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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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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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End of May Pedal-Chain Update - Episode IV - A New Hope!

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemGlitchJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveKuro Custom AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOddball ModulationOverdrivePhaserRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSilicon FuzzSpacey ReverbSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXToneQuestTremoloVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
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May was the month that several things finally slotted into place - all my missing / presumed lost USA orders finally landed as did a few other pedals which had been somewhat lingering in the wild - so May delivered a pretty decent pedal yield overall in the end. I also got to be involved in a couple of exciting up-and-coming brands - Kuro Custom Audio of Italy and MidValleyFX of USA. I’ve already published a feature on the excellent Kuro Akuma Fiery Fuzz as featured on slot #5, and hope ...

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ThorpyFX The Bunker vs ThorpyFX Gunshot

Boost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersMarshall Style DistortionOverdriveThorpyFX+-
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There’s been a lot of chatter online about the relative merits of the established Thorpy OG Gunshot Overdrive and its new The Bunker sort of challenger. I’ve always likened the Gunshot to a Hot Rodded Plexi - while Adrian has revealed that its profile is actually closer to that of a JCM800 - but obviously there are significant overlaps. By contrast, The Bunker is at its core much closer to a JTM45 / Plexi range with its Texture knob rolled back, while dialling up the Texture gives ...

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6 of the Best All-Rounder Relatively Compact Dual-Channel / Multi-Voice / Multi-Drive Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioDistortionDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKeeley EngineeringKlone and Transparent OverdriveLovepedalMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveStrymonTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
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This article was triggered by a question from Ryan C who wanted my take on the Boss OD-200 vs the Strymon Sunset - and why the latter was a more permanent part of my own pedal-chain versus the seemingly more capable and full-featured OD-200 - which I will endeavour to answer here as best I can.

 

I decided to widen the selection as far as possible and get in a few more alternatives for sake of comparison - while that task proved a lot tricker than I had foreseen. The key criteria were to...

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End of April Pedal-Chain Update - Covid-19 Lost in the Post Edition

Ambient EffectsAnasoundsBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Breaker Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCooper FXDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGlitchGuitar Synth and SequencerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbThorpyFXTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveVA AudioVox Style Distortion+-
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So a lot has changed during the month of April - we’ve had some thoroughly exciting and invigorating new product launches, while three of my American acquisitions are seemingly lost by USPS - hopefully they will materialise some day, but for one of them there have been no tracking updates for over a month now - which is somewhat alarming. As the eternal optimist, I can only hope that things right themselves eventually. I had already determined that my pedal-acquisition would go on semi-...

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Bogner Releases Re-Voiced, Re-Formatted V2 Versions for its Compact Trifecta of Boost, Overdrive and Distortion Pedals

Bogner AmplificationBoostBrown Sound DistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionOverdrive+-
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I’m not sure I’ve properly communicated before how much of a fan of Reinhold Bogner’s pedals I am - another essential part really of the Boutique Amps Distribution Family. I have acquired 6 or these to date - the Burnley Bubinga Distortion, Ecstasy Blue Mini Overdrive, Ecstasy Red Distortion, Harlow Bubinga Boost & Bloom, Oxford Bubinga Fuzz and Wessex Bubinga Overdrive. While the La Grange is down for a definite acquisition on the wishlist, and the Lyndhurst Bubinga ...

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Spring Pedal-Chain Update - Covid-19 Edition

AnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDigital ReverbDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveEarthQuaker DevicesElectro-HarmonixEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFlangerFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGFI SystemJackson AudioMarshall Style DistortionMenatoneMetal DistortionModulationMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOpAmp FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationSinvertekThorpyFXTremoloVox Style DistortionVS Audio+-
2020GPXSKSignalChainPostNAMMMarch700V2.jpg

I had hoped to do regular monthly updates on how the various NAMM-announced pedal releases and other newer additions were impacting my own pedal-chain choices. Yet we all know how this year has gone - obviously impacted by numerous delays brought on by the Social Distancing required to counter the spread of Coronavirus / Covid-19.

 

Because of parts supply and resourcing issues, most 2020 NAMM pedals have been delayed to some degree. When there is uncertainty as to when the next ...

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Robert Keeley Boss Mods Trifecta

Blues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionKeeley EngineeringMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMooerOverdrive+-
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Robert Keeley has of course modified more than these three Boss pedals - yet I personally feel that these are the ones really worth having. I have featured both the Keeley Freak Fuzz Modded BD-2 Blues Driver and Twilight Zone Modded MT-2 Metal Zone on this site several times before. In fact the Freak Fuzz Blues Driver is my favourite overdrive pedal of all time! It cleans up wonderfully with your guitar volume control - much in the same way as a Fuzz Face, and it has that same sort of boost ...

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3 Dark Stalking Horses from Lichtlaerm Audio - Altar High Gain Fuzz, Gehenna High Gain Distortion and Trugbild Lo-Fi Chorus

Big Muff Style FuzzBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoDistortionDriveEffects Pedal MakersFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionLichtlaerm AudioMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulationSilicon Fuzz+-
2020GPXLichtlaermTrio700V3.jpg

My first introduction to Lichtlaerm Audio was courtesy of Henning Pauly - where I caught him talking about Daniel Ringl’s Berlin-made pedals way before Henning’s demo videos were released. There’s actually 4 pedals to the range - including an input-triggered Noise Gate called The Key and The Gate - working somewhat similarly to Fortin’s Zuul, but relying on a loop rather than single input trigger. I’m very well covered in the area of Noise Gates so that is not my ...

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Mikey Demus's Pedalboard Dynamics and Essential Tone Components
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