Mixdown's 2018 Christmas Gift Guide: Pedals

Stompbox Surprises

It’s the most wonderful time of the year. The nights are getting warmer, Michael Buble is hitting the charts, and musicians are bracing themselves for a month of ‘Jingle Bell Rock’ covers. With Christmas almost upon us, it’s time to start searching stores for the ultimate present to give, which isn’t always an easy task. Luckily, we’ve got you covered with our Christmas Gift Guide to help you find the perfect gift for the musicians in your life.

T-Rex Mudhoney II

 

Distributed by: Amber Technology

Expect to Pay: $349

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Guitarists in need of a classic yet versatile distortion sound.

 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The Mudhoney’s tone is famed for its edgy distortion that retains the character of your amp, which makes it great for leads with emotion and feel. A little (or a lot of) extra bite helps a lead cut through a dense mix to deliver a punchy tone before slipping back into your rhythm tone.

 

USABILITY:

The dual circuits make this pedal incredibly versatile and usable, allowing you to push a clean amp on one channel, and create a thick wall of sound on the other – and anything in between.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The T-Rex Mudhoney II is housed in an iconic golden yellow chassis. Weighing in at just 0.35kg, it won’t weigh down your pedalboard, despite the dual circuitry.

 

OVERALL:

The T-Rex Mudhoney delivers a classic tone, twice. It’s versatile in the level, gain, boost and tone controls, and enables switching between three tones (including your amp’s clean tone), bringing presence and punch, clarity and bite or obliterating tone and snarky clean.

 

Zoom G3XN

 

Distributed by: Dynamic Music

Expect to Pay: $329

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Guitarists looking for a solid multi-effects unit with room for personal customisation.

 

VERSATILITY:

The G3XN comes loaded with five classic amp models, five speaker cabinet emulators and up to 70 DSP effects. You’ll find all your favourite effects in here, ranging from classic overdrive and distortion, to chorus and phaser. Additionally, there are 68 inbuilt rhythm patterns onboard, making the G3XN the perfect practise partner. These can even be used with the included looper functionality.

 

USABILITY:

The G3XN excels in its ease of use. Three brightly lit LED screens display your entire signal chain in succinct fashion, and adding, deleting or reordering effects is a breeze. There’s room for up to 150 of your custom-built effects chains, but if you’re feeling lazy, Zoom’s 75 custom-designed patches can instantly place you in the tonal ballpark of your favourite guitarist. Zoom’s Guitar Lab 3.0 software is incredibly intuitive and takes no time to learn. New patches, effects, and amplifier models are constantly being added to their downloadable database, which is a huge plus.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

Built like a tank, with robust footswitches, buttons and an expression pedal. No complaints here.

 

OVERALL:

Zoom claims the G3XN is “like having hundreds of fully loaded pedalboards all in one compact and easy-to-use device,” and it’s hard to argue with that. If you’re searching for a multi-effects unit that delivers a ton of bang for your buck, look no further.

 

HeadRush Gigboard


 

Distributed by: Electric Factory  

Expect to Pay: $1249

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

The modern guitarist who isn’t afraid of integrating digitised multi-effects into their playing.

 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

There’s a lot to dive into with the HeadRush Gigboard, and this also reflects the overall versatility of the unit. The sonic possibilities are near limitless. The various effects onboard sound extremely faithful, the cabinet and amp modeling is impeccable, and there’s even a selection of microphones and preamps to choose from to dial in those precise little details with ease.

 

USABILITY:

I’m usually pretty technologically inept with digital multi-effects units, but the HeadRush Gigboard boasts one of the most user-friendly interfaces I’ve ever experienced, particularly due to its intuitive 7” touch screen display. Designing and switching between presets is an absolute breeze, and the hands-free editing mode for live editing will certainly interest many tone fiends.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

HeadRush have obviously put a lot of thought into the design of the Gigboard, creating a tour-ready and extremely durable multi-effects unit, featuring an incredibly user-friendly design with assignable LED strips and high quality footswitches.

 

OVERALL:

There are so many good digital modeling units available on the market today – to be fair, they probably are the future of live guitar rigs – and the HeadRush Gigboard is 100 percent worthy of all the hype that’s surrounded it thus far. If you’re looking to integrate the best of modern digital processing into your guitar rig, look no further than the Gigboard.

