Few figures in the world of guitar possess market-manipulating powers quite like JHS Pedal founder Josh Scott. As the internet’s preeminent authority on effects pedals, hundreds of thousands of players take heed of what he says and often conduct their pedal-purchasing practices accordingly.
This was perhaps best showcased just last year, when Sweetwater announced the best-selling effects pedal in its history was Behringer’s ultra-affordable $29 SF300 Super Fuzz – the very same pedal that Scott himself had endorsed and indirectly encouraged millions of guitarists to buy.
Luckily, Behringer was more than capable of meeting this demand, meaning prices for the SF300 remained incredibly low.
Now, Scott has once again demonstrated the influence he has over the secondhand gear market by demoing yet another affordable pedal, resulting in a huge rise in demand – but this time, supply can’t keep up, resulting in skyrocketing prices.
The pedal Scott has endorsed this time around is the DigiTech Bad Monkey Tube Overdrive – an overdrive pedal that was released in 2004, is now discontinued, and that, according to the pedal connoisseur, has been the recipient of “extremely mixed opinions” from effects fans.
Despite this, the once-wallet friendly Bad Monkey – which debuted with a listing price of $59 – has seen its value increase by more than tenfold in some cases, after Scott released a comprehensive demo video that pitted the pedal against some of the most popular OD stompboxes around today.
When the video was published just yesterday (March 14), Scott said the Bad Monkey could be purchased for “basically the same price” as when it came out, but a quick look at the used gear market today reveals an entirely different picture altogether: some are now being listed for more than $600.
It’s an astonishing mark-up for what was once a fairly affordable Tube Screamer-style pedal, and there’s no doubt this process was pushed over the edge when Scott demoed the Bad Monkey alongside the mythically expensive Klon Centaur.
Now, the Klon Centaur is considered to be the crème de la crème of overdrive pedals, so imagine our surprise when we watched Scott switch between it and the infinitely cheaper DigiTech Bad Monkey with no significant tonal differences whatsoever.
All things considered, it is a pretty jaw-dropping side-by-side shootout, one that will probably have you rewinding the video just to confirm your eyes and ears aren’t playing tricks on you. Well, no tricks are being played here, and it sounds as though the Bad Monkey might unintentionally be one of the best Klon clones on the market right now.
If, like us, you watched the clip and immediately went online to find a second-hand Bad Monkey to harness those $10,000 tones for just $59… well, sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but those prices are long gone.
No doubt in a bid to capitalize on this increased demand and shortage of supply, current owners have boosted the asking prices of their own units. Right now, seven Bad Monkeys are listed on Reverb, with the cheapest one ringing in at $149. Some of the others, though, have been given staggering price tags of $350, $450 and $650.
Even with these prices, we don’t imagine these will be around for a while, given the investment potential these nifty pedals now represent.
Just to verify that this is indeed a new price hike and not an old phenomenon, a cursory glance at Reverb’s handy price tracker shows how Bad Monkey listing prices have almost doubled in the period from February to March, from $76 to $130.
Furthermore, the average price of a Bad Monkey sold in January this year was $75 – arguably a fair and justifiable increase from the original $59, given the nature of the product. Going back further, though, the pedal was even cheaper, selling at just $57 in December last year.
Heck, if you max out Reverb’s price-tracking parameters, you’ll see that over the past two years the Bad Monkey has never been as expensive as it has become in this past month.
As Scott points out, there are different versions of the Bad Monkey, though despite the drastically different weights between iterations – a result of changing manufacturing chains – each pedal comes loaded with identical circuits.
To further demonstrate the Bad Monkey's tonal powers, Scott also demos it alongside the Fulltone Full-Drive 2, JHS Morning Glory and Hermida Audio Zendrive, with similarly impressive results.
If anything, this whole experiment just highlights the importance of consumer hype in the pricing of pedals. Even the maker of the Klon, Bill Finnegan, has acknowledged this, with the KTR Centaur famously carrying the inscription, “Kindly remember: The ridiculous hype that offends so many is not of my making.”
It’s also a friendly reminder that it might be worth holding on to those dusty old pedals you don't use anymore – you might just be sitting on a goldmine.
Of course, given DigiTech is now officially back in action under new owners Cor-Tek, the Bad Monkey may yet see a reissue, so these prices might not last for long…