12 New Must-Have Effect Pedals for 2016—With Demos

January 25, 2016

Winter NAMM 2016 was packed with more pedals than ever. It was impossible to check out everything, but we were floored by all that we did see.
While it was hard to narrow down our favorites, here are 12 pedals that we think you absolutely must put on your demo list in 2016.
When you’re done here, check out our complete list of NAMM products, where you’ll find even more great gear, including guitars, amps and accessories.  

Originally produced from 1982 to 1986, the VB-2 Vibrato is a rare Boss pedal that has become highly prized on the used market through the years. Featuring true pitch modulation, VB-2 Vibrato let guitarists create rich, expressive and consistent controlled vibrato at moderate settings and warbles and special effects at extreme settings.

The Waza Craft VB-2W is a recreation of the original with added range and control. In Standard mode, it faithfully reproduces the warm, BBD-driven analog tone of the VB-2. Like the original, the user can adjust the vibrato rate and depth, and also control the “rise time” it takes for the effect to reach full intensity. A Latch setting provides normal stomp-box on/off control, while Unlatch engages the effect only when the pedal switch is held, which is perfect for naturally applying vibrato effects as needed while playing.

In Custom mode, the VB-2W produces a newly developed vibrato tone with more depth. In addition, a low-pass filter moves along with the pitch for bold low-range tones. The VB-2W also features a jack for controlling the effect depth with an optional expression pedal, or via the powerful external control capabilities of the Boss ES-8 Effects Switching System.

For more information, visit Boss.


Seymour Duncan’s Catalina Dynamic Chorus pedal has a unique Dynamic Expression mode that lets players control the depth of the effect through the intensity of their playing. A threshold control lets players dial in the sensitivity of the Dynamic Expression feature to perfectly match any playing style.

Catalina also has controls for mix, rate, depth, delay and tone, and it uses  analog Bucket-Brigade Devices (BBDs) supported by modern low-noise analog electronics. The footswitch is true bypass, for the most pure signal when the pedal is not in use.

For more information, visit Seymour Duncan.


The latest innovation in TC Electronic’s line of loopers, the Ditto X4 Looper features dual loop tracks, seven loop effects, loop decay and MIDI sync to allow the creation of multilayered sonic masterpieces.

Made by guitarists for guitarists, it is simple to use, involving no drum machines, deep-editing menus or other time-consuming tech.

Other features include loop decay, true bypass and analog dry-through,
stereo inputs and outputs, and the ability to import free StarJam loops. The X4 runs on an included nine-volt adapter.

For more information, visit TC Electronic.


Keeley Electronics’ Tone Workstation is based on four of Keeley’s effect pedals: the Compressor, the Katana Boost, and the 1962 and Red Dirt overdrive boxes. Together, they form a versatile three-channel effect box that delivers a wide range of core tones.

Chief engineer Robert Keeley says the Tone Workstation “combines many of our most popular tube amplifier tones. giving players a huge range of gain stages in a single box format.”

The classic Keeley Compressor lets guitarists build a thick, sustaining tone with attack and release set for either humbuckers or single coils. The blend control lets you set the perfect ratio of natural guitar tone to compressed tone to keep your sound lively and crisp.

The 1962/Katana Boost delivers British amp-style overdrive, or clean boost at the flick of a switch. The Red Dirt overdrive provides a smooth and saturated midrange boost channel featuring Keeley’s JFET front end. This circuit captures every nuance of your guitar's tone and delivers a high gain, smooth lead tone.

The Keeley Electronics Tone Workstation begins shipping February 28 with a  street price of $299.

For more information, visit Keeley Electronics.

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