Guitar Pedal Directory - Favourite Pedals by Preferred Pedal-Makers

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This is essentially a companion piece to the previous / associated ’More Pedal Chain Delight’ article. I’ve also tagged on some additional pedals which are of interest to me by those brands/makers already covered - these may or may not be universally acclaimed to be the best by said maker - they are purely my own preferences. I have a sort of ongoing dynamically adjusting wishlist where I log potential acquisition targets and weigh them up against everything else that is out there - in terms of tone, feature set, versatility, practicality, form-factor, availability and price. These things change on pretty much a daily basis - and are definitely highly influenced by price and availability as well as forthcoming pedal introductions - I am also very amenable to second-hand, as long as said pedals are in pretty pristine condition and as long as someone is not trying to fleece me at 2 or 3 times face-value.

 

The following listing is alphabetical by Pedal Maker Brand - around 450+ pedals mentioned across circa 90 key brands.

 

Last updated 7th February 2018.

ADA Amps : Dave Tarnowski : Concord, California, USA

www.adaamps.com

 

The Amps in the title is actually more Pre-Amp pedals, as that is the bread and butter for this outfit really - with the PBF Flanger (Pedal-board friendly) their one product of note for me:

  • A/DA PBF Flanger .

Adventure Audio : Christian Terjesen : Rochester, NYC, USA

adventurepedals.com

 

I know Christian's company mostly though its smart Whateverb and Dream Reaper pedals. There are currently just 5 pedals in the collection - 3 medium, one regular compact and one sort of mini - all are worthy of consideration and all do one or more things outside typical norms, a smart up-and-coming pedal-builder.

  • Adventure Audio Dream Reaper Fuzzy Feedback Modulation
  • Adventure Audio Glacial Zenith Overdrive
  • Adventure Audio Outer Rings Ring Mod
  • Adventure Audio Power Couple Boost
  • Adventure Audio Whateverb V2

Alexander Pedals : Matthew Farrow : Garner, North Carolina, USA

www.alexanderpedals.com

 

I have the La Calavera Phaser from this company, but am interested in 5 others. Alexander specialises in slightly quirky but really clever compact-design digital pedals - which all sound great and typically achieve some wonderful variation of tone not found elsewhere - pedals of note are listed below:

  • Alexander Pedals Colour Theory 8-Step Spectrum Sequencer
  • Alexander Pedals F-13 Neo Flanger
  • Alexander Pedals Hot Pink 80's Drive/Distortion
  • Alexander Pedals La Calavera Phaser .
  • Alexander Pedals Jubilee Silver Overdrive
  • Alexander Pedals Quadrant Audio Mirror Delay
  • Alexander Pedals Radical Delay II+
  • Alexander Pedals Sky Fi Delay + Reverb
  • Alexander Pedals Syntax Error Glitch

Amptweaker : James Brown : Cumming, Georgia, USA

www.amptweaker.com

 

James Brown is something of an amp-making legend having worked with Eddie Van Halen to create the very first 5150 amp circuit while at Peavey. Amptweaker is his own pedal company, and is most notable for its very highly featured 'Pro' pedals. Recent innovations have seen miniaturisation of those into compact 'Jr' enclosures, and I have the Tight Fuzz and Tight Metal Jrs on my shopping list. There are a number of pedals of note here, particularly if you are a fan of high gain - where the Tight Metal Pro has established a pretty decent reputation.

  • Amptweaker Tight Fuzz Jr
  • Amptweaker Tight Metal Jr
  • Amptweaker Tight Metal Pro
  • Amptweaker Tight Rock Jr

Analog.Man : Mike Piera : Garner, Bethel, Connecticut, USA

www.buyanalogman.com

 

'King of Tone' Mike Piera is extremely well known within boutique pedal-making circles (circuits!) - and his library and inventory of rare and amazing transistors and other vintage components is legendary. The most significant disincentive though it that near enough everything is hand-made one-at-a-time in the USA (waiting list) and only available direct from Analog.Man - so these can be difficult to come by for UK customers - not many turn up on Reverb.com either. Importantly though, prices here are pretty reasonable. The most famous Piera pedal is the celebrated King of Tone - based on an early Marshall Bluesbreaker pedal with additional boost - I personally prefer the more compact Prince of Tone - which foregoes the boost options, but gives you more gain in the highest setting. Pretty much all of Mike's pedals are excellent - many rate his vintage analogue delays too, but I'm really only properly interested in the following three:

  • Analog.Man Astro Tone Fuzz
  • Analog.Man Beano Boost (Treble)
  • Analog.Man Envelope Filter
  • Analog.Man King of Tone
  • Analog.Man Peppermint Fuzz
  • Analog.Man Prince of Tone
  • Analog.Man Sun Face Red Dot NKT Fuzz (fully loaded)

BearFoot FX : Donner Rusk : St Louis, Missouri, USA

www.bearfootfx.com

 

Another Björn Juhl connection here - this is another pedal-maker which puts out BJFe sound-designed pedals (alongside Mad Professor and OneControl) - both as the USA distributor for BJFe, also as a manufacturing partner which makes for instance - one of my favourite Vox Top Boost types - the Emerald Green Distortion Machine (originally by BJFe). Both the EGDM and the Emerald Green Overdrive (its successor) have now been discontinued owing to a lack of available components (the specific transistors used). Bearfoot is renown for its range of very amp-like pedals, both in their dynamics and output richness and harmonics. I have come across several of these on and off, but the first one to really stuck / struck was the EGDM. There are quite a few more desirables though:

  • BearFoot FX Bone Bender MKI Fuzz
  • Bearfoot FX Candiru Fuzz
  • Bearfoot FX Candy Apple Fuzz Gold (Germanium)
  • Bearfoot FX Emerald Green Distortion Machine (Silicon) .
  • Bearfoot FX Emerald Green Overdrive (Germanium)
  • Bearfoot FX Honey Bee Overdrive
  • Bearfoot FX Uber Bee Overdrive
  • Bearfoot FX Model Hs (HiWatt / Dumble) .
  • Bearfoot FX Sparkling Yellow Overdrive 3

Blackout Effectors : Kyle Tompkins : Leicester, North Carolina, USA

www.blackouteffectors.com

 

I was aware of Blackout through a variety of pedal videos, including the recent Cavavernous V2 Reverberator and various iterations of the Musket Fuzz. For me Blackout Effectors is mostly associated with Fuzz Pedals - they do some pretty awesome lagrge-scale ones two, which alas are over-sized for my needs, although I do include the superb Caravernous Reverb in my list.

  • Blackout Effectors Cadavernous V2 Reverberator
  • Blackout Effectors Fix'd Fuzz Deluxe
  • Blackout Effectors Fubar Fuzz
  • Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz

Bogner Amplification | Reinhold Bogner | North Hollywood, California, USA

www.bogneramplification.com

 

Reinhold Bogner is a phenomenal sound-designer and engineer and builds some of the most capable full-range / high distortion amps available anywhere. He is obsessed with quality and detail, and all his amps and pedals follow the same strict regime. I only have one so far - the superb Rupert-Neve-transformer-loaded 'Burnley' distortion - with luxury Bubinga top-plate - I fully intend to get the 'Wessex' overdrive from the same range, as well as the higher gain Red-Channel derivation from the Ecstasy amp. I might even consider the superb 'Plexi' clone which is 'La Grange'. There is no weak one amongst these, although the Uberschall could do with more tone-shaping options, as the Ecstasy Red greatly exceeds it in range and tweakability. I would also be interested in acquiring the Oxford Fuzz if Reinhold could squeeze its width down to the same size as the Burnley and Wessex.

  • Bogner Burnley Distortion (Rupert Neve) .
  • Bogner Ecstasy Blue Drive
  • Bogner Ecstasy Red Distortion
  • Bogner Harlow Boost & Bloom (Rupert Neve)
  • Bogner La Grange Distortion (Plexi)
  • Bogner Lyndhurst Compressor (Rupert Neve)
  • Bogner Oxford Fuzz (Rupert Neve)
  • Bogner Uberschall Distortion
  • Bogner Wessex Overdrive (Ruper Neve)

Bondi Effects - Jon and Anna Ashley - Darlinghurst, NSW, Australia

www.bondieffects.com

 

A small boutique Australian pedal-making team based just outside Sydney Australia - I guess they are the Dr Scientist as such of Australia. They only have 3 pedals on offer - but all are great - the most recent Breakers Overdrive is a an evolution from the Del Mar which was based around a Tubescreamer Circuit. My favourite here is the really smart 2026 Blackmer VCA-based compressor - which I wish could be reduced to a mini form-factor. Lots of players love and 'sport' all of these.

  • Bondi Effects 2026 Compressor (Blackmer VCA)
  • Bondi Effects Breakers Overdrive (Trans)
  • Bondi Effects Sick As Overdrive (Klon)

Boss : Yoshi Ikegami : Hamamatsu, Shizuoka Prefecture, Japan (< Roland Group)

www.boss.info

 

Boss is an interesting case - they essentially invented the modern 'compact' pedal which is the standard size now - back in 1977. And they maintain almost exactly the same latched-switch-plate design today, which does have certain inherent limitations - cv Chase Bliss, Dr Scientist, Foxpedal, and JHS now. That said, this is one of the 2 most legendary pedal companies in terms of creating long-lasting classics - with Electro-Harmonix being the other. EHX to my mind still does too many over-sized enclosures, and both companies could benefit with a degree of modernisation. That said - Boss has come strong of late with its Waza range, 500 range, Katana Amps and latest JB-2 Angry Driver pedal - which are all excellent. Much of this is super modern, but the compact pedals still look the same as they've always done, although currently they're made in Taiwan versus the Japan of old, and some have lesser quality components for a variety of reasons. That said, there are a tonne of Boss pedals that I'm still very much interested in - including all of the following:

  • Boss AC-3 Acoustic Simulator
  • Boss BF-2 Flanger (MIJ)
  • Boss JB-2 Angry Driver .
  • Boss CP-1X Compressor
  • Boss DD-500 Delay
  • Boss DS-1 Distortion .
  • Boss DS-1X Distortion .
  • Boss AW-3 Dynamic Wah
  • Boss GE-7 Equalizer .
  • Boss FRV-1 Fender '63 Spring Reverb
  • Boss FZ-3 Fuzz .
  • Boss FZ-5 Fuzz .
  • Boss PS-6 Harmonist Harmonizer
  • Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal
  • Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz .
  • Boss RC-3 Looper
  • Boss MD-2 Mega Distortion
  • Boss MT-2 Metal Zone
  • Boss MD-500 Modulation .
  • Boss NS-2 Noise Suppressor .
  • Boss OD-1X OverDrive
  • Boss SY-300 Polyphonic Guitar Synth
  • Boss RV-500 Reverb .
  • Boss TE-2 Tera Echo

Buffalo FX : Steve Painter : France

www.buffalo-fx.com

 

I'm a huge fan of the sound of the Butler Tube Driver pedal - which uses an actual 12AX7 valve and comes in a pretty sizeable enclosure - funnily TC Electronic have just recently released their own sort of version of this - 'Tube Pilot' which is similarly loaded with a 12AX7 loaded into a regular enclosure, but with no tone stack - just volume and gain. The Buffalo FX TD-X gives you the same sort of sound from transistors alone - using a cleverly tuned analogue circuit. The TCE Tube Pilot is only £49 - so I'm actuall tempted to try that one too!

  • Buffalo FX Carrera Overdrive
  • Buffalo Germanium Fuzz V3
  • Buffalo Patriot Fuzz
  • Buffalo FX TD-X Overdrive

BYOC / Build Your Own Clone : Keith Vonderhulls : Moses Lake, Washington State, USA

buildyourownclone.com

 

I'm not really into building and soldering my own pedals yet - but if I were I would start here. I have one of these pedals already (Lil' Mouse [Rat]) - assembled by Johnny Balmer of Alchemy Audio, and the Crown Jewel multi-drive is high up on my wishlist. BYOC specialise in making very high quality clone kits - based on the exact same components of those source models. They do a variety of different sizes - including lots of really decent mini pedals. They also have a number of these available pre-built - which is how I prefer to acquire them!

