It’s always great to hear when a manufacturer is a fan of Guitar Player—especially when they’re far away in Rome, Italy.
“When I was a kid in the ’80s, I used to take a one-hour bus ride in order to buy GP at the only newspaper kiosk in Rome that had your magazine,” says NGR founder and designer Francesco De Nigris.
De Nigris, who graduated with an electronic-engineering degree in 1996, put his more than 20 years of experience as a musician and pedal enthusiast to bear on his own designs—all of which are delightfully handmade and hand-painted one-at-a-time by De Nigris himself. His pedal line features all-analog circuitry and are mechanically true bypassed, as De Nigris doesn’t like modern buffers (“Too sterile”). He also personally tests every pedal through his trusty amp collection: a ’72 Marshall 50-watt head and cabinet, a ’69 Fender Super Reverb, a ’72 Fender Princeton Reverb, a ’65 Vox AC50 with matching 1x18 speaker cabinet, and a ’72 Hiwatt DR103 head. The pedals are powered with a standard, negative ground 9-volt adaptor (not included).
We choose to test three “Spots,” although the full line offers nine pedals. For my evaluations, I used my Les Paul and Stratocaster, and I plugged everything into a ’70s-era Fender Twin.
De Nigris calls the Orange Spot ($191 street) a fuzz distortion, and it’s certainly not polite. This is a ferocious, silicon-transistor-loaded machine that sounds gritty, snarky, brittle, punchy, and fizzy—all the attributes of a great and aggressive fuzz. (I know some guitarists in retro doom bands that would kill for this pedal.) And the wailing doesn’t stop there. The Orange Spot also offers two switches to further rock-up your tone: a low-frequency boost and extra gain. Playing with the two switches and three knobs (Volume, Gain, Tone) can get you almost anywhere you want to go—that is, if you take the trip screaming like a demon.
Kudos Rowdy. Versatile. Bass boost and extra gain switches.
“Mr. Pink” is De Nigris’ take on vintage fuzz pedals such as the Fuzz Face and Tone Bender. The pedal puts out a lot of level, which is very nice for pummeling the front end of your amp. Although the transistors in the Pink Spot ($157 street) are silicon BJTs (just as in the Orange Spot), the tone is actually pretty organic here, rather than on the raspy side. De Nigris utilizes internal low-pass filters to smooth out the tone, and I found it to be somewhere between a restrained fuzz and an overdrive. The Fat switch adds a bit more velvet to the sound. Articulation is excellent. Even at extreme settings, I could hear the all the notes in my chords. The Pink Spot is a great choice if you want a natural sound with just a hint of gristle.
Kudos Articulate. Tons of level. Great overdrive tones.
Concerns Is it really a fuzz?
I love how black and purple always look great together! The Purple Spot ($157 street) is a PNP Germanium-driven overdrive with Pre Gain and Post Gain controls and a bass cut switch. While twisting knobs, I got sounds straight out of Sweet and Budgie, and I also stumbled upon a great Machine Head-era Ritchie Blackmore tone. There’s a lot of classic rock and metal goodness here, but the Purple monster is also capable of producing some spitty flavors that evoke badass ’60s fuzz boxes. If you want a lot of gritty colors from a single pedal, you may want to go purple.
Kudos Groovy vintage tones. Versatile.