Comparative Guitar Pedal Acquisition Strategy - 210 Compact Pedal Edition

Electric Guitar Guitar Ownership Guitar Pedals Effects Pedals Pedal Acquisition Strategy + -
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 likes a few extra dials to get the most our of that pedal, as well as tune it towards your guitar and rig - as well as desired tones.

 

So what we have here is circa 210 pedals across 6 major categories - there are one or two duplicates which apply more than once. A pedal outlined in fluorescent blue is one still under consideration, while a green one has been ’green-lit’ and is in the acquisition queue as such - which has a variety of different priorities. Pedals which have no outline are those already in the collection and those marked with a magenta ’S’ icon are in full Stereo.

 

Of those marked out for acquisition - various things conspire to get in the way of all these happening - I may have a change of mind, find something better, or decide it’s surplus to requirements after all. I typically have several more extended lists per individual pedal category waiting in the wing - so what you see in this article is actually the summarised longlist!

 

The main purpose of these lists is for me to keep in mind what options are available and allow them to still shape my opinions and actions. For you good readers hopefully this points out some options and alternatives that you were not already aware of. You can see from my extended pedal-chain posts that I have a pedal-chain of 39 pedals - using larger pedals for some of my distortions, modulation, delay and reverb - and most other things handled by regular compact-sized pedals. As my floor-space is at maximum capacity, this exercise is increasingly one of pedal swaps - permanent and momentary / occasional. This is why in the main I currently consider first and foremost the compact pedal format - as featured, then Mini pedals, and then larger more workstation-like pedals for more multi-fx based tasks.

 

Per category each Pedal is listed alphabetically by brand, then pedal name:


BOOST & OVERDRIVE

Here I have 6 green-lit pedals - the Custom Tone Ethos TWE-1 which is already on order (c3 months wait from order - due in the next few weeks), the Bearfoot FX Sparkling OD3 which is a superbly versatile OD, the JHS Bonsai 9 x Tubescreamer which is somewhat late to release (mid April), then the Greer Lightspeed, Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive, MI Audio Super Blues Pro, and Side Effects Il Mostro 3 gain-stage overdrive. There are plenty of amazing alternatives here and additions still under consideration.

  • Analog.Man Prince of Tone OD [Bluesbreaker+]
  • Bearfoot FX Sparkling Yellow OD3 [Tweed + Blonde + Plexi]
  • Bogner Harlow Boost & Bloom [Boost+]
  • Bogner Wessex OD
  • Boss JB-2 Angry Driver OD/Distortion [Blues Driver + JCM800]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Condor Analog EQ / Boost / PreAmp / Filter [Boost+]
  • Custom Tones Ethos TWE-1 OD [Dumble / Trainwreck Express]
  • Electro-Harmonix Soul Food OD JHS Mod [Klone]
  • Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2 OD [Klone+]
  • Foxpedal The City V2 OD [Tubescreamer+]
  • Fulltone OCD OD [OCD]
  • Fulltone Plimsoul OD
  • Greer Amps Lightspeed OD [Klone-ish]
  • Hamstead Odyssey Intergalactic Driver OD [OCD+]
  • Jackson Audio Prism EQ / Boost / Preamp / Buffer [Boost+]
  • JHS Bonsai Multi-OD [Tubescreamer+]
  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer OD [Klone]
  • KHDK Ghoul Screamer OD [Tubescreamer+]
  • Keeley Oxblood Germanium OD [Klone+]
  • Mad Professor Golden Cello OD
  • Mad Professor Simble OD [Dumble]
  • Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive OD [Tweed]
  • MI Effects Super Blues Pro OD [Blues Driver / Breaker]
  • Mojo Hand FX Extra Special OD [Dumble]
  • Mythos Erlking OD [ODR / Tubescreamer]
  • Mythos Titan Rob Chapman Signature OD
  • Nobels ODR-1 OD [ODR / Tubescreamer]
  • Rockbox Baby Blues OD [Bluesbreaker+]
  • Side Effects Il Mostro OD
  • TC Electronic MojoMojo OD [Klone]
  • Timmy (Paul Cohcrane) OD
  • Wampler Euphoria OD [Dumble]
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe OD [Klone+]
  • Wren and Cuff Two-Five OD/Boost [Boost+]
  • Xotic RC Booster V2 [Boost+]

FUZZ

FUZZ

As reported on a number of occasions, I decreed 2018 to be the year of Fuzz (for me that is), and have concentrated most of my efforts in that direction. I have already acquired a pretty substantial and broad collection of different fuzzes - covering near enough all of the key categories in one way or another. On my current green-lit acquisition list I have the forthcoming Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation, alongside a Monsterpiece MKI, Old Blood Noise Endeavors Haunt and Skreddy Pedals P19.

