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2019 New Guitar Pedals of the Year

Ambient EffectsAmp and Cab IR SimBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCusack MusicDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahFeaturedFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGFI SystemGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRed Panda LabRedbeard EffectsReverb WorkstationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitekSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayThorpyFXTomkat PedalsTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWalrus AudioWamplerWren and Cuff+-
2019GPXNewPedalsOfTheYear700V3.jpg

I’ve long mentioned that we’re living through the second golden age of effects pedals (some say ’Diamond Age’’), and as good as things have been - 2019 took it all to an entirely new level of excellence. I don’t recall any previous year where we’ve had quite the same degree of innovation and so many ingeniously appealing pedals - this year has been so fast and furious - it’s been difficult to keep up at times.

 

I noted in my End of Year ...

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2019 Pedal-Chain Year-End Final Arrangement!

12 Degrees of SaturationAleks K ProductionAmbient EffectsBearfoot FXBeat MachineBeetronics FXBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBlues Driver Style OverdriveBoostBoost and OverdriveBossBrown Sound DistortionBufferChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoCompressorDanDrive PedalDelayDelay WorkstationDemon PedalsDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDr ScientistDriveDual-DriveDumble Style OverdriveEchoverbEmpress EffectsEnvelope Filter and Auto WahEQEventideExpresso FXFlangerFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayGuitar Synth and SequencerHarmonizerJackson AudioKeyztoneKlone and Transparent OverdriveLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionMI EffectsModulated FuzzModulationModulation WorkstationMulti-DriveMu-TronNoise GateOCD Style OverdriveOctave FuzzOctaverOddball DelayOddball FuzzOddball ModulationOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePhaserPitchPitch-ShiftingPlate ReverbRack Style ReverbRat Style FuzzRedbeard EffectsReverbReverb WorkstationREVV AmplificationRing ModulationRotary SpeakerShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSinvertekSitek Guitar ElectronicsSlicer and StutterSource AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbSpring ReverbStrymonTape DelayTC ElectronicThorpyFXToneQuestTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveUni-Vibe and VibeVox Style DistortionWah and Fixed Wah+-
2019GPXSKSignalChainYEFinal700.jpg

I’m possibly writing this just a touch prematurely as at the point of writing - one of the pictured pedals hasn’t turned up quite yet, and it will be touch and go if gets released out of customs before the end of the year. That pedal being Sinvertek’s new N5+ Drive - featuring no less than 7 beautifully milled aluminium knobs along with 5 toggle-switches - and all within a compact enclosure format - but more of that later.

 

This year has mostly sort of gone to plan - ...

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Spaceman Effects Delivers Voyager Tremolo Derived Articulate Apollo VII Overdrive

BoostBoost and OverdriveFuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionOverdriveSpaceman Effects+-
2019GPXSpacemanApolloVII700.jpg

You may recall that I wasn’t overly enamoured with Spaceman’s previous release - the Saturn VI Harmonic Booster - which wasn’t quite as pedestrian as some readers thought I made it sound, but nevertheless did not inspire me into action.

 

It is quite a different story with this new-but-old Apollo VII Overdrive which has actually been extracted from the guts of the Voyager I Optical Analog Tremolo where it acted as the PreAmp or Gain Stage for that pedal. Much in a ...

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17 Leading Pedal Builders Coordinate Blacked Out Stealth Black Enclosure Limited Editions for Black Friday Event Today!

Adventure AudioBig Muff Style FuzzBitcrushing and Lo-FiBoostBoost and OverdriveBrown Sound DistortionCaroline Guitar CompanyChase Bliss AudioChorus and VibratoDeath By AudioDelayDigital DelayDigital ReverbDistortionDouble TrackingDriveDunable PedalsEarthQuaker DevicesElectronic Audio ExperimentsFriedman EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGated and Velcro FuzzGermanium FuzzGlitchGranular DelayJHS PedalsKlone and Transparent OverdriveLand DevicesLo-Fi DelayLooperMarshall Style DistortionMeris EffectsMetal DistortionModulated FuzzModulationOctave FuzzOddball FuzzOld Blood Noise EndeavorsOpAmp FuzzOscillating FuzzOverdrivePitchPitch-ShiftingRed Panda LabReverbShimmer ReverbSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsSpacey ReverbTape DelayTremoloTubescreamer Style OverdriveWalrus AudioZvex+-
2019GBX19BlackedXOutMain700V2.jpg

Near the start of this week we saw several leading pedal builder brands go all mysterious on us posting an encircled (B) logo ident accompanied by the hashtag #BLACKEDXOUT on various social media. Many thought this to mean some sort of limited or black edition pedals for the Black Friday ’sales’, while I wrongly guessed it implied a Black Friday Sales boycott.

 

This afternoon all was revealed when 17 Brands together released all-black stealth-like enclosures for one or a few...

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Spaceman Effects Expands Range with Unlimited Standard Edition Saturn VI Harmonic Booster and Low-Gain Overdrive

BoostBoost and OverdriveEffects Pedal MakersOverdriveSpaceman Effects+-
2019GPXSpacemanSaturnVI700.jpg

It’s been an interesting few weeks of late - where we’ve seen JHS Pedals encroach on Spaceman territory by launching pricey teaser-campaign limited edition $400 pedals. While Spaceman Effects is now extending its reach into the mass-market with an always-available Standard Edition pedal available at the relatively low price of $179 (Compared to other Spaceman pedals).

 

The Standard Edition pedal is the former baseline unpainted steel enclosure, and has the lowest cost ...

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In the Wake of Spaceman's Fantastic New Gemini IV - is it Time for a Sputnik III?

Demedash EffectsFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzGermanium FuzzOddball FuzzSpaceman Effects+-
2019Gpx4Sputniks700.jpg

For a while now, the Spaceman Effects Sputnik I has been one of my favourite fuzzes and has been rotated in a lot on Slot #5 of my pedal-chain. It’s just a great sounding fuzz with a huge variety of searing tones - which you can then kick up a gear by hitting the Drift/Sync (Sizzle) and Filter (EQ/Tone Circuit) switches - which I can do with my toes pretty much, as those particular toggle switches are sufficiently extended for that (switching on that is!).

 

Like quite a number of ...

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4 Fantastic Germanium and Silicon Switching Fuzz Pedals

Big Muff Style FuzzDanDrive PedalFuzzFuzz Face Style FuzzFuzz-Drive and FuzzstortionGermanium FuzzOctave FuzzOddball FuzzPaul Trombetta DesignSilicon FuzzSpaceman EffectsTone Bender Style FuzzWren and Cuff+-
2019GPX4FantasticSiliGermFuzzes700-min.jpg

This article is somewhat in response to the fairly recent arrival of my long quested for Spaceman Gemini IV (originally chasing the III), and the imminent arrival of my DanDrive Austin Pride Fuzz. In fact when I was working on my last but one article on Tone Benders I was in two minds as to whether to include Paul Trombetta’s Bone Machine GTX - as I’m not 100% clear on what its circuit provenance is and exactly which fuzz family it is supposed to belong to - in the end I determined ...

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2019GPXSpacemanGemini34700V2-min.jpg

The Chase for a Gemini III has sort of been my White Whale really - as I’ve been on the case for several years now - but the going prices of the 2011 originals were just stratospherically ridiculous - in fact there are a couple on Ebay right now - ’Used!’ For $1,800 and $1,975 respectively! I feel those prices are going to come down somewhat significantly now though as the new version - albeit in a larger medium-vertical enclosure - has a notably superior feature set. Whenever...

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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 WahEQEventideFlangerFuzzFuzz 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 AudioSpaceman EffectsSpacey 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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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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