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GPX Blog

In the Wake of Spaceman's Fantastic New Gemini IV - is it Time for a Sputnik III?

Demedash EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGermanium FuzzOddball FuzzSpaceman Effects+-
2019Gpx4Sputniks700.jpg

For a while now, the Spaceman Effects Sputnik I has been one of my favourite fuzzes and has been rotated in a lot on Slot #5 of my pedal-chain. It’s just a great sounding fuzz with a huge variety of searing tones - which you can then kick up a gear by hitting the Drift/Sync (Sizzle) and Filter (EQ/Tone Circuit) switches - which I can do with my toes pretty much, as those particular toggle switches are sufficiently extended for that (switching on that is!).

 

Like quite a number of ...

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4 Fantastic Germanium and Silicon Switching Fuzz Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzDanDrive PedalFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzOctave FuzzOddball FuzzPaul Trombetta DesignSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsTone Bender Style FuzzWren and Cuff+-
2019GPX4FantasticSiliGermFuzzes700-min.jpg

This article is somewhat in response to the fairly recent arrival of my long quested for Spaceman Gemini IV (originally chasing the III), and the imminent arrival of my DanDrive Austin Pride Fuzz. In fact when I was working on my last but one article on Tone Benders I was in two minds as to whether to include Paul Trombetta’s Bone Machine GTX - as I’m not 100% clear on what its circuit provenance is and exactly which fuzz family it is supposed to belong to - in the end I determined ...

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2019GPXSpacemanGemini34700V2-min.jpg

The Chase for a Gemini III has sort of been my White Whale really - as I’ve been on the case for several years now - but the going prices of the 2011 originals were just stratospherically ridiculous - in fact there are a couple on Ebay right now - ’Used!’ For $1,800 and $1,975 respectively! I feel those prices are going to come down somewhat significantly now though as the new version - albeit in a larger medium-vertical enclosure - has a notably superior feature set. Whenever...

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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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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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16 of the Best Octave Fuzz Pedals - 2019 Edition

AnasoundsBearfoot FXBeetronics FXBossCaroline Guitar CompanyDrolo EffectsDunlop EffectsFunction F(X)FuzzJimi HendrixKing Tone EffectsOctave FuzzRabbit Hole FXSolidGoldFXSpaceman EffectsStomp Audio LabsTsakalis Audio WorksVahlbruch FXWampler+-
2019GPX16BestOctaveFuzzes700-min.jpg

I’ve found myself increasingly interested in Octave Fuzzes these days, and in fact I have two slightly different ones right now in my pedal-chain - the Anasounds Crankled Bitoun near the front of the chain, and the Beetronics FX Octahive around half-way along - they both have quite different timbres and tonalities, and are furthermore set to sound quite different too, but both create incredibly thick and rich fuzz tones.

 

I really enjoyed JHS Josh Scott’s recent Octave Fuzz ...

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24 of the Best Compact Fuzz Pedals - 2019 Edition

Abracadabra AudioAnarchy AudioAnasoundsBasic AudioBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlack Arts ToneworksBossChase Bliss AudioDr ScientistFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzJHS PedalsMagnetic EffectsModulated FuzzOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzPaul Trombetta DesignPLBR EffectsProAnalog DevicesRat Style FuzzShift LineSide EffectsSilicon FuzzSkreddy PedalsSolidGoldFXSpaceman EffectsSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzVFE PedalsZvex+-
2019GOX24CompactFuzze700s-min.jpg

So you may have read last year that I went a little overboard with fuzz type pedals - aiming initially to build up an essential reference collection of 30 of the best - I then published my ’2018 Year of Fuzz Tone Quest’ just about half way through that year - featuring 40 pedals, and right now, my current fuzz quota is running at exactly 100 pedals - with 82 compacts, 11 minis and 7 medium to large pedals making up the collection.

 

This overview is 24 of the best ’...

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9 of the Best True Spring Tank Reverb Pedals

AnasoundsCarl MartinCrazy Tube CircuitsDanelectroDemeter AmplificationGurus AmpsKnas MusicReverbSpaceman EffectsSpring ReverbVan Amps+-
2019GPX9SpringTanks700-min.jpg

This particular feature was prompted by Anasounds elegant Element solution to True / Real Spring Tank Reverb - where the control interface is wholly separated from the actual spring tank. There are of course a number of stand-alone spring tank pedals available in various sizes - and I thought I would do the pros and cons of each approach.

 

Generally I find that the larger the spring tank is, the more complex / textured and full-bodied the reverb effect is - yet with size you run into ...

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Pedal Chain 2019 Future Plans, Acquisitions and Alternative Arrangements

12 Degrees of SaturationAleks K ProductionAutomatoneBearfoot FXBeetronics FXBenson AmpsBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDecibelicsDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDrolo EffectsDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronOCD Style OverdriveOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePedalboard and Pedal-ChainPhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPladask ElektriskRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRed Witch EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzToneQuestTremoloTrue North PedalsTubescreamer Style OverdriveUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWampler+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainMkII700-min.jpg

So it’s that usual post NAMM-haze time where I figure out the longer-term impact of NAMM, and how those new products will affect the layout, order and composition of my now sort of 40-slot pedal-chain. As noted several times - this was indeed a bumper year for really innovative and highly appealing new pedals - and I will look to accommodate a number of those as they materialise in the forthcoming months.

 

As I hinted in my last pedal-chain overview - while 2018 was very evidently...

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The Best New Pedals In and Around Winter NAMM 2019 Show

Alexander PedalsAutomatoneBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDelayDemon PedalsDigital DelayDistortionDriveDumble Style OverdriveDunlop EffectsEventideExpressionFlangerFoxpedalFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayIbanezJHS PedalsKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLooperLoop-SwitcherMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveNeunaberOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingRainger FXRed Panda LabRed Witch EffectsREVV AmplificationRotary SpeakerSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsStrymonSuper-Fuzz StyleTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXTremoloTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveTWA EffectsUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVemuramWamplerWren and Cuff+-
2019GPXNAMMPedalHighlights700-min.jpg

This year’s show has seen a bumper crop of interesting new pedals. In fact I was so dazzled by all the various cool pedals that I did not take note of much else - actually not entirely as there were a few synths weirdly that I liked the look of - including the new Teenage Engineering Modular Series in particular. There were very few guitars or amps though that properly piqued my interest.

 

Special thanks to Delicious Audio / Stombox Exhibit / 60 Cycle Hum and Premier Guitar in ...

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