Guitar Effect Pedals
Updated: 2/5/2014 – For over a decade, we’ve been tracking the best guitar effects pedals on the market and listing them in this handcrafted directory of guitar effects. Discover boutique pedals you’ve never knew existed and become reacquainted with old classics.
4ms guitar pedals offer so much control that they are easily customizable to your guitar style (you can add more knobs and request custom paint colors…really). 4ms guitar effects also come with a lifetime warranty (for the original owner). Their line of effects includes the Triwave, Atoner, Noise Wash, Tremulus, Duo Distorter, Stereo Panneur and the Phaseur.
If you’re looking for standard or custom true-bypass loopers, these are a good choice to consider. Offering everything from a single true-bypass loop pedal to an all-out 12 channel true bypass looper with tap tempo, you’re sure to find these simple yet elegant white boxes a convenient solution for non-true-bypass pedals.
Website | Analog Man makes some of the most renowned guitar effects pedals on the planet. Popular pedals include the Comprossor & Bi-Comprossor compressor pedals, Sun Face fuzz, Sun Lioin fuzz/treble booster, ARDX20 Dual Analog Delay, Tube Screamer Mods, Chorus & Bi-Chorus, and more. Definitely check these out.
Akai was founded in 1984 in order to create new and exciting guitar effects to help inspire musicians of the 80s. Their line of guitar pedals is now limited to the Headrush, which is a delay, tape echo and looper all in one.
Alesis offers the following line of signal processors: PEQ-450 Dual 5-Band Parametric Equalizer, CLX-440 Limiter/Compressor/Expander, MidiVerb 4, MicroVerb 4, NanoCompressor, NanoVerb, and the 3630 Compressor.
(Out of Production) Handcrafted guitar effects for guitarists…by guitarists. That was Austone’s mantra. They are now defunct, but their Fuzz Nutz lives on to the faithful fans. These pedals were around in the early and mid 2000s and incorporated true bypass, one-at-a-time testing and great tone. Their line of guitar pedals included the Vibro-Stomp, Fuzz Nutz, Textone, Soul-O-Stomp and the Millenium Overdrive.
Bad Cat is primarily a boutique amplifier company, but they also make a couple high-end guitar pedals and accessories. The pedal featured below is called the X-Treme Tone, which has been replaced with the 2-tone. This pedal offers incredible Bad Cat-flavored overdrive in a classy, durable stompbox. They also make a 100-watt attentuator called Unleash.
Banzai pedals are inspired by vintage designs, but utilize modern technology to create some of the finest overdrive pedals on the market. The Cold Fusion Overdrive and Fireball Overdrive II are well-loved. The New Rising Sun II and an array of A/B boxes round out the line of Banzai effects pedals. These stompboxes offer high-end tone whether used in the studio or your basement.
Barber pedals are some of the most well-known guitar pedals on the boutique market. They use some groundbreaking designs such as parallel compression found in the Tone Press compressor. Barber was actually a leader in part-matching techniques to assist in selecting parts that work together for the best tone. One thing should be clear: all Barber pedals are unique designs. Barber’s legacy of guitar effects pedals includes the Tone Pump, Direct Drive, Burn Unit, Deep Fryer, Launch Pad and more.
BBE Sound manufactures the BBE Sonic Maximizer signal processors and DI boxes, and various preamps.
All Black Box pedals are hand built with the highest quality parts, are true bypass, have a unique hand painted exterior, feature low power consumption for long battery life and have better frequency response than a cheap AM transistor radio. Some of Black Box effects pedals: Quicksilver, Oxygen, Cobalt, Inferno, X-Ray, X-Ray Bass, and the Ultraviolet2.
Black Arts Toneworks offer unique pedal effects including the Pharaoh Fuzz, Black Forest Overdrive and LSTR Fuzz.
The phrase samplers from Boomerang are simply the industry standard for on-the-fly live use by guitarists (and other musicians). They are intuitive tools that allow you to record loops, stack layers, play reverse guitar and more. You can even play your loops a full octave above or below the original recording as well as fade loops in and out. Truly groundbreaking. Used heavily by Trey Anastasio of Phish.
Boss is the original, mass-production guitar effects company. Owned by Roland, Boss effects have come a long way over the years. Their (now vintage) OD-1 (overdrive) and DM-2 (analog delay) are sought-after and mimicked by moadern boutique pedal builders. The more recent line of Boss effects keep evolving with incredible stompboxes like the Space Echo, Rotary and more. Never hurts to revisit a classic…even if they aren’t true bypass.
Budda is primarily a boutique amplifier company, but they also produce a line of guitar pedals: the BudWah and the Phatman Distortion. As with all Budda products, they are high-quality and worth your investigation. Plus, they use cool, black, triangular-shaped knobs!
Carl Martin has produced dozens of guitar effects over the years. Some of their more popular guitar pedals include their Compressor, DeLayla and the Headroom (shown to the left). These were classic go-to pedals of the early 2000s and still live on to this day. They are always thinking up new designs, so keep tabs.
Catalinbread offers quite possibly the coolest, most innovative boutique guitar pedals to come out of Japan. Their Dirty Little Secret pedal offers some of the most impressive Marshall plexi tones in a stompbox. Seriously, this thing wails. Other incredible guitar pedals from Catalinbread include the Teaser Stallion (chaotic distortion) and the Super Chile Picoso (clean boost). There are many more, so check out their website. These stompboxes are super high-end, so of course they feature true bypass and top -notch parts (i.e. – Alpha Pots and Switchcraft jacks). These pedals are hand-built in small batches to ensure tonal superiority.
