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Pedal Design 101 - Generating better brand impact and recall via Uniquely Themed Stylised Graphics

Animals PedalEarthQuaker DevicesFoxpedalGuitar Gear Improvements and PrototypesMatthews EffectsWalrus AudioZvex+-
2019GPXPedalDesignGraphics700-min.jpg

I’ve done a few articles on this site about the look and feel of a pedal - different iterations and editions of pedal design, and specific unique designs of pedal enclosures for instance. I’ve often said that with so much competition in the pedal game currently - you have to nowadays put some significant effort into differentiating yourself as a brand, to make your pedals more impactful, more appealing and more recognisable.

 

The central tenets of branding are to produce ...

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16 of the Best Rat Style Fuzz/Distortion Pedals

1981 InventionsAnimals PedalBasic AudioBuild Your Own CloneBYOCCaroline Guitar CompanyDr ScientistEarthbound AudioElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionJAM PedalsLone Wolf AudioMagnetic EffectsOpAmp FuzzProCoRatRat Style FuzzThropyFXVFE PedalsWalrus Audio+-
2019GPX16Rats700-min.jpg

I think that the Rat style is possibly my favourite style of dirt pedal. It really depends how distinctly you classify all the Marshall pedals I have versus the already 8 Rat-style pedals in the collection (Actually 10 really, but 7 in the top 16 feature).

 

So my current all-time Rat-style champ is not always associated with the genre even though it is a full-throttle OmpAmp-driven fuzzstortion chaos machine - I am of course referring to Dr Scientist’s formidable Frazz Dazzler ...

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24 of the Best Compact Overdrive Pedals - 2019 Edition

Analog.ManAnasoundsBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossCrowther AudioCustom TonesDemon PedalsDumble Style OverdriveFoxpedalFulltone EffectsGreer AmpsHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJHS PedalsJRADKlone and Transparent OverdriveMenatoneOCD Style OverdriveOverdrivePaul CochraneSide EffectsSnouse Electric CompanyThorpyFXTrue North PedalsTsakalis Audio WorksTubescreamer Style OverdriveWampler+-
2019GPX24CompactOverdrives700-min.jpg

For this particular selection I tried to get in as diverse number of types, along with all the usual favourites - every year I have readers asking me why I left this one or that one out - so this year is the time for including Menatone in the selection. Obviously between years some pedals rise in prominence while others fall - my intentions are always to provide as broad a selection as possible while still covering all my own personal favourites.

 

There are a few new entrants since 2018...

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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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Best of Mini, Compact, Medium and Large Tube Screamer Style Pedals

Boost and OverdriveEarthQuaker DevicesFoxpedalKHDKPLBR EffectsTubescreamer Style Overdrive+-
2018GPX4SizeTubeScreamers700-min.jpg

I have featured most of these usual suspects before - with the exception of the PLBR Effects Floral Green which I’ve only briefly just touched on in ’Glance’. In my opinion these are the most formidable Tube Screamer Pedals for each of their given enclosure sizes. None of these are your typical classic TS808 or TS9 replicas, but all offer significant additional voicing and tone-sculpting controls.

 

Even though I have a number of Tube Screamer type pedals, I currently ...

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12 of the Best Compact Tube Screamer-style Pedals

Boost and OverdriveFoxpedalIbanezJHS PedalsKHDKMI EffectsNobelsSeymour DuncanTubescreamer Style OverdriveVFE PedalsWalrus AudioWamplerXotic Effects+-
2018GPX12TubeScreamerTypes700-min.jpg

There’s been a couple of significant Tube Screamer type releases this year and I’ve discovered a whole load more that I like since I last did this overview. I wrongly had the Super Blues Pro in with my Blues Driver / Bluesbreaker category, and the Xotic BB PreAmp often gets mischaracterized as a Bluesbreaker type where its circuit is really Tube Screamer with Baxandall Hi/Lo Tone Controls.

 

This biggest newby this year is no doubt JHS’s 9-flavour Bonsai - which covers ...

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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 FuzzToneQuestTrue North PedalsTubescreamer 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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9 of the Best Compact Enclosure Compressors

Bondi EffectsCompressorFoxpedalGreer AmpsJackson AudioKeeley EngineeringMXROhmless PedalsOrigin EffectsThorpyFXUtilityWampler+-
2018GPX9CompactCompressors700-min.jpg

So up until now I’ve been through 3 compressors - all Minis, and I have to add that I’m very happy with all of them, and especially my current Wampler Mini Ego Compressor. I started off with an Xotic Mini SP Compressor, and then a Modified Alchemy Audio version of that, before taking up the Mini Ego - which has served me really well for the longest while. I’ve considered the two Mini Pigtronix compressors also as hot-swappable alternatives, and at one stage I thought I might ...

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2018 Year of Fuzz Tone Quest

Basic AudioBearfoot FXBig Muff Style FuzzBossCatalinbreadChase Bliss AudioCrazy Tube CircuitsDr ScientistDr. No EffectsDunlop EffectsElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzJHS PedalsMaestro Style FuzzMatthews EffectsModulated FuzzMonsterpieceOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOld Blood Noise EndeavorsOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzPLBR EffectsProAnalog DevicesRat Style FuzzShift LineSide EffectsSilicon FuzzSkreddy PedalsSolidGoldFXSpaceman EffectsSubdecay EffectsSuper-Fuzz StyleThorpyFXTone Bender Style FuzzVFE PedalsWalrus AudioZvex+-
2018AfBlgYearOfFuzz700-min.jpg

My big thing his year - apart from the usual pedal-chain ToneQuest has been my separate ’Year of Fuzz’ journey for which this article will probably be a Part 1, even though I’ve already reached most of the goals I set at the start of the year, and am somewhat over quota! When I first started down this road I really did not know too much about fuzz beyond Hendrix really. I did not realise how much fuzz was actually used on so many of my favourite records and tracks. I also love...

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Comparative Guitar Pedal Acquisition Strategy - 210 Compact Pedal Edition

Analog.ManBearfoot FXBogner AmplificationBoost and OverdriveBossChase Bliss AudioCustom TonesDelayDistortionElectro-HarmonixFoxpedalFulltone EffectsFuzzGreer AmpsGuitar Gear RetailHamstead SoundworksJ RockettJackson AudioJHS PedalsJRADKeeley EngineeringKHDKMad Professor EffectsMI EffectsModulationMojo Hand FXMythos PedalsNobelsPaul CochranePitchReverbRockBoxSide EffectsTC ElectronicUtilityWamplerWren and CuffXotic Effects+-
2018AfBlg35BoostOverdrives700-min

I am known for writing lists and cross-tabulating and cross-referencing the contents thereof while I consider which is the best / preferred choice for me. Note that there is never really a ’best’ overall pedal, simply the one that best fits your circumstances and needs. I have lots of characteristics and attributes I look for - including a compact pedal enclosure size, with versatility and added smarts - great tone is sort of a given here. I an one of those tone-tweakers who quite ...

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