  • BYOC Crown Jewel
  • BYOC Lil' Mouse .
  • BYOC Mouse (discontinued)

Carl Martin : Søren Jongberg : Grenaa, Denmark (< East Sound Research)

carlmartin.com

 

Compared to size of country, there really are quite a lot of really good Danish pedal brands - and they sort of split into Vintage and Modern - with Carl Martin, Nordvang Custom and T-Rex sitting mostly in the vintage effects category, while Emma Electronic, Lunastone and TC Electronic tend toward the more modern side. Carl Martin make universally excellent sounding pedals, but I have the same issue with them as I have with EHX - in that the vast majority of their pedals are in medium or above size enclosures. In several cases there is good cause for the medium enclosure as a number of these have dual footswitches - and this is something Carl Martin is very well known for - dual compression, dual chorus etc. I don't know why they can't take a leaf out of Chase Bliss's, Dr Scientist's and Foxpedal's playbook and adopt more compact size enclosures - even with dual footswitches as those do. The Greg Howe Lick Box is excellent though - yes it is oversized, but it does combine Boost, Overdrive and Distortion. I also really like the sound of the DC Drive, but would much prefer it in a smaller enclosure.

  • Carl Martin DC Drive
  • Carl Martin Greg Howe Lick Box

Catalinbread Effects / Mechanisms of Music : Nicholas Harris RIP & Howard Gee : Portland, Oregon, USA

www.catalinbread.com

 

I used to know Catalinbread best for its delay pedals - Adineko, Belle Epoch, Csidman, Echorec, Topanga etc., but I've become more familiar with their drive pedals of late - after I did copious research for a Vox AC30 Treble Boost pedal. I obviously ended up buying the Galileo, and have a mind to get the RAH and Sabbra Cadabra too sometime, while I've always been a huge Marshall fan too, so will most likely check out the Dirty Little Secret also eventually. I was for a while considering the Echorec also, but really want my delays and reverbs to be stereo these days.

  • Catalinbread Antichthon Tremolo Fuzz .
  • Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe Tape Delay
  • Catalinbread Bicycle Delay
  • Catalinbread Dirty Little Secret (Marshall Super Lead Distortion)
  • Catalinbread Echorec Tape Delay
  • Catalinbread Fuzzrite Fuzz (w/ Moseley) .
  • Catalinbread Galileo (Queen Vox + Treble Boost Distortion) .
  • Catalinbread Katzenkonig Fuzz (Tonebender + Rat inspired) .
  • Catalinbread RAH (Zeppelin Hi-Watt + Treble Boost Distortion)
  • Catalinbread Sabbra Cadabra (Sabbath Laney + Treble Boost Distortion)

Chase Bliss Audio : Joel Korte : Anoka, Minnesota, USA

chaseblissaudio.com

 

These to me are the jewels of the pedal world really - seeing how much amazing functionality Joel Korte can squeeze into a regular compact enclosure is just a marvel of engineering - and these sound as beautiful as they look - they're pricey mind you. I've only just recently acquired my 5th Chase Bliss pedal - the Warped Vinyl Chorus/Vibrato, just to find out that there is an updated model coming out at the end of this month - the Warped Vinyl HiFi with a Lag dial instead of Volume and a totally different tone circuit - so that one goes on the wishlist too. I'm still kind of undecided about the Tonal Recall RKM - no doubt it's an excellent pedal, but very steep at £500 and mono output only - so I would have to squeeze it into the chain at an odd location. I'll probably wait for the sales to come around again.

  • Chase Bliss Audio Brothers Analog Gain Stage .
  • Chase Bliss Audio Condor Analog EQ + Pre + Filter
  • Chase Bliss Audio Gravitas .
  • Chase Bliss Audio Spectre MKII .
  • Chase Bliss Tonal Recall RKM
  • Chase Bliss Audio Thermae Analog Delay + Pitch Shifter
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MKII .
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl HiFi
  • Chase Bliss Audio Wombtone MKII .

Crazy Tube Circuits - Christos Ntaifotis - Athens, Greece

crazytubecircuits.com

 

With Crazy Tube Circuits, Jam Pedals and Side Effects - Athens seems to be a hotbed of pedal-makers these days. CTC is likely best known for its Splash and White Whale Reverbs and Starlight Liquid Fuzz - amongst many great sounding ones. I'm not always in love with the oversized enclosures, but look forward to acquiring the Muffuletta-like Constellation Fuzz - which does similar things for Face Fuzz and Tone Bender styles.

  • Crazy Tube Circuits Black Magic Overdrive Distortion
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Constellation Multi Fuzz (Face Fuzz + Tone Bender + Range Master)
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Echotopia Delay
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Golden Ratio Compressor
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Space Charged Tube Overdrive
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Splash / Stereo Reverb
  • Crazy Tube Circuits Starlight Fuzz
  • Crazy Tube Circuits White Whale Spring Trem-Verb

Custom Tones : Robbie Hall : Charlotte, Vermont, USA

www.customtonesinc.com

 

Robbie Hall's outfit is best known for making various versions of a very faithful Dumble-style PreAmp pedal under the Ethos product name - there are various types at various sizes, with the Ethos Overdrive being the fully loaded version. However amazing that pedal is, it's huge obviously but I've always wanted a slice of the Ethos action - which I can now acquire in the shape of the new Ethos TWE-1 - which has nothing to do with the Dumble, but is in fact a pedal made after the celebrated custom Trainwreck Express Amp. I will certainly be ordering a TWE-1 very soon - it has wonderful versatility and an enormous range of rich and harmonic drive tones.

  • Ethos Clean-Fusion II Overdrive
  • Ethos Overdrive
  • Ethos TWE-1

Dawner Prince Electronics : Zoran Kraljevic & Jelena Znaor : Zmijavci, Croatia

dawnerprince.com

 

I've known about Dawner Prince for a while now - mainly because of their excellent Binson Echorec delay simulation pedal - the Boonar. The only issues I have with that is it's odd landscape / horizontal orientation - I'm sure Zoran could fit this into a vertical style enclosure - like Zvex are now starting to do with their pedals, also I could really do with this being output in stereo - via TRS cable if need be - so that one is on my radar, but I'm not currently in any hurry to acquire. The RedRox distortion is another matter entirely - having a really crisp and crunchy Marshall-esque tonal profile - I'm looking to get that one quite soon. Other pedals from Dawner that I'm interested in include the larger Diktator OD+Distortion and the Viberator Stereo Vibe - they also do a pretty cool Tremolo.

  • Dawner Prince Boonar (Echorec) Delay
  • Dawner Prince Diktator Dual Drive
  • Dawner Prince RedRox Distortion
  • Dawner Prince Starla Tap Tempo Tremolo
  • Dawner Prince Viberator

Diezel Amplification : Peter Diezel & Peter Stapfer : Bad Steben, Germany

diezelusa.com

 

Legendary High Gain Amps hand-made in Germany - of those the most legendary is the 4-Channel VH4 - so Diezel initially launched the VH4 pedal featuring Channel 3 from the amp. The recent updated MKII version include Channel 4 also - so you get the best of the VH4s distortion channels in a single pedal - and it sounds awesome, although the EQ control is not particularity expansive. The Herbert pedal with dual footswitch - to activate Mid-Scoop is forthcoming later this year.

  • Diezel Herbert
  • Diezel CH4 .
  • Diezel VH4-2 .

DigiTech : Bill Clayton : Stamford, Connecticut, USA (< Lexicon < Harman < Samsung)

digitech.com

 

I feel DigiTech are a little unsung of late - where I feel they are kind of the American equivalent of TC Electronic - constantly trying to innovate within the digital compact pedal enclosure, and their relatively recent modernisation should give Boss an example how it can update its range while still maintaining the same level of interest. There have been a number of really innovative pedals recently - The Trio/+, Dirty Robot, Whammy Ricochet, FreqOut and Sdrum amongst others, and the bread-and-butter time-based and modulation pedals are all exceptional too within the compact enclosure format. I have three of these pedals already and have many more on my wishlist.

  • DigiTech Dirty Robot .
  • DigiTech FreqOut
  • DigiTech Nautila Chorus/Flanger
  • DigiTech Sdrum
  • DigiTech Trio+ .
  • DigiTech The Drop .
  • DigiTech Ventura Vibe Rotary/Vibrato .
  • DigiTech Whammy Ricochet .

Dr Scientist : Ryan & Tanya Clarke : Summerland, British Columbia, Canada

www.drscientist.ca

 

I find Dr Scientist pedals uniformly brilliant - this Husband & Wife team always have a clever angle on their type of effect, and without exception they all sound phenomenal. Of the current release there is a trifecta of brilliance in the BitQuest, Frazz Dazzler and The Elements. I think the Heisenberg Molecular OD is clever, but somehow does not quite resonate to me, the same could be said of the Reverberator and Tremolescence. I feel I have the best of Dr Scientist and would happily recommend these 3 smart pedals to everyone:

  • Dr Scientist BitQuest .
  • Dr Scientist The Elements .
  • Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler .
  • Dr Scientist Heisenberg Molecular Overdrive
  • Dr Scientist Tremolessence Tremolo

DryBell Musical Electronic Laboratory : Zvonko Suhodolcan : Krapina, Croatia

drybell.com

 

One of two pedal-makers I know based in Croatia - the other being Zoran Kraljevic of Dawner Prince. This company is similar to Origin Effects (Compressors) in that it only really has one type of pedal - a Univibe style Chorus/Vibrato pedal with a heap of hidden secondary functions - hopefully V-3 will have stereo outputs for a more faithful Rotary sound. I'm not aware of any Vibe pedal that has more internal features than this one.

  • DryBell Vibe Machine V-2 (+Footswitch F-1L)

Dunlop : Jim Dunlop. Jeorge Tripps : Benicia, California, USA

www.jimdunlop.com

 

Jim Dunlop Group is actually a collection of around 10 brands or so - which include CryBaby (Wah), Dunlop (Volume / Expression), Echoplex (simulated tape delay), Fuzz Face (Fuzz), Heil (Talk-box), Jimi Hendrix (Various Signature Pedals - Fuzz, Vibe, Wah), Rotovibe (Vibe) - and MXR and Way Huge - the latter two which I have separated out into the larger listing here. I have a preference for the CryBaby and Dunlop mini pedals - I don't like the larger full-size ones, I also don't really like the disc shape Fuzz Face Fuzzes - I prefer them as Jimi Hendrix specials in regular MXR-style enclosures. I may get the Echoplex pedals eventually - possibly some or all of the Jimi Hendrix Specials - but will only get a RotoVibe - if they make it as a mini variety.

