Scandal is rare in the world of effect pedals. It's probably because no major network has given a pedal builder his or her own reality-TV show. Pedal Wars. Or how about Effect Stars? OK, it probably wouldn’t take off. Regardless, I keep reading passionate arguments concerning the Ultimate Drive by Joyo. It’s supposed to cop the tone of a much pricier overdrive, for only $35.
This collection of pedals is for the on-the-go musician — or the pedal geek who loses sleep at night over how much free space is left on his/her pedalboard. Each pedal sports a uniform light-weight aluminum chassis, true-bypass switching and a footprint of only 3 ½ x 1 ½ inches. Here’s a rundown of each pedal, followed by a SoundCloud playlist of sound clips.
As its name suggests, the Renegade challenges the reasons you hate gig bags. The zipper is fool-proof, there’s an interior headstock and bridge guard to prevent hardware or strings from chewing up the corrosion-resistant interior, and the outside is made of water-resistant leather.
I recently found out about ClearClick's Cassette2USB, a portable USB-powered tape player that can be used to listen to cassettes or transfer them to digital or CD. The package showed up with the cassette player, a USB cable, a driver CD and an additional CD of helpful software so you can splice your tracks, label them and burn them onto a CD.
The Australia-based company is comprised of musicians who build headphones with other musicians in mind. The AF78 earbuds feature a dual-driver design. Usually you don’t see more than a single driver in earbuds, unless you’re talking about high-end in-ear monitors. But Audiofly has broken the mold.
I’m guilty of having committed a serious crime: I've leaned my guitar against my amp or in a corner when playing out. Why do I do this? I’m a minimalist when it comes to the gear I bring to a gig. D&A Guitar Gear has released the IceStand. It’s touted as a guitar or bass stand that can fit in a gigbag and be set up in two simple steps, all while weighing less than your average 20-foot guitar cable.
Circus Freak builds its pedals in the US. Grand Rapids, Michigan, to be exact. Before I go any further, I have to point out the crafty circus-themed names and artwork on all the Circus Freak pedals. I mean, there’s a fuzz pedal called The Bearded Lady!
Growing up as a Nineties kid, I remember Tim Allen’s character on Home Improvement being obsessed with giving his power tools one thing—more power! Ernie Ball did just that when it revamped its popular Power Peg String Winder and created the Power Peg Pro. If you’re unfamiliar with the product, it's a battery-powered string winder built into a compact drill.
The Tapo by Editors Keys takes two common accessories — a capo and a clip-on tuner — and puts them together in one handy piece. The capo end of the Tapo is indeed a sturdy metal capo. It has appropriate rubber padding so it doesn't scratch your instrument. There's a visible spring that keeps tension in order.
For the past few weeks, I’ve been checking out the Drum Thing, a passive, battery-free, output-only percussion box. Think of it as a sound-hole pickup in a metal box that you can stomp on, brush, tap on, sing into or all-out scream at it. I found two distinct uses for it: tapping on it to build metronome-like practice loops, and placing a ton of effects pedals after it and creating maddening noise loops.