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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 AudioSpacey 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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16 of the Best Fuzzy-Drive Pedals

AnalogWise PedalsBasic AudioCaroline Guitar CompanyChase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsCusack MusicDemon PedalsEmpress EffectsFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHudson ElectronicsMad Professor EffectsMythos PedalsPettyjohn ElectronicsSkreddy PedalsStomp Under FootThroBakTrue North Pedals+-
2019GPX16BestFuzzyDrive700-min.jpg

It turns out that I’m quite the fan of drive pedals which occupy the space where overdrive and fuzz overlap beautifully. I have gravitated towards such sounds almost subconsciously ever since I got back into guitar. And while there are various fuzz pedals - particularly of the Germanium variety that can be tuned down to those sorts of tones, I’m referring more here to pedals whose very core character straddles both overdrive and fuzz - sometimes on the more fuzzy-drive end as I call...

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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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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 Compact Multi-Drive Pedals

AnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBuild Your Own CloneBYOCChase Bliss AudioDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionHamstead SoundworksKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOverdriveSide EffectsSilicon FuzzSinvertekSubdecay EffectsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style Distortion+-
2019GPX9BestCompactMultidrives700-min.jpg

I’m known for my 12 Degrees of Saturation Methodology and organising drive/dirt pedals into a specific category. I do however also like multi-talented multi-tankers, and have always had one or two all-rounder multi-drive overdrives in my pedal-chain. In fact of the 9 listed here I have all but the last featured, which also happens to be the most recently released - by Greek Boutique Builder Tsakalis - that pedal is currently only available in Greece - direct from the maker and from one or...

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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 ElectronicThopyFXTremoloTsakalis 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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Chase Bliss Audio Collaborates with Benson Amps to Deliver the Ultimate Drive Pedal - the Automatone PreAmp MKII

AutomatoneBenson AmpsBoostBoost and OverdriveChase Bliss AudioDistortionDriveFuzzGated and Velcro FuzzMulti-DriveOverdrive+-
2019GPXAutomatonePreAmpMKII700-min.jpg

It’s a little early to call it - in fact a full day ahead of the opening of this year’s Winter NAMM, but it looks like Joel Korte has stolen the show here! In recent weeks I have been getting to grips with the superb BYOC Crown Jewel - and I stated several times in that review - how much impact presets could have for such a pedal.

 

And while the Automatone PreAmp MKII does not have quite as many tone-sculpting and clipping options as the Crown Jewel, it shares a great many ...

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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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2019 Pedal-Chain Musings and Experiments

Analog.ManAnarchy AudioBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCoda EffectsDecibelicsDelayDistortionDouble TrackingDriveEarthQuaker DevicesEmpress EffectsFlangerFuzzGlitchMetal DistortionModulationModulation WorkstationOverdrivePedalboard and Pedal-ChainPhaserPladask ElektriskREVV AmplificationTC ElectronicToneQuestTremoloTrue North PedalsUni-Vibe and VibeZvex+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainMkI700-min.jpg

At the end of 2018 / beginning of 2019 - I start thinking ahead for the year and considering what pedals I would like to swap-out or rotate-in on my pedal-chain. The long-awaited Empress Effects Zoia did not materialise in 2018, and is now expected as one of the major Winter NAMM launches - I see that as being one of two larger (monetary) acquisitions in the year - along with the Line 6 HX Stomp. I kind of did not figure out the HX Stomp until fairly recently really, where I have deemed it to ...

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