  • CryBaby Mini Wah .
  • CryBaby Mini Wah 535Q
  • Dunlop CSP-030 CryBaby Q-Zone Fixed Wah .
  • Dunlop Volume (X) Mini Volume + Expression .
  • Echoplex EP101 Preamp
  • Echoplex EP103 Delay
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM9 Cry Baby Mini Wah
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM5 Fuzz Face
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM8 Gypsy Fuzz
  • Jimi Hendriz JHM6 Octavio Fuzz
  • Jimi Hendrix JHM7 Univibe

Dwarfcraft Device : Ben Hinz (Aen) : Eau Claire, Wisconsin, USA

www.dwarfcraft.com

 

I know Dwarfcraft best because of its Pitch Grinder and Happiness Filter pedals - both of which have featured in previous articles here, and the former of which is now discontinued. I am delighted to see that Dwarfcraft is doing more compact pedals and in the current collection of 8, there are 5 I really like the look of:

  • Dwarfcraft Devices Grazer Granular Repeater
  • Dwarfcraft Devices Happiness Filter
  • Dwarfcraft Devices Necromancer Fuzz (Superfuzz)
  • Dwarfcraft Devices The Great Destroyer Oscillating Fuzz
  • Dwarfcraft Devices Wizard of Pitch (compact + simplified Pitch Grinder)

EarthQuaker Devices : Jamie Stillman : Akron, Ohio, USA

www.earthquakerdevices.com

 

EarthQuaker is a brand that I'm hugely impressed with, but peculiarly I've not acquired a single one of their pedals as of yet. I really like the look of their 2 single-dial pedals - the Acapulco Gold Drive and Erupter Fuzz. I also have the Bit Commander, Data Corrupter and Spacial Delivery in sight. There's no doubt that EarthQuaker is one of the most innovative pedal makers out there - but so far there's always been another pedal higher up the wishlist than one of these. Note that wishlists can be fairly fluid - depending on what you get exposed to - pricing, availability and new pedals. There are some pedals you gravitate more towards, and others you kind of somehow miss and overlook. So I definitely rate EQD highly and will undoubtedly have some of their pedals at some time fairly soon.

  • EQD Acapulco Gold Drive
  • EQD Afterneath Reverb
  • EQD Bit Commander BitCrusher
  • EQD Data Corrupter Frequency Filter and Oscillator
  • EQD Erupter Fuzz
  • EQD Palisades Overdrive
  • EQD Park Fuzz Sound
  • EQD Spacial Delivery Envelope Filter
  • EQD Spires Fuzz

Electro-Harmonix : Mike Matthews : Long Island City, New York, USA

www.ehx.com

 

I already mentioned when I wrote about Carl Martin that I tend to gravitate towards compact / regular-sized enclosure pedals - if they are medium or over-sized they need to have a lot of features onboard - like Empress, Stone Deaf, Strymon, and those bigger box workstations do. I see both Carl Martin and EHX as somewhat old-fashioned, and in need of a degree of modernisation. EHX definitely seems to have taken that to heart with some of its newer more innovative pedals occupying compact enclosures - like the Canyon and Pitchfork.

  • EHX 22500 Looper
  • EHX 95000 Performance Looper
  • EHX Big Muff Pi Green Russian JHS Moscow Mod
  • EHX Big Muff Pi OpAmp JHS Pumpkin Patch Mod
  • EHX Canyon
  • EHX Operation Overlord
  • EHX Pitchfork
  • EHX Soul Food JHS .
  • EHX Synth 9

Elektron Music Machines : Daniel Hansson, Anders Gärder & Mikael Räim : Gothenburg, Sweden

www.elektron.se

 

Swedish Drum Machine and Synth specialists Elektron made a very credible large format Anlogue Multi-Drive Pedal - with no less than 8 separate analogue circuits including 2 fuzzes. The pedal mostly sounds pretty great - the fact that it has presets is amazing, but boy is it huge, and none of the near sound-alike circuits sound quite as good as the dedicated pedals I already have for those sounds. So the idea was to be able to swap out some of my existing pedals, but instead, I was encouraged to simply acquire more, and the bulky Analog Drive was relegated from the pedal chain - it very occasionally puts in an appearance - there is nothing wrong with it really, but there is not a single circuit on it unfortunately that I would choose over any of my existing pedals - and it's large size makes it tricky - just to slip it in and out of any pedalboard or chain.

  • Elektron Analog Drive .

Emma Electronic : Jan Behncke : Århus, Denmark

www.emmaelectronic.com

 

The second Danish brand to get a mention uses still more classic / vintage mid-size enclosures, but fills them with very modern effects. I particularly like the DiscumBOBulator and Okto-Nøjs - but would infinitely prefer them to be in a smaller enclosure. For instance when I bought my Chase Bliss Modulation pedals I could have gone the Strymon route - which is stereo and actually lower cost than the Chase Bliss pedals largely - yet I chose to go with Chase Bliss for a variety of reasons, including the more compact form factor - reasoning that my now Boss MD-500 provides the digital stereo effects while it's OK for the analogue versions to be mono! Even though I quite like all the following Emma Electronic pedals, their size is still somehow something of a turn-off.

  • Emma Electronic DiscumBOBulator Envelope Filter
  • Emma Electronic Okto-Nøjs Octave Fuzz
  • Emma Electronic PisdiYAUWot Metal Distortion
  • Emma Electronic ReezaFRATzitz Distortion

Empress Effects : Jason Fee & Steve Bragg : Kanata, Ontario, Canada

empresseffects.com

 

I frequently think of Empress as sort of the Canadian Strymon - very high quality smart pro pedals. With the EchoSystem currently being one of the all-round smartest pedals currently out there - it is a sheer delight to operate - with its amazing 36 algorithms, dual effect playback and 35 presets et al. I currently have 3 Empress pedals - and I would be seriously tempted if they brought out a dual-simultaneous effect Reverb in the same style as the EchoSystem. Their Multidrive and Heavy pedals are exceptional too, as are all their modulation pedals and Parametric EQ. With regard to the individual modulation pedals - Empress is probably 3rd in line behind Chase Bliss and Strymon for me - but overall its fairly compact pedal selection is immense.

  • Empress Compressor
  • Empress EchoSystem .
  • Empress Heavy .
  • Empress Multidrive .
  • Empress Nebulus
  • Empress ParaEQ
  • Empress Phaser
  • Empress Reverb
  • Empress Tremolo 2
  • Empress Zoia Multi-Effects-Sequencer

Eventide Audio : Stephen Katz,Richard Factor & Orville Greene : Little Ferry, New Jersey, USA

www.eventideaudio.com

 

I believe Eventide was the first really successful digital pedal brand - with its 4 magnificent workstation pedals - ModFactor, PitchFactor, TimeFactor and Space. Then the Strymon 'Stryfecta' came along and stole its thunder - Mobius, TimeLine and BigSky - I was more tempted by Strymon than Eventide for whatever reason. And now Boss has tried to one-up both its forerunners in this area - with its MD-500, DD-500 and RV-500. Eventide has a further ace up its sleeve in the form of its H9 Max Stompbox - which contains all the Eventide workstation effects and them some - in a single medium size enclosure. I have it in mind to acquire the H9 Max at some stage - simply because Eventide still makes some of the very best effects, and there are several you cannot get anywhere else. The downside though is that you pretty much need another control-box to be able to easily and elegantly control the H9 and switch presets easily on the fly. Which makes it a more incidental box for me than a regular part of the chain. I feel that Empress and Source Audio are really pushing the smart innovation in this area currently - going for more compact more easily accessible solutions - and I feel that overly relying on an iPad app (as the H9 does) is not necessarily the best way forward.

  • Eventide H9 Max Stompbox
  • Eventide PitchFactor
  • Eventide Space

EWS : N/A : Tokyo, Japan (< Xotic < Vintage Raw < Prosound Communications)

ews-us.com

 

This Japanese sister-brand to Xotic is likewise probably best known for its mini pedals. And while I think the Little Brute Drive is pretty OK, the Little Fuzzy Drive is actually quite fantastic - and for such dimintive size gives you far more variety and oomph than you would have expected - one of the best mini fuzz pedals out there:

  • EWS Little Brute Drive .
  • EWS Little Brute Drive II
  • EWS Little Fuzzy Drive .

Foxpedal : Todd Billow : Richland, Washington State, USA

foxpedal.com

 

I'm a huge fan of this young brand, but am sad to report that it seems to have ceased operation now. A few weeks ago I noticed that the website had been wiped, and the various social media - Facebook, Instagram etc, completely gone - which is of course a crying shame. I own 3 of these pedals - Defector Fuzz, The City Overdrive and Wrath Distortion. I had, in fact still intend to scoop up a V2 Kingdom Combo at some stage, and the mighty The Wave is an exceptional Tape Delay pedal plus reverb, which might have benefited from a stereo update. These pedal are beautifully designed, and sound great, and there were a couple of really sleek looking delay and tremolo pedals due any day (Novaplex & Quiver). I do hope that something here can be saved and recovered, as a fellow business-owner its always devastating to see a business go down. I reckon I will still try to sweep out a few more of these - the Refinery compressor is really cool too.

  • Foxpedal Defector Fuzz .
  • Foxpedal Ebenezer Boost
  • Foxpedal K-Buffer
  • Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2 Overdrive .
  • Foxpedal Magnifica Deluxe Reverb
  • Foxpedal Refinery V2 Compressor
  • Foxpedal The City V2 Overdrive .
  • Foxpedal The Wave Tape Delay + Reverb
  • Foxpedal Wrath V2 Distortion (Rat) .

Free The Tone : Yukihiro Hayashi : Yokohama City, Kanagawa Prefecture, Japan

www.freethetone.com

 

Japan has no shortage of its own boutique pedal makers, and 'Free The Tone' is a great example of analogue innovation - in particular the Flight Time Delay - which has a smart microphone to automatically beat-match the timing (tap-tempo) to the rhythm it senses. Several pro players swear by its Chorus and Reverb too, and this maker produces a slew of great Overdrives and Distortion pedals.

  • Free The Tone Ambi Space AS-1R Reverb
  • Free the Tone Flight Time FT-2Y
  • Free The Tone Gigs Boson GB-1V Overdrive
  • Free The Tone Iron Forest IF-1D Distortion
  • Free The Tone Programmable Analog 10-Band EQ
  • Free The Tone SOV-2 Overdrive
  • Free The Tone Tri Avatar TA-1H Multi-Dimensional Chorus

Friedman Amplification : Dave Friedman : Huntington Park, California, USA (< Boutique Amps Distribution)

friedmanamplification.com

 

Dave Friedman started out modding Marshall amps, so it's not suprising his own amp-rage has a significant Marshall influence, as to his 2 best loved pedals. I already have the BE-OD and fully intend to get the Dirty Shirley after the Christmas Holidays. The Buxom boost is a really versatile pedal too, and I might have consider it seriously if I did not already have the truly superb Jackson Audio Prism.

  • Friedman BE-OD .
  • Friedman Buxom Boost
  • Friedman DP-OD Double Play Distortion
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley

Fulltone Musical Products : Michael Fuller : Marina Del Rey, California, USA

www.fulltone.com

 

Mike Fuller is another one of the legendary pedal-makers - everything he puts out is excellent and worthy of consideration. I already have and love the OCD pedal, and have been intending to get the Plimsoul for the longest while - it just keeps getting pipped by a more pressing priority. At one stage also I was aiming to get an Octafuzz pedal - which bothered my slightly because of its reverse polarity, but since I'm all with isolated supplies it should not matter really, but I worry about inadvetent damage to pedals when you swap things around. In the end I decided to get the TCE Sub 'N' Up and just use that on my existing fuzzes. Although soon after I ended up with a Malekko Omicron Fuzz which just happens to be an ocatave fuzz - so that's covered for now. Fulltone has both regular and custom divisions and does some marvellous larger enclosure drive pedals too, alongside the Deja-Vibe and Supa-Trem tremolo. As with all my rocker pedals - I really make it a requirement that they need to be Dunlop pedal small, which unfortunately disqualifies the Deja-Vibe 3.

  • Fulltone '69 MKII Fuzz
  • Fulltone Custom Shop Mini Deja-Vibe 3 rocker
  • Fulltone Custom Shop Supa-Trem 2 Stereo
  • Fulltone Full-Drive 1
  • Fulltone Full-Drive 2
  • Fulltone Full-Drive 3
  • Fulltone OCD Drive .
  • Fulltone Octafuzz
  • Fulltone Plimsoul Drive
  • Fulltone Soul-Bender Fuzz

GFI System : Henry Widjaja, Yonas Darja & Jesse Darja : Jakarta, Indonesia

www.gfisystem.com

 

I only came across this Indonesian pedal maker half-way though this year, but they're off to a real winner with their Combined Delay + Reverb Specular Tempus. And while it cannot compete fully with the more powerful dedicated workstations - like Boss's new RV-500 - which will give you simultaneous dual reverb plus dual delay, it makes up for that with some of the lushest time-based algorithms you will ever hear. I am definitely adding this pedal to the collection - for occasional swap out with the RV-500. Maybe not in the next round of 10, but probably in the one thereafter - and especially if I can get a good price on one of these. Pricing always matters to a significant degree, and if you can get one of your target pedals at a significant discount, then that usually elevates it on the wishlist.

