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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large High Gain / Metal Style Distortion Pedals

DistortionEmpress EffectsKeeley EngineeringMetal DistortionMooerRockfabrik Effects+-
2018GPX4SizeHighGain700-min.jpg

I will preface this article by stating that I’ve split the High Gain Distortion into two categories - High Gain and Extreme High Gain - where the latter has a more pronounced and slightly tighter punchy mid-range gain structure typically. With these pedals though and their many settings you can largely get the same degree and type of distortion within both groups - so it really does depend very much on how you dial things in - as an example the Rock Fabrik’s Mind Abuse has 3 ...

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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large OCD Style / Crunchy Overdrive Pedals

Boost and OverdriveEmpress EffectsHamstead SoundworksMooerOCD Style OverdriveT-Rex Effects+-
2018GPX4SizeOCDStyle700-min.jpg

Your immediate reaction to the above visual may well be - where’s the bleedin’ Fulltone OCD in all of this - well that’s all part of the narrative - as follows. When I got into guitar again a few years back, there were all manner of overdrives and drives that were deemed to be essential for any serious electric guitar player - and I took to acquiring and comparing those - which led to my ’12 Degrees of Saturation’ Methodology.

 

Much of this was just ...

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12 of the Best Medium and Large High Gain / Metal style Distortion Pedals

AmptweakerBogner AmplificationBrown Sound DistortionDiezel AmplificationDistortionDual-DriveEmpress EffectsEVH ElectronicsEVH GearHorizon DevicesMarshall Style DistortionMESA/BoogieMetal DistortionMI EffectsMulti-DriveRockfabrik EffectsSeymour DuncanWampler+-
2018GPX12LargeMetalPedals700-min.jpg

Not unusually for me, but pretty much all of these that I don’t have yet are on my wishlist, and I’m still deciding on what order to acquire those in and which ’I need’ the most! My current big metal pedal trio consists of the excellent Diezel VH4-2, Empress Heavy and MI Effects Megalith Delta - I set the Diezel at the most extreme gain, then the Megalith Delta, and then the two voicings of the Empress Heavy. Each of these is a dual drive so there are myriad options here...

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Pedal-Chain State of the Union Autumn Harvest & End of Year Upheavals

Abracadabra AudioAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorCustom TonesDecibelicsDelayDelay WorkstationDiezel AmplificationDigital DelayDigital ReverbDigiTechDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctaverOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbPower SuppliesRat Style FuzzReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTC ElectronicTech 21 NYCToneQuestTremoloUni-Vibe and VibeUtilityVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed WahWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPXSKSignalChainMkVII700-min.jpg

UPDATE 1 - It’s often the case that just after you publish, something big happens which forces a change of stance. On this occasion it was the release of the truly amazing Wampler Pantheon Overdrive which has immediately found its way into Slot #10 of the chain. In fact I have sort of swapped slots #10 and #12 around - relegating the Spaceman Aphelion to a supporting role for now.

 

UPDATE 2 - Still no word from Jackson Audio on the delayed Bloom Compressor etc. - which means the ...

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The Key Pedal Enclosure Sizes you are most likely to encounter

BossChase Bliss AudioDecibelicsEmpress EffectsEventideGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesGuitar Gear ResourcesMerisPigtronixSource AudioSpaceman EffectsStrymon+-
2018GPXKeyEnclosureSizes700-min.jpg

I don’t know whether I’m particularly unique in this regard, but form-factor and enclosure size / dimensions are a key criteria for me within the pedal-acquisition process / work-flow. I have very obvious favourites, and if a pedal goes much beyond those key dimensions it lessens its appeal for me. For a while this mean that I was not at all comfortable with ThorpyFX enclosures as they are both slightly fatter, and considerable longer than the typical ’Compact’ enclosure...

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Best of Canadian Guitar Pedals and Pedal Builders

6 Degrees FXAleks K ProductionAnalog DelayBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionChorus and VibratoDelayDelay WorkstationDiamond PedalsDigital DelayDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveEffects Pedal MakersEmpress EffectsFairfield CircuitryFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGround Control AudioIndustrialectricKingsley AmplifiersKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationMontreal AssemblyMulti-DriveOctave FuzzOddball DelayOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserRadial EngineeringRat Style FuzzRetro-SonicREVV AmplificationSilicon FuzzSolidGoldFXSonic CrayonSouthampton PedalsSuper-Fuzz StyleTone Bender Style FuzzTone Hungry EffectsToneboneTube OverdriveTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWounded Paw Audio+-
2018GPXCanadianPedals700V6-min.jpg

This follows on from my earlier article on British Pedal Builders - I had no immediate plans to do a series of these, but there are definitely certain nations that excel in pedal-making which I quite enjoy featuring. I need not really include the most prodigious - the USA as most pedals still come from there, but will focus on some of the smaller nations and do fairly compact roundups of each. As I said I had no plans originally beyond British, but will likely do French, German, Italian, ...

