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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 the Best New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsBig Ear PedalsBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXCoppersoundDelayDemedash EffectsDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahExpresso FXFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHologram ElectronicsHot Cake Style OverdriveJackson AudioJAM PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNeural DSPNordland ElectronicsOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball FuzzOddball ModulationODR Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRed Witch EffectsRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbShnobel ToneSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTimmyTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveTweed Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXBestOveralOfTheYear700.jpg

So I’ve now completed 5 preliminary shortlists type articles featuring between 9 and 30 or so of the best pedals released in 2020 - in each of the following categories :

I sincerely apologise if I’ve overlooked any here, while I’m not sure they would have necessarily ...

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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+-
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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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Flamma Innovation Pushes Things Forward for Budget Compact Digital Pedals with 7 Onboard Presets and Full Stereo Ins and Outs

Ambient EffectsBeat MachineBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionEchoverbEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlamma InnovationFlangerLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationPhaserPitchPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbReverbReverb WorkstationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSlicer and StutterSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbTape DelayTremoloUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed Wah+-
2020GPXFlammaInnovation700V2.jpg

Some of you will have seen Flamma Pedals featured quite highly on several gear forums of late, and several of you readers have been asking for my take on the subject. To my mind Mooer’s diminutive 7 Series was the first to do this kind of thing in incorporating 7 Presets, 5 Controls and a Select/Save button on the mini format.

 

I note that for the FSO2 Reverb - it has the exact same modes in the same order as the Mooer 7 Series equivalent - so I can only imagine that Mooer is ...

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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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Ed Rembold's Toneczar Openhaus 6-Band Active EQ High Gain Distortion is a Beautifully Balanced Metal Monster

Brown Sound DistortionDistortionMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionToneczar+-
2020GPXToneczarOpenhausEQ700.jpg

You may recall the story of how I was for the longest time chasing the 3-Band EQ more compact original version of this pedal. But was persuaded by Ed in the end to go for the considerable superiority of his latest evolved edition - where he had finally gotten the noisefloor to its most optimal and desired level - and the timbre of the distortion to the perfect degree and combination of sizzle, punch and articulation.


The fact that you have 6 Active Bands of EQ - that you can adjust to ±...

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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+-
2020GPX12DgreesSaturationDistortionEdition700V2.jpg

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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End of October Pedal-Chain Update - Episode IX - Imminent Acquiescence

Big Muff Style FuzzBossDelay WorkstationDistortionFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulation WorkstationNordland ElectronicsODR Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzPitchPreAmpReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSTL TonesStrymonToneczarVick AudioWah and Fixed Wah+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMOctober700V3.jpg

October has proven to be another fairly significant month - both in terms of new pedal releases / arrivals and my own pedal-chain evolution. I’m also in the midst of a Vick Audio phase - having relatively recently acquired most of the key pedals in that range - including all 5 Tau Series Muff variants - which were all in my chain together for a big chunk of October.

 

There were a number of very significant releases/arrivals this month for me - including the Boss GT-1000 CORE and ...

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Boss GT-1000 CORE In-Depth Review and Long-term Impact Report
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Boss GT-1000 CORE In-Depth Review and Long-term Impact Report
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