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9 Cool Compact Dual Circuit / Dual Stage Stackable Boost, Overdrive and Distortion Pedals

Aleks K ProductionBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioDiamond PedalsDistortionDriveDual-DriveFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKlone and Transparent OverdriveLoophole PedalsMagnetic EffectsOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveRat Style FuzzThorpyFXTubescreamer Style OverdriveVFE Pedals+-
2019GPX9CompactDualStackingDrives700.jpg

This post was sparked off by the recent launch of the Magnetic Effects Zig Zag Dual Stage Overdrive, my relatively recent acquisition of the Aleks K Production Maple Leaf Royal Drive and ThorpyFX Heavy Water Dual Boost pedals, and the hopefully fairly imminent arrival of my on-order Loophole Pedals Grey Matter Overdrive. They got me thinking about other pedals of this type which allow you to blend 2 separate circuits together essentially for more versatility and more complex and richer tones. ...

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28 of the Best Compact Tone Bender Style Fuzz Pedals - All 9 Varieties!

Basic AudioBlackout EffectorsCatalinbreadCrazy Tube CircuitsDanDrive PedalEarthQuaker DevicesExpresso FXFulltone EffectsFuzzHudson ElectronicsJHS PedalsKMA AudioMagnetic EffectsMaxonMojo Hand FXMonsterpiecePigDog PedalsProAnalog DevicesSolidGoldFXTone Bender Style Fuzz+-
2019GPX28ToneBenders700-min.jpg

Last time I did a Tone Bender overview I limited the selection to 12, and as much by chance as anything else I still managed to get a pretty decent roundup of most of the main Tone Bender varieties although not quite all as featured here. In the world of fuzz though only the Big Muff can compete with the convoluted and complex nature of the Tone Bender Family Tree - which I will endeavour to distil first, and then extrapolate into my own favourite / preferred pedals!

 

It all starts with...

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Fulltone Announces New Limited Edition Germanium Metallic Teal OCD Pedal

Boost and OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersFulltone EffectsOCD Style Overdrive+-
2019GPXFulltoneOCDQuad700-min.jpg

As part of its Custom Shop offering Fulltone will be producing limited quantities of a custom OCD pedal in a sort of duotone Teal Metallic enclosure. The core OCD makes use of 2 Mosfets as hard clippers alongside a single Germanium Diode. While the limited edition Ge / Germanium version adds a second Germanium Diode for more tube-like feel and dynamics. The OCD famously routes its hardclippers to Vref rather than ground - as is common to most overdrives - this give the OCD those fantastic ...

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16 of the Best Fuzzy-Drive Pedals

AnalogWise PedalsBasic AudioCaroline Guitar CompanyChase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsCusack MusicDemon PedalsEmpress EffectsFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHudson ElectronicsMad Professor EffectsMythos PedalsPettyjohn ElectronicsSkreddy PedalsStomp Under FootThroBakTrue North Pedals+-
2019GPX16BestFuzzyDrive700-min.jpg

It turns out that I’m quite the fan of drive pedals which occupy the space where overdrive and fuzz overlap beautifully. I have gravitated towards such sounds almost subconsciously ever since I got back into guitar. And while there are various fuzz pedals - particularly of the Germanium variety that can be tuned down to those sorts of tones, I’m referring more here to pedals whose very core character straddles both overdrive and fuzz - sometimes on the more fuzzy-drive end as I call...

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24 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2019 Edition

Analog.ManAnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJHS PedalsJRADKlone and Transparent OverdriveMenatoneOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneSide EffectsSnouse Electric CompanyThorpyFXTrue North PedalsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2019GPX24CompactOverdrives700-min.jpg

For this particular selection I tried to get in as diverse number of types, along with all the usual favourites - every year I have readers asking me why I left this one or that one out - so this year is the time for including Menatone in the selection. Obviously between years some pedals rise in prominence while others fall - my intentions are always to provide as broad a selection as possible while still covering all my own personal favourites.

 

There are a few new entrants since 2018...