Chicago Iron is known for two pedals: the Octavian (an Octavia clone) and the Parachute Wah (a Tycobrahe Parapedal clone). They later released the Pedal Flanger, Para-Baby (wah retrofit circuit of the Parachute Wah) and a DIY kit to make your very own clone of the Tycobrahe Parapedal wah. We love the baby blue color that all the pedals come in. So classy.
Chunk Systems makes probably the best alternative to the classic Mutron III envelope filter: the Agent 00Funk. This pedal is so flexible that you can mimic nearly every classic auto-wah sound you’ve ever heard…including the classic down-wah sound that Jerry Garcia was famous for in songs like “Dancing in the Streets.” The pedal offers some chewy guitar tones.
Since Getting his start in the early 1970s, Pete Cornish has designed some of the most incredible guitar switching systems. He has also created some legendary guitar effects pedals. The Soft Sustain pedals (SS-3 shown here) are considered to be some of the most touch-sensitive overdrives that guitarists can buy.
Cusack’s owner started out as an electrical engineer and guitarist that eventually combined his skills with his passion. Cusack’s first popular guitar pedal was the Cusack Screamer, which is an improved version of the Ibanez Tube Screamer. The Tap-A-Whirl shown to the left is a tap-tempo analog tremolo pedal that can mimic some serious rotary sounds. Check out more of their guitar pedals.
CAE (Bob Bradshaw) not only produces the finest guitar switching systems on the market, but also some of the finest guitar effects on the market. Guitar effects include a vintage-style tremolo in a compact half rack format, allowing the guitarists to switch between two sets of rate and depth controls with completely footswitchable controls. CAE is also the manufacturer of the Black Cat Vibe, a uni-vibe with a cult following (both are used by Trey Anastasio of Phish).
Founded by Oliver Ackermann in 2002, Death By Audio manufactures some of the weirdest guitar effects made today. Most of their pedals are fuzz or distortion devices that specialize in various types of noise-based tones. They are not pretty. They are raw, in your face and perfect for indie and hard rock. Some of their pedals include the Supersonic Fuzz Gun, Interstellar Overdrive, Sound Saw, Total Sonic Annihilation and the Harmonic Transformer. These are badass.
Demeter manufactures the Tremulator (tremolo) and Compulater (compressor). The Tremulator offers vintage tones via modern quality, is stereo and offers one rate knob and two depth knobs. The Compulator is a simple, optical compressor that will keep the purity of your tone while adding relatively transparent compression. Demeter also makes an on-board , mid-range guitar booster/buffer called the…On Board Fat control. This is great for retaining the integrity of your guitar signal via the low-impedance buffer, but also great for boosting your guitar’s volume for solos.
Analog, organic effects. The Effector 13 line of effects includes: 150 Hurts, Dark Boost, Dark Drive, Never Drive, Truly Beautiful Disaster, Circuit Breaker, Super Tri-Fuzz, No-Fi, Never Drive, Eye of God, The Blue Button, Loop Matrix T4, as well as the eventual Tri-Fuzz Deluxe, Loop Matrix F6, Loop Matrix F4, Flux Capacitor, Decadance, Paranoid Filtroid, and the Circuit Breaker.
Voodoo Lab (owned by Digital Music Corporation) is a well-known manufacturer of classic guitar effect pedal designs for pros and basement jammers. They’ve been around since 1986 and have made fans with pedals like the Sparkle Drive (inspired by the Tube Screamer), Analog chorus, Microvibe, Superfuzz, Tremolo, Proctavia, and the GCX Switching System.
DLS Effects makes some unique modulation and time-based effects that have won the boutique pedal market over time and time again. These are warm-voice, versatile and durable stompboxes that can give your guitar all the warble and wiggle that you could want. The extensive controls and features are perfect for the discerning guitarist. They are also dead-quiet. The DLS line of effects includes: Chorus~Vib, Ultra Chorus, Echomaster Delay, etc.
Dredge-Tone builds two ovedrives: the Dredge Overdrive and the Angler Overdrive. They also sell partial-DIY projects in the Dredge Overdrive Kits, blank Angler Kit (circuit board + parts list), as well as pre-manufactured 300V linear-regulated power supply kits that reduce the noise level any old tube microphone preamp.
Jim Dunlop set the standard in guitar effects with the Fuzz Face and Crybaby wah many years ago. Jimi Hendrix showed the capabilities of these guitar pedals. Other Dunlop effects include: MXR, Jimi Hendrix Wah, Uni-Vibe, Rockman Headphone Amp, Heil Talkbox, High Gain Volume, Rotovibe and Tremolo.
The Electrix line of effects have been discontinued, surprisingly since Electrix produced six award-winning products in it’s short three year span of producing them. The former line of stellar Electrix rackmount effects included the Repeater (looper, shown in the image), the Warp Factory, Mo-FX, Filter Factory, and the MoDs.
Mike Matthews of Electro-Harmonix is one weird guy. How he has been able to create so many off-the-wall guitar effects is beyond anyone. All those cigars must help him stay focused in his dreamland. For oever 30 years, Mike has produced groundbreaking guitar effect pedals and now has expanded his product line to include vacuum tubes and other guitar accessories. Some of the more classic Electro-Harmonix guitar pedals include: Deluxe Memory Man (delay, shown to the left), Black Finger (compressor), Big Muff Pi (fuzz), Holy Grail (reverb), Small Stone (phaser), Small Clone (chorus), Q-tron (original Mutron III circuit from Mike Beigel), Micro Synthesizer (guitar synth), Frequency Analyzer (ring modulator) and Octave Multiplexer (octave divider).
Originally launched as More Electronic Sounds, the boutique guitar pedal company evolved into Eowave. They transcended their software roots and landed in the world of analog effects and midi devices. Eowave’s line of effects include: Filterbug, Ring o’Bug, Sci-Fibug, Bugoff, and various other interfaces/tools.