  • GFI System Specular Tempus Delay + Reverb

Goosoniqueworx : Ravi (Tha) Goose : Singapore

gworx.wordpress.com

 

No idea what this fella's real name is - he calls himself variously Ravi, Ravi Goose and Ravi (Tha) Goose - some of those may be stage names or all even potentially. He specialises in his own custom hand-built high gain dual-distortion pedals, of which he currently has 2 models to his name. They both sound great, although my focus is more on the slightly higher gain Kult version. This was high up on my High Gain / Metal pedal wishlist before I acquired the Empress Heavy, and its currently being pipped by the MI Audio Megalith Delta!

  • Goosoniqueworx 7thvn
  • Goosoniqueworx Kult

Greer Amplification - Nick Greer - Athens, Georgia, USA

www.greeramps.com

 

Greer is probably currently best known for its Lightspeed Organic Overdrive pedal - which is high on my wishlist of course. Yet it has numerous other excellent pedals that occasionally slip my mind - it is as well I have this list here to remain aware of these great options:

  • Greer Amps Black Fuzz
  • Greer Amps Lamplighter Optical Compressor
  • Greer Amps Lightspeed Organic Overdrive
  • Greer Amps Super Hornet Octave Fuzz
  • Greer Amps Tomahawk Deluxe Drive

Hamstead Soundworks : Peter Hamstead : Royston, South Cambridgeshire, UK

www.hamsteadsoundworks.com

 

I've known about Peter Hamstead's company for a long while now - because of his superb cream-coloured Artist Series amps. I am not currently in the market for a Hamstead Amp - they lack the power-scaling I need for home-use. Hamstead do however make 2 amazing pedals - the Signature Analogue Tremolo which has been out for a while, and the brand new Odyssey Intergalactic Driver which came out just before Christmas and I had to have - a wonderfully versatile and great sounding driver pedal with a vast range of sounds. Everything about the Odyssey is great, including the so slick OptoKick footswitch licenced from Daniel Steinhardt's TheGigRig.

  • Hamstead Soundworks Odyssey Intergalactic Driver .
  • Hamstead Soundworks Signature Analogue Tremolo

Ibanez : Kimihide Hoshino : Nagoya, Japan (< Hoshino Gakki Group)

www.ibanez.com

 

Ibanez, apart from being responsible for many an amazing guitar is also behind the world's best-known and most-copied overdrive pedal - the Tube Screamer. It also has an excellent line of mini pedals now, alongside the unusal slider-controlled Echo Shifter and Paul Gilber Signature Airplane Jet Flanger.

  • Ibanez 850 Fuzz Mini
  • Ibanez AF2 Paul Gilbert Airplane Flanger
  • Ibanez Analog Delay Mini
  • Ibanez Chorus Mini
  • Ibanez ES2 Echo Shifter Delay
  • Ibanez NTS Nu Tube Screamer
  • Ibanez Super Metal Mini .
  • Ibanez Tube Screamer Mini .
  • Ibanez TS808

Iron Ether : Taylor Livingston : Lafayette, Louisiana, USA

ironether.com

 

Iron Ether is particularly loved by bass players, although most of its pedals are great for both bass and guitar. The most popular pedal here seems to be the FrantaBit bitcrusher - and it's the one that's been on my wishlist for quite a long while now.

  • Iron Ether FMeron FM Synthesizer
  • Iron Ether FrantaBit Bitcrusher
  • Iron Ether Polytope Quad-Voice Detuner
  • Iron Ether QF2 Multiband Distortion
  • Iron Ether Xerograph Deluxe Envelope Filter

Jackson Audio : Brad Jackson, Nigel Hendroff & Juan Kyle : Keller, Texas, USA

jackson.audio

 

I've had this for around a couple of months now, and it has to be the best boost currently on the market - it does so much within its compact enclosure, the only thing I think they could add really to improve it would be an additional Mid Frequency / Contour EQ dial to complement the existing High / Tone and Low / Body frequency dials.

  • Jackson Audio Prism Booster / Buffer / EQ / Overdrive / Pre-Amp .

Joe Doc Music : Joe Dochtermann : Berlin, Germany

www.joedocmusic.com

 

When I came across the Amptweaker Tight Fuzz Jr - I thought it was ingenious that said pedal combined both the essential fuzz transistor types - Germanium and Silicon, and I thought I should check to see if I could find any similar pedals - which is how I ran across the website of this Berlin-based multi-talented guitarist who seems to have more revenue streams than Oprah - including his own boutique pedal operation, and within that - the very reasonably priced Union Fuzz - which also contains Germanium and Silicon transistors that you can switch between - he argues that he has 2 separate circuits - rather than just a diode clipping like most of these sorts of pedals do. The holy grain in that same category for me is the discontinued / sold-out Spaceman Gemini III - which not only contains Germanium and Silicon transistors, but allows you to mix the those two circuits together - unfortunately that pedal is now only available extremely sporadically on the second-hand market and retails for nearly £1000! - which put it out of most people's reach. Hopefully something similar will be available soon at a more reasonable outlay.

  • JDM Germanium + Silicon Union Fuzz

JHS Pedals : Josh Scott : Kansas City, Missouri, USA

www.jhspedals.com

 

Josh Scott is one of the three best-known pedal modders alongside Mike Piera of Analog.Man and Robert Keeley of Keeley Electronics. In some ways he's slightly more similar to Robert, as they both have somewhat larger and broader pedal collections than Mike - Mike though offers up more variations of each of this pedals. All still continue to release exceptional modified pedals too, and as stated previously - started off modding Boss pedals, specifically Blues Drivers. It's kind of fitting that Boss celebrated the 40th anniversary of its original compact pedals by collaborating with Josh and combining their Blues Driver circuit with Josh's Marshall-esque Angry Charlie in a single enclosure which allows you to stack those circuits in series and parallel. The Angry Charlie and the Andy Timmons @ variation are probably still the best-known and best selling of Josh's pedals and I of course love my Muffuletta Fuzz, Angry Driver and modded EHX Soul Food. Lots of people also love the transparent overdrive of the Morning Glory and the toggle-switch tweakable overdrive of The Kilt.

  • JHS Angry Charlie Drive V3 (JCM800)
  • JHS @ + (Andy Timmons) Drive
  • JHS Bonsai Multi-Overdrive (9 x Tubescreamers)
  • JHS Bun Runner Dual Fuzz
  • JHS Calhoun V2 Overdive/Fuzz
  • JHS Charlie Brown Drive V4 (JTM45)
  • JHS Emperor V2 Chorus
  • JHS The Kilt OD V2
  • JHS Morning Glory OD
  • JHS Muffuletta Multi-Fuzz .
  • JHS Panther Cub V2 Delay
  • JHS Pollinator Fuzz
  • JHS Unicorn V2 Uni-Vibe
  • *JHS - EHX Soul Food Mod (Meat + 3 Veg) .
  • *Boss / JHS JB-2 Angry Driver .

J Rockett Audio Designs / JRAD : Jay Rockett & Chris Van Tassel : Brentwood, Tennessee, USA

rockettpedals.com

 

Jay Rockett is best know for his Silver and Gold version Archer Klon clones - my preference is really for the new Steve Stevens Signature Rockaway EQ version of that pedal - it was right at the top of the wishlist until the Wampler Tumnus Deluxe came along. Also, when I acquired the Mad Professor Simble - it was kind of running neck-and-neck with J Rockett's The Dude - I got a better price on the Simble which is in part why I went for that choice - I still find The Dude excellent in sia category, but am also tempted to try the Mojo Hand FX Extra Special.

  • J Rockett Boing Spring Reverb
  • J Rockett IQ Compressor
  • J Rockett Melody EQ/Drive (6-band EQ)
  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer (6-band EQ)
  • J Rockett The Dude

Keeley Electronics : Robert Keeley : Edmond, Oklahoma, USA

robertkeeley.com

 

Robert Keeley needs no introduction really - he's best known as the 'King of Compressors' and for a long while has done very well out of that pedal category. Both his 4-knob versions and larger enclosure Compressor Pro have long been the industry standard, although I feel Origin Effects has somewhat encroached on that in the compact category, and Empress in the larger form factor. Yet Robert has quite a few more tricks up his sleeve - his Pink Floyd inspired Dark Side and Hendrix inspired Montery are simply genius, as are his medium sized Delay and Super Mod Workstations. I'm also looking to score a Filaments drive pedal at some stage. Considering how many great pedals Keeley has, its surprising that so far I've only got its Tube Screamer -modded style Red Dirt Mini. If I were to go for a compact compressor, I would currently most likely go for the 6-dial Cali76 Deluxe from Origin Effects. All the other pedals below I am hoping to get at some stage.

  • Keeley Caverns Delay/Reverb V2
  • Keeley Compressor Plus
  • Keeley Dark Side (Pink Floyd in a box)
  • Keeley Delay Workstation Delay + Reverb
  • Keeley D&M Drive
  • Keeley Ecco Compact Stereo Tape Delay
  • Keeley Filaments Distortion
  • Keeley Monterey (Jimi Hendrix in a box)
  • Keeley Oxblood / Germanium (Klon)
  • Keeley Red Dirt Mini Drive .
  • Keeley Super Mod Workstation

KMA Machines : Enrico Preuß : Berlin, Germany

kma-machines.com

 

Young German brand KMA does some really innovative pedals - the 3 I really like the look of are the Astrospurt Phaser, Tyler Frequency Splitter and the Fuzz-edged High Gain Distortion called Wurm. This selection is all medium enclosure or above, which lessens my likelihood of acquisition. As I've said previously, I don't mind my Modulation, Delay and Reverb workstation pedals being large - If I did I could always shift a range - down to Source Audio Nemesis & Ventris + Eventide H9; or TCE Dreamscape, Flashback and HOF at the compact level. What I'm unwilling to do though is sacrifice a lot of pedalboard real-estate to an overly large pedal which is not a core regular use pedal, and does not have several functions.

  • KMA Astrospurt Phaser
  • KMA Tyler Frequency Splitter
  • KMA Wurm Distortion / Fuzzstortion

Lovepedal : Sean Michael : Edmond, Oklahoma, USA

www.lovepedal.com

 

Lovepedal is a pretty long-standing brand by now, most famous for its Hermida Zendrive Klon clones, Tchula Overdrive, Mini Bonetender Fuzz (Tonebender) and Purple Plexi Marshall-style pedal. For the Klon sound my favourites are the Wampler Tumnus or J Rockett Rockaway Archer, and I have various overdrive pedals still on my wishlist way above anything produced by Lovepedal - actually scratch that - I still also like the Lovepedal Amp Eleven - if we could have that in a vertical enclosure please. In fact, the only active one of these which is currently on my wishlist seems to be the fairly recently discontinued Bonetender fuzz. I would snap up an Amp Eleven if it came in a more PBF enclosure.

