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Pre-NAMM Pedal-Chain Snapshot

BossChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesGamechanger AudioGFI SystemJHSLovetoneMarshall Style DistortionMerisModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverb WorkstationSinvertekTape DelayThropyFX+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPreNAMM700.jpg

Each year I like to do a comparison of where my current thinking is ahead of the Winter NAMM Show versus shortly after I have witnessed all the new innovations for the year and I have finalised my annual target list. The Chain already features several pedals that will be properly featured at NAMM for the first time - and I’m still waiting for Pete Thorne’s demo video of the Sinvertek N5+ Drive so I can publish my findings on that excellent pedal.

 

My most recent new arrival ...

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Boss Announces Katana Artist MKII just in time for NAMM

AmpsBossCombo AmpGigging AmpHome-Play AmpModelling AmpSolid State Amp+-
2020GPXBossKatanaArtistMKII700.jpg

So this is the amp a lot of us have been waiting for - and actually somewhat ahead of schedule really per my expectations. It of course carries over all the previous Artist advantages and benefits - including the front-facing control panel and superior Waza Craft Speaker - and marries those to the latest Katana MKII innovations - the Variation button on Amp Types, more granular Effects control via dual-concentric knobs, dual-amp stereo link - and of course the extended range of Effects and ...

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2019 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsAmp and Cab IR SimBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCusack MusicDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRed Panda LabRedbeard EffectsReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitekSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayThorpyFXTomkat PedalsTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWalrus AudioWamplerWren and Cuff+-
2019GPXNewPedalsOfTheYear700V3.jpg

I’ve long mentioned that we’re living through the second golden age of effects pedals (some say ’Diamond Age’’), and as good as things have been - 2019 took it all to an entirely new level of excellence. I don’t recall any previous year where we’ve had quite the same degree of innovation and so many ingeniously appealing pedals - this year has been so fast and furious - it’s been difficult to keep up at times.

 

I noted in my End of Year ...

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2019 Pedal-Chain Year-End Final Arrangement!

12 Degrees of SaturationAleks K ProductionAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBeat MachineBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDanDrive PedalDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideExpresso FXFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitek Guitar ElectronicsSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXToneQuestTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed Wah+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainYEFinal700.jpg

I’m possibly writing this just a touch prematurely as at the point of writing - one of the pictured pedals hasn’t turned up quite yet, and it will be touch and go if gets released out of customs before the end of the year. That pedal being Sinvertek’s new N5+ Drive - featuring no less than 7 beautifully milled aluminium knobs along with 5 toggle-switches - and all within a compact enclosure format - but more of that later.

 

This year has mostly sort of gone to plan - ...

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Boss OD-200 Hybrid Drive In-Depth Review and Long-Term Impressions

Big Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveDual-DriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPXIndepthBossOD200700V6.jpg

This review has taken somewhat longer than I intended - partly because of the considerable scope of variations covered by this pedal, and partly because of my ongoing changing adapted approach to deploying the pedal. My first instincts always seems to lean towards a philosophy of replication and replacement - that is to say trying to figure out which of my preferred / favourite dirt pedals can this one competently stand in for and replace if need be. I have lots of favourite fuzz, drive and ...

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2019GPXBossSY1000Main700.jpg

Most are aware that Boss picked up on Roland’s Guitar Synthesizer expertise and leadership - and that the previous SY-300 model was the best in class for ultra-low-to-zero latency synthesis from direct guitar input. The new SY-1000 model fully lives up to ’Bigger and Better’ with much improved processing capacity and speed, more tones, textures and effects. It expands considerably on the range of its former sibling with 3 different synthesiser engines onboard - Dynamic Synth, ...

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2019GPXBossWazaAirHeadphones700V2.jpg

Boss’s new launch kind of brings me full circle on when I started guitar in my teenage years. I had a great guitar at the time - an all-black Ibanez RG440 Roadstar, but you could not really get decent home practice amps in those days as far as I recall - so I ended up with a rather crappy headphone amp - which rendered a singularly flat and undynamic output which did nothing to encourage or inspire playing. In fact I drilled said guitar pretty much to destruction in changing pickups and ...

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Pedal Design 101 - The Boss Colour Chart and 40 Shades of Tone!

BossEffects Pedal MakersFeaturedGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitar Gear Resources+-
2019GPXBossColourSpectrum700.jpg

This article is a natural follow up the Pedal Primary Colour Wheel feature I did back in August, and has actually been on the drawing board for a while. I kind of knew the process would be long-winded and time-consuming - which it was, and I wasn’t sure what formation I would be best off using - so it all evolved somewhat organically with the starting point as a Purple to Red Spectrum Transition with a monochromatic scale tagged onto the end. In any case it ended up in this current format...

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Best of High Gain and Metal Distortion Pedals Mini Focus and Final Roundup

Airis EffectsAleks K ProductionAmptweakerAMT EffectsAMT ElectronicsBlackhawk AmplificationBognerBossBrown Sound DistortionDecibelicsDistortionDual-DriveEmpress EffectsFriedman EffectsGoosoniqueworxHorizon DevicesIbanezKeeley EngineeringKlirrton ManufakturKMA AudioKSR CeresLone Wolf AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsMooerMulti-DriveOneControlPushking PedalsRedbeard EffectsREVV AmplificationRockfabrik EffectsSTL TonesSuhrTWA EffectsWamplerXvive Audio+-
2019GPXPersonalFavouriteHighGainPedals700.jpg

So I thought I would combine the Mini Pedal selection with the final overall category roundup featuring my current favourites and forthcoming/future acquisition targets. The above visual may be somewhat convoluted, but it well illustrates the trade off in footprint and practicality/utility you get across the different enclosure form factors.

 

I’ve stated before that I’ve largely moved away from the larger styles of enclosures in favour of more pedals of a more compact nature...

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24 of the Best Compact High Gain and Metal Style Distortion Pedals - Updated 2019 Edition

Abasi ConceptsAiris EffectsAleks K ProductionAmptweakerAMT ElectronicsAnarchy AudioBlackhawk AmplificationBossDistortionDOD EffectsFriedman EffectsKeeley EngineeringKHDKLone Wolf AudioMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionRedbeard EffectsREVV AmplificationThropyFXWamplerWeehboXIX Tech FX+-
2019GPX24CompactMetalDistortionsNovember700V2.jpg

This is an update to the feature I wrote back in March of this year. I now have more of this selection in my collection - 18 of these 24, and there are 3 pedals that are new to this updated roundup - the Airis Effects Nemesis PreAmp, Blackhawk Amplifiers Balrog Distortion V3, and of course the Redbeard Effects Red Mist MKIV.

 

The 6 here that I’ve yet to acquire for my collection but which are of course all on the wishlist are the aforementioned Airis Effects Nemesis PreAmp and ...

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