  • Basic Audio Scarab Deluxe [Tone Bender+]
  • Bearfoot FX Candiru Germanium Gold Fuzz [Octave+]
  • Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz [Superfuzz+]
  • Boss FZ-3 Fuzz [Fuzz Face]
  • Boss FZ-5 Fuzz [Fuzz Face + Maestro + Octave]
  • Catalinbread Antichthon [Oscillation / Experimental]
  • Catalinbread Katzenkonig [Tone Bender + Rat]
  • Catalinbread Moseley Fuzzrite [Fuzzrite]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Gain Stage [Multi-Fuzz + Fuzz-Drive]
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation [Fuzz Faze + Tone Bender + Rangemaster]
  • Dr Scientist BitQuest [Modulated Fuzz+]
  • Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler [Super Rat+]
  • Dunlop Hendrix Octavio [Octave]
  • Electro-Harmonix Green Russian Big Muff Pi JHS Mod [Muff+]
  • Electro-Harmonix OpAmp Big Muff Pi JHS Mod [Muff+]
  • Foxpedal Defector [Muff+]
  • Foxpedal Wrath [Rat+]
  • JHS Muffuletta [Multi-Muff+]
  • Matthews Effects The Whaler [Maestro+]
  • Monsterpiece MKI [Tone Bender]
  • Monsterpiece Scratchy Snatch 6K (Fuzz Face + Tone Bender]
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors Haunt [Gated]
  • ProAnalog Devices MKIV Vintage [Fuzz Face+]
  • Side Effects Woolly Mammoth 7 Clone [Mammoth + Oscillation]
  • Skreddy Pedals BC109 [Fuzz Face+]
  • Skreddy Pedals P19 [Muff]
  • Skreddy Pedals Hybrid Fuzz Driver [Fuzz-Drive]
  • Skreddy Pedals Lunar Module [Fuzz-Drive]
  • SolidGoldFX '76 [Octave / Superfuzz]
  • Subdecay Harmonic Antagonizer [Oscillation]
  • ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud [Muff+]
  • VFE Alpha Dog [Rat+]
  • VFE Fuzz Duo [Fuzz Face/Tone Bender]
  • Walrus Audio Jupiter [Muff+]
  • Zvex Fuzz Factory [Velcro]

DISTORTION

DISTORTION

Most of my distortion pedals are larger format currently, but I am looking to supplement them with further compact format alternatives / occasional swap-outs. Green-lit for acquisition are Alexander Pedals Hot Pink 80's Drive, Anptweaker TightMetal Jr, Friedman Dirty Shirley Drive, Keeley Filaments High Gain Distortion, and Zvex Vertical Box of Rock

  • Alexander Pedals Hot Pink 80's Drive
  • Amptweaker TighMetal Jr Distortion [Rectifier]
  • Amptweaker TightRock Jr Drive [Plexi]
  • Bearfoot FX Emerald Green Distortion Machine [Boosted Vox]
  • Bearfoot FX Model Hs Drive [Dumble + HiWatt]
  • Bogner Burnley Distortion
  • Boss DS-1 Distortion 40A
  • Boss DS-1X Distortion
  • Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion
  • Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
  • Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret Drive [Plexi]
  • Catalinbread Galileo Drive [Boosted Vox]
  • Catalinbread RAH Distortion [Boosted HiWatt]
  • Catalinbread Sabbra Cadabra Distortion [Boosted Laney]
  • Dawner Prince RedRox Distortion [JCM800]
  • Dr Scientist The Elements Multi-Drive
  • EarthQuaker Devices Acapulco Gold Distortion
  • Friedman BE-OD Distortion [JCM800]
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley Drive [Plexi]
  • JHS Andy Timmons @+ Distortion [JCM800]
  • JHS Kilt V2 Drive [Expandora]
  • Keely Filaments Distortion
  • Mad Professor #1 Distortion [Brown Sound]
  • MI Audio Super Crunch Box VD Distortion [Brown Sound]
  • Ramble FX Marvel 3 Drive [Plexi]
  • Sinvertek No.5 Distortion
  • Skreddy Pedals Screwdrive Mini Deluxe Drive
  • Subdecay Variac 80's Distortion [Plexi+]
  • Suhr Riot Distortion [JCM800]
  • TC Electronic Dark Matter Distortion
  • VFE Distortion 3 [MXR Micro Amp + DOD-250 + MXR Distortion+]
  • VFE Vomit Hound Drive
  • Wampler Dracarys Distortion
  • Wampler Sovereign Distortion
  • Zvex Vertical Box of Rock Drive [Plexi]

MODULATION

MODULATION

For Modulation I have 2 key routes currently - larger digital workstations - originally the Strymon Mobius, now second-fiddle to my Boss MD-500 and aided by the Chase Bliss Audio Modulation Quadfecta of Gravitas, Spectre, Warped Vinyl and Wombtone - plus a Tech 21 Roto Choir and TC Electronic Dreamscape. I am always on the look for additional flavours and occasional swap outs. Current green-lit pedals include the original Boss BF-2 compact analogue flanger, the forthcoming CryBaby 535Q Mini, Pigtronix Ringmaster, and Zvex Vibrophase when that eventually materialises.