  • Lovepedal Amp Eleven / 11 Natural Overdrive
  • Lovepedal Bonetender Mini Fuzz .
  • Lovepedal Purple Plexi Distortion

Lunastone Pedals : Steen Grøntved : Valby, Denmark

www.lunastonepedals.com

 

A fairly young Danish pedal brand known for its signature Soren Andersen Three Stage Rocket drive pedal and its 2 newer cascaded gain stage TrueOverDrive 1 & 2 pedals. If they were being really clever here, they should find a way to combine both TOD1 & TOD2 into the same compact enclosure - possibly with a second footswitch to either toggle between the two circuits or stack them!:

  • Lunastone Three Stage Rocket - Boost / OD1 / OD2
  • Lunastone TrueOverDrive 1 (Bright)
  • Lunastone TrueOverDrive 2 (Deep)

Mad Professor Amplification : Björn Juhl & Harri Koski : Turenki, Finland

www.mpamp.com

 

At one stage I had 3 of these in my active pedal chain - I still really like them, but they've all been pushed aside by more versatile pedals now. I've long aimed to get a Sweet Honey Overdrive Deluxe and may too still get a Snow White Auto Wah Envelope Filter at some stage:

  • Mad Professor 1 .
  • Mad Professor Golden Cello .
  • Mad Professor Kosmos Reverb
  • Mad Professor Little Tweedy Drive
  • Mad Professor Might Red Distortion
  • Mad Professor Simble / Twimble Overdrive .
  • Mad Professor Snow White AutoWah
  • Mad Professor Stone Grey Distortion
  • Mad Professor Sweet Honey Overdrive Deluxe

Magnetic Effects - Christian Livingstone - London, UK

www.magneticeffects.net

 

Kiwi Christian Livingstone of the band The Datsuns has been settled in London for a while now and making pedals for the last 6 years or so. He's currently best known for his 2 standout fuzzes - The White Atom, and Solar Bender - the former of which I have had my eye on for a while. As a touring musician - Christian's fuzzes are particularly pedalboard-friendly with low noise floors and suitable for placing anywhere in the chain. Magnetic Effects regularly produce limited editions which disappear very quickly - the equally wallet-friendly price-point of mostly £109 makes it all that sweeter.

  • Magnetic Effects Midphoria Fixed-Wah
  • Magnetic Effects Sändare Overdrive/Booster
  • Magnetic Effects Solar Bender Fuzz (Tone Bender MKII)
  • Magnetic Effects White Atom Fuzz

Malekko Heavy Industry Corporation : Josh Holley & Paul Barker : Portland, Oregon, USA

malekkoheavyindustry.com

 

Malekko have an excellent line of high quality Omicron mini pedals from which I acquired the Octave Fuzz. I also have my eye on the superb Scrutator BitCrusher. Beyond that they have a number of fairly quirky compact enclosure pedals which have largely yet to pique my interest really.

  • Malekko Charlie Foxtrot Digital Pedal / Granular / Pitch Modulator
  • Malekko Omicron Fuzz (Octave)
  • Malekko Scrutator BitCrusher
  • Malekko Sneak Attack - Volume Attack/Decay + Tremolo

Matthews Effects - Rick Matthews - Richland, Washington, USA

www.matthewseffects.com

 

Rick Matthews is probably best known for his Architect Klon-clone overdive and distinctly versatile Whaler Fuzz. His Multi-Modulation Chemist and Conductor Optical Tremolo are well regarded by many - as are his slightly out of the ordinary reverbs. As far as I'm concerned he has at least 4 pretty great pedals:

  • Matthews Effect Architect V2 Overdrive (Klon-type)
  • Matthews Effects Chemist - Chorus/Vibrato, Phaser, Octaver
  • Matthews Effects The Conductor V2 Optical Tremolo
  • Matthews Effects The Whaler Fuzz .

Meris : Terry Burton : Ventura, California, USA

www.meris.us

 

2017 was an amazing year for Meris - who were originally known for rack-style effects. But within a year they had released three highly unique and amazing pedals - first the Ottobit Jr Bitcrusher and 6-step Sequencer, then the Vangelis Blade-Runner inspired Mercury 7 ambient reverb, and finally the super-modulated Polymoon ambient delay. All share identical smart controls - 6 dual-use dials with Alt/Hold button to access alternative functions and 2-mode selector which gives you 3 modes via either or, or both together, you then finally have dual footswitches too - all within a Strymon-style medium enclosure. In the USA they are priced the same as the medium Strymons (£299) but in the UK they are slightly more. All are fantastic at what they do, but more specialist choices than all-rounders really. For both the Reverb and Delay you only have a 2 or 3 core algorithms - where all the magic is in the smart modulation - so no Spring, Room, Plate, Hall etc. a la Strymon and most of the other big players. Each pedal has a limited number of presets available - 4 I believe, with more accessible via midi. To my mind these are exceptional ambient style pedals - with the Ottobit a touch more specialist than that - for most players probably like a second sportscar for the weekends - vs the everyday runaround. I cannot see the Polymoon and Mercury 7 really replacing my Empress EchoSystem and Boss RV-500 - but they would make exceptional sometime swap-outs. So currently all 3 are nice to have extras rather than everyday essentials - probably something for the future for me - well worth consideration if you are primarily an ambient player though.

  • Meris Mercury 7 Reverb
  • Meris Ottobit Jr Bitcrusher/Sequencer
  • Meris Polymoon Delay

MI Audio : Michael Ibrahim : Sydney, Australia

miaudio.com

 

Michael Ibrahim is best known for creating very high gain amps, and his pedal creations initially evolved out of that - including his most famous and very aptly named Crunch Box series. I have and love the new V2 Super Crunch Box - never was there a crunchier Marshall-esque pedal, and it does an excellent Brown Sound. Based on the great experience I have had with that pedal I am looking to acquire the Blues-Driver-esque Super Blues Pro as well as the Super High Gain Megalith Delta Distortion at some stage.

  • MI Audio Cross Over Drive
  • MI Audio Megalith Delta Distortion
  • MI Audio Super Blues Pro
  • MI Audio Super Crunch Box V2

Mojo Hand FX : Brad Fee : Holland, Michigan, USA

mojohandfx.com

 

This lesser-known pedal maker still has several great pedals to its name - I really like the look of at least 4 of the collection - right across the range - spring reverb, overdrive, fuzz and envelope filter, and the one I'm mos likely to acquire is the Extra Special Dumble-esque one.

  • Mojo Hand FX Dewdrop Spring Reverb
  • Mojo Hand FX Extra Special - DMBL+
  • Mojo Hand FX Iron Bell Gilmour-esque Fuzz
  • Mojo Hand FX Rook Drive
  • Moho Hand FX Wonder Filter Enveloper Filter

Monsterpiece Fuzz : Richard Coibion : St Charles, Missouri, USA

monsterpiecefuzz.com

 

I came across this Fuzz specialist when doing my recent research on Fuzz pedals, and boy does Richard Coibion have a great ear for tone. I have two of his pedals already near the top of my wishlist - namely the MK I (Tonebender) and PNP DLX (Silicon + Germanium) - as well as various others I love the sound of:

  • MK I Fuzz
  • NPN Fuzz
  • PNP DLX Fuzz
  • Scratchy Snatch Fuzz .
  • Stud Overdrive (Klon)

Mooer (Shenzhen) Audio Co : N/A : Shenzhen, China

www.mooeraudio.com

 

Mooer is quite obviously King of Mini Pedals - with a larger and broader selection of minis than anyone else - I already did the 16 great Mooer pedals article and there are probably quite a few more than that I like the look of. For now, I have 4 of these, with probably twice as many fairly high up on my wishlist. These pedals are always great for adding a single flavour / texture or two where space is tight. For the longest time the Blue Mood was my favourite mid-gain pedal, until the Boss JB-2 Angry Driver came along with both Blues Drive and JHS Angry Charlie - giving me more versatility and range, but lacking the 'fat' toggle of the Blues Mood, which has meant a tweak to the ensuing EQ pedal. The Mooer's almost always sound really great, but they can rarely match the tone or versatility of a larger compact-size pedal.

  • Mooer Akoustikar Acoustic Simulator
  • Mooer Black Secret
  • Mooer Blade Distortion
  • Mooer Blues Mood
  • Mooer EchoVerb
  • Mooer E-Lady
  • Mooer Hustle Drive
  • Mooer Mod Factory
  • Mooer Pitch Box
  • Mooer Rage Machine Distortion
  • Mooer Soul Shiver
  • Mooer Trelicopter

MXR : Jim Dunlop / Jeorge Tripps : Benicia, California, USA (< Dunlop)

www.jimdunlop.com

 

MXR (part of Dunlop) is one of those leading pedal makers with a formidable range, and sort of right up there with Boss and EHX in terms of range and depth of pedals. For my liking - Boss has the pedals nearest to my own preferences, while beyond the single MXR Phase 95 pedal I have, there aren't too many MXR pedals that truly appeal to me for whatever reason. They're certainly the appropriate form factor, but largely I feel other pedal makers seem to have more of an edge on a comparison level in most cases. I'm guessing that the standard Carbon Copy analogue delay is probably their best-seller here, but it really does not do that much for me. I have frequently considered the EVH 5150 Overdrive pedal alongside the Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe - so that's a likely candidate. I also may acquire a Uni-Vibe at some stage, but there are plenty of very impressive competitors to that too - like the DryBell Vibe Machine and Dawner Prince Viberator.

  • MXR M292 Carbon Copy Deluxe Analog Delay
  • MXR EVH 5150 Overdrive
  • MXR Phase 95 Mini
  • MXR Sugar Drive Mini (Klon)
  • MXR M68 Uni-Vibe

Mythos Pedals - Zach Broyles - Nashville, Tennessee, USA

mythospedals.com

 

Rob Chapman is big into Mythos Pedals - which are about to release a Chappers signature pedal - otherwise Zach specializes in creating pristine homages to classic circuits - with his take on the Klon being particularly popular, while I'm a big fan of the Golden Fleece - which is marked out for imminent acquisition.

  • Mythos Pedals Daedalus Overdrive (BluesBreaker)
  • Mythos Pedals Erlking Overdive (Nobeld ODR-1)
  • Mythos Pedals Golden Fleece Fuzz (Hudson Broadcast?)
  • Mythos Pedals Herculean Overdrive (TS808)
  • Mythos Pedals Mjolnir Overdive (Klon)
  • Mythos Pedals Titan (Mjolnir +)

Neo Instruments : Guido Kirsch : Fulda, Germany

www.neo-instruments.de

 

Guido Kirsh is another one of those single category specialists - providing the industry-standard Leslie / Rotary speaker pedal in both regular (large) and mini (medium) varieties. I ended up picking the TEC 21 NYC Roto Choir for my needs, but it was between that, the Ventilator Mini and Strymon Lex in the end. If I were to decide to go for a larger pedal, I would no doubt go for the full-size Ventilator, but for now I'm plenty happy with the Roto Choir which has most of the settings you need and plenty of dynamics.

  • Neo Instruments Ventilator II
  • Neo Instruments Ventilator Mini II

Nobels : Bernhard Kurzke : Hamburg, Germany

nobels.de

 

This pedal is much beloved in Nashville, and many tend to associate it with the Tube Screamer, although the ODR-1 has a slightly different frequency profile and timbre. Several players consider this their secret weapon, as the masses haven't really latched onto it yet. I will certainly acquire one of these at some stage - just as a cool and useful alternative to a Tube Screamer.

  • Nobels ODR-1 Natural Overdrive
  • Nobels ODR-S Special Overdrive

Old Blood Noise Endeavours : Brady Smith & Seth McCarroll : Norman, Oklahoma, USA

www.oldbloodnoise.com

 

I know Old Blood Noise Endeavours best for their Haunt velcro-style fuzz which is right up there on my wishlist - I've had it in mind to get that for a while now. Typically OBNE make slightly unusual / quirky but very usable pedals - including the Procession Reverb and the very new hybrid Excess pedal which combines Distortion with Chorus and Delay.