The world-famous Eventinde manufactures the legendary Harmonizer, H8000, Orville, Reverb2016, Eclipse, DSP4000B+, DSP7000, and the DSP7500, the Clockworks Legacy collection of plug-ins, and various other plug-ins.
FMR Audio is home of the Really Nice Compressor and the Really Nice Preamp. The company was founded by the McQuilken husband/wife team in 1997 and launched with the Really Nice Compressor…a discrete cascading compression device that is made for rack units but excellent for guitar as well (especially acoustic guitar). They have since launched the A.R.C, which is an incredibly versatile stompbox-style compressor.
FoxRox guitar pedals are some of the juiciest analog devices for sale today. Their Octron2 took the original Mutron Octave Divider and gave it foot switch-able controls. Their Paradox TZF is a thru-zero flanger with expression pedal control. Their fuzz-friendly wah retrofit and Captain Coconut 2 are what put them on the map in the early days (the Captain Coconut 2 was the original all-in-one Jimi Hendrix pedal offering fuzz, octavia and uni-vibe). They also make the ZIM Overdrive pedal, which has swappable circuit boards to change your tone.
Frantone guitar effects are hand-wired modern boutique classics. They are all made by hand, from drilling, to soldering, to assembly. Frantone uses military specs, utilize silver teflon electronic wire (aircraft-grade), and are of course true bypass. Popular Frantone guitar pedals include: Peachfuzz, Brooklyn Overdrive, Acoust-a-Boost, Creamp Puff, The Sweet, Glacier (Hyper Modulator), Lo Tone Classic Fuzz, Thunderhead Bass Booster, and the Vibutron.
(Out of Production) Frostwave Analog, now defunct, used to build innovative filter and modulation pedals that were modeled after vintage analog synthesizer equipment. If you can find them used, these are incredible devices for use in electronic and ambient music. The Frostwave line of effects included: The Resonator, the Spacebeam, The Funkaduck, The Blue Ringer v2, The Fat Controller Analog Sequencer, the Quad Midi to CV Controller, etc.
Fulltone pedals, founded by Mike Fuller in 1991, is considered one of the first modern boutique effects pedals and helped revive the guitar effects industry out of the digital 80s and back into analog warmth. Mike Fuller grew up inspired by Jimi Hendrix’s guitar tone, so many of his pedals stem from that tonal passion. The Fulltone line of effects includes: Distortion Pro, Fat-Boost, Full-Drive2, ’69 Pedal, ’70 pedal, Soul-Bender, Octafuzz, Ultimate Octave, Choralflange, mini-Deja’Vibe, Deja’2, Supa-Trem, CLYDE Standard Wah, CLYDE Deluxe Wah, Bass-Drive, etc.
Furman doesn’t really make guitar effects, but they make electronic devices that are great to use with guitar effects. They make incredible rackmount tuners that are perfect for big rigs (some even come with pull-out lights). They also make powered pedalboards, but are most known for their power conditioners.
The FX Doctor line of guitar effects includes: The Booster Shot, The Scalpel, The Modded Rat 2, the Super Mario Fuzz, the Apache Tremolo, and various one-offs of famous pedals such as the Doctor Quack, Destructo Dirtbox, Range-Man Boost, BIG Boost, and a Rackmount 4 Loop True Bypass System as well as a Rackmount Wah Center. FX Doctor also makes Channel Switchers, Switches and Parts, as well as the Yellow Jacket Tube Converter Sockets.
G2D offers various guitar pedals. The Cream-Tone is a blues pedal with a solo boost. The Custom Overdrive is a two stage Rock and Blues pedal. The Morpheus Distortion is a heavy metal distortion guitar effect. The Classic Overdrive is a 60’s/70’s retro overdrive pedal.
George Dennis offers various guitar pedals. The lineup includes: Stereo Volume Pedal, Mono Volume Pedal, Panorama-Stereo-Volume Pedal, Wah-Wah Pedal, Wah-Overdrive Pedal, Wah-Volume Switch Pedal, Wah-Switch Plus Pedal, Parametric Wah-Volume Pedal, Stereo Sampling Delay/Reverb/Panning/Hold Pedal, The Tube Pedal, Tremolo-Volume Pedal, Tremolo Ping-Pong Pedal, Stereo-Chorus-Flanger-Volume Pedal, Super Phaser-Volume Pedal, Wizard Distortion/Volume Blues Pedal, and the Wizard Distortion/Volume Rock Pedal.
G.S. Wyllie’s line of effects include the Fuzzmite (a wide-ranged with a ton of meat to it), the OZO (an incredible octaber), the Moonrock Fuzz (a single-knob pedal that controls ocatver, swell and fuzz all in one), the Wylo (a triple-knob fuzz pedal allowing you to tweak tone, volume and gain), the Over-Tron (a hybrid overdrive/fuzz pedal), and the Rising Sun (yep…another fuzz pedal).
Guyatone makes some really cool mini-stompboxes dubbed the “Micro Effects Series” which are high quality circuits that take up very little pedalboard real estate (they even make an auto-swell pedal called the Slow volume, shown to the left). The Guyatone line of effects includes: Micro Effects Series, Flip Series Tube Effects, PT-21 Chromatic Tuner, MT-3 Micro Tuner, Guyatone Speed Cables, FZ-2000 Fuzz 2000, RTE-3000 Tape Echo.
Hilton Electronics, located out of Missouri, makes the world’s best volume pedal for pedal steel guitar. These volume pedals are buffered to keep the tone strong and offer an incredible-feeling sweep. If you want to upgrade from an Ernie Ball Jr. volume pedal, check out the Hilton volume pedal. They also make a digital sustain effect for pedal steel use.
