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In Defence of the more Complex PreAmp Pedals

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionBuild Your Own CloneBYOCCustom TonesDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzGermanium FuzzKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOrigin EffectsOverdrivePreAmpSilicon FuzzSinvertekTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
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I am somewhat exasperated to still be seeing several ill-informed nonsense critiques of these more fully featured pedals - where certain factions are denouncing them as sort of jacks-of-all-trade with insufficient core tonal qualities that mean they cannot hack it with just the basic 3 - Volume, Gain and Tone knobs!

 

I refer below to one of the classic Two Rock Amps - specifically the Silver Sterling Signature - which has 17 exceptionally useful controls - including those 6 mode toggle-...

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28 of the Best Compact Rat-Style Fuzz/Distortion Pedals - 2020 Ultimate Selection

Acid Age ElectronicsAion ElectronicsAnimals PedalBasic AudioBBE SoundBig Ear PedalsBig Tone Music BreweryBigToneMusicBreweryBYOCCatalinbreadChicago StompworkscmatmodsDistortionDr ScientistEarthbound AudioElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFreakshow EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGreer AmpsIbanezJAM PedalsJHS PedalsJohn LandgraffMagnetic EffectsMojo Hand FXOpAmp FuzzPettyjohn ElectronicsRat Style FuzzReuss EffectsStomp Under FootThorpyFXVFE PedalsWalrus Audio+-
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Most should know by now that I’m a huge Rat aficionado - and for me Rat doesn’t just mean those original ProCo Rat varieties but all the different derivatives - direct and indirect - old and new, classics, rarities and outliers. This category is titled ’Rat-Style’ so there’s a few Rat-adjacent pedals here too which share some of the core fundamentals and bring to mind some key associations with that well-known highly textured frequency profile.

 

For me at a...

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End of June Pedal-Chain Update - Episode V - A Disturbance in the Force!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBixonicBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuffalo FXChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneModulationModulation WorkstationOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePlate ReverbPreAmpRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReuss EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
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June hasn’t been a particularly kind month to me - in fact it’s been something of a difficult period - I was going to call this piece ’The Darkness Lingers’ but didn’t really want that particular NLP on this blog - which I try to keep as positive as is practically possible.

 

A number of ventures and collaborations I was working on this month came a cropper when the other collaborating parties somewhat inexplicably and suddenly ended their involvement - ...

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I have often cited the Ditto Mini Looper as TC Electronic’s key product - and most likely top sales champion over these years - as pretty much everyone I know has one. It has had to withstand an onslaught of almost identical copycat products at a fraction of its price - so it’s understandable that TCE felt they needed to do something to reestablish their leadership credentials in this area.

 

I’m obviously far from the first to cover this as I have a publishing ...

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Mikey Demus's Pedalboard Dynamics and Essential Tone Components

BoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionCaroline Guitar CompanyDelayDigital DelayDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDown-TunerDriveDunlop EffectsEchoverbFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHarmonizerKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLoop-SwitcherMetal DistortionMikey DemusMXRNoise GateOctave FuzzOctaverOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePitchPitch-ShiftingRedbeard EffectsStrymonTape DelayThorpyFXToneQuestTunersUtilityWah and Fixed Wah+-
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Readers of this blog should be well aware by now of Skindred’s Lead Guitarist and Redbeard Effects Head Honcho Mikey Demus. And while I had been very familiar with his band Skindred for a number of years - my focus didn’t shift fully to Mikey himself until he got into partnership with Adrian Thorpe and started producing his own range of signature pedals.

 

The first release was an exceptional take on Mikey’s core signature Orange Rockerverb 100 Amp sound - the Red Mist ...

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Steve Demedash Releases Best Version of his T-120 DLX Videotape Echo Tomorrow!

DelayDemedash EffectsDigital DelayLo-Fi DelayTape Delay+-
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I’ve been a fan of Steve Demedash for a few years now, though I’ve not gotten around to acquiring any of his pedals quite yet - the timing seemingly continues to fall out of sync with my concurrent reality! Had I the funds right now I would certainly be considering getting involved in this Friday the 26th’s Melée - where 50 of the clear aluminium enclosure version with colourful stripes and matching aluminium knobs will be going on sale at 10am CST for the princely sum ...

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The Overlooked Art of Pedal Manual and Instruction Guide Design

Beetronics FXChase Bliss AudioEmpress EffectsGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesStrymon+-
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Following on from features on enclosure design and artworks, interior circuit arrangements and packaging - I felt it necessary to focus on the much neglected art of the Pedal Manual and Instruction Guide. Over the years I’ve seen a huge variety of instruction guides included with my hundreds of pedals - from flimsy black-and white photostats - just overly-folded sheets of low-quality paper really with barely legible text - through to more well-considered and actually smartly engineered ...

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Celebrating The King of Klone, Master of Organic Tone - Guillem Vilademunt of Decibelics, Barcelona

BoostBoost and OverdriveDecibelicsEffects Pedal MakersKlone and Transparent OverdriveOverdrive+-
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I received the full set of Decibelics gut shots a little late for inclusion in my recent piece on ’Interior Pedal and Circuit Design / Art’. So I then had the option of appending these as an addendum to that article, or evolving them into more of a solo feature. And as there are some other significant specifics I wish to convey in relation to this particular trio of pedals - I decided upon the latter.

 

More fortuitously still - Guillem has within the week released an ...

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9 of the Best Dr Scientist Pedals

Ambient EffectsBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBoostBoost and OverdriveChorus and VibratoDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEffects Pedal MakersEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGlitchModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOpAmp FuzzOverdrivePhaserPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzReverb WorkstationRing ModulationShimmer ReverbSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbTremolo+-
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I’ve been a fan of Ryan and Tanya Clarke for the longest time, and currently have 4 of their best in my collection, with a couple more on the wishlist. My first and to-date all-time favourite Dr Scientist pedal is the exceptional Frazz Dazzler 2-Channel Fuzz - which while wholly unique, most equate with a Muff style of fuzz, yet for me it’s more of an extended range / high-gain Rat.

 

So the Frazz Dazzler was my first, then came the BitQuest and next my Gold Bar Edition The ...

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The Kuro Custom Audio P.h.A. Boost/Overdrive/PreAmp is a rare High Adaptability Gain Modifier and Tone Transformer

Blues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveDriveKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMulti-DriveOverdriveTubescreamer Style Overdrive+-
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I must confess that when I first came across the Kuro P.h.A. I kind of rather dismissed it as yet another of those myriad just a tiny bit different overdrives. I think I was to a large degree misled by a number of the earlier fairly uninspiring and unrepresentative demos. I can’t overstate the importance of a good demo towards portraying a just and accurate account of a pedal’s range and capabilities. Mediocre and underwhelming demos can ever undermine and taint the reputations of ...

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