The Best Boutique Guitar Pedal Companies
mardi 2 octobre 2018, 22:00 , par Sweetwater inSync
Thanks to YouTube demos and online discussion forums, today’s guitarist is tone-savvier than ever — especially when it comes to FX pedals. It’s for this reason the boutique pedal market has exploded over the past decade. Whether it’s the custom graphics, premium components, or otherwise unachievable sounds these small-run pedals are packing, there’s just something about a boutique pedal that’s hard to come by in a production model. Best of all, at today’s prices, you don’t have to be a David Gilmour or an Eddie Van Halen to afford a board full of these handbuilt FX. Here’s a look at some of Sweetwater’s friends baking fresh-daily sounds for the discerning guitarist.
Reinhold Bogner and Jorg Dorschner’s amp-in-a-box and studio classic effects feature premium components and topology once reserved for large-format recording and guitar gear. Whether you’re looking to administer Bogner‘s acclaimed Ecstasy and Uberschall drive characteristics into your signal path or you’re just after a dynamite transformer-driven VCA compressor in a convenient pedal form factor (the Lyndhurst), North Hollywood’s Bogner Amplification has a pedal to suit your needs.
Family-owned Diezel of Germany, the brainchild of tone gurus Peter Diezel and Peter Stapfer, has a lock on the modern high-gain guitar market. And with its obsessive Zerrer distortion shaper and Diezel-in-a-box VH4 frontloading your combo or stack, it’s possible to radically overhaul your existing amp tone or even enjoy that venerated Diezel überdrive, amp free, out on the road. All Diezel pedals are precision-built using choice components and all-metal enclosures, to keep players satisfied for years to come.
A borked DOD 250 preamp pedal was the thrust behind Jamie Stillman’s widely popular EarthQuaker Devices (EQD) pedal company. Our friends and neighbors to the east, now some 50 strong, have been keeping Akron, Ohio weird for the past 14 years with their enormous selection of pedals — including the lush Afterneath reverb, syrupy Hoof Reaper fuzz, and bizzaro Rainbow Machine pitch shifter. All EQD FX are handbuilt, one at a time, by skilled hands on-site. Oddball names and two-tone powder coat graphics give these pedals instant boutique appeal. Take it from us — there’s nothing quite as inspiring or empowering as a board full of EarthQuaker Devices at your feet.
With a namesake that is the secret sauce behind the legendary tones of Van Halen, Steve Stevens, and Jerry Cantrell, you know you can count on Friedman for tonal supremacy. Every LA-built Friedman pedal exacts the signature tones of Friedman’s high-powered and cheekily-named Dirty Shirley and BE-100 amps on your signal chain. Designated tube pedals like the Motor City Drive and Fuzz Fiend, capably fed by robust 220-volt power supplies — no starved plates here — frontload your amp with pure tube-fueled ecstasy.
Fulltone Musical Products
Michael Fuller of Southern California has enjoyed one of the proudest and longest-standing histories in the boutique pedal market. Though best known for his industry-standard OCD and made-to-order Full-Drive overdrives, Fulltone today offers a full range of fully loaded fuzz (Más Malo), FX (Supa-Trem Jr.), and utility (2B Boost) pedals. Michael also happens to be a killer player, personally demoing many of his pedals on Fulltone’s YouTube channel.
JHS founder Josh Scott is as well known for his ready-made pedal mods as his exhaustive product line. Nestled away in a small suburb south of Kansas City, Missouri, Josh and his team of about 25 are daily creating new ways to shape and manipulate audio. From classics reimagined like the 9-way Bonsai ‘Screamer and Morning Glory klone, to a burgeoning artist signature line that is today home to Butch Walker’s Ruby Red and Ryan Adams’ VCR, JHS Pedals truly has a solution for every player out there.
Robert Keeley, founder of Keeley Electronics, is not only one of the industry’s foremost pioneering pedal modders and creators but an important contributor to the once-fledgling DIY pedal community as well. Since 2001, Keeley’s pursuit of the perfect “X” pedal has led to the creation of a number of exquisite custom designs, many today considered best in their class — the wet-dry Compressor Plus, Caverns ambient delay, and dual-voiced D&M Drive being just a few examples. Each of Keeley’s Oklahoma-built, hand-tested pedals is guaranteed to put a smile on the face of any golden-eared player.
Joe Morgan lives at the intersection of history and technology — a fact which can be seen in his future-forward, backward-looking NKT275 fuzz and OD drive pedals. Morgan Amplification‘s use of discrete circuitry and found NOS components gives these California-crafted pedals the vintage, golden-age tone we know and love. Yet their handbuilt TLC and true bypass switching equip these pedals for the choosiest boards.
Strymon of Southern California has pretty well written the book on the modern high-performance digital pedal. From the lush-tailed shimmer of the BigSky to the tape-drenched echo of El Capistan and genuine photocell amp tremolo of the Flint, Strymon’s no-compromises circuits have redefined what floor-based digital FX units are capable of. You’ll find Strymon FX on the pedalboards of electric and acoustic players alike.
Walrus Audio is a relative newcomer to Sweetwater, and our resident guitarists couldn’t be more thrilled to carry them. Whether it’s the brawny breakup of the Warhorn overdrive, the filmic space-creation of the Fathom ambient reverb, or the chaotic self-oscillations found within the ARP-87 delay, Central Oklahoma’s Colt Westbrook and Walrus Audio are dedicated to capturing the sounds in players’ heads. Daring names, imaginative backstories, and custom artwork from fellow Okie artist Nathan Price give each pedal a look and allure that will speak to players on deeper levels than just audio.
When it comes to online presence and engagement, you won’t find a more prolific pedaler than Brian Wampler of Indiana’s Wampler Pedals. Aside from building some of the most talked-about pedals on the web, including the popular Tumnus klone, Ego Compressor, and Ethereal ambient delay, Brian is refreshingly easy to reach over social media and email, responding to player questions about builds, technique, tonal tips, and even content creation. Brian is also a monster player and tonal creator in his own right, so when you see him playing his own pedals, you can be sure they’re good enough for the best.
We Want to Hear from You!
Tell your Sweetwater Sales Engineer which are your favorite pedals and which pedals you need to finish out your rig. Call us at (800) 222-4700.
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dim. 18 nov. - 06:39 CET