  • A/DA PBF Flanger [Analogue]
  • Alexander Pedals Colour Theory Spectrum 8-step Modulated Sequencer [Digital]
  • Alexander Pedals F-13 Neo Flanger [Digital]
  • Alexander Pedals La Calatrava Phaser [Digital]
  • Alexander Pedals Syntax Error Audio Computer System Bit Modulation [Digital]
  • Boss BF-2 Falnger [Analogue]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas Tremolo [Analogue]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Spectre II Flanger [Analogue]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl II Chorus/Vibrato [Analogue]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone II Phaser [Analogue]
  • Dawner Prince Viberator Vibe [Stereo Analogue]
  • DigiTech Dirty Robot Synth [Stereo Digital]
  • DigiTech FreqOut Feedback Creator [Digital]
  • DigiTech Nautila Chorus/Flanger [Stereo Digital]
  • DigiTech Ventura Vibe Vibrato/Rotary [Stereo Digital]
  • DigiTech Whammy Ricochet [Digital]
  • Dr Scientist BitQuest Fuzz Modulator / BitCrusher [Analogue]
  • Dunlop CryBaby Mini Wah [Analogue]
  • Dunlop CryBaby 535Q Mini Wah [Analogue]
  • Dunlop CryBaby Q-Zone Fixed Wah [Analogue]
  • JHS Emperor Chorus V2 [Digital]
  • JHS Unicorn Vibe V2 [Digital]
  • MuFX Micro-Tron III Envelope Filter [Analogue]
  • Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analog Synth [Stereo Analogue]
  • Pigtronix Ringnaster Analog Ring Modulator [Stereo Analogue]
  • Southampton Pedals Utility Knife Modulator [Digital]
  • Stone Deaf Tremotron Tremolo [Analogue]
  • Subdecay OctaSynth [Analogue]
  • Subdecay Quasar Phaser V4 [Analogue]
  • Subdecay Starlight Flanger V2 [Analogue]
  • Swindler Effects Red Mountain Tremolo [Stereo Digital]
  • TC Electronic John Petrucci Dreamscape [Stereo Digital]
  • TC Electronic Helix Phaser [Stereo Digital]
  • TC Electronic Pipeline Tremolo [Digital]
  • Zvex Vibrophase [Analogue]

DELAY & REVERB

DELAY & REVERB

Initially served by Strymon TimeLine and BigSky, which are currently second-strings to the Empress EchoSystem and Boss RV-500. I currently have no separate compact delay or reverbs, but will most likely by using my #34 slot - where it needs to be Stereo - meaning I could supplement with the Boss Tera Echo, TCE Flashback or HoF, even though I am also looking to get a Catalinbread Bicycle Delay and Montreal Assembly Count to Five (not sure where to fit them in). I just wish there were more compact-format Delay and Reverb pedals out there - in my selection of 35 - only 9 are Stereo-equipped - which is every one available currently as far as I am aware.

  • Adventure Audio Whateverb [Digital]
  • Alexander Pedals Quadrant Audio Mirror Delay [Digital]
  • Alexander Pedals Audio Radical Delay II Plus [Digital]
  • Alexander Sky Fi Delay + Reverb [Digital]
  • Boss DW-2w Analog Delay [Analogue]
  • Boss DD-7 Digital Delay [Digital]
  • Boss RV-6 Reveb [Digital]
  • Boss TE-2 Tera Echo Modualated Delay [Digital]
  • Catalinbread Belle Epoch Tape Delay [Digital Echoplex]
  • Catalinbread Bicycle Delay [Digital]
  • Catalinbread Echorec Tape Delay [Digital]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Pitch-Shifting Delay [Analogue]
  • Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall RKM [Analogue]
  • DigiTech Obscura Delay [Stereo Digital]
  • DigiTech Polara Reverb [Stereo Digital]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Afterneath Reverb [Digital]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Despatch Master Delay + Reveb [Digital]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Modulated Delay [Digital]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Reverb [Digital]
  • Electro-Harmonix Canyon Delay + Reverb + Looper [Digital]
  • Foxpedal Magnifica Deluxe Reverb [Digital]
  • JHS Panter Cub Delay [Analogue]
  • Keeley Ecco Delay [Stereo Digital]
  • Mad Professor Kosmos Multi-Reverb [Digital]
  • Montreal Assembly Count to Five Particle Delay [Digital]
  • MXR Carbon Copy Analog Delay [Analogue]
  • MXR M300 Reverb [Digital]
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavors Procession Reverb [Digital]
  • Sinvertek Fluid Time MKII Delay [Analogue]
  • TC Electronic Alter Ego Vintage Delay [Stereo Digital]
  • TC Electronic Flashback II Delay [Stereo Digital]
  • TC Electronic Hall of Fame II Reverb [Stereo Digital]
  • Walrus Audio ARP-87 Multi-Function Delay [Digital]
  • Walrus Audio Fathom Multi-Function Reverb [Digital]
  • Wampler Ethereal Delay + Reverb [Digital]

