- This guide is based on my opinion and/or the general ‘buzz’ that surrounds the pedal.
- These are things I have bought for myself, or am considering buying.
- Rare, wait-list based, and generally unavailable pedals were not considered.
- No promotional fees have been paid to me by any manufactuer or dealer, they get mentioned because I like them.
- I’ll recommend Tonefactor when possible because I love them (and I stole a few photos for this article).
- 2009 Guide
Where to buy?
I don’t have any working relationships or deals with any of these people, but I might be ‘known’ because of my purchasing problem.
- Tonefactor.com – Great service, quick free shipping, and a pleasent community of gear junkys chatting about all things effects (and bacon).
- AnalogueHaven – Synth gear is the bread and butter here, but also stock a wide range of effects including some very small run and unique stuff.
- Pedalgeek – Solid service, knowledge, and selection.
- Analogman – A bit more limited selection than some of the others, but excellent service and top notch products and mods. Plus Analog Man’s guide to Vintage Effects book will make any effect-head happy!
- Pro Guitar Shop – I’ve ordered from them a few times and the service and turn around has been excellent.
Overdrive / Distorition
- Dredgetone – Angler ($139.95 Street):
This is a pedal that a few bass players (myself included) as one of the best ‘in the mix’ drive pedals out there. In the last 12 months we’ve seen them come back into production for a great low price! If you think that the main problem with bass dirt is that it gets lost in the mix, then the Angler is for you. It’s not a pedal you can just max out the knobs and run with, but one you need to find your spot with in the middle ground. If you are looking for all out noise or grinding walls of fuzz… look elsewhere. If you are looking to add a little spice to your bass chili… this is your bean.
This is it!!! The Angler Bass Overdrive is a great sounding and versatile pedal that combines a smooth overdrive and a signal recovery circuit. The range of the Tone and Dredge controls make this pedal capable of delivering subtle drive and hard clipped overdrive that responds dynamically to your touch. Optimized for low-end, this is a great sounding bass overdrive.
- Catalinbread – SFT ($159.95 Street):
The basic dirt king from last year returns… and why shouldn’t it. It’s reasonably priced, if comes from a company with great customer service, sounds great, and its Still Frickn’ Tempting.
SFT? What could that mean?: Sushi Frappacino Tort? Sigma Fart Truffle? Super Fantastic Turtle? Slippery Finger Treat? Sensational Fork Trick? Sneaky For Trumpets? Special Friend Trade? Smack For Thee?Smog From Toronto? Swarm Frog Trees? Some Fanatical Thing? Siamese Frigate Troop? Swamp Father Tate?Superman Fails Triginometry? Sail For Tuscon? Shrimp For Trout? Smothered Form Triplicates? Smash Fate Technology? Simple Funky Tone? Sword Falling Tutor?
Who knows what it stands for? But it Sounds F__king Tasty.
- EHX – Bass Big Muff ($76.50 Street):
This pedal isn’t the best of all possible worlds, but stands as a strong contendor for best-fuzz-for-your-buck, and is a marvouslous introduction into the world of Big Muff style pedals. Check out my review if you are really curious. A year after topping my holiday list I’d still recommend this pedal for anyone wandering into a bass fuzz for the first time. It might lack a little in the gain department, but it’s flexible, maintains the low end, easy to find, and cheap!
The Prodigy reborn with underworld insticts comes to life wielding the drive of the original classic Big Muff Pi and the earthy support of a bass tailored design with no loss of low end. This is the pedal that bass players who loved the Big Muff sound have been waiting for.
- Controls for Volume – Tone – Sustain
- Mini Switch for Bass Boost
- Long, creamy sustain, fat fuzz sound, solid treble and transparent bass sound
- Way Huge – Swollen Pickle MKII ($129 Street):
As a huge fan of the first run Swollen Pickle, this was a reissue that I lived in fear of a little bit. All that fear was for nothing, they nailed it. Not only were they able to capture the sound of the old version of the pedal, they also managed to add a ton of flexibility. This sucker can boom… this sucker can cut… LOOK AT THAT TOMATO! Need to read the review? Swollen Pickle.
With added controls the Swollen Pickle MkII surrenders super high-gain fuzz with copious amounts of smooth low-end to all who dare plug into it. With a twist of the SUSTAIN control, you’re taken from mild crunch to Armageddon! The FILTER control retains its trademark insane range of heavily band-pass-filtered tones distinguished by remarkable girth and sizzle, and the LOUDNESS puts out enough volume to clobber any amp!
- Iron Ether – Oxide ($175 Street):
This pedal sits at the very top of my fuzz GAS list. I mean, its got the word morphing right there like two times in the first sentence of the description. It’s also inspired by one a classic bass fuzz (Maestro Brassmaster) AND has a clean blend control to help maintain the low end of the bass guitar WHILE melting faces. Reading the description again while writing this has my itchy credit card wielding finger start to twitch wildly.
The Oxide is a morphing gated fuzz, allowing the user to seamlessly morph between a raucous, industrial octave fuzz inspired by the Maestro Bass Brassmaster, to a modern synthy fuzz with a pinched, gated sound. It includes a clean blend to allow extreme amounts of fuzz without losing low end.
- 3Leaf Audio – Groove Regulator 2($229 Street):
The first version of the Groove Regulator made this list last year, so it seems only fitting that it’s successor would make it as well. I’ve not had the pleasure of trying this one out yet myself, but all signs point to ‘buy me.’ Still a reduced footprint take on the sacred Lovetone Meatball the GR2 is bringing a more features to the table for this iteration.
Introducing the GR2 envelope filter. It has the sound that made the original famous, supplemented with the most-requested features.
-Internal lowpass/bandpass switch
-Internal gain trimpot
-Internal true/buffered bypass switch. When in buffered bypass, the effects loop is active while in bypass.
-Accepts 9-18v DC.
- Subdecay – Proteus ($189 Street):
This small form factor pedal with tap tempo sample and hold enabled filter is a great toy for musical creation. A little funk, no problem… another layer in a massive wall of sound… yep same pedal. One of my favorite purchases in the last year.
The ultimate plug and play filter pedal.
Building on the success of Prometheus, Proteus embraces a very different philosophy. In short, Proteus is what many people wished Prometheus had been- simpler and much easier to use on the fly. The envelope filter mode is much more “funk” than “shoegaze.” The step filtering is pure random sample hold. No ultra-fine tuning required. Just tap in a beat, and Proteus does all the thinking for you.