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Pedal Design 101 - All about Pedal Knobs, and why more brands should have their own signature versions

Blackout EffectorsBogner AmplificationBossBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioCusack MusicDanelectroElectro-HarmonixFairfield CircuitryFTelettronicaGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesHudson ElectronicsJHSJPTR FXKlonLone Wolf AudioLovepedalMad Professor EffectsMXROrigin EffectsSkreddy PedalsSpaceman EffectsSuproThorpyFXVemuramWalrus AudioWamplerZvex+-
2019GPXPedalKnobs700V2.jpg

They are a key functional element to all pedals - in terms of working practicalities, look and tactile feel - and there are hundreds, if not thousands of possible varieties and variants, yet certain types of Knobs tend to dominate. Ever since we’ve had electrical devices - well over 100 years now, we have had a variety of control knobs and dials - initially metal, then bakelite, and now mostly modern plastics, hardened rubber and aluminium.

 

In doing this feature/guide I ...

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Pedal Highlights at the 2019 Birmingham Guitar Show

AnasoundsAudio Distribution GroupBossChorus and VibratoDistortionDriveFace MIFirst Line DistributionFuzzLaney AmplificationModulationModulation WorkstationOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsPeterson TunersReverbSpring ReverbThorpyFXTremoloTunersUtilityWalrus AudioZander Cicuitry+-
2019GPXTheGuitarShowPedals700-min.jpg

The Birmingham Guitar Show this year was so much a better affair than the London / UK Guitar Show I attended at Olympia in September - particularly from an organisational and pedal perspective. But I’m kind of sad to report that it was a very pale shadow of the NAMM show that took place almost exactly one month ago. If I tally up all the best new pedals from the NAMM show - only the tiniest fraction of those were on display at the Birmingham Show.

 

It means that the Beetronics ...

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Thoughts on the forthcoming Origin Effects RevivalDrive Compact PreAmp Pedal and My Own GPX Visualized Deviation

Boost and OverdriveDistortionDriveDual-DriveGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesMarshall Style DistortionMulti-DriveOrigin EffectsRevivalDriveVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPXOriginEffectsRevivalDriveCompact700-min.jpg

So per the recent NAMM coverage we know that there is a new compact version of the RevivalDrive coming down the line - and a raw prototype alongside likely facia design were on display at the show. The RevivalDrive was my favourite new pedal of last year - I have the Custom version with all the additional EQ options - alongside the additional 2-button footswitch. I wrote in my ’RevivalDrive First Impressions Article’ how much I like this multi-drive/PreAmp pedal - and how I use all ...

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9 of the Most Distinctive Pedal Range Enclosure Designs

Alexander PedalsAmptweakerAnasoundsBossChase Bliss AudioEffects Pedal MakersGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesOrigin EffectsStone Deaf EffectsThropyFXVemuram+-
2019GPXDistinctEnclosureDesign700-min.jpg

When I did my various country-based pedal-builder overviews I came across a large number of pedals which looked either too samey or else were somewhat unimpactful aesthetically and/or thematically. A significant part of my day job consists of Brand Stategy / Brand Engineering and Design Consultancy and part of me always wants to improve things and make them better - whether that is wanted or not - so you can heed this advice or ignore as you feel pertinent.

 

For pedal-makers, the ...

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2018 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsAnalog DelayBeetronics FXBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBondi EffectsBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDryBell EffectsDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEQFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGamechanger AudioGated and Velcro FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHorizon DevicesJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulationMulti-DriveOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOrigin EffectsOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRed Panda LabReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationShimmer ReverbSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStone Deaf EffectsSubdecay EffectsTape DelayThorpyFXTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWamplerWMD DevicesZvex+-
2018GPXPedalsOfTheYear700-min.jpg

2018 has been a really surprising year for pedals - there have been quite a few unexpected innovations along the way with also some of the usual production delays and holdups. As I write this I am still waiting for my long-overdue Jackson Audio Bloom to arrive - but I expect it will be worth the delay. I would have liked to have seen the Empress Zoia despatched this year too, as sort of predicted though - I feel that it will be pushed into next year - to coincide with Winter NAMM possibly - in ...

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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large Plexi Style Pedals

DistortionFriedman EffectsMarshall Style DistortionOrigin EffectsWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPX4SizePlexiDrives700-min.jpg

Next to the Tube Screamer, the Marshall Plexi sound is probably the second most cloned sound around and particularly in pedal format. You have a huge variety of Plexi pedals to choose from - with no signs of its popularity ever likely to wane. I’ve used a number of pedals over the years for my main Plexi sound - including the Empress Multidrive - which I actually included this time around in the OCD / Crunchy Overdrive style selection. My current champion is the superb Origin Effects ...

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Pedal-Chain State of the Union Autumn Harvest & End of Year Upheavals

Abracadabra AudioAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCustom TonesDecibelicsDelayDelay WorkstationDiezel AmplificationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctaverOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbPower SuppliesRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTC ElectronicTech 21 NYCToneQuestTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPXSKSignalChainMkVII700-min.jpg

UPDATE 1 - It’s often the case that just after you publish, something big happens which forces a change of stance. On this occasion it was the release of the truly amazing Wampler Pantheon Overdrive which has immediately found its way into Slot #10 of the chain. In fact I have sort of swapped slots #10 and #12 around - relegating the Spaceman Aphelion to a supporting role for now.

 

UPDATE 2 - Still no word from Jackson Audio on the delayed Bloom Compressor etc. - which means the ...

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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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9 of the Best Compact Enclosure Compressors

Bondi EffectsCompressorFoxpedalGreer AmpsJackson AudioKeeley EngineeringMXROhmless PedalsOrigin EffectsThorpyFXUtilityWampler+-
2018GPX9CompactCompressors700-min.jpg

So up until now I’ve been through 3 compressors - all Minis, and I have to add that I’m very happy with all of them, and especially my current Wampler Mini Ego Compressor. I started off with an Xotic Mini SP Compressor, and then a Modified Alchemy Audio version of that, before taking up the Mini Ego - which has served me really well for the longest while. I’ve considered the two Mini Pigtronix compressors also as hot-swappable alternatives, and at one stage I thought I might ...

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Best of British Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

4114 Custom EffectsBoo InstrumentsButterfly Effect PedalsBuzz ElectronicsCastledine ElectronicsCog EffectsColorsoundD*A*MDesign Retro WorksDickinson AmplificationDRWEffectrodeEffects Pedal MakersFlattley Guitar PedalsFredric EffectsGhost EffectsGlitchGojira PedalsGreen Carrot Pedal CompanyHamstead SoundworksHudson ElectronicsKingsley AmplifiersKingsley EffectsLife Is Unfair AudioMade By MikeMagnetic EffectsMWFXNine of SwordsNorth EffectsOrigin EffectsOwen ElectronicsPete CornishPickletechPig Dog PedalsPigeon FXRainger FXRaygun FXRoger MayerRothwell AudioSleeping Dog FXSola SoundSonuusSoundune AudioSSD DevicesStone Deaf EffectsThe Fuzz ShackTheGigRigThorpyFXTime Travel AudioVein TapWee Lush FXWilliams AudioZander Cicuitry+-
2018GPXBestBritishPedals700-min.jpg

I came across a thread on Reddit, The Gear Page or similar where the discussion was around notable British pedal builders or pedal-makers as I like to call them! Soon after that I came across a Tone Report article titled ’8 Kick-Ass Pedal Builders From Across the Pond’ from 2015. Both these events encouraged me to seek out my own favourite British Pedal Builders / Makers, and see how many pedal makers there generally were to be found. The following is not necessarily an exhaustive ...

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