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End of Year Pedal-Chain Update - Final Formation - Class of 2020

Acoustic SimulatorAmbient EffectsAnasoundsBeat MachineBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCooper FXCrazy Tube CircuitsDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEchoverbEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveKMA AudioLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMidValleyFXModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXTimmyToneczarTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTweed Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMEndOfYear700.jpg

And so here is the culmination of everything that happened to the pedal-chain in 2020.

 

There were quite a few more displacements than I had expected - all told 22 slots changed over this year - including 19 Brand New Pedals for 2020, then 3 slightly older pedals, and some incidentals.

 

The most significant shift, and the one that caused the most disruption was the arrival of Boss GT-1000 CORE in October. This is often the case when you bring in a big new pedal - and you need to...

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2020 Best of New Overdrive and Distortion Pedals for the Year

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionCarl MartinChase Bliss AudioCornerstone Music GearCrowther AudioDanelectroDistortionDriveDryBell EffectsDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFriedman EffectsHot Cake Style OverdriveJackson AudioJetter GearJHS PedalsKHDKKlone and Transparent OverdriveLawrence Petross DesignMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMidValleyFXMulti-DriveMXRNordland ElectronicsODR Style OverdriveOrigin EffectsOverdrivePedal PawnPettyjohn ElectronicsRainger FXShnobel ToneSitek Guitar ElectronicsThorpyFXTimmyTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWalrus AudioWampler+-
2020GPXBestOverDistoritonPedalsofYeat700.jpg

And here is the first of the category overviews for the year - combining those Overdrive and Distortion pedals which sparked some interest for me. Note that there will be 4 of these types of articles - Overdrive & Distortion (this one), Fuzz, Delay and Reverb (exc. Reverb Workstation already covered), and Modulation + Pitch + Untility pedals. Before I then reveal my overall 25 or so favourite favourite pedals for the year in a Best-of-the-Best listing - with possibly some sneaky additions. ...

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Brian Mena Surprises with recent announcement for New Versions of Menatone Workingman's Blue and Wreck'T Overdrive / Preamp-style Pedals

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersMenatoneOverdrive+-
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When I featured my new Menatone Vertical Format Trifecta back in May I teased the next likely pedals coming through the works - supposedly the Dumbstruck V2 and Wreck’T V2. Yet the newer Dumbstruck is still pending, and in its place we have the excellent JTM45 / Blues Breaker style circuit in brand new form factor.

 

This is really just a teaser / announcement post, even though a small batch of each was made available - and the Workingman’s Blue initial batch has already sold...

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Alpha Distribution Showcases Revamped Amptweaker Range following its Takeover of James Brown's Pedal Brand

AmptweakerBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveTimmy+-
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As reported on this site a couple of times already - James Brown, celebrated 5150 amp engineer and circuit designer extraordinaire, sold his Amptweaker brand to Alpha Distribution earlier this year after he accepted a new post at Fender’s EVH Gear Division, Amp Department specifically.

 

Amptweaker has been best known for its high gain pedals - in particular the FatMetal and TightMetal series - but also the TightDrive and TightRock / BigRock Overdrives. The range had sprawled into ...

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Dave Friedman Finally Releases Compact Smallbox Overdrive/Distortion Pedal which was first teased at this year's Winter NAMM

Boost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveFriedman EffectsMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionOverdrive+-
2020GPXFriedmanSmallbox700V2.jpg

This has been a long time coming for some - with just the merest of glimpses at Winter NAMM - where I feel the few boxes we saw there were surely empty shells - as I never witnessed any actual play-through. Considering how much of a perfectionist Dave Friedman is it’s all understandable really as we know he would not release anything he’s not 100% happy with.

 

So it’s taken the best part of the year to tweak and tune this one to perfection. In terms of where it sits - ...

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12 Degrees of Saturation : 2020 Key Distortion Categories Edition

12 Degrees of SaturationAmptweakerAMT 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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Jackson Audio Flips the Script as the El Guapo becomes the Asabi Modular Overdrive/Distortion with Different Distortion Plugin Modules Available

Boost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveDual-DriveJackson AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOverdriveRat Style Fuzz+-
2020GPXJacksonAudioAsabi700.jpg

I was momentarily confused this morning when the Sweetwater Video alert popped up for the new Jackson Audio Asabi. The pedal looked identical to the now obviously former El Guapo - on the surface the only difference was the name change. Pricing of the unit stays at the exact same level as the El Guapo or $350/£350.

 

While delving a little further into the subject it became obvious that Brad Jackson and colleagues had lifted the functionality from the forthcoming Jackson Audio ...

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9 of the Best Medium Enclosure EVH Brown Sound Capable Distortion Pedals

320 DesignBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEVH ElectronicsMad Professor EffectsMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveMXRPedalPalFXPushking PedalsSeymour DuncanSkreddy PedalsWamplerWeehbo+-
2020GPXEVHMediumDistortion700.jpg

I obviously featured 3 of these in my recent Eddie Van Halen Pedals roundup, and have only just completed the overview of compact enclosure EVH-style pedals in that same territory. As a final bookmark to Eddie’s legacy, at least for now, I’ve decided to expand the scope of the medium enclosure alternatives for those looking to recreate that classic EVH Brown Sound and have more real-estate/ floor-space at their disposal.

 

As with the compact enclosure exercise there is a mix...

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28 of the Best Compact Enclosure EVH Brown Sound Distortion Capable Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

AmptweakerAMT EffectsBearfoot FXBogner AmplificationBossBrown Sound DistortionCarl MartinCatalinbreadDawner Prince EffectsDistortionDriveDual-DriveFriedman EffectsJackson AudioJHS PedalsLawrence Petross DesignMad Professor EffectsMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMI EffectsMulti-DriveMXROneControlPettyjohn ElectronicsREVV AmplificationSinvertekSitek Guitar ElectronicsSuhrThorpyFXWampler+-
2020GPX28JCM800700V2.jpg

In my recent coverage of Eddie Van Halen’s Signature Pedals I indicated that I had none of the usual suspects Overdrives/Distortions - or namely MXR EVH 5150, Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe and Seymour Duncan Diamondhead. While in fact I have well over 20 Brown Sound Style variants in my collection of various different sizes - with the vast majority being compact enclosures as featured here. I make no secret of the fact that the compact size format is my faourite and particularly for these sorts...

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Brian Wampler Delivers 2 more Killer Mini Drive Pedals - the Belle Overdrive Mini and Plexi-Drive Mini

BoostBoost and OverdriveDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersMarshall Style DistortionODR Style OverdriveOverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2020GPXW2amplerMiniDrives700.jpg

It’s nice to see that the Wampler Tumnus Mini has some company now. Brian further underlines his ’King of Drive’ credentials with 2 further smart diminutive derivations. The Belle Overdrive is yet another of his takes on the Nobels ODR Natural Overdrive. His very first derivation was the Underdog, a take on the ODR-S 3-Band EQ variety, which was developed for Brad Paisley - and after a 100 pedal limited run became the right-hand side of the Signature Dual-Channel Wampler ...

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