Reviewed: Xotic Effects Soul Driven Overdrive
Stompboxes are, by design, implements of very occasional joy. Sure, some stay on longer than others, but you’d be hard pressed to find a player in the world who relies on flanger, for example, as the bedrock of their sound. For the vast majority, the first step on the path to tonal glory is an amp, tube driven or otherwise, that has all the spunk and moxie that they feel satisfied deeming the bare minimum. True as this may be, there have emerged over the last few years an increasing number of pedals that promise to enhance that foundation tone in one way or another.
Reviewed: Taurus Amplification Servo Analogue Guitar Enhancer
Taurus says the Servo pedal is capable of giving you the feeling that “you are playing on a much higher-quality instrument than it originally is.” That’s a big claim to make, but it also gives you a bit of a hint as to what the Servo’s job is. Basically it gives you control over various harmonic overtones already inherent in your instrument, and that’s gotta be a good thing whether you’re playing a cheapie guitar or something you spent a few months’ wages on
Reviewed: Fender Mirror Image Delay Pedal
“This’ll be interesting,” we all mumbled cautiously under our collective breath upon learning the news that U2’s austere and suspiciously silent guitarist The Edge had joined Fender’s Board of Directors. We are all too aware and constantly reminded of the fact that the guitar world is replete with celebrity influences of various degrees of cringe-worthiness (see: Kirk Hammett’s misguided ‘the first pedal made by a guitarist for guitarists’ slogan.) Could the man behind the man behind the glasses really be trusted with decisions affecting the first and last name in electrified instrumentation? We waited with bated breath until Fender unveiled their new line of stompboxes at this year’s NAMM conference.
Reviewed: Stacks FX Limited Edition Gold Fuzz Gazer Pedal
Like him or lump him, Dave Grohl and his ragtag gang of BMX bandits in the Foo Fighters look from the outside like they are living every musician’s dream life. Grohl himself seems like he never grew out of being a teenager worshipping his favourite bands. His exuberance and vim combine to give him a puppy-with-a-bone kind of energy that most of us unfortunately lose as soon as we are forced into ‘real jobs’. The further along their career path they get, the more Foo Fighters explore the outer reaches of the guitar rock plateau, and to their credit they have managed to escape the clutches of MOR tedium even if it is by sheer force of moxie alone. The video for their single ‘Run’ is a sort of goofy metaphor for this idea as it sees them dressed up as elderly versions of themselves starting a prison riot as they play before a shocked nursing home crowd. It may be quintessentially adolescent, but it won them a Grammy so there’s no point arguing. One of the most talked about aspects of the song apart from the clip is the guitar tone driving the whole song like it stole it. The machine responsible for that velcro tight, chewy fuzz sound is the Stacks FX Fuzz Gazer.
Reviewed: ZVEX Effects Silicon Fuzz Factory
For the faint of heart, don't even bother. This is probably one of the most unruly fuzz pedals you could ever hope to wrestle with. But for those who are looking for a dose of semi-controlled chaos matched with a huge sound in an economically-sized package, look no further. A world of gnarly fuzz awaits.
Reviewed: Mad Professor Little Green Wonder Overdrive
When an overdrive pedal comes in some variation of a green finish and it has three knobs, we all know what it’s inspired by and there’s no point beating around the bush about it: the Ibanez Tube Screamer. The Tube Screamer is so ubiquitous and so iconic that every player feels they need some version of it on their pedalboard. But the relative simplicity of the circuit also means it’s easy to customise, so there are plenty of options on the market from other companies who know that you may want something in the Tube Screamer neighbourhood but with enough variation to set you apart from everyone using the same little green box. That’s where the Mad Professor Little Green Wonder Overdrive comes in.
Reviewed: EarthQuaker Devices Pyramids Stereo Flanger
We're calling it: flangers are due for a comeback. But there's a lot more to this classic effect than what first meets the eye. Whether you want to emulate Eddie Van Halen to a tee or push the envelope of experimentation further than ever before, EarthQuaker Devices has you sorted with the revolutionary Pyramids Stereo Flanging Device.
Reviewed: Fender Santa Ana Overdrive
“I really just want that classic dirt sound, ya know? Which one of these things gives me that?” Anyone who works in a music shop, studio or any place where guitar based advice is metered out will attest to just how long the ensuing conversation can be. Dirt is, after all, literally everywhere in the world with many different combinations and permutations responsible for what is all too often lumped in under the one roof. Between the few different types of fuzz, the dense thicket of distortions and the seemingly unreachable horizon of overdrives, the answer is almost always, “How long is a piece of string?” Sometimes a design will hit that nail right on the head and stand the test of time as a sought-after sound, and pedals like the often imitated Tube Screamer and its ilk become the things of legend. In the Santa Ana Overdrive, Fender has plunged into the deepest water in tone town and come up for air with what may prove to be the next Excalibur.