  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours Excess Distortion + Chorus + Delay
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours Haunt Fuzz
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours Procession Reverb

OneControl : Björn Juhl : Hanamaki City, Iwate Prefecture, Japan (< LEP International Corporation)

www.one-control.com

 

This is another collaboration with Finnish sound-design genius Björn Juhl - this time mostly mini pedals which are made in Japan. I already have 5 of these and am probably looking to add a few more at some stage - including the Golden Acorn and Rebel Red Distortion. Big news of late is that Björn has terminated his relationship with Bearfoot FX, and now all the specialist BJFe-type pedals look likely to be reissued by OneControl instead - already Honey Bee OD and Baby Blue OD forthcoming - those two in compact versus normal OneControl mini size.

  • OneControl Anodized Brown Distortion Mini .
  • OneControl Baby Blue OD (Compact)
  • OneControl Baltic Blue Fuzz Mini .
  • OneControl Golden Acorn ODS Mini
  • OneControl Honey Bee OD (Compact)
  • OneControl Persian Green Screamer OD Mini .
  • OneControl Purple Plexifier Distortion Mini .
  • OneControl Rebel Red Distortion Mini
  • OneControl Strawberry Red OD Mini .

Origin Effects : Simon Keats : Tiddington, Thame, Oxfordshire, UK

origineffects.com

 

There are a few single category makers listed here - DryBell (Vibe), Neo Instruments (Rotary), Nobels (Overdrive), and Origin Effects specialises in Compressors. Their Cali76 Compact DLX is now the professionals' compression pedal of choice - seemingly having ousted some of the Wampler Egos and Diamond and Keeley compressors that used to rule to roost. I'm certainly considering this as a replacement for my Wampler Mini Ego - which still has served me well - with its 3 dials and 2 toggles. The Cali76 DLX allows you to exercise even more control over your signal output and sustain.

  • Origin Effects Cali76 Compact DLX
  • Origin Effects RevivalDrive

Pigtronix : David Koltai : Port Jefferson Station, New York, USA (< Absara Audio)

pigtronix.com

 

David Koltai's company has always been highly innovative, and several of their products are popular pro choices - like the Echolution 2 Ultra Pro Delay and Infinity Looper. And Pigtronix have totally hit it out of the park with their new Mothership 2 Synth pedal - which shrinks down to one third of its former size and pretty much keeps all the key settings - via 5 dual-concentric dials = 10. The only Pigtronix pedal I have to date is the really cool mini Disnortion - I would be quite happy to acquire all these other ones too - they're all excellent:

  • Pigtronix Disnortion Micro .
  • Pigtronix Echolution 2 Ultra Pro
  • Pigtronix Infinity Looper
  • Pigtronix Mothership 2 Analog Synthesizer
  • Pigtronix Octava Micro
  • Pigtronix Philospher's Tone / Germanium Micro
  • Pigtronix Ringmaster Analog Multplier

ProAnalog Devices : Scotty Smith : Merriville, Indiana, USA

www.proanalogdevices.com

 

I've only come to know Scotty's ProAnalog Devices fairly recently really and mostly through That Pedal Show. Their Klon-alike Manticore pedal sounds fantastic, but is a little over-sized for my liking. I so much liked the MKIV fuzz thought that I've recently acquired one via Reverb.com. I am less familiar with the MKII, Ascension and Lady Evil pedals, but Scotty is for sure a brilliant sound engineer.

  • Manticore
  • MKIV Fuzz .

Rainger FX : David Rainger : London, UK

www.raingerfx.com

 

David Rainger is the epitome of the mad scientist pedal-maker. All his pedals look like they've come straight out of the lab, and are all very much an acquired taste. His most famous pedal to date is the original Dr Freakenstein Fuzz with its highly apt power lever. My preference is for the incredible mini Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep version - which if anything makes the output sound even crazier, and gives you really smart control via different ports and a Touch-pad foot-controller named 'Igor'. David is one of the 3 most exciting pedal creators in the UK in my opinion - alongside Simon Keats of Origin Effects and Luke Hilton of Stone Deaf. The other UK pedal maker who has made a real name for himself is Adrian Thorpe of ThorpyFX - although for now, his slightly over-sized pedals have failed to make a suitable impact on me - there's something still a bit too old-fashioned about those enclosure for my taste. But those 4 together are the cream of UK pedal-makers for now.

  • Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Fuzz DRFF-3LE
  • Rainger FX Dr Freakenstein Dwarf Bleep Fuzz (& Igor) mini-pedal
  • Rainger FX Echo-X digital delay (& Igor) mini-pedal
  • Rainger FX Reverb-X digital reverb (& Igor) mini-pedal

Ramble FX - Tim Krueger - Hastings, Minnesota, USA

www.ramblefx.com

 

I came across Tim Krueger and Ramble when doing my most recent research into Marshall-type pedals. The Ramble FX Marvel is already on its 3rd incarnation and it sounds great and has a lovely authentic aesthetic feel to it too. Tim also does and excellent twin voicing Tone Bender style pedal, and has a clever Analogue Amp-like overdrive and distortion pedal called Kismet imminent any day soon.

  • Ramble FX Kismet Analog Overdrive/Distortion
  • Ramble FX Marvel 3 Drive (Marshall)
  • Ramble FX Twin Bender (Tone Bender MK1.5/MKII)

Rat Distortion | RHC Audio | ProCo : N/A : Jackson, Missouri, USA

ratdistortion.com

 

I'm a big fan of the original Rat pedal, but prefer it with a little more grunt and more volume - as many of the modded version have had. I actually have several rat-alikes - the BYOC Lil' Mouse, Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler, Foxpedal Wrath and Mooer Black Secret. I feel the slightly over-sized medium enclosure could easily be shrunk down to compact size, as many other pedal-makers have managed to do. If I had to buy a genuine Rat I would go for the 'Fat' variety, for the moment though my favourites are the Frazz Dazzler and the Wrath.

  • ProCo Fat Rat

Rockfabrik Effects : Furkan Torlak : Istanbul Turkey

www.rockfabrik-effects.com

 

This fledgling Turkish maker is a great example of just how widespread and nebulous boutique pedals have become. Furkan has just 3 pedals so far to his name - the Aqua Lung OD, Buffy Coat Buffer, and my favourite - the Mind Abuse High Gain Distortion. Alongside its typical 5 tone-sculpting dials, it has a 3 way voicing toggle for Modern, Classic or Vintage tone. You've most likely seen me mention this a couple of times previously on this site - an excellent sounding and very versatile pedal. The only thing that really holds it back currently is its lack of distribution. You can buy it direct from Turkey which is outside the EU though - so custom taxes will apply, and on Reverb.com you get a listing from its Australian distributor - which is even further away. I'm hoping Thomann or Andertons or similar - possibly Musik Produktiv even will pick it up some day soon.

  • Rockfabrik Effects Mind Abuse Distortion

Shin's Music : Shinichi Suzuki : Tokyo, Japan

www.shinsmusic.com

 

This Japanese boutique maker specializes in Dumble clone pedals - some with an addition of boost footswitch and in a high variety of colourways. Shinichi Suzuki is considered one of the world's foremost authorities on Dumble amps, so his pedal reproductions are considered highly desirable by many pro-players. Obviously they are a little over-sized for my liking, and more than a little pricey - coming in Regular, Boost and 2-Channel versions. The last mentioned retailing typically at £700+. One for the connoisseurs I suppose - I'll probably just stick to my Wampler Euphoria and Mad Professor Simble for now - and I would frankly be more likely to add a Mojo Hand FX Extra Special than one of these - but it's nice to know these exist too - if you have some kind of windfall!

  • Shin's Music Dumbloid Special Boost Overdrive
  • Shin's Music Dumbloid Twin 2-Channel Overdrive

Side Effects : Dimitris : Athens, Greece

reverb.com/uk/brand/side-effects

 

Looks like this pedal-maker started up in 2016 making mostly custom clone pedals on a one-by-one basis - it's my favourite of the many Athens-based boutiques. There are scant details on who this key individual is, but they certainly know how to assemble really high quality at really very reasonable cost. There are currently 4 pedals listed on their Reverb.com store - the Mocking Bird Delay, Il Mostro Overdrive-Distortion, a compact Zvex Woolly Mammoth 7 clone and an Oscillator Fuzz - so 3 original circuits out of 4, and I know Side Effect has also built clones of DBA Reverberation Machines in the past. For my purposes I love the sound of the Il Mostro, which I would think would make a pretty decent deputy for my Dr Scientist The Elements - and I'm also thinking how much I would love to have a decent clone of the Woolly Mammoth so both of those go on the wishlist.

  • Side Effects Il Mostro Overdrive-Distortion
  • Side Effects Il Mostro Double Overdrive-Distortion
  • Side Effects Woolly Mammoth 7 Clone .

Sinvertek : Wu Nan : Beijing, China

www.sinvertek.com

 

Sinvertek is that rare thing - a Chinese Boutique Pedal Maker - aka Mr Wu Nan, whose main line of pedals currently consists solely of two models - the Fluid Time MKII Delay and the forthcoming Drive N5. I have relatively recently acquired the excellent No. 5 Distortion, so I am not clear if the N5 is simply a redesignation of the No. 5 Distortion, or whether it is voiced altogether differently. Sinvertek is also the parent of CKK pedals which has a 15 pedal range right now - sort of the DigiTech of China I would say. Both of the Sinvertek pedals are innovative and of interest. And there are some decent picks within the CKK range too, but just focusing on the parent brand for now:

  • Sinvertek Fluid Time MKII Delay
  • Sinvertek No.5 Distortion .
  • Sinvertek N5 Drive

Skreddy Pedals - Marc Ahlfs - Carson City, Nevada, USA

skreddypedals.com

 

I've been aware of Marc Ahlfs and Skreddy Pedals for quite a while now - I long considered the Screw Driver Mini Deluxe back when I acquired the Dr Scientist Elements - it was kind of a 3-way between the Keeley Filaments, Dr Scientist The Elements and the Screw Driver - since that time the Screw Driver had somewhat receded from memory, but since my recent Fuzz research and subsequent Skreddy BC109 find - it's right back in the picture (in fact recently added). There two more pedals which make up the Skreddy 5-dial trifecta - the Hybrid Fuzz Driver and Lunar Module Fuzz. They both do fairly similar things with the Lunar Module engineered more for SC pickups and the Hybrid Fuzz Driver for HBs.

  • Skreddy Pedals BC109 Fuzz .
  • Skreddy Pedals P19 Fuzz
  • Skreddy Pedals Hybrid Fuzz Driver .
  • Skreddy Pedals Lunar Module Fuzz .
  • Skreddy Pedals Scredriver Mini Deluxe OD/Distortion .

Sonic Research : Marty Jensen : Carson City, Nevada, USA

www.turbo-tuner.com

 

Sonic Research is another single category pedal maker - in this case high-precision true strobe tuners - available in regular compact and mini size enclosures. These tune one string at a time, so lack the quick and easy ability of polytonic tuners like TCE's PolyTune. Unless you are incredibly short-sighted, I don't really see the advantage of the larger pedal format - I would go mini in this category every time, and if I ever decided to swap out the TCE PolyTune Mini Noir, it would be for one of these.

  • Sonic Research ST-300 Mini

Source Audio : Roger Smith & Jesse Remignanti : Boston, Massachusetts, USA

www.sourceaudio.net

 

Source Audio make exceptional digital pedals - particularly the recent mid-sized Nemesis Delay and Ventris Dual Reverb - which I've long had under consideration. I was about to pull the trigger in that direction just before Empress released its EchoSystem, and Boss surprisingly launched its MD-500 and RV-500. As it is right now, I am very happy with my current trio of end-of-chain pedals and am convinced they are my best choices presently. As I've noted previously, if I wanted to go smaller I could go with the Nemesis, Ventris and possibly an Eventide H9 to cover off what I already have. I may also be tempted by an Empress Reverb if they launch a dual effect version similar to their amazing EchoSystem. I've also long considered the Programmable EQ - with its clever presets, although it's a lot more fiddly to set up than manual sliders. And Source Audio also does an amazing multi-device expression pedal - which is though just a touch too larger for my desires.