HiWatt is mostly known as a British amplifier company, but they have released a series of guitar effects in recent years. They make the Custom Tape Echo and Echo Theremin, which are incredibly awesome, vintage-inspired guitar effects devices that are great for experimental guitar music. One unique feature of their tape echo is a tape speed control that allows for use with an expression pedal to get all sorts of wow and flutter sounds. Their theremin product comes with a delay circuit as part of the overall effect, which really allows this “instrument” to reach new heights for ambient and experimental music.
H.B.E. makes affordable boutique guitar pedals that are point-to-point wired, painted and put together by hand using high-end parts. Their guitar effects are inspired by vintage designs but redesigned with modern features and durability. Some of the Homebrew Electronics guitar pedals include: Power Screamer, Germania, The Tramp, UFO Fuzz, and the Compressor Retro.
(Out of Production) Hot Chili Tube Company is home of the Tubester: a great sounding authentic vacuum Tube distortion. Each unit is hand built to order featuring point to point wiring and using the finest components available. The Tubester comes with a high-voltage power supply (built-in) to juice the tubes just enough for that natural, warm overdrive tone that only tubes can provide. The pedal’s knobs are mostly what you would expect (volume, gain and tone), but also include a tube voltage control to help further refine the type of tube ovedrive tone that you’re looking for. Want sag? Dial in some sag. Want screaming ovedrive distortion? Dial that in too. The pedal also comes with two outputs, so it’s perfect for placing before stereo guitar pedals.
Hughes and Kettner offers a line of tube pedals including: the Tubeman (a tube-driven guitar preamp that comes with a speaker simulator for going direct into the soundboard), the Tube Factor (a low gain/clean boost tone enhancer), the Replex (a tube-powered, vintage-style echo and reverb pedal that uses digital circuitry) and their most famous pedal…the Tube Rotosphere MK2 (a tube-driven leslie pedal made famous by Charlie Hunter).
ISP Technologies offers noise reduction units. The Decimator, their most poplar product, is a relatively transparent noise reducer pedal that is a good fit for metal players who need to go from massive gain to silent in an instant. This pedal can also be helpful for big guitar rigs that have trouble with noise and hum issues caused by effects devices in between the guitar and amplifier. While this is a good product for some, we believe the better approach is to fix the noise problem at the source…but sometimes a certain piece of vintage gear is just perfect the sound even though it provides some nasty artifacts…and the Decimator is a solution to that situation.
Jacques Stompboxes is a boutique guitar effects company based out of France that focuses on combining point-to-point wiring with extra functionality (knobs, switches and more knobs) in a small enclosure. They do a pretty good job of it, too. Jacques offers the Fuseblower, Tubeblower, Meistersinger, Fat Burner, the Bat Fuzz, and other handmade pedals. Check out their website for a closer look at these guitar pedals.
Jersey Girl makes very unique guitar effect pedals made out of wood. Yep, look at this beauty to the left. Even the knobs are made out of wood and have custom-painted markers for tracking your favorite settings. These are, hands down, some of the coolest guitar pedals on the market. They all come in different designs and earthy colors, yours will be truly unique (not another guitar pedal exactly like it). Some of the Jersey Girl line of guitar effects: Middranger, Fulltender, Plusdriver, Hustlemaker, and the Keekruder. Cool names, right?
Joe Meek originally became known for it’s half-rack studio compressor that was affordable for the home recording artist, but tone-ful enough for studios to use them as well. The compressor produced what’s called a “psychoacoustics effect” of both power and signal dynamics. They now offer a stompbox version of their famous compression circuitry that is warm, punchy and perfect for in-your-face rhythms or searing lead tones.
Justin Everman Effects doesn’t get the attention it deserves. Justin makes probably one of the best hybrid overdrive/fuzz pedals on the market (Fuzz Drive G2), and his original Fuzz Drive Deluxe is even more incredible (with four internal trim pots that allow for further equalization…such as adding some more mid-range to the fuzz tone). His Low Fi Filter is one of the most unique synth-fuzz style pedals that a guitarist can own as it can achieve everything from radio tones to honky fuzz horn tones. The Octave-X is a very nice octaver as well.
Robert Keeley broke onto the scene around the turn of the millenium with a high-end reproduction of the classic Ross Compressor circuit. This pedal quickly became a modern legend with country players, jam band guitarists and even some acoustic guitar players. We even reached out to Robert to let him know about Steve Kimock, who might be a good candidate for the Keeley Compressor. Robert sent one to him and he loved it…although we’re not sure if Steve still uses it today. Robert Keeley is also very well-known for his Ts9 (Tube Screamer) mods. His other guitar effects and mods include: Keeley True Bypass Looper, Fuzz Head, Java Boost, and the Time Machine Boost (a collaboration with Legendary Tones). His line of modded pedals includes: TS9DX MOD PLUS, TS-9 Plus Mod, TS-9 Baked Mod, TS-9DX Baked Mod, BD-2 Mod, DS-1 SEM Mod, DS-1 ULTRA Mod, RAT 3-Way Mod, SD-1 Mod, CE-2 Mod, MT-2 Mod, Sparkle Drive Mods, and Wah Wah Mods.
(Out of Production) Kern Engineering, now out of business for quite a while, made just one guitar pedal…the Kern Tube Wah. We owned this wah in the early 200os (since the SSS founder shares the same last name, of course!) and realized two things: 1) the tube tone really added an amazing warmth (with touch of grit), yet the pedal was very unreliable (which seemed common). The pedal crapped out too many times, and we had to get rid of it. The metal chassis was super cool too. Also see how the tube is on display, lighting up the glass screen (with logo) on the front of the wah pedal. If you’re handy with electronics, this is a very cool rare guitar pedal to own.
