Reviewed: Fender Level Set Buffer Pedal
Let me tell you a little story, dear reader. Once upon a time in the land of rock and roll, there were hundreds of happy little elves wailing away on twelve-bars in garages to their hearts’ content. They were perfectly happy with the volume they got out of their tweed covered amps and when those tubes started to warm and break up, you could hear their excited squeals ring out across the land. These were simpler times. Then, one day, an evil genius decided to throw a spanner in the works. He had invented a number of small devices designed to situate between the guitar and its electrical destination, changing the sound in many and varied ways. This opened up a Pandora’s box of questions, options and problems for the happy little elves, and not all of them were so easy to resolve.
Reviewed: Fender The Bends Compressor Pedal
When you think about glass, you think about clarity. You think about windows that shield you from the wind and rain, but also reveal the subtle and resplendent beauty of the landscape you surround yourself with. In the process of doing their job, one side will invariably catch all the dirt and degradation that comes with exposure to the elements, but the best glass will clean up with little more than a once over with a squeegee.
Reviewed: Morley DJ Ashba Skeleton Wah
DJ Ashba is perhaps best known for his work with Guns N’ Roses and Sixx:A.M. (alongside ex Motley Crue bassist Nikki Sixx). A bluesy rock based player, the Skeleton Wah is a common go-to for his solos and fills – and playing guitar based rock and metal there are no doubt plenty of chances to put it on display. Morley has more than a little experience in the world of effects pedals so I’m sure they have extended this know-how into the Ashba Skeleton Wah.
Reviewed: Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe Tape Echo Pedal
According to Wikipedia, the historical Belle Époque, French for “Beautiful Era”, is “characterised by optimism, regional peace, economic prosperity… and technological, scientific, and cultural innovations.” It was the age before the beauty dropped out of modernity. Where there were narcotics in every medicinal remedy, the Moulin Rouge was the most popular spot in the world and we hadn’t yet seen the constant and full-scale destruction of everything as a result of the most devastating wars and political misdemeanours known to mankind. Harking back to this golden age in the name of one of their flagship designs was a fitting choice by the brains behind Catalinbread’s intoxicating and lush delay machine, aptly referred to as the Belle Epoch.
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.