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12 Degrees of Saturation : 2020 Key Distortion Categories Edition

AmptweakerAMT EffectsAnarchy AudioBearfoot FXBig Ear PedalsBig Tone Music BreweryBlackhawk AmplificationBossBrown Sound DistortionBYOCCarcharias EffectsCatalinbreadCoda EffectsDanelectroDecibelicsDigiTechDistortionDOD EffectsDr ScientistDriveDrunk BeaverDual-DriveDunwich AmplificationEarthbound AudioEarthQuaker DevicesFeaturedFree Fall DiverFriedman EffectsFunction F(X)Fuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionJackson AudioJAM PedalsJohn K Vintage GuitarsKeeley EngineeringLawrence Petross DesignLoop Hole PedalsMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMI EffectsMidValleyFXMooerMulti-DriveMXROneControlOpAmp FuzzPelican NoiseworksPepers' PedalsRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReuss EffectsREVV AmplificationSinvertekSuhrThorpyFXVFE PedalsVox Style DistortionWamplerXIX Tech FXXotic Effects+-
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This edition comes rather hot on the heels of the recent 12 Degrees of Overdrive version as many readers’ inquiries questioned a couple of missing categories there - which I explained would rather figure within the Distortion contingent which is present here in all its glory!

 

As always, these is some considerable amount of grey science at play here - best typified by the Big Muff and Rat circuits - which are both very much distortions as well as fuzz varieties. I have 3 x 12 ...

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9 of the Best Compact Enclosure Bitcrusher Pedals

AC NoisesAlexander PedalsBitcrushing and Lo-FiCatalinbreadDr ScientistElectro-HarmonixIron EtherMalekko Heavy IndustryModulationPLBR EffectsWMD Devices+-
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This feature was prompted by the recent arrival of Electro-Harmonix’s New Compact Mainframe Bitcrusher pedal. It encouraged me to consider what else was available in the marketplace - which is how I always appraise new pedal introductions.

 

I have dabbled in bitrcrushers a little bit over the years, but don’t yet have a pure-play single-task bitcrusher pedal, while the Iron Ether FrantaBit has been on my wishlist for the longest time. In my featured selection of 9 - only 5 ...

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End of September Pedal-Chain Update - Episode VIII - Starry Eyed Surprise

Ambient EffectsBig Ear PedalsBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoCoppersoundDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFjord FuzzFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzHarmonizerJackson AudioJoesPedals.comKlone and Transparent OverdriveKMA AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNFYFXOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRed Witch EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbStrymonSuper-Fuzz StyleToneczarTubescreamer Style OverdriveVick AudioWah and Fixed WahWalrus AudioZander Circuitry+-
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And so as my 7th month of isolation draws to a close - the frequency of new product releases has begun to accelerate again after the lull of summer. The month started on fine form with the slightly surprising snap arrival of he new Jackson Audio El Guapo, next we had the Walrus Audio Julia that always should have been - in the guise of the new and improved Julianna Chorus, then the Zander Circuitry Compact Siclone, Boss OC-5 Octave, somewhat delayed Big Ear Albie, the EHX Pitch Fork+, Red Witch...

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All you ever wanted to know about the UK's Preeminent Independent Pedal Boutique - Joe's Pedals

Analog AlienBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlack Arts ToneworksBlue ColanderBMF EffectsBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXCastledine ElectronicsChorus and VibratoD*A*M EffectsDeath By AudioDr ScientistDryBell EffectsEmanating Fist ElectronicsFlangerFoxrox ElectronicsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionFuzzrociousGermanium FuzzGreer AmpsGuitar Gear RetailHungry Robot EffectsIdiotBox FXKlonMalekko Heavy IndustryModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationOctave FuzzOctaverOddball FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePigDog PedalsPitchSilicon FuzzSkreddy PedalsSpiral Electric FXStomp Under FootStone Deaf EffectsSubdecay EffectsThorpyFXThroBakTremoloTru-Fi Guitar EffectsVL Effects+-
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My readers will know that I’ve featured Joe’s Pedals a fair few number of times on this site - in reference to where I acquired several of my own pedals from. My first introduction to said boutique was in search of Marc Ahlfs’ Skreddy Pedals. In fact 5 of my 8 Skreddy’s have come from Joe’s and I would have gotten more had those been in stock when I needed them - such is always the luck of the draw with pedal acquisitions - in that you cannot always get everything ...