Klon…the holy grail. Originally released in the mid 1990s, the Klon Centaur (the company’s only guitar pedal) has become the most sought-after guitar pedal in the world. This is it baby. Some players don’t like it due to the mid-hump, but not every player uses this pedal as it was designed to: further pushing and already overdriving amplifier. You really need to get your amp on the edge of break up to let the Klon fully sing. It is designed to fill that mid-range gap in a Fender guitar amp that is pushed to the point of breakup, and act like a spear of tonal bliss that cuts right through everything. The sustain and crisp dynamics on this pedal are simply legendary. It’s perfect for the touch-sensitive guitar player who likes to play just on the edge of amplifier breakup. The pedal is most commonly used as a clean boost, but the gain range is very subtle, filled with sustain and really nails that “searing overdrive” tone.
(Out of Production) Lab Systems offers a line of three effects: Duodrive, Midimate, and Truetube. The Duo Overdrive is a dual output Overdrive Pedal featuring two cascading overdrive circuits that offer precise control over the overdrive character. The Midimate MIDI foot Controller is a universal midi controller. The VP Truetube Valve Preamp/Enhancer is great for both acoustic guitar and bass guitar since it enhances the natural sound of your guitar without destroying its true character.
The LegendaryTones Time Machine Boost was the product of a collaboration with Robert Keeley. It’s one of the most feature-rich boost pedals on the market, featuring both vintage and modern channels. This is not an overdrive…it’s a boost designed to really goose your amp into further overdriven nirvana. The vintage boost side offers a treble booster circuit (think ZZ Top), and the modern side is a clean boost that can go into a higher gain mode. This pedal is great for blues guitarists who need to cover a wide range of vintage and modern blues tones.
Lexicon is known for creating some of the world’s greatest and most classic rackmount reverb units. They are usually found in studios for adding warm, spacious reverb to any type of instrument, but guitarists like Steve Kimock use them in actual guitar rigs to get their fantastic “hall” reverb tones. They’ve been in business since the early 1970s and have grown their reputation well over the years.
Line 6 makes some very capable multi-effects that expand the possibilities of popular guitar effect types (delay, modulation, filter effects and more). Their DL4 Delay pedal is a great starting point for guitarists wanting to experiment with different types of delay sounds (tape delay, digital, slapback, ping pong, swell, etc.). Although digital, they have surprisingly realistic tones. Their MM4 offers a lot of the popular modulation effects all in one box. Check out more of their pedals on their website.
Lovepedal made a name for itself around the turn of the millenium with the Eternity overdrive and COT50 (fuzz). They are most known for their transparency. They really do a wonderful job at keeping your original guitar tone in tact…especially the Eternity, which is perfect for Ts9 haters. These are true tone enhancers. Some of Lovepedal’s guitar effects include: Eternity Pedal (overdrive), Fab-50 Pedal (very wide gain control), COT 50, Believe Pedal (warm fuzz octave up) Amp 11 and they know manufacture Alfonso Hermida’s Zendrive. Many more recent models of guitar pedals are listed on their website, so check them out.
Lovetone guitar pedals are a modern legend. They went out of business over a decade ago, but their guitar pedals still demand high prices on the used guitar effects market. These are all-analog tone monsters covering everything from phaser tones, to flanger tones, to auto-wah to overdrive and fuzz. The Lovetone line of effects included: Doppelganger, Big Cheese, Brown Source, ? Stereo Flange, Meatball, Wobulator, and the Ring Stinger.
Mahaffay Effects is most well-known for their Little Lanilei reverb pedal, which was the first stompbox spring reverb pedal to hit the market. Their Little Lanilei Rotary Wave is a Leslie/rotary effect that is designed specifically for the tonal response of electric guitars. Very cool pedals so check out their website.
Marshall is, of course, most known for their guitar amps…but they make a nice little line of guitar effects pedals that have been around since the 1980s and are just now being revisited by some modern boutique builders. They are low-cost, so not the hand-wired boutique pedals that some players exclusively use, but they have great tone. They offer passive bypass to help preserve your guitar tone as well. The Marshall line of effects includes: Vibatrem, Edward the Compressor, Guv’nor Plus, Jackhammer, Supervibe, and the Bluesbreaker II.
Maxon screamed back into the analog effects market after a long hiatus, and has released recreations of their classic guitar effects from the 1970s. Their Ad999 (analog delay pedal) is one of the world’s best analog delays…it is warm (almost dark) and warbles and completely spaces out like any good analog delay should as you turn the rate knob. They have many more analog pedals covering overdrive, phaser and other tones so be sure to check out their website.
Menatone was one of the first boutique guitar pedal builders of the modern era and is known for recreating some classic amplifier tones in attractive stompboxes. Their Top Boost in a Can pedal is one of the best Vox-inspired overdrive tones available in pedal form. Their J.A.C Compressor is a recreation of the popular Universal Audio compressor, but designed for guitar. It provides studio-quality limiting…not the squash tone that you hear with the Keeley Compressor, Analogman Comprossor or other Ross/Dynacomp clones. Some of Menatone’s line of guitar effects includes: The Fish Factory (dual overdrive), JAC Compressor, The Dirty Blonde, The Foxy Brown, The Working Mans Blues, Top Boost in a Can (aka TBIAC), Pleasure Trem, Howie, Red Snapper, Blue Collar, Mail Bomb, King of the Britains, O-Ring, etc.
MI Audio produces one of the most tone-inspiring overdrive pedals on the market: the Tube Zone. This highly customized overdrive pedal is handmade and tuned after nearly a decade of experimentation. They make a number of other guitar pedals including the Blue Boy Deluxe Overdrive, GI Fuzz (versatile enough for blues or experimental sounds), Neo Fuzz (vintage-style, germanium transistor fuzz) and more.
