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9 x Blue Means The Blues!

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossKeeley EngineeringLunastoneMad Professor EffectsMenatoneMI EffectsMXROverdrivePine Box CustomsTubescreamer Style OverdriveVFE Pedals+-
2019GPX9BlueMeansBlues700.jpg

Bonus Round! I hadn’t initially intended to do a Blue colourway feature off the back of my ’Pedal Primary Colour Wheel’ article, as I thought the exercise might turn out to be a little more tricky than the Red, Orange, Yellow and Green. Yet I’ve kind of been ’in the zone’ with these different colourways so I kind of proceeded on down that road.

 

I was right in that it took more research for Blue Pedals to find those that matched my criteria - and I ...

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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 EffectsMaxonMenatoneMojo 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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9 of the Best Menatone Pedals

BoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzGermanium FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMulti-DriveOverdriveSilicon FuzzTone Bender Style FuzzVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPX9BestMenatonePedals700-min.jpg

I consider it my civic duty to bring the public’s attention back to Brian Mena and his excellent Menatone Pedals - as they seem to have slipped a touch under the radar of late. Part of the problem is that Menatone has only 3 dealers - Truetone Music in the USA, Deluxe Guitars in Australia and LEP International in Japan. Of those, only Deluxe seems to maintain a decent inventory - and they refuse to ship abroad - which is no good for us Brits! There’s also just a fairly meagre ...

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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 WahEQEventideFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz 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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16 of the Best Compact Tweed Style Drive Pedals

Bearfoot FXBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCatalinbreadCrazy Tube CircuitsDistortionDriveGreer AmpsJ RockettJRADLovepedalMad Professor EffectsMenatoneOverdriveTrue North PedalsTwangtone by BSMUmbrella CompanyWamplerZvex+-
2019GPX16BestTweedDrives700-min.jpg

I should probably have covered this off sooner but I’m so satisfied with my True North Tweed Drive that I’ve not felt it necessary to look at alternatives. That said, there have been a few fairly recent additions to this group - so I thought I might as well do an overview of what’s around - usual suspects, new and old.

 

I’ve been aware of Tweed style overdrives for a while, in fact I had the Bearfoot FX Sparkling Yellow OD3 for more than a year before trying it ...

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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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24 of the Best Compact Distortion Pedals - 2019 Edition

Aleks K ProductionAlexander PedalsAmptweakerBearfoot FXBogner AmplificationBossBrown Sound DistortionCatalinbreadDawner Prince EffectsDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveFriedman EffectsJHS PedalsLawrence Petross DesignMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMI EffectsMulti-DriveSinvertekSkreddy PedalsSuhrThorpyFXVox Style DistortionWamplerZvex+-
2019GPX2024BestCompactDistortions700-min.jpg

I’ve only just very recently provided a list of my 20 favourite Marshall Style Pedals - and obviously some of those have been separated out into the heavier High Gain category - but when you focus on distortion you can’t really get away from Marshall to a large degree - such is its influence on these types of tones. In fact 14 pedals are retained from the Marshall article and 10 more somewhat different varieties have been added.

 

If you’ve recently read the Marshall ...

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20 of the Best Compact Marshall Style Pedals

Alexander PedalsAmptweakerBossBrown Sound DistortionCatalinbreadDawner Prince EffectsDistortionDriveFriedman EffectsJHS PedalsLawrence Petross DesignLovepedalMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMI EffectsMulti-DrivePettyjohn ElectronicsRamble FXSuhrThorpyFXWamplerZvex+-
2019GPX20BestCompactMarshallPedals700-min.jpg

After doing lots of more individual flavours of drive pedal overviews recently - it’s time to do another roundup of that most eternally favoured of amp distortion tones - the many flavours of Marshall. There are a few here that are based on JTM45 sounds - but generally I’ve separated the Bluesbreaker style pedals into their own category. Most of these are within that classic rock heyday range or sort of Plexi through JCM800.

 

I’ve tried to indicate most relevant Amp ...

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9 of the Best Compact Dumble Style Pedals

Boost and OverdriveDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveHermidaJ RockettJRADLovepedalMad Professor EffectsMenatoneMojo Hand FXMXRTanabeWampler+-
2019GPX9BestCompactDumblePedals700-min.jpg

This article is prompted chiefly by my fairly recent acquisition of the Demon Pedals Kondo Shifuku D-Style Overdrive - which brings my tally of Dumble style drives to three - or 7 kind of, depending on how you characterise these things. The very first Dumble Style pedal I acquired was the Mad Professor Simble - which I still love, but substituted eventually with the more versatile Wampler Euphoria. While both those are excellent conveyors of the kind of Dumble tones I was looking for - the ...

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12 of the Best Vox Style Pedals

AMT EffectsBearfoot FXBoost and OverdriveBossCarl MartinCatalinbreadDistortionDriveLovepedalM.A.D. EffectsMenatoneMooerOverdriveTech 21 NYCVoodoo LabVox Style DistortionWampler+-
2018AfBlg12VoxStylePedals700

Back in the autumn of last year I realised that while Marshall tones were overwhelmingly well represented within my pedal-chain, I had nothing to represent that other classic UK amp type - the wonderful Vox AC30. The Vox AC30 is one of the few amps that has both stellar clean and distortion tones - best described as ’sparkling’ - both being unique and distinct and brilliantly utilised by The Beatles, U2’s The Edge, and above all - Brian May of Queen. In fact it was the Brian ...

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