  • Source Audio Nemesis Delay
  • Source Audio Programmable EQ
  • Source Audio Reflex Universal Expression Controller
  • Source Audio Ventris Dual Reverb

Spaceman Effects : Zak Martin : Portland, Oregon, USA

spacemaneffects.com

 

Zak Martin's Spaceman Effects is a curious operation - which makes boutique pedals in very limited editions. Unlike Analog.Man Mike Piera who does not artificially constrain limits - where the limit is merely on the waiting list and how long it takes to build pedals by hand. Zak does very strictly limited runs for specific colourways - and then that pedal type is discontinued. This means the only way you can get your hands say on a Gemini III or Sputnik I is second-hand via Reverb - at often twice or 3 times the original price. Pretty much all the pedals sell out eventually so it's a route that obviously works for Spaceman Effects. They are beautifully designed in a sort of 60's Space Age / NASA style - very solidly built, with sharp graphics and smart features. I particulalry like the Gemini III as it allows you to mix together the output from both Germanium and Silicon transistors. You will by now know how I really prefer the compact pedal enclosure - and Spaceman does a number of really great compact fuzzes. The modulation pedals are decent too albeit in larger enclosures. There are pedal collectors who collect these like stamps - which kind of makes sense from an investment perspective. I don't mind paying boutique prices - I do though mind having to pay twice or three times that

  • Spaceman Gemini III Dual Fuzz Generator
  • Spaceman Explorer Deluxe 6 Stage Optical Phaser
  • Spaceman Orion Genuine Spring Tank Reverb
  • Spaceman Sputnik Germanium Fuzz
  • Spaceman Voyager I Optical Analog Tremolo
  • Spaceman WOW Signal Alien Fuzz Communicator

Stone Deaf FX : Luke Hilton : Shaw, Oldham, UK

www.stonedeaffx.com

 

Luke Hilton is one of the most creative pedal-makers out there at the moment - all his pedals offer up something quite different to the norm and I have a number of them in my sights. I already have the exceptional Tremotron Dual Tremolo, and I'm likely to go for the Fig Fumb pretty soon too. These are an exceptionally controllable selection of overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals - which though relatively large in form factor make up for it through their extended feature sets - all pretty reasonably priced too.

  • Stone Deaf Fig Fumb
  • Stone Deaf Kliptonite
  • Stone Deaf Syncopy Analogue Delay
  • Stone Deaf Trashy Blonde
  • Stone Deaf Tremotron .
  • Stone Deaf Warp Drive

Strymon : Pete Celi, Gregg Stock & Dave Fruehling : Westlake Village, California, USA [formerly Damage Control]

www.strymon.net

 

In many ways this is still my favourite pedal company, even though I've just fairly recently relegated the Stryfecta - Mobius, TimeLine and BigSky from my active chain. I still use the Riverside and Sunset pretty regularly though, and would be very happy to own pretty much everything in this collection - with the possible exception of the OB.1 Compressor + Boost, and the Brigadier dBucket Delay. All of these pedals are digital with an analogue dry signal path - Strymon also do excellent power supplies. Everything about this company speaks quality - the website, guides, references etc. Only Empress really matches Strymon in its quality outlook - those two currently stand head and shoulders above all others and provide an example that all should really follow. I'm often disappointed with how poor Boss's manuals and references are in comparison to these two. The 2 pedals that have been on my wishlist for the longest time are probably the Flint and the Lex - they're still right up there even though they have been pipped by other pedals along the way.

  • Strymon BigSky Reverb .
  • Strymon BlueSky Reverb
  • Strymon Deco Tape Delay / Double Tracking
  • Strymon DIG Digital Delay
  • Strymon El Capistan Yape Delay
  • Strymon Flint Tremolo + Reverb
  • Strymon Lex Rotary
  • Strymon Mobius Modulation .
  • Strymon Ola Chorus
  • Strymon Orbit Flanger
  • Strymon Riverside Multistage Drive .
  • Strymon Sunset Dual Drive .
  • Strymon TimeLine Delay .

Subdecay Effects : Brian Marshall : Newberg, Oregon, USA

subdecay.com

 

This pedal-maker is best-known for smart digital pedals, particularly its Deluxe modulation pedals - Prometheus, Quasar and Starlight, as well as some clever fuzz / synth variations, and the odd drive pedal. I have yet to acquire any of the following, but do have designs on all of them - I'm not sure any of these would necessarily be my first choices, but they would all make exceptional occastional and momentary swap-outs.

  • Subdecay Harmonic Antagonizer .
  • Subdecay Octasynth
  • Subdecay Prometheus DLX Envelope Filter
  • Subdecay Quasar DLX Phaser
  • Subdecay Quasar Phase Modulator
  • Subdecay Starlight Flanger V2
  • Subdecay Vector Multi-Drive

Suhr Effects : John Suhr : Lake Elsinore, California, USA

www.suhr.com

 

John Suhr is best known for his Fender-style guitars, but he has build up a respectable pedal collection at the same time. Many rate his Marshall-esque Riot Distortion, but I'm more impressed by his slightly larger form factor Alexa and Eclipse pedals.

  • Suhr Alexa Multi-Wave Dual Channel Analog Chorus/Vibrato
  • Suhr Eclipse Multi-Drive
  • Suhr Riot Distortion .
  • Suhr Riot Mini Distortion

TC Electronic : Tore Mogensen : Risskov, Denmark (< Behringer < Music Group)

www.tcelectronic.com

 

Even though Boss is of course still strong I see this in many ways as the natural heir to Boss's compact pedal dominance / leadership. TC Electronic has taken everything one step further with its TonePrint and now MASH footswitch technologies - where it's significantly the leading innovator in the digital pedal space. No one crams quite as much into its pedals and makes them stereo in and out. Where you would typically have gone for a Boss or MXR pedal previously, you will now likely find that TC Electronic has a slightly more feature-rich equivalent pedal - whether Delay, Reverb, Harmonizer or Tremolo - there is so much more tone-sculpting you can acheive with the applicaiton of TonePrint presets. TC has in effect 3 ranges - standard, mini and low-cost. Initially I had not seen a lot of worthwhile pedals in the low-cost range, but more and more are coming though which provide decent alternatives - both the 3rd Dimension Corus and Tube Pilot are really clever at that price - of course the former would benefit by being stereo like its original inspiration.

  • TCE 3rd Dimension Chorus
  • TCE Dark Matter Distortion .
  • TCE Ditto Looper .
  • TCE Ditto X2 Looper .
  • TCE (John Petrucci) Dreamscape Chorus/Flanger/Vibrato .
  • TCE Flashback 2 Delay
  • TCE Hall of Fame 2 Reverb
  • TCE Helix Phaser
  • TCE Mimiq Doubler Double-Tracker .
  • TCE Mimiq Doubler Mini - Double-Tracker
  • TCE MojoMojo OD .
  • TCE Pipeline Tremolo
  • TCE PolyTune Mini Noir Polytonic Tuner .
  • TCE Quintessence Harmonizer
  • TCE Sentry Noise Gate
  • TCE Spark Mini Booster .
  • TCE Sub 'N' Up Octaver .
  • TCE Tube Pilot Genuine Tube OD

Tech 21 NYC : Andrew Barta : New York, USA

www.tech21nyc.com

 

Tech 21 first found fame with its Analog SansAmp pre-amp style pedals and combination FlyRigs. It's also built up a sizeable range of more individual effects pedals - in a medium enclosure. I feel they have faded somewhat from popularity of late, I only came across them when doing research on Rotary pedals, and as luck would have it, the Tech 21 Roto Choir was the pedal which best met my requirements. It's by no means wholly perfect - as it lacks a brake function or a slow-speed setting. Yet it has 2 very clever button switches which give you an incredible range of dynamics. As I've said previously, I did not want to sacrifice real-estate for a large format pedal, so in the end it came down to a 3-way between the Roto Choir, Lex and Ventilator II Mini.

  • Tech 21 NYC Roto Choir .

ThorpyFX - Adrian Thorpe - Swindon, Wiltshire, UK

thorpyfx.com

 

Adrian is a great home-grown pedal-making genius / sound engineer who machines and engraves the some of the most distinct pedal enclosures in his workshop. I wasn't initially overly enamoured with these slightly over-sized enclosures but I've warmed to most of these. Thorpy is best known for his fuzzes - and in particular The Fallout Cloud - while The Gunshot Overdrive and Warthog Distortion join it for the current Thorpy trifecta. I will certainly be acquiring a Fallout Cloud Fuzz someday soon.

  • ThorpyFX Fallout Cloud Fuzz
  • ThorpyFX The Fat General Compressor
  • ThorpyFX Gunshot Overdrive
  • ThorpyFX The Veteran Fuzz - Ge / Si
  • ThorpyFX Warthog Distortion

Truetone : Bob Weil : Spring Hill, Tennessee, USA [formerly Visual Sound]

truetone.com

 

Best known for its 1 Spot power-supplies, this brand nonetheless has a formiddable yet compact range of multi-drive and multi-modulation pedals - in fact just 4 of them. They're all pretty decent for sure, but the one that stands out for me is the Jekyll & Hyde.

  • Truetone H20 Chorus/Vibrato/Delay
  • Truetone Jekyll & Hyde Multi-Drive / Distortion
  • Truetone Route 66 Multi-Drive / Overdrive
  • Truetone VS-XO Dual Overdrive

Vemuram Custom Pedals : Shingo Hirano : Yokohama, Kanagawa, Japan (< Tri-Sound Inc.)

www.vemuram.com

 

Seriously pricey brass-enclosure custom boutique pedals from Japan - mostly fuzzes and overdrives. The one that gets most of the hype is the Timmy-alike Jan Ray - at a good twice the price and then some - they all seem to be around £350/£400 which you could say is not much different from Chase Bliss, but these have nowhere near the technicality and feature set of those. That said, there are a couple of pedals here I really like the sound of - the Budi Boost and Shanks 4 Knob Fuzz. They occasionaly drop in price for sales, but are rarely seen much below £300. They're obviously built like tanks, and sound great, but they are undeniabley expensive - unless that's your thing.

  • Vemuram Budi Boost
  • Vemuram Shanks 4K Fuzz

VFE Pedals - Peter Rutter - Tacoma, Washington, USA

vfecustom.com

 

I was quite a bit late to the party on this one - having come across various VFE pedals before, but only truly properly switching onto them after they had been mostly discontinued! Peter is putting most of his focus into the recently Kickstarter-funded Klein Bottle Multiband Mixer/Looper pedal - which is ingenious but I have little use for it alas. The one here I really want to get my hands on is the Smooth Rat-style LM308 circuit Alpha Dog which is a really versatile and cleverly tuned version of the Rat with 4 different clipping options. I've contacted Peter directly, and all the legacy pedals are all gone now (i.e. all but one of the below listed) - fully out of stock. I find it slightly strange that the best-selling VFE pedal of all time - the Alpha Dog has been discontinued - but such is the pedal game sometimes - I will just need to keep a very careful eye on Reverb.com and Ebay - for any and all of the following:

  • VFE Alpha Dog Vintage Distortion (Rat) .
  • VFE Dark Horse Hard-Edge Distortion
  • VFE Distortion 3 (MXR Distortion+, DOD 250, MXR Micro Amp)
  • VFE Dragon Hound (Vomit Hound) Overdrive + Distortion (Pale Dog) .
  • VFE Fiery Red Horse Fuzz (Muff)
  • VFE Klein Bottle Multiband Mixer/Looper
  • VFE Merman Transparent Overdrive (Klon)
  • VFE Pale Horse Dynamic Overdrive

Walrus Audio : Colt Westbrook : Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, USA

www.walrusaudio.com

 

I've featured several Walrus pedals on my pedal category overviews - in fact mainly the medium to large enclosure ones - the Descent Reverb, Janus Fuzz, Luminary Octave and Monument Tremolo pedals. The most interesting pedals here for me though are the 2 compact dual-footswitch ones - the Arp-87 Delay and new Fathom Reverb.