Mill Hill Creations makes some very uniquely shaped guitar pedals (which look like land mines…don’t step on them!…wait, maybe you should). Moonrock launched with three main guitar effects: the Red Rock, the Clean White, and the Landmine.
Moog, the most classic analog synthesizer company, makes a line of guitar pedals called Moogerfoogers. Yep, coolest name ever. These are very synth-like effects that cover modulation to filtering to analog delay. The Moogerfooger line of guitar effects include: MF-101 Lowpass Filter (auto-wah tones), MF-102 Ring Modulator (which is capable of the most incredible tremolo sound as well), MF-103 Twelve-Stage Phaser (the most realistic and 3D-sounding phaser tones), and MF-104 Analog Delay (an incredible spaceship-landing analog delay pedal that is completely out of this world). The only thing we don’t like about Moogerfooger pedals is the buffers. They simply sound a bit sterile with guitar. Keyboardists won’t notice as much.
Morley is most known for their wah and volume pedals (used by Steve Vai). They also make A/B boxes that are handy for switching between rigs. These aren’t the boutique guitar pedals that guitarists freak out over, but they have a long history with metal heads.
Musitronics, originall founded by Mike Beigel in the early 1970s, is most known for their Mu-Tron III…the world’s finest envelope filter that shaped the sounds of 70s with artists like Jerry Garcia and Stevie Wonder using this pedal extensively. Mu-Tron pedals are no longer made, but they are some of the most collected guitar pedals in the world. The Mu-Tron effects pedals included: Mu-Tron III, Mu-Tron Phasor, Phasor II, Bi-Phase, Dan Armstrong effects, Octave Divider, Micro V, Mu-Tron Vol-Wah Pedal, and the Mu-Tron Flanger.
Mutronics manufactures the Colorsound Rack and the Mutator. The Colorsound rack unit to the left was created out of a partnership between Mutronics and Colorsound. This rack effects unit combines the 4 most sought-after Colorsound effects: Tonebender, Ring Modulator, Tremolo and Octivider. It’s a two-space rack unit with classic retro flair that features balanced inputs/outputs and many switching options. Mutronics also makes the Mutator, which is a stereo flanger (analog) and envelop filter that features a tone of controls. This unit is stocked with two separate VCFs (vintage control filters) as seen on high-end analog synths. Their signal can be sent to any outside sound source.
MXR is one of the original vintage guitar pedal companies that inspired many modern boutique guitar effects builders. Their DynaComp compressor and Phase 90 phaser are two of the all-time classic guitar pedals. The line of MXR products includes the Dime Distortion, Doubleshot, 10 Band Graphic EQ, Super Comp, Smart Gate, 6 Band Graphic EQ, Auto Q, Distortion+, Dyna Comp, Micro Amp, Phase 90, Phase 100, Blue Box, Bass Octave, Bass DI+, Bass DI+, Bass Auto Q and the DC Brick.
Nick Greer, alos a boutique amplifier builder, makes a wide range of guitar effects pedals featuring solid metal casings, true bypass switching, and high-end circuitry/parts. Some of Nick Greer’s more popular guitar pedals include the original Sonic Boom, Black Fuzz, and more.
Nine Volt Nirvana
(Out of Production) Joe Gagan, who played in the world’s first double-doubleneck, lefthanded band (The Gagan Bros), was known as a fuzz pedal guru and previously a line of unique guitar effects, Nine Volt Nirvana. Handmade stompboxes with an unparalleled level of artistic decoration, featuring circuits developed in real world conditions to assure awesome tone that really cuts through the mix on real stages, where it counts! The NVN line of effects includes: Brontoboost, Dinosaur Fuzz, and the Dino Drive.
Nobels is most known for their ODR-1 overdrive pedal, which has been re-released in recent years. This overdrive pedal has been very popular with studio guitar players in the Nashville area, which spread like wildfire amongst the rest of the guitar market. This pedal features interactive volume and gain controls (like how they often interact on amps via preamp/power amp sections) along with a Spectrum control, which sweeps between low mids and high end to produce anything from that tube-rectifier sag to modern day rock overdrive tones.
Jay Woods, founder of Option 5 , broke onto the scene with the original Destination Rotation (a very fine boutique leslie/rotary pedal). This pedal comes in an attractive purple color and features foot-switchable fast/slow modes along with internal gain to give it that classic overdriven tube amp leslie tone. The Destination Rotation Single was eventually released as a followup with an additional footswitch to turn the gain on or off, but we think this sounds more like a phaser and less like a true leslie (like the original Destination Rotation). Option 5 also makes the Destination Overdrive and Destination Phase.
Pedalworx manufactores the following line of effects: Texas Two Step & Tour Pro, McFuzz & McFuzz Hot, McBoost, as well as various pedal mods and parts.
Prescription Electronics manufactures the following line of effects: The Experience (octave/fuzz), Yardbox (Tonebender copy), C.O.B. (Octav up), RxOverdriver (Color Sound Overdriver clone), Vibe-unit (Univox Uni-Vibe clone), Depth Charge (thick bass tone), Facelift (fuzz), Outbox (unique filter), Throb (tremolo), Dual-Tone (overdrive/distortion), and the Germ (germanium boost).
ProCo Sound manufactures the legendary Rat overdrive pedal made famous by John Scofield. The Rat excels at low gain overdrive tones that are juicy like an amp pushed to the max, but is capable at so much more. It offers 3 controls (distortion, volume and filter). It’s a part distortion, part overdrive, part fuzz unit combo that really is quite versatile for such a little pedal.
Quantec manufactures the Yardstick, which is an affordable room simulator (aka “reverb”). This rackmount unit is one of the most realistic reverb machines on the market. It’s a perfect fit for rackmount rigs and will simulate nearly any type of natural reverb that you desire. It’s digital, but it’s amazing.
