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.
Reviewed: Mad Professor Kosmos Ambient Reverb Pedal
When you’re lying on your back at night and you think about the universe, what do you think it sounds like? Some would imagine a thick, heavy silence like you would hear underground. Science suggests that with nothing for sonic vibrations to reverberate against in The Grand Vacuum that this would be the most accurate assumption. Science be damned though; when I think of the sound of the universe, I hear everything all at once. I hear the unending, catastrophic, caterwauling orchestra of every atom singing simultaneously accompanied by the lilting, effervescent melodic freedom of floating endlessly untouched by time, stave or physical limitation. It seems that the brains behind the Mad Professor brand of pedals tend to agree as somehow they’ve managed to distil this limitless symphony into one modest blue box, the Kosmos Ambient Reverb.
Reviewed: Valeton Loft Series Mini Analog Pedals
I don’t know who works at Valeton or how they got their info, but there is something funny going on in that secret lab of theirs. Playing through and listening to the three pedals from their Loft series that I see before me, I can only assume that the engineers behind the OD-10, CH-10 and AD-10 are a combination of Rick Moranis in Honey, I Shrunk The Kids, Jeff Goldblum in The Fly, and Tom Cruise in Mission Impossible. Either they’ve cackled their way through discovering the formulae on some dark, stormy night or they’ve shimmied through a roof and stolen the microfilm containing the secrets behind just about every classic stompbox on the market. Either way they’ve done something right because these are some of the healthiest sounding clones I’ve ever laid ears on.
Reviewed: Line 6 HX Effects
Since the early inceptions of the Flextone, AxSys and POD, Line 6 have continued to develop guitar tools that have been eagerly embraced by the greater guitar community. Recent trends with modeling and subsequent success of the Helix range have seen them expand their range. Listening to guitarists’ needs and incorporating high quality effects with plenty of switching and routing options, the HX Effects was met with huge anticipation at NAMM. Wonder what all the fuss is about?