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GPX Blog

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+-
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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+-
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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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GFI System Changes up the Multi-Modulation Game Again with its Synesthesia Dual Channel Modulation Workstation

Bitcrushing and Lo-FiChorus and VibratoEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerGFI SystemModulationModulation WorkstationOddball ModulationPhaserRing ModulationRotary SpeakerSlicer and StutterTremoloUni-Vibe and Vibe+-
2019GPXGFISynesthesiaMain700V2.jpg

I always take a while to deconstruct a new pedal - particularly one as complex as this - and hence my visual infographic above is a representation of the pedal’s feature set - but also its functional complexity and actual workings. It turns out that I’m rather quite familiar with Dual Channel Modulation Workstations courtesy of my Boss MD-500 which was the first to introduce this sort of modulation combination innovation.

 

Yet GFI takes things slightly further in most ways ...

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2019GPXThorpyFXCamoflangeMain700V2.jpg

Judging from Chase Bliss Audio’s retirement of my favourite Spectre flanger early last year, I rather feared that one of my favourite effects categories was somewhat falling out of fashion. However there has been a steady stream of new pedals in that category since - including Earthquaker Devices’ Pyramids Stereo Flanger, Mad Professor’s Double Moon, Retro-Sonic’s Flanger and now ThorpyFX’s Camoflange.

 

I personally have had 3 flangers in my collection for ...

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Brian Wampler Finally Releases his 11 Mode Terraform Modulation Workstation after a Year's Worth of Tweaking

Chorus and VibratoEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerModulationModulation WorkstationPhaserRotary SpeakerTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeWampler+-
2019GPXWamplerTerraformFinalMain700.jpg

Seemingly not as long in gestation as Keeley’s ECCOS Flange-Modulated Tape Delay, this pedal has nonetheless featured at a couple of NAMM shows too. There were significant changes between the Winter and Summer NAMM variants, but since then it looks to have been just about the most intensive process of calibration and fine-tuning - in order to get each of the 11 algorithms spot-on.

 

Interestingly, when Brian first announced the Terraform, Boss’s MD-200 / 200 series wasn&rsquo...

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9 of the Best Mad Professor Pedals

BoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoDelayDigital DelayDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionMad Professor EffectsMarshall Style DistortionModulationMulti-DriveOverdrive+-
2019GBX9BestMadProfessorPedals700.jpg

I will start by reiterating once more how big a fan I am of Swedish circuit designer Björn Juhl / BJFE and his many associated brands - which use variations of his celebrated circuits - Mad Professor in Finland, Bearfoot FX in the USA and OneControl in Japan. I have several varieties from each of those brands - 15 or so all told, but my first connection with Björn was via Mad Professor.

 

Ironically the very first Mad Professor pedal I acquired was not derived from Björn ...

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Pedal Design 101 - Pedal Primary Colour Wheel and which Pedals 'Own' a particular Colour

Analog DelayBlues Driver Style OverdriveBondi EffectsBoost and OverdriveBossCompressorDelayDiamond PedalsDistortionDriveFlangerGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesIbanezLovepedalMarshall Style DistortionModulationMXROverdrivePhaserTremoloT-Rex EffectsTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtility+-
2019GPXPedalColourWheel700V2.jpg

Update! This feature inspired 7 further articles - Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Sky Blue and Purple.

 

This feature was inspired by a couple of different events - firstly ongoing conversations I have been having with Fjord Fuzz’s Daniel Thornhill about the colour of LEDs for different pedal types, and secondly an odd Q&A episode of That Pedal Show where Dan was trying to match a pedal to the colour of his yellow trousers or pants as some of you like to call them.

  ...

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Pedal Design 101 - The Renaissance of Carl Martin

BoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionCarl MartinChorus and VibratoCompressorDistortionEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQFlangerFuzzGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesModulationOverdriveSilicon FuzzTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtility+-
2019GPX9BestV2CarlMartin700-min.jpg

It has to be said that Carl Martin - a long-standing Danish pedal-builder of high pro-gear repute - was starting to look somewhat fusty and old-fashioned there for a while. And while some brands would look to simply refresh their graphics and update things in a largely superficial manner - Carl Martin set to designing an entirely new compact enclosure for its Vintage Series of pedals.

 

The incumbent pedals were in rather uninteresting medium enclosures while the degree of innovation and...

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Best of Central and South American Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

Beetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoCompressorCopilot FXDarkglass ElectronicsDedalo FXDeep Trip FXDistortionDriveDSM NoisemakerDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFire Custom ShopFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerKlone and Transparent OverdriveLoop-SwitcherMaestro Style FuzzMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationMonstro EffectsMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdriveParadox EffectsPedalPalFXPhaserRat Style FuzzRetrohead FXSabbadius Custom EffectsSilicon FuzzSplitter and Frequency SplitterStomp Audio LabsSuper-Fuzz StyleTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTube OverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPXBestCentralSouthAmericanBuilders700-min.jpg

This is the 11th in the Pedal Builders Country Series as such, although I’ve had to cast the net slightly wider as I currently don’t consider there to be enough top-tier / International-level builders in a single country here to satisfy the usual criteria. Brazil and Argentina come fairly close - with Brazil having significantly the most concentrated volume of builders of any Country in that part of the world. Generally Brazil, Argentina and Chile are particularly well represented. ...

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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 WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz 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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