Radial Engineering manufactures a line of guitar effects by the name of “Tonebone,” and they include the Plexitube, Classic, Hot British and the JX-2 Switchbone. These pedals are popular with professional guitarists for their rugged design and amp-like tone. They’ve been around for several decades now, so have stood the test of time.
Geoffrey Teese, founder of Real McCoy Custom (RMC) wahs, is the modern day wah guru that everyone turns to for a hig-end wah design modeled after classic vintage wahs. He has consulte dwith many vintage wah designers and conducted his own research to produce the most amazing sounding wahs with modern controls and features today. Some of the more popular RMC wahs include: RMC1 Wah, RMC2 Wah, RMC3 Wah, Picture Wah, Wizard Wah, Big Quack, Swinewave and the MFOB. His customer service is unmatched and he provides a lifetime warranty to the original owner.
Red Witch is known for their analog phaser pedals. The Moon Phaser, their original pedal, is an analog phase and tremolo pedal in one…and it also combines the two in what they call tremophase. Only three controls on the pedal allow guitarists to surprisingly the get a wide array of phaser and tremolo sounds. It’s transparent, it crisp, it’s unique. They’ve expanded their line of guitar effects pedals, so check out their website.
Reverend, primarily a guitar amplifer manufacturer, builds the Drivetrain II. This analog gain pedal, designed by Bob Weil and Joe Naylor, creates a very realistic tube overdrive tone with fantastic equalization control. It can cover the blues, rhythm rock and searing lead tones all in one pedal. The pedal comes with revered JRC4558 chips and a durable design that will hold up on the road.
The Rocktron line of effects includes: Black Cat Moan, Hush The Pedal, Big Crush Compressor, Vertigo Vibe, Banshee Talk Box, Tsunami Chorus, Rampage Distortion, Austin Gold Overdrive, Short Timer Delay, Sonic Glory, Metal Planet, Deep Blue Chorus, Xpression, Intellifex Online, and the HUSH Super C.
Roger Linn makes the AdrenaLinn III, which provides a variety of inspiring rhythmic filtering and delay effects in sync to its drumbeats or MIDI clock. These include looped sequences of filtered or tuned tones, synced tremolo/flanging/phasing and synced delay up to 2 measures. Used in hit recordings by John Mayer, Green Day and more, it also features 40 guitar amp models, reverb, compression, and a note-triggered envelope generator for auto-filter and talk box effects.
The Roger Mayer line of guiar effects includes: Vision Wah, Vision Octavia, Voodoo-Vibe Jr., Concorde+ Treble Booster, Voodoo-Axe, Voodoo-1, Voodoo-Bass, Voodoo-Boost, Crossroads, Red Lion Wah, 9090A Wah upgrade kits, and the Rocket FX (Axis, Octavia, Mongoose, Stone, Classic, and the Spitfire).
Schumann Electronics, which has been on “business hiatus” for quite a long time, is re-releasing the Two Face Fuzz, Schumann PLL and Lion X. The Two Face Fuzz is a double germanian transistor fuzz. The PLL is an incredibly unique guitar effect (used by Radiohead) that reconfigures your guitar’s signal as a square wave via an analog harmonizer…and then adds musical intervals to your originally played notes via multiplication/division circuits. This pedal really should be used with the Pll Drone extension pedal, which is sort of like a “sample and hold” device that oscillates your note infinitely, allowing you to play over top of it. The Lion is a very cool distortion/clean boost pedal. The Lion X is simply the Lion circuit but with two output jacks.
Seymour Duncan manufactures the SFX-0 Pickup Booster Pedal, which is a guitar pedal that interacts with your electric guitar pickups to produce the ideal saturation and harmonics needed to make your guitar shine. It’s great for beefing up single coil pickups for bigger tones.
Sherman is know for their Filterbank product, which is an all-analog and complex sound effect device with very wild possibilities. These are built in Belgium and great for electronica, ambient and experimental music.
SIB makes a very cool pedal in the Varidrive, which is a tube-driven overdrive pedal that really sounds like an amp. They manufacture the following line of effects: Varidrive, Fatdrive, Echodrive, and the Mr. Echo.
Chris Siegmund makes guitars, amps and pedals. He’s an exceptional guitar gear manufacturer that really covers all the bases. His guitar pedals feature unique designs (like this octagon shape to the left). The Micro Tube DoubleDrive is a very nice tube preamp that has two mini-preamp tubes at its core. They last a lifetime and can be pushed to the max. They also have a dual/triple overdrive stage circuitry. Their Missing Link pedal is also a tube preamp, but one designed for more of a clean boost use.
Silver Machine manufactures the following line of effects: Silver Machine (wah for guitar), Earth Quake (wah for bass), Automagic (wah conversion kit for Cry Baby wahs), Union Jack and Active EQ’s (for guitar and bass).
Stampede’s most well-known guitar pedals are the SOV-1 and SOV-2 overdrives, which are very warm and Dumble-like in their tonal character. Maybe not quite as much as a Zendrive, but very smooth and sustaining overdrives that really fill out a room. They are also very, very quite. Stampede also makes the Distortion SDT-1.
The late Bob Sweet (RIP), founder of Sweet Sound Electronics, created one of the most prized Uni-Vibe recreations of our time: the Ultra Vibe. This pedal is still available, but has been succeeded by the Mojo Vibe, which comes in a smaller enclosure. Sweet Sound also makes a fantastic Booster pedal which is a clean boost that will push your amp into tonal nirvana. It’s a transistor-based “class A” guitar preamp that will push a maximum of 26db into your amp.
