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Best of New Guitar Pedals Released in and around the 2020 Winter NAMM Show

Alexander PedalsAnasoundsBeat MachineBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDeath By AudioDedalo FXDelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGamechanger AudioGated and Velcro FuzzGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMXROCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbPreAmpRack Style ReverbRainger FXRat Style FuzzRed Panda LabRedbeard EffectsReverbRotary SpeakerSilicon FuzzSinvertekSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleTape DelayThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVS AudioWalrus AudioWampler+-
2020GPXWinterNammHighlights700.jpg

So despite the perilous state of the world, the first NAMM of the new decade actually turned out to be pretty stellar. I had thought that last year’s exceptional show might end up as the all-time high water mark - but this one turned out just as many pleasant surprises.

 

Slightly different to last year there were a more significant number of pedals announced and launched in advance of the show - while a lot of pedals at the show had very little by way of collateral and some are ...

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Old Blood Noise Endeavors Brings 2 new innovative pedals to NAMM - the Visitor Parallel Multi-Modulator, and the Fault V2 Overdrive Distortion

Chorus and VibratoEffects Pedal MakersModulationOddball ModulationOld Blood Noise EndeavorsPhaserTremolo+-
2020GPXOBNEVisitorFault2700.jpg

The Visitor is the more interesting of the pair obviously as a brand new endeavour - while the Fault 2 seems on first glance mostly just to have cosmetic difference - but there is a lot more to it - as we shall see!

 

The Visitor essentially has two different Modulation Channels - the Primary with Tremolo, Chorus and Phaser options while the Secondary just has Tremolo and Chorus. For the Primary you get Rate and Depth Controls - while the Secondary only has a single knob which interacts ...

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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+-
2019GPXNewPedalsOfTheYear700V3.jpg

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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Crazy Tube Circuits has Released 3 Killer Pedals This Year Including the Brand New Magnatone-Inspired Killer V Vibra-Drive

BoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoCrazy Tube CircuitsEffects Pedal MakersFuzzMaestro Style FuzzModulationOverdrivePhaserTone Bender Style FuzzUni-Vibe and Vibe+-
2019GPXCrazyTubeCircuitsKillerTrio700.jpg

It seems like Crazy Tube Circuits have saved the best to last this year with a pretty special rendition of the 1962 Magnatone Custom 460 Vibrato amplifier. In essence pairing a dynamic JFET gain stage with a dual phase shift modulation - which really captures and takes you into those sort of vintage harmonic tremolo / whirling phaser / vibe sounds.

 

You get 8 controls on the pedal:
Volume (Gain) | Master Output | Depth | B/N/M Bright/Normal/Mellow | Wet/Dry-Wet | Bass | Treble | Speed

&...

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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+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainYEFinal700.jpg

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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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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4 Cool Compact Analog Tap-Tempo Phaser Pedals

Chase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsModulationNative AudioPhaserVein Tap+-
2019GPX4TapTempoPhasers700.jpg

This post was triggered by the recently announced Crazy Tube Circuits 4-Mode Cyclone Phaser - which comes in my own preferred phaser format - compact enclosure, analogue circuit, and with a second tap-tempo footswitch. In my last Phaser overview there were two examples of this - the Chase Bliss Wombtone, and the V1 of the then Red House Midnight Phaser - now the Native Audio V2 Midnight Phaser! New to me are the recently launched Vein-Tap Dark Arts Phaser, and the brand new Crazy Tube Circuits ...

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Keeley Electronics Unleashes Spectacular XVIII Anniversary Space Panorama Trio - El Rey Dorado Overdrive, Compact Phaser and Delay Workstation

DelayDelay WorkstationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersKeeley EngineeringMarshall Style DistortionModulationPhaserReverbReverb Workstation+-
2019GPXKeeleyXVIIIDioramaRange700.jpg

Keeley are getting to be rather good at these limited special editions as I’ve commented on several times previously. Once again they’ve drawn in painter Phillip Ortiz for this cool space-themed diorama / panorama. I actually noted in my recent Walrus Audio Best of Range Overview that they should do some sort of Space panorama as that’s where much of their pedal artwork sits. If you muted these tones a little or rather duo-toned this, then this is exactly the kind of design ...

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9 x Orange Means Phaser!

Alexander PedalscmatmodsCoron EffectsMad Professor EffectsMaxonModulationMXRPhaserRetro-SonicRoss EffectsVFE Pedals+-
2019GPX9OrangePhasers700.jpg

This is the second of likely 3 features inspired by my ’Pedal Primary Colour Wheel article’. I already covered off the colour ’Red’, and now we’re onto a fairly obvious category wholly dominated by the MXR Phase 90, its adherents, evolutions and derivations.

 

I own only a single on of the 9 featured here - the Alexander La Calavera, while I also possess a sort of mini version of the MXR Phase 99 AKA the Phase 95. My own favourite phaser is still the Chase ...

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