 

Morley Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah

 

Distributed by: Innovative Music

Expect to Pay: $319

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Steve Vai fans should leap at this for obvious reasons, but also those looking for a dynamic wah with manual frequency adjustment.

 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The two modes of the Bad Horsie 2 Contour Wah give you a shockingly wide spread of tones. Bad Horsie mode produces Vai’s preferred tone and sweep in an almost laughably good emulation, while Contour Wah allows you to alter the frequency and output of the wah yourself.

 

USABILITY:

Morley’s pedal pedigree takes it home. With its switchless, electro-optical design, stepping on the treadle engages the wah and stepping off bypasses it. Setting your own wah dimensions in contour mode is simple too, as the contour knob adjusts the frequency while the level knob controls the output.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The Bad Horsie 2 is housed in a rugged black chassis, adorned only with spindly red cursive labels and LED indicators. A bog-standard 9V battery or 9V adaptor will power the unit.

 

OVERALL:

The original Bad Horsie was one of the first artist signature pedals. Now obviously a cottage industry, its sequel gives you exactly what you want out of both a signature and dynamic pedal with its faithful accuracy and control.

 

Morley Mini Maverick Switchless Wah

 

Distributed by: Innovative Music

Expect to Pay: $189

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Players wanting a practical-sized boutique wah as an alternative to mainstays like the Cry Baby.

 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

Morley have aimed to provide the quintessential hybrid wah sound that falls between vintage and modern tones, and they’ve succeeded in spades. The custom MQ2 inductor is responsible for the enviable tonal clarity, while a True Tone Bypass buffer circuit ensures pure guitar tone and output.

 

USABILITY:

The Mini Maverick Switchless Wah finally condenses Morley’s universally admired boutique sound profile into a manageable pedalboard size, and it’s never been easier to access such exemplary tone. The wah avoids the pitfalls of flimsy pots by bypassing them altogether with the brand’s signature switchless system – simply step on to engage and step off to bypass.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The Mini Maverick Switchless Wah is housed in a rugged, cold-rolled steel, black and white chassis, fit with minimal LED indicators. The trapezoid treadle is surfaced by glow in the dark rubber, so you can wah your way through even the dingiest of venues. A bog-standard 9V battery or 9V adaptor will power the unit.

 

OVERALL:

Wah might often seem like an effect where pedal development has stagnated because the sound is what it is. Pedals like the Mini Maverick Switchless Wah prove there is progress. Buy this if you take your wah seriously.

 

T-Rex ToneTrunk 56


 

Distributed by: Amber Technology

Expect to Pay: $219

 

RECOMMENDED FOR:

Players looking for an adaptable two-in-one pedalboard package in an unostentatious travel-friendly design.

 

SOUND/VERSATILITY:

The 56 is the ToneTrunk’s mid-range offering, managing the best compact and spacious balance across the brand. The black canvas bag is decidedly unfussy, packing two accessory pockets and a padded shoulder strap for comfortable tour-travelling, while the board’s multi-tiered design provides trouble-free stomp access to all of your pedals. T-Rex have provided hook-and-loop fasteners unmounted, and dodgy sticky tape is no longer needed to prevent stage-slide – a low profile design and sturdy rubber feet keep it firmly grounded onstage.

 

USABILITY:

The multi-tiered design really is T-Rex’s great triumph, ensuring you don’t end up in a phaser-whammy mess with an overly crowded board. You could arguably knock up to ten small 9V pedals or more on with creative arrangement, while being able to transport it as comfortably as you would a laptop bag.

 

CONSTRUCTION:

The soft bag’s design isn’t a high-tech Kathmandu-jacket level fabric operatio, nor does it need to be. The black canvas is rugged, padded and lightweight, weighing just 2.9kg with the board in the bag. The board accounts for nearly 2kg of that, constructed from a sturdy aluminium base. Pre-drilled holes for patch cables, power supplies, and brackets save you the trouble.

 

OVERALL:

The T-Rex ToneTrunk 56 is a stalwart option for your chosen pedalboard travel arrangement.

 

Mixdown's Christmas Gift Guide 

Amps

Assorted Gear

Drums 

Guitars 

Headphones

Keys & Synths

Microphones

Studio Gear

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