GP and DesignSpace at SFSU Present PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact November 2 in San Francisco—Free!

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PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact is opening October 31st on San Francisco State University’s main campus near Lake Merced, and running through November 17th. Guitar Player Presents is focused on the opening reception happening Thursday, November 2nd from 4-7pm when there will be a reception at SFSU’s DesignSpace Gallery, an in-depth discussion hosted by guest curator Ron Light with Guitar Player Editor In-Chief Michael Molenda and other industry luminaries, as well a pedal-based musical performance by FRETS editor Jimmy Leslie. 

“PedalCulture demonstrates how manufactured products both affect and reflect the culture at large,” says Light. “Understanding this relationship is key to our looking at objects more deeply to discover the underlying values and culturally significant properties embedded in the design of things we touch and use every day.”

On display will be 50-plus effects pedals supported by large-scale photographs, music samples, an interactive effects installation, and abundant interpretive material to make this a truly educational experience for musicians and non-musicians alike. PedalCulture presents a unique opportunity for visitors to view rare, unusual, and decidedly offbeat effects pedals from some of the world’s most notable guitar effects designers and manufacturers. The exhibition promises more than a few surprises. Students from SFSU’s School of Design created a highly expressive visual style for pedal displays (think ’60s pop art), and guest curator Light courted a lighthearted, iconoclastic attitude toward the subject itself.

“Beyond the wildly expressive tones produced by guitar effects pedals and their outrageously arty outward appearance, pedals become a fascinating study when viewed as cultural objects,” says Light. “When I began to observe how guitarists obsessively collect effects pedals, and the way they fetishize these objects by imbuing them with a sort of supernatural power—that’s what made me want to organize an exhibition.”

PedalCulture Exhibition Highlights:

• Interactive installation allows visitors to channel their inner rocker by experimenting with different guitar effects with myriad settings.

• Effects display represents builders from nine different countries, and showcases many artisanal, limited production, and one-of-a-kind pedal designs. 

• Exhibit unravels mysterious connections between effects pedal names, branding, and design to reveal select cultural references to popular literature, movies, music, mythology, misogyny, murder, mayhem, drugs, religion, slang, surf, Satanism, suicide, space junk, nuclear annihilation, television, and Trump.

• Printed exhibition catalog—free download available in 2018.

Come revel in PedalCulture with GP’s Michael Molenda and Jimmy Leslie, DesignSpace at San Francisco State University, guest curator Ron Light, and oodles of other guitar pedal zealots on Thursday, November 2, from 4pm to 7pm. Get more details here


GP Presents PedalCulture: The Guitar Effects Pedal as Cultural Artifact

Thursday, November 2

4pm – 7pm

San Francisco State University

Fine Arts Building, DesignSpace (Room 115)

Directions: View on Google Maps

Contacts:; Guest curator Ron Light,