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End of August Pedal-Chain Update - Episode VII - Altitude Ascension

Big Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBuffalo FXChase Bliss AudioCooper FXCrazy Tube CircuitsDanelectroDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDunlop EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQExpresso FXFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSitek Guitar ElectronicsTone Bender Style FuzzTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtilityVick AudioVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed Wah+-
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August was quite a slow month in many ways - particularly for those of us clinging to the last vestiges of hope towards the arrival of a Buffalo FX Reticon Flanger. That now seems a very distant pipe-dream indeed as reports indicate that Steve Painter is suffering from some horribly debilitating condition that prevents him from doing any physical activities for the foreseeable future. He’s not officially responded to any communiqués since June 30th - the last day many of us heard ...

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15 of the Best Everyday All-Rounder Mostly Silicon Transistor Compact Enclosure Fuzz Pedals

Analog.ManBasic AudioBig Muff Style FuzzCatalinbreadChase Bliss AudioDOD EffectsDr ScientistFjord FuzzFunction F(X)FuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzKuro Custom AudioMaestro Style FuzzMagnetic EffectsModulated FuzzOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzPettyjohn ElectronicsRat Style FuzzShift LineSilicon FuzzSkreddy PedalsSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzVemuram+-
2020GPXSiliconAllRounderFuzzes700V6.jpg

I frequently get asked to recommend a great all-rounder every*man kind of fuzz pedal, and over the years as my own collection as grown - so has the roster of usual suspects in my recommendations, I felt that it was about time to have the definitive list up on this site so I could simply refer people to that.

 

There’s still quite a few more outliers here - and for reasons of symmetry I judiciously decided to omit them from inclusion on this occasion - but there are certainly a few ...

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4 Degrees of Compact Enclosure Wah Pedals!

Dr ScientistDunlop EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFulltone EffectsGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesModulationPitchWah and Fixed Wah+-
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This post was inspired by a series of confluent events which impacted the use of slot #4 in my pedal-chain. Quite a while back I went through a phase of Mini CryBaby Wah Pedals - first the standard CBM95, and then the more advanced CBM535Q with additional controls. I was quite fond of the 535Q Mini for a while but eventually became somewhat frustrated with it and decided to switch to auto-wah / envelope filtering instead.

 

My auto-wah as such of choice for the longest time was the Mu-...

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End of July Pedal-Chain Update - Episode VI - Mercurial Conveyance!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDemon PedalsDigital ReverbDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahExpresso FXFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdriveRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbTone Bender Style FuzzToneQuestTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMJuly700V2.jpg

July has largely been a very decent month for me and culminated with the arrival of my twin new Expresso FX Dual Custom Fuzzes and my annual white whale as such - the Chase Bliss Audio Automatone Preamp MKII on this occasion.

 

It looks like 4 pedals failed to get over the line within the appointed time period - the longest-ranging of which is my Evil Pumpkin Modded DS-1 - which has been en-route from Kiev since June 12th and which I surely hoped should have landed by now.

 

My ...

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28 of the Best Compact Rat-Style Fuzz/Distortion Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Acid Age ElectronicsAion ElectronicsAnimals PedalBasic AudioBBE SoundBig Ear PedalsBig Tone Music BreweryBigToneMusicBreweryBYOCCatalinbreadChicago StompworkscmatmodsDistortionDr ScientistEarthbound AudioElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFreakshow EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGreer AmpsIbanezJAM PedalsJHS PedalsJohn LandgraffMagnetic EffectsMojo Hand FXOpAmp FuzzPettyjohn ElectronicsRat Style FuzzReuss EffectsStomp Under FootThorpyFXVFE PedalsWalrus Audio+-
2020GPX28CompactRats700V2.jpg

Most should know by now that I’m a huge Rat aficionado - and for me Rat doesn’t just mean those original ProCo Rat varieties but all the different derivatives - direct and indirect - old and new, classics, rarities and outliers. This category is titled ’Rat-Style’ so there’s a few Rat-adjacent pedals here too which share some of the core fundamentals and bring to mind some key associations with that well-known highly textured frequency profile.

 

For me at a...

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End of June Pedal-Chain Update - Episode V - A Disturbance in the Force!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBixonicBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneModulationModulation WorkstationOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePlate ReverbPreAmpRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReuss EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMJune700V3.jpg

June hasn’t been a particularly kind month to me - in fact it’s been something of a difficult period - I was going to call this piece ’The Darkness Lingers’ but didn’t really want that particular NLP on this blog - which I try to keep as positive as is practically possible.

 

A number of ventures and collaborations I was working on this month came a cropper when the other collaborating parties somewhat inexplicably and suddenly ended their involvement - ...

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