  • Walrus Audio Arp-87 Multi-Function Delay
  • Walrus Audio Descent Stereo Reverb/Octave
  • Walrus Audio Fathom Multi-Funciont Reverb
  • Walrus Audio Janus Fuzz/Tremolo
  • Walrus Audio Jupiter Multi-Clip Fuzz V2
  • Walrus Audio Luminary Quad Octave Generator
  • Walrus Audio Harmonic Tap Tremolo

Wampler Pedals : Brian Wampler : Martinsville, Indiana, USA (< Boutique Amps Distribution)

www.wamplerpedals.com

 

For me Brian Wampler is really the King of Drive Pedals - no one has as wide a range of consistently great overdrive and distortion pedals and with that dynamic feel. I have acquired 4 Wamplers to date - the Mini Tumnus and Ego, then the Euphoria and Dracarys. Alas Dracarys's reign in the chain was rather short as it has limited versatility and that slot was take over by the Empress Heavy. Brian doesn't just make fantastic drive pedals - he makes excellent compressors and delays too, as well as a pretty decent Fuzz and Tremolo. For right now I have my eye on a Plexi Deluxe, Sovereign and Tumnus Deluxe.

  • Wampler Dracarys .
  • Wampler Dual Fusion Drive
  • Wampler Euphoria .
  • Wampler Hotwired Drive
  • Wampler Mini Ego .
  • Wampler Paisley Drive Deluxe
  • Wampler Pinnacle / Deluxe
  • Wampler Plexi Drive / Deluxe
  • Wampler Sovereign
  • Wampler Thirty Something
  • Wampler Triple Wreck
  • Wampler Tumnus .
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe .
  • Wampler Velvet Fuzz

Way Huge : Jeorge Tripps : Benicia, California, USA

www.jimdunlop.com

 

Jeorge Tripps is Senior Engineer / Head at Dunlop Electronics Division - which includes Cry Baby, Hendrix, MXR and of course his pet project Way Huge. There are some great sounding pedals within the range, but their medium+ enclosures have always struck me as somewhat oversized, it's just as well then that Jeorge has woken up to that fact and started introducing more compact versions of the existing classics - i.e. 'Smalls' version which currently number 3, but hopefully most will eventually transition across - including the Havalina Fuzz and Saucy Box OD. The only ones I would ever consider acquiring would be the 'Smalls' versions:

  • Way Huge Smalls Aqua-Puss Analog Delay
  • Way Huge Smalls Blue Hippo Analog Chorus
  • Way Huge Smalls Russian Pickle Fuzz

Wilson Effects : Kevin Wilson : Guilford, Indiana, USA

www.wilsoneffects.com

 

Kevin Wilson is largely a Wah specialist but has built up quite a significant range of stomp boxes too - mostly overdrives and fuzzes. Most of those come in oversized enclosures as far as I'm concerned and I don't really see anything which suitably matches up with my parameters. The Wilson Mini Q-Wah though is a different story, and is probably the most full-featured mini-wah currently available. I'm not saying I don't still love my Dunlop Mini Wah - it's always nice to have some extra versatility.

  • Wilson Effects Mini Q-Wah

WMD Devices : William Mathewson : Denver, Colorado, USA

wmdevices.com

 

WMD are most famous for their Geiger Counter series of crazy feature-rich bitcrushers - and we're all awaiting the arrival of the pro version of that. It also has an amazing large format super-tweakable distortion pedal in the Acoustic Trauma and extreme envelope filter in the Protostar. However, the WMD device that is most likely to be added to my chain is the Utility Parametric EQ - which I could occasionally swap out with the Boss GE-7.

  • WMD Acoustic Trauma Analogue Distortion Machine
  • WMD Geiger Counter Pro Bitcrusher
  • WMD Protostar Envelope Filter
  • WMD Utility Parametric EQ

Xotic Effects : Toshio Horiba : Los Angeles, California, USA (< Prosound Communications)

xotic.us

 

The sister brand to EWS also makes its own excellent vintage-inspired line of guitars. For me it's all about the mini pedals - the EP Booster, SL Drive and SP Compressor - I have all three in both original and Alchemy Audio modded versions, and the EP and SL have been part of the chain for the longest time - the former only recently having been ousted by the Jackson Audio Prism. Xotic is mostly known for its Booster / Overdrive pedals, and there are 3 which I like the look of - as well as Xotic's rather sleek Wah - if only that was available in mini-size too.

  • Xotic BB PreAmp AT (Andy Timmons) Ltd Edition
  • Xotic AC/RC OZ Noy Signature
  • Xotic EP Booster Mini .
  • Xotic RC Booster V2
  • Xotic SL Drive Mini .
  • Xotic Soul Driven
  • Xotic SP Compressor Mini .
  • Xotic Wah

Xvive Audio : Howard Davis, Darius Mostowfi, Ray Heasman & Thomas Blug : Pasadena, California, USA

www.xviveaudio.com

 

A mini pedal company where pedals are designed in the USA by pedal industry legends and then built in China. Xvive are also responsible for manufacturing the new EHX MemoryMan bucket brigade chips - which can be found in their own homage to that - the E1 Echoman. I already have the excellent EVH Brown Sound - Golden Brownie, and would not mind acquiring an Echoman as well.

  • Xvive E1 Echoman Delay
  • Xvive Golden Brownie Distortion .

Zvex : Zachary Vex : Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA

www.zvex.com

 

Zachary Vex has to be the King of the Fuzz Pedal - I've been listening to a lot of St Vincent of late, and she use Zvex fuzzes quite a lot, as do numerous notable bands looking for that super edgy fuzz sound. There's two flagship pedals with really rare transistors - the Fuzz Factory 7 and Woolly Mammoth 7 which have a very high ticked price, everything else is around $200/£200. I've never liked the landscape / horizontal format of most of the Zvex pedals, so it's good news that Zachary has started bringing out standard vertical formats too starting with the regular Fuzz Factory. In terms of my own pedal preferences - I would really like a Fat Fuzz Factory and Mastotron in the vertical format - and the mini Fuzzolo has been on my wishlist for a while - I'll snap it up once it goes back under £100. The Loog Gate is another really smart Zvex pedal that I have my eye on, but I'm not sure I would use yet!

  • Zvex Distortron
  • Zvex Fuzz Factory 7
  • Zvex Fuzzolo
  • Zvex Loop Gate
  • Zvex Vertical '59 Sound
  • Zvex Vertical Box of Rock
  • Zvex Vertical Fuzz Factory .
  • Zvex Vertical Fat Fuzz Factory (TBC)
  • Zvex Vertical Mastotron Fuzz (TBC)
  • Zvex Vertical Vibrophase
  • Zvex Woolly Mammoth 7

Personal Most-Loved Pedal-Makers (by Pedal Mentions) Feb 2018

So the following is simply a list of which pedal-makers got the most mentions - i.e. who have the greatest number of pedals currently on my lists. I include everyone at 5 mentions or more.

 

It's amusing to see the old master and young upstart right at the top of my tree.

 

Mentions in (parenthesis)[rough numbers as this post is constantly updated]:

  • (24) Boss
  • (18) TC Electronic
  • (14) JHS
  • (14) Wampler
  • (13) Strymon
  • (12) Mooer
  • (11) Dunlop (16 inc. MXR)
  • (11) Keeley
  • (11) Zvex
  • (10) Catalinbread
  • (10) Empress
  • (10) Fulltone
  • (09) Alexander Pedals
  • (09) Bearfoot FX
  • (09) Bogner
  • (09) Chase Bliss Audio
  • (09) EarthQuaker Devices
  • (09) Electro-Harmonix
  • (09) Foxpedal
  • (09) Ibanez
  • (09) Mad Professor
  • (09) One Control
  • (08) Crazy Tube Circuits
  • (08) DigiTech
  • (08) VFE Pedals
  • (08) Xotic Effects
  • (07) Analog.Man
  • (07) Free The Tone
  • (07) Pigtronix
  • (07) Subdecay
  • (07) Walrus Audio
  • (05) Mythos Effects
  • (06) Spaceman Effects
  • (06) Stone Deaf
  • (05) Adventure Audio
  • (05) Dawner Prince
  • (05) Dwarfcraft Devices
  • (05) Dr Scientist
  • (05) Greer Amps
  • (05) Iron Ether
  • (05) J Rockett (JRAD)
  • (05) Mojo Hand FX
  • (05) Monsterpiece Fuzz
  • (05) MXR
  • (05) Skreddy Pedals
  • (05) ThorpyFX

Top Pedal Brands by Ownership - Feb 2018

So largely by happenstance, not really by design - and attributed to several random factors of course, the most numerous pedals I have acquired are from the following brands (prevalence, then alphabetical, 2 or more)

  • Boss (10)
  • TC Electronic (9)
  • Chase Bliss Audio (5)
  • DigiTech (5)
  • OneControl (5)
  • Strymon (5)
  • Wampler (5)
  • Catalinbread (4)
  • Foxpedal (4)
  • Mooer (4)
  • Skreddy Pedals (4)
  • Dr Scientist (3)
  • Dunlop (3)
  • Empress Effects (3)
  • JHS (3)
  • Mad Professor (3)
  • Xotic Effects (3)
  • Bearfoot FX (2)
  • Diezel (2)
  • EWS (2)
  • Ibanez (2)
  • MI Audio (2)
  • VFE Pedals (2)
  • etc.

Note that I currently have 39 slots / placements in my active pedal chain, and I do frequently swap out pedals in each slot - e.g. Wah / Fixed Wah / Whammy Ricochet etc. - so the designated slot is of key importance - which is the principal pedal, and which the deputies / understudies!

Immediate Next 10 Pedals Wishlist - Dec 2017

I always carry both a written and mental wishlist of pedals I am likely to acquire next. There are a number obvious additions, updates and upgrades in the following list, but I can't really guarantee more than half will necessarily make it, as things move on so quickly - we discover new things, new priorities etc. right here, right now though it reads as follows (alphabetical):

  • Amptweaker Tight Fuzz Jr
  • Dawner Prince RedRox Distortion
  • Friedman Dirty Shirley Distortion
  • MI Audio Megalith Delta Distortion
  • Origin Effects Cali76 Deluxe Compressor
  • Pigtronix Mothership 2 Synth
  • TC Electronic Quintessence Harmonizer
  • TC Electronic Sentry Noise Gate
  • Wampler Tumnus Deluxe OD
  • Zvex Vertical Fuzz Factory / Fuzzolo Fuzz

I also tend to buy in the following order of preference: Drive (OD / Dist / Fuzz), then Modulation, then Utility so things get re-organized all the time and pretty much continuously...

The Next Next 20! - Dec 2017

Some of the following could be moved up to the former group or else be dismissed entirely for all the reasons I've previously stated, but this is the larger pool of likely imminent arrivals / considerations:

  • Analog.Man Prince of Tone
  • Boss AC-3 / Mooer Akoustikar
  • Boss FZ-2 Hyper Fuzz
  • Boss TE-2 Tera Echo
  • Catalinbread RAH / Sabbra Cadabra
  • Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl HiFi
  • DigiTech FreqOut
  • Eventide H9 Max
  • Foxpedal Kingdom Combo V2
  • GFI System Specular Tempus
  • J Rockett Rockaway Archer
  • Keeley Dark Side
  • Keeley Filaments
  • Keeley Monterey
  • MXR EVH 5150 OD / Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe
  • Rock Fabrik Mind Abuse
  • Side Effects Il Mostro Multi-Drive / Side Effects Woolly Mammoth 7 Clone
  • Stone Deaf Fig Fumb
  • Wampler Sovereign
  • Old Blood Noise Endeavours Haunt
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