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12 Degrees of Saturation - Key Guitar Boost, Overdrive, Fuzz and Distortion Sounds - Updated Methodology for 2018

12 Degrees of SaturationBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBogner AmplificationBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsCustom TonesDecibelicsDiezelDistortionDr ScientistDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEmpress EffectsFeaturedFoxpedalFriedman EffectsFulltone EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksHudson ElectronicsJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveMaestro Style FuzzMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOpAmp FuzzOrigin EffectsOscillating FuzzOverdriveRat Style FuzzREVV AmplificationShift LineSilicon FuzzSnouse Electric CompanySpaceman EffectsSuhrSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzToneQuestTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPX12DegreesSaturationWheelV3700-min.jpg

UPDATE - Based on feedback and input I’ve tweaked some of the pedal placements - the core methodology still stands, while relatively positioning of certain pedals can be fairly nuanced!

 

This subject matter has become the most popular of all the different articles I’ve posted. And the original piece went up in February 2017 - so I felt it was opportune to revisit, review and revise that original methodology. I’ve tried to strip out the more branded naming conventions ...

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Pedal Mania IV - 2018 Mid-Year Update

12 Degrees of SaturationBarn3Bearfoot FXBoost and OverdriveBossChase Bliss AudioCryBabyCustom TonesDelayDiezelDistortionDr ScientistDunlop EffectsEmpress EffectsEventideFuzzGuitar Gear RetailHamstead SoundworksJackson AudioMI EffectsModulationMu-TronOrigin EffectsPedal ManiaPedalboard and Pedal-ChainPitchReverbREVV AmplificationSource AudioSpaceman EffectsStrymonTC ElectronicTech 21 NYCToneQuestUtilityWah and Fixed WahWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018AfBlgSKSignalChainMkIIII700SM-min

My pedal chain has never sounded better, and it’s the closest it’s been yet to achieving my end game of having the perfect pedal in every slot. Of course some slots are more multi-use than others, and some have a plethora of exceptional pedals available for rotation. While many slots have pretty much permanent residents now too.

 

There has been a lot of movement in the first 10 slots, with really only the Tuner at #1 and Compressor at #7 holding firm for now. Even though the...

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Comparative Guitar Pedal Acquisition Strategy - 100 Medium to Large Pedal Edition

Bogner AmplificationBoost and OverdriveBuild Your Own CloneBYOCDelayDiezelDistortionElektronEmpress EffectsEVH GearFunction FXFuzzGamechanger AudioKeeley EngineeringMESA/BoogieMI EffectsModulationOrigin EffectsPitchReverbRockfabrik EffectsStone Deaf EffectsStrymonTech 21 NYCThorpyFXTruetoneUtilityWampler+-
2018AfBlg25CompMedLargeDirt700-min

As previously posted, my preferred pedal format is the compact / regular enclosure - ideally as close to Chase Bliss in design as possible - with multiple dials, voicing toggles and dual footswitches. There are moments though when 3-footswitch pedals - a la Empress, Eventide, Strymon and now Boss are advisable, and those are in the main the sorts of large pedals I use - the modulation, delay and reverb workstations. I also have some of the larger dual and multi-drive pedals, whose real-estate ...

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12 Degrees of Saturation - a Personal Selection 2018 Edition

Bearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioDiezelDistortionDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEmpress EffectsFriedman EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzHamstead SoundworksJackson AudioJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveMarshall Style DistortionMetal DistortionMI EffectsMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOpAmp FuzzOverdriveProAnalog DevicesSilicon FuzzStrymonTubescreamer Style OverdriveVox Style DistortionWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018AfBlg12DegreesSaturationSK700-min

The main reason I came up with the ’12 Degrees of Saturation’ methodology was to give me a greater insight and overview of what overdrive, fuzz and distortion pedals were out there, and which of those would best suit me. When I started the process I had really no idea of how broad this field was exactly, and really how many distinct flavours there were - particularly within the fuzz category. The ’12 Degrees’ is a generalism really, as you can break your drive pedal ...

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News Navigation

2018 50

Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal Considerations and Alternatives
"I would say that the Keeley gets you into the "...
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Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal Considerations and Alternatives
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Thoughts on Modifications, Partscasters and Kit Building, and DIY Guitar Making in general
"Proin faucibus quis ante volutpats posuere. Etiam "...
05-Sep-2018
12 of the Best Tape Delay Pedals for your Consideration
"Ben, thank you for your input - I will keep this "...
04-Sep-2018
12 of the Best Tape Delay Pedals for your Consideration
"The Mr. Black Tapex 2 should definitely be up "...
04-Sep-2018
Thoughts on Modifications, Partscasters and Kit Building, and DIY Guitar Making in general
"There's a couple of points I left out here - "...
23-Aug-2018
4 of the Best Mini Klone Pedals
"To add to this - I was so impressed when I got "...
19-Aug-2018
4 Next Level Medium to Large Enclosure Flangers
"Footnote 1 - The EQD Pyramids is DSP not Analogue"
08-Aug-2018
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