Handmade pedals have increased in numbers to the point that there are seemingly
as many boutique pedal brands as there are companies
that make micro brews. Both enterprises
tend to be small operations that rely on reinventing
proven formulas to appeal to more extreme
tastes, so whether it’s increasing the shock-and-awe
factor of a pale ale or a vintage fuzz, there’s
an audience willing to support the cause and try it.
The “craft” mentality of the boutique pedal
scene has definitely given sonic spelunkers more
options than ever before in stompbox effects. And,
with so many small outfits bringing new pedals
to the market, it can be a little overwhelming for
anyone who is simply trying to figure out what to
choose from the dizzying array of distortion, fuzz,
delay, modulation, and other effects being offered
We recently lined up 20 boutique pedals of
various types and put them through their paces
on gigs and in our studios to see how they fared.
Test instruments included guitars from Fender,
Fernandes, Gibson, PRS, TMG, and Michael Stevens;
a Bad Cat Hot Cat head and 4x12, a 50-watt
Marshall JMP head, a Matchless HC-30, an Orange
Tiny Terror, a Vox AC 30, and Fender Deluxe Reverb
and Blues Junior combos. —ART THOMPSON
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