The arrival of AmazonBasics pedals last month shook the guitar world to its very core. Now, the fine folk at JHS Pedals – the kings of documentary-worthy pedal videos – have taken a closer look at the stompboxes, and what they signal for the industry.
Chiefly, the company’s head honcho, Josh Scott, argues that their very existence is a good indicator for the health of the guitar in general.
“Amazon is saying that guitar is a basic,” he reasons. “I think this is amazing. The market research here shows that guitar is booming. For me, I own a pedal company, and this is a look at how healthy the industry is.
“There’s Wall Street Journal articles on Fender having its biggest year, we’ve had our biggest year… [Amazon] see that guitar’s alive, and they’re like, ‘AmazonBasics: towels, knives, backpacks, pedals.”
Scott goes on to reveal that the mini pedals are in fact made by Chinese brand NUX, whose brand name is printed on the circuit board of the designs.
The difference between AmazonBasics pedals and NUX’s own Mini Core Series stompboxes lies in the experience, Scott argues: Amazon-branded versions are shipped in a mailer bag, while NUX’s own products come in an actual box, from a real brand, with post-sales customer service.
The partnership is an example of OEM (original equipment manufacturing), which has existed since the beginning of the guitar and pedal industry, with the same products appearing under different brand names.
Scott cites products from Shine-ei and Teisco, Guild and Electro-Harmonix, Ibanez and Maxon, and TC Electronic and T-Rex as examples.
The pedal builder concludes by arguing that the markets for the two products are different. Guitarists who already buy $300 pedals are unlikely to start buying Amazon’s $26.75 efforts now.
But for kids taking their first steps in effects, these could be an important gateway to buying those $300 pedals – and, more importantly, the inspiration to write new music.
“I sincerely hope tons of kids get these for Christmas,” Scott says. “That is absolutely how I feel. I understand people don’t agree with that.
“I get excited for the future of guitar with something so accessible.”
If you do want to investigate the range further, AmazonBasics pedals are available from – you guessed it – Amazon.