribution GroupBossChorus and VibratoDistortionDriveFace MIFirst Line DistributionFuzzLaney AmplificationModulationModulation WorkstationOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsPeterson TunersReverbSpring ReverbThorpyFXTremoloTunersUtilityWalrus AudioZander Circuitry+-
2019GPXTheGuitarShowPedals700-min.jpg

The Birmingham Guitar Show this year was so much a better affair than the London / UK Guitar Show I attended at Olympia in September - particularly from an organisational and pedal perspective. But I’m kind of sad to report that it was a very pale shadow of the NAMM show that took place almost exactly one month ago. If I tally up all the best new pedals from the NAMM show - only the tiniest fraction of those were on display at the Birmingham Show.

 

It means that the Beetronics ...

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9 of the Best Compact Multi-Drive Pedals

AnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHamstead SoundworksKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveSide EffectsSilicon FuzzSinvertekSubdecay EffectsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPX9BestCompactMultidrives700-min.jpg

I’m known for my 12 Degrees of Saturation Methodology and organising drive/dirt pedals into a specific category. I do however also like multi-talented multi-tankers, and have always had one or two all-rounder multi-drive overdrives in my pedal-chain. In fact of the 9 listed here I have all but the last featured, which also happens to be the most recently released - by Greek Boutique Builder Tsakalis - that pedal is currently only available in Greece - direct from the maker and from one or...

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9 of the Most Distinctive Pedal Range Enclosure Designs

Alexander PedalsAmptweakerAnasoundsBossChase Bliss AudioEffects Pedal MakersGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesOrigin EffectsStone Deaf EffectsThropyFXVemuram+-
2019GPXDistinctEnclosureDesign700-min.jpg

When I did my various country-based pedal-builder overviews I came across a large number of pedals which looked either too samey or else were somewhat unimpactful aesthetically and/or thematically. A significant part of my day job consists of Brand Stategy / Brand Engineering and Design Consultancy and part of me always wants to improve things and make them better - whether that is wanted or not - so you can heed this advice or ignore as you feel pertinent.

 

For pedal-makers, the ...

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Best of French Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

770-CircuitsAnasoundsBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXCoda EffectsEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGlou GlouJacques StompboxesKlone and Transparent OverdriveModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserRat Style FuzzSilicon FuzzSuper-Fuzz StyleThrilltoneTremoloTube OverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveTwo Notes Audio EngineeringUtilityZorg Effects+-
2018GPXFrenchPedalMakers700V2-min.jpg

I’m really enjoying researching French Pedal-Makers and discovering so many new brands, while figuring out also that a lot of French Pedal Brand lists are horribly out-of-date as many of those companies previously listed have ceased trading over the last 10 years or so. This follows on from the Best of British and Best of Canadian Pedal Builders and as I am really enjoying doing this sort of thing I will probably stretch the series out to 10 or so articles - as long as I can find enough ...

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2019 50

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