UTILITY, SIGNAL & PITCH

UTILITY, SIGNAL & PITCH

This listing covers several categories - in fact Compression, Pitch-Shifting / Harmonizing, Looping, ABY / Line Selection, Octavers, Noise Gates, EQs and Bitcrushers even. I have long been considering acquisition of an EHX Pitchform, Modded EHX Nano POG, TCE Quintessence Harmonizer and TCE Sentry Noise Gate. Utilities are probably the least exciting of the various pedal categories - so these kinds of acquisitions tend to be left to last in deference to Fuzzes, Drives and Time-based and Modulation pedals.

  • Bondi Effects 2026 Compressor [VCA Compressor]
  • Boss CP-1X Multiband Compressor [MDP Compressor]
  • Boss TU-3 Chromatic Tuner
  • Boss GE-7 7-band EQ Alchemy Audio Mod
  • Boss PS-6 Harmonist Harmonizer [Stereo]
  • Boss RC-3 Loop Station Looper [Stereo]
  • Boss LS-2 Line Selector
  • Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor Noise Gate
  • Boss OC-3 Super Octave
  • DigiTech The Drop - drop-tune
  • DigiTech JamMan Solo XT Looper [Stereo]
  • EarthQuaker Devices Bit Commander Bitcrusher
  • EarthQuaker Devices Pitch Bay Pitch-Shifter
  • EarthQuaker Devices Tone Job 3-band EQ
  • EarthQuaker Devices The Warden Compressor [Optical Compressor]
  • Electro-Harmonix Freeze Hold Sustainer
  • Electro-Harmonix Pitch Fork Pitch-Shifter
  • Electro-Harmonix Nano POG Matthews Effects Mod
  • Electro Harmonic Silencer Noise Gate
  • Fortin Amps Zuul Noise Gate
  • Iron Ether FrantaBit Bitcrusher
  • Keeley Compressor Plus [OTA Compressor]
  • Malekko Scrutinator BitCrusher
  • MXR Studio Compressor [OTA Compressor with CHT]
  • Source Audio 8-band Programmable EQ
  • Origin Effects Cali76 Compact Deluxe Compressor [FET Compressor]
  • TC Electronic Ditto Stereo Looper
  • TC Electronic Hyper Gravity Multiband Compressor [MD3 Compressor]
  • TC Electronic Mimiq Doubler [Stereo Double-Tracker]
  • TC Electronic PolyTune 3 Polytonic Tuner with Buffer
  • TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer [Stereo Harmonizer]
  • TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate
  • TC Electronic Sub 'N' Up Octaver
  • Wampler Ego Compressor [OTA Compressor]
  • WMD Devices ParaEQ Parametric EQ

Final Thoughts and Advice

I've said before that the more you know, the more informed your decision-making and the better the results, but unfortunately you are also totally aware of how many amazing pedals there are out there. So you need so set yourself a monthly / yearly budget and very carefully consider each choice made.

 

I shift fairly quickly between satisfaction, and hot and cold feelings for further acquisitions. It can easily get all too much, so if you are going down this route, you must be highly disciplined and organised - and you must have set limits. By all means let other people inform and influence your choices, but you should make your own way generally.

 

No one has specifically led me to making my choices or has brought me to this particular point of evolution / innovation. All they have done is added ammunition to my considerations - I make all the decisions, and most would indeed advise against the route I have taken. But then remember that Jimi Hendrix and Eddie Van Halen made their own ways - often against general advice.

 

With pedals there is rarely only one way - innovation comes from trying all manner of things in all manner of combinations and sort orders. This is all part of a larger Tone Quest experience, a journey of many parts and many paths. By all means do follow what I'm doing, but forge ahead your own way. There's far too many naysayers and gainsayers out there trying to decree what is acceptable and what is correct. We journeymen say - try breaking some rules - you will only get to the next level by experimenting. You follow other people's paths and they only lead to what has already been discovered. I have a very broad palette of influences, and am not one of those who is striving to exactly replicate David Gilmour or John Mayer. I will draw in all my influences and very much make my own way - and that path changes every day...

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