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28 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Analog.ManAnasoundsBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsJRADKlone and Transparent OverdriveMatthews EffectsMenatoneMythos PedalsOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneSnouse Electric CompanyThorpyFXTimmyTrue North PedalsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2020GPX28CompactOverdrives700.jpg

I periodically do these category round-ups, typically triggered by a pedal launch or two, as is the case in this instance. This is my own preferred Overdrive selection - intentionally as broad as possible - with actually 12 categories of overdrives, but could still be an even longer listing, and I’ve had to make some very difficult choices for the final selection even though it is relatively numerous at 28 strong. I would have liked to have included one from my so called ’Harmonic ...

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28 of the Best Compact Enclosure Compressor Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Analog.ManBarber ElectronicsBecos FXBondi EffectsBossCompressorDarkglass ElectronicsDiamond PedalsDryBell EffectsEarthQuaker DevicesEmerson EffectsEmpress EffectsFoxpedalFriedman EffectsGreer AmpsJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringMad Professor EffectsMXROhmless PedalsOrigin EffectsOvni FXPettyjohn ElectronicsTC ElectronicThorpyFXUtilityWalrus AudioWampler+-
2020GPX28BestCompactCompressors700V2.jpg

I’ve encountered a number of ’Best Compressor’ articles this year which I really felt were not fully representative of the very best of what is out there. That was the catalyst for this feature, along with a couple of new compressors I had not properly featured yet, and the fact that I’ve not done a Compressor round-up for a good couple of years now.

 

Pretty much all the compressors listed here are / were already known to me, while I picked up a few new ones ...

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28 of the Best Compact Tremolo Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

AnasoundsBossChase Bliss AudioCoda EffectsCopilot FXDr ScientistEarthQuaker DevicesFlower PedalsHamstead SoundworksJHS PedalsKorora AudioMagnetic EffectsMalekko Heavy IndustryMatthews EffectsModulationNative AudioSentimental Bob ElectronicsSource AudioStone Deaf EffectsSubdecay EffectsSuhrSuproSwindler EffectsTC ElectronicTremoloVFE PedalsWalrus Audio+-
2020GPX28BestCompactTremolos700.jpg

There have been a number of new Tremolo pedals fairly recently released, and in fact I was tempted to acquire another in a roundabout fashion. The catalyst was actually the new Rock Fabrik Effects Kuek Touch Sensitive Dynamic Tremolo - yet that comes in a medium vertical BB enclosure and I only have space for a compact. So luckily Anasounds entered the scene with their own version new Ages Harmonic Tremolo which did much the same thing as the Kuek - but in my preferred size / form factor!

&...

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Birmingham's The Guitar Show Highlights

AC GuitarsAdrian ThorpeAlan CringeanAlex ErnandezAlex MillarAlexander MillarAnasoundsAudio Distribution GroupBen CroweBig Muff Style FuzzBossBruce DavidsonChapman GuitarsCrimson GuitarsD'AddarioDistortionDriveFilling DistributionFredric EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGeorgia ThorpeGermanium FuzzGreuter AudioGuitar Gear ResourcesGuitar Gear RetailGuitarsHeadless GuitarsJennings GuitarsLP-Style and Single-Cut GuitarsMansons GuitarsMatt KnightMick TaylorMike PayneMikey DemusMillimetric GuitarsMythos PedalsOffset GuitarsOld Blood Noise EndeavorsOrange AmplificationRabea MassaadRedbeard EffectsReiver GuitarsRob ChapmanRob Williams GuitarsSacha GreuterSilicon FuzzSkindredS-Style and Double-Cut GuitarsStone Wolf GuitarsStuart TateTate FXThe Guitar ShowThorpyFXTim WebsterTone Bender Style FuzzToskaT-Style GuitarsUnique-Shaped GuitarsZach BroylesZander Circuitry+-
2020GPXMikeyDemus700.jpg

For me, this turned out to be the best The Guitar Show yet - where I pretty much managed to round off all my pre-show goals - in terms of seeing what and whom I wanted to / needed - as per the following highlights. I caught 2 great lunchtime showcases - first by Mikey Demus of Skindred / Redbeard Effects fame and then Rabea Massaad of Andertons, Chapman, Dorje, Toska, etc. fame - and D’Addario as it turned out - albeit people were really just there to see Bea play.

 

I must have ...

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Robert Keeley Boss Mods Trifecta

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMooerOverdrive+-
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Robert Keeley has of course modified more than these three Boss pedals - yet I personally feel that these are the ones really worth having. I have featured both the Keeley Freak Fuzz Modded BD-2 Blues Driver and Twilight Zone Modded MT-2 Metal Zone on this site several times before. In fact the Freak Fuzz Blues Driver is my favourite overdrive pedal of all time! It cleans up wonderfully with your guitar volume control - much in the same way as a Fuzz Face, and it has that same sort of boost ...

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This coming weekend's Birmingham Guitar Show looks like the best year yet for pedal fans

Audio Distribution GroupBirmingham Guitar ShowBossCrimson GuitarsFace MIFirst Line DistributionGreuter AudioGuitar Gear ResourcesGuitar Gear RetailRedbeard EffectsStone Wolf GuitarsThe Guitar ShowThorpyFXUK Guitar Show+-
2020GPXBirminghamGuitarShow700.jpg

Birmingham’s The Guitar Show is the UK’s main guitar / gear show, and this year features the largest selection of pedal brands yet as far as I’m aware. Obviously there are several large distributors here representing a number of brands - like Audio Distribution Group which covers Cioks Power Supplies, Darkglass Electronics, Death by Audio, EarthQuaker Devices, Emma Electronic, Fulltone, JRAD / J Rockett, JPTR FX, KMA Audio Machines, Meris, Neunaber, Maxon, Nobels, Old Blood ...

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9 Essential Boss Pedals

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveEQMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationNoise GateOverdriveReverbReverb WorkstationUtility+-
2020GPX9EssentialBossPedals700.jpg

Of all the pedal brands I collect - I seem to have ended up with significantly more Boss than anything else - with currently 27 Boss Pedals all told. And while it’s not always the case that Boss has the most pedals represented in my active pedal-chain - it just so happens that right now my active Boss pedals number 7 - as follows per pedal-chain order:

  • SY-1 Synthesizer
  • BD-2 Blues Driver Keeley Freak Fuzz + Phat Mod
  • OD-200 Hybrid Overdrive
  • NS-2 Noise Suppressor Alchemy Audio Modded
...
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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 WahFlangerFuzzFuzz 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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28 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection
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