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12 of the Best Uni-Vibe Style Pedals

Dawner Prince EffectsDigiTechDLS EffectsDryBell EffectsDunlop EffectsEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixFulltone EffectsJAM PedalsJHS PedalsModulationMXRRetroman EffectsTC ElectronicUni-Vibe and Vibe+-
2018GPX12BestUnivibes700-min.jpg

I have to confess that I used to be a touch confused between Chorus/Vibrato and Vibe/Uni-Vibe effects. In certain pedals there is a degree of overlap, but generally a genuine Uni-Vibe pedal is actually a sort of phaser / phase-shifter whose effect is generated by bulb-driven photocell modulation. The original Shin-Ei Uni-Vibe was developed in around 1967/8 to replicate the Leslie / Rotary Speaker sound. While it did not come nearly close enough to achieving that effect, it did nonetheless ...

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12 Degrees of Saturation - Key Guitar Boost, Overdrive, Fuzz and Distortion Sounds - Updated Methodology for 2018

12 Degrees of SaturationBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBogner AmplificationBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsCustom TonesDecibelicsDiezelDistortionDr ScientistDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEmpress EffectsFeaturedFoxpedalFriedman EffectsFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksHudson ElectronicsJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveMaestro Style FuzzMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOscillating FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzREVV AmplificationShift LineSilicon FuzzSnouse Electric CompanySpaceman EffectsSuhrSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzToneQuestTrue North PedalsTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPX12DegreesSaturationWheelV3700-min.jpg

UPDATE - Based on feedback and input I’ve tweaked some of the pedal placements - the core methodology still stands, while relatively positioning of certain pedals can be fairly nuanced!

 

This subject matter has become the most popular of all the different articles I’ve posted. And the original piece went up in February 2017 - so I felt it was opportune to revisit, review and revise that original methodology. I’ve tried to strip out the more branded naming conventions ...

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Comparative Guitar Pedal Acquisition Strategy - 210 Compact Pedal Edition

Analog.ManBearfoot FXBogner AmplificationBoost and OverdriveBossChase Bliss AudioCustom TonesDelayDistortionElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFulltone EffectsFuzzGreer AmpsGuitar Gear RetailHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsJRADKeeley EngineeringKHDKMad Professor EffectsMI EffectsModulationMojo Hand FXMythos PedalsNobelsPaul CochranePitchReverbRockBoxSide EffectsTC ElectronicUtilityWamplerWren and CuffXotic Effects+-
2018AfBlg35BoostOverdrives700-min

I am known for writing lists and cross-tabulating and cross-referencing the contents thereof while I consider which is the best / preferred choice for me. Note that there is never really a ’best’ overall pedal, simply the one that best fits your circumstances and needs. I have lots of characteristics and attributes I look for - including a compact pedal enclosure size, with versatility and added smarts - great tone is sort of a given here. I an one of those tone-tweakers who quite ...

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24 of the Best Distortion Pedals - 2018 Compact Edition

AmptweakerBearfoot FXBogner AmplificationBossBrown Sound DistortionCatalinbreadDawner Prince EffectsDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesFriedman EffectsFulltone EffectsJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsMulti-DriveRamble FXSinvertekSkreddy PedalsSuhrVox Style DistortionWamplerZvex+-
2018AfBlg24CompactDistortionPedals700-min2

The last time I did a piece on my ’best of’ distortion pedals some criticised me for my somewhat overwhelming Marshall-type bias. Of course it just happens that the Marshall amps were the first of the full-throated richly harmonic distortions, so it’s quite understandable that they left such a mark. Yet of course there are other notable amp-type distortion flavours which I love too, and so I’ve tried to mix it up a little more on this occasion. As detailed previously, ...

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24 of the Best Overdrive Pedals - 2018 Compact Edition

Analog.ManBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDistortionDriveDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJHS PedalsJRADKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveMad Professor EffectsMI EffectsMojo Hand FXMythos PedalsNobelsOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneRockBoxSide EffectsTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2018AfBlg24CompactOverdrives700-min

As an update to last year’s piece, and in line with my slightly tighter real estate now (39 pedals), I have decided to go all out on compact format pedals on this occasion. As a subset of my ’12 Degrees of Saturation’ we are dealing with stages 2 to 6 in essence, which largely covers 6 families of overdrives in order of how I set their gain level (increasing amounts) - ’Klon’ type, ’Tubescreamer’, ’Dumble’, ’Blues Driver’, &rsquo...

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