Here’s something you probably weren’t expecting: Epiphone has launched a multi-effects pedal.
No, it’s not the brand’s answer to Fender’s new ultra-powerful Tone Master Pro – or any of the other multi-effects on the market, for that matter – but is instead a humble three-effect stompbox targeted towards beginner players.
That much is clear from the product's name: the Power Players Multi-Effects Pedal. Indeed, you might recall Epiphone launching its Power Players range of Les Pauls and SGs last year – 22.73” scale electric guitars that were targeted at young aspiring strummers.
As such, it’s safe to assume this multi-effects looks to cater to a similar pool of players – ie, those who are dipping their toes into effects pedal territory for the first time – by offering standard Overdrive, Distortion and Delay effects.
“If you decide to ride with the Epiphone Power Players Multi-Effects pedal, you'll find it's not just a one-trick pony,” reads a listing on Sweetwater. “This multi-effects unit is a winner for beginners because it offers three main effects that nearly every guitarist uses.”
With a footswitch and three parameters per effect, it looks to be all one could need from an entry-level multi-effects, and seems to take loose inspiration from the likes of Tech21’s FlyRig range, or even NUX’s slightly larger Cerberus.
To delve into those effects a bit further, Delay answers to Mix, Feedback and Time controls; Overdrive is wired to Drive, Level and Tone parameters; and Distortion has Gain, Level, Tone and an additional Hi/Lo toggle switch.
Conveniently, there’s also a tap tempo footswitch for the delay that doubles as a tuner.
It certainly is a surprise move from Epiphone and, by extension, Gibson. Is this a sign that the two companies could explore multi-effects pedals in greater depth in the future?
Well, Gibson revived the Maestro effects line last year, so on paper it already looks to have a pedal outlet, and may not be too concerned about the multi-effects war that’s being waged by the likes of Fender, Line 6 and Neural DSP. That, and Gibson’s remit has always been about honoring and “leveraging” its tradition.
To that end, Gibson Director of Brand Experience Mark Agnesi recently spoke to Guitar World, and seemingly distanced the brand from any modern multi-effects/modeling shenanigans.
“Obviously, there's a whole new segment of players that are going towards digital on their amp choices and modeling and IRs and all that kind of stuff,” he said. “And I totally understand and get that, but what are they modeling?
“Really the only innovation there is finding a way to make it digital, but that's not necessarily an innovative sound. It's an innovation in the delivery of the same sound that was created 50 years ago, but just having them all in one box.”
What we’re trying to say is, don’t read too much into it: this is just a handy entry-level multi-effects pedal.