T-Rex is known for making quality boutique pedals, and was one of the modern boutique classics to come out of the past couple of decades. These guitar effects are inspired by vintage designs but buil to last. Great for the road or the studio. The T-Rex line of guitar pedals includes: Alberta, Betavibe, Compnova, Mudhoney, Tremster, and the Replica.
TC Electronic originally opened its doors in the mid 1970s to provide high-end guitar and audio devices to musicians.They are an industry forerunner in digital effect manipulation. Their most well-known effects unit is the 2290 delay, made popular by guitarists like The Edge (U2) and David Gilmour (Pink Floyd).
Tech 21, also a guitar amp builder, creates some unique amp simulation pedals that mimic some of the world’s most revered guitar amps. Their SansAmp was one of their first pedals, and popular tool among studio guitar players. They’ve expanded well beyond this pedal to include the following line of guitar effects: Boost D.L.A. delay, Boost R.V.B. reverb, American Woman overdrive, Double Drive 3X distortion and more.
Previously branded as ToadWorks, Ten Effects are hand-wired and assembled in San Diego, California. These are quality boutique pedals that are hand-tested before reaching the market. Their line of guitar effects include the Texas Flood (overdrive), Pipeline (tremolo), Barracuda (flanter), Mr. Squishy (compressor), Chorusaurus (chorus) and more.
Top Hat, primarily a boutique guitar amp company, also creates the Wonder Boy NOD-1…which is a very amp-like overdrive pedal that has two channels that can be used separately or at the same time. On one side is a clean boost (FET) that offers a knob to control the boost level. On the other side is an overdrive circuit (MOSFET) that offers both Output and Drive knobs. This is a true bypass overdrive that will convince everyone you’re playing a real guitar amplifier.
Totally Humungus Productions (whoa!) builds some high quality guitar effects pedals like the Crispy Cream Treble Booster (a…err…treble boost pedal), Vitamin G Booster (germanium transistor boost pedal) and the Krunch King (an overdrive that is perfect for crunchy rhythm guitar tones and low gain leads).
Vibro World, who sells hardware for guitar amps, tubes and more, also manufactures the Vibroman 2.0 Stereo Vibrato (a dual rackspace stereo vibrato effects unit offering tube reverb, tremolo and vibrato modeled after the revered Magnatone Model 280 guitar amplifier that was known for offering true vibrato).
Vintage Tone Project creates modern versions of classic guitar pedal designs covering all the sounds that made Jimi Hendrix famous. These are handmade, high-end guitar pedals that are surprisingly affordable. The Vintage Tone Project line of effect pedals includes: Classic 60’s Fuzz, Citrus Squeeze, Range Voodoo, and some custom shop pedals.
Visual Sound is known for their H20 (delay and reverb combined into one guitar pedal) along with their Jekyll & Hyde (Tube Screamer style circuit on one side, and a distortion on the other), Route 66 (combining compression and overdrive into one pedal). They also make the 1 Spot power adapter, which is a popular and affordable option to power a handful of guitar effects with a single power adapter.
Vox is mainly a guitar amplifier company, as we all know, but they also manufacture the following line of effects pedals: Pasive Volume Pedal, Clyde McCoy wah (modeled after the original), and the V847 wah (a true classic).
Wampler Pedals are known primarily for their overdrive/distortion pedals. Brian Wampler is a total amp fiend and likes nothing more than to bring classic amp tones from the most simple guitar rigs. Currently making signature pedals for Brad Paisley, Brent Mason and Tom Quayle. Their Ego Compressor is considered by many to be the industry standard in compression and is used in studios world wide.
WEM manufactures the Copicat Echo Unit. The Copicat offers the original sixties tape echo sounds in its most advanced “state of the art” form with a very retro design. This unit uses modern enhancements to improve the tone and reliability for optimal studio and live use. Instead of the typical 3 heads used in the vintage tape echos, the Copicat uses five echo heads that are switchable one at a time or in patterns.
Way Huge closed January 1st, 1999, when Jeorge Tripps left his boutique pedal company to work for Line 6. His pedals quickly achieved modern legendary status and the originals sell for high prices on the used market. The Way Huge line of effects inluded: Red Llama Overdrive, Green Rhino Overdrive II, Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz, Foot Pig Fuzz, Purple Platypus Octidrive, Saffron Squeeze Compressor, Tone Leper Midboost, Piercing Moose Octifuzz, Aqua-Puss Analog Delay, and the Blue Hippo Analog Chorus.
Xotic Effects is known for their AC Booster, RC booster and BB Preamp pedals which offer different levels of gain and saturation. They are extremely popular on the boutique pedal market and offer incredible, amp-like tones. The Robotalk is one of their more unique pedals, which features random step arpeggiation and auto-wah filter effects into a single guitar pedal.
Zinky Electronics is primarily an amplifier company, but they also make guitar effects pedals. Their True Grit overdrive (shown to the left) has two channels: one for low gain, and one for higher gain. This is a very versatile pedal that can cover a lot of ground. They also build the Master Blaster clean boost pedal, which offers upwards of 9db of volume boost along with a tone control to further sculpt the tone.
Zvex Effects offers handmade stompboxes that are truly one-of-a-kind. Zachary Vex is quite possibly the most innovative (and quirky) guitar effects builder of our time. Guitarists like Nels Cline (Wilco) used the Fuzz Factory for nearly infinite range of fuzz sounds that it is capable of. We are big fans of the Super Hard On (SHO), which is a clean boost that has a unique high end tone to it. The Zvex line of effects includes: Octane 3, Super Duper 2 in 1, LoFi Loop Junky, Fuzz Factory, Ooh Wah, Machine, Super Hard On, Seek Wah, Mammoth, Fuzz Probe, Wah Probe, and the Tremolo Probe.