Updated: Jul 20, 2020
There's a few things we all consider before buying a brand-spanking new pedal:
Online Trends/Artists using that pedal
Sound (less important than you might want to admit!)
However, I would argue that there is one thing more important than any of these when thinking about a new purchase and we don't always realise its a factor. How does this pedal make you feel? What emotions does the pedal conjure up? Is there a story behind the pedal that you connect with? What’s going on in your own life and the world around you? Admittedly, some of these feelings take time to develop after owning the pedal for a while, but I know from personal experience that a pedal (or anything else for that matter; a guitar, an amp, some shoes, a sandwich) has to make me feel something before I pull the trigger.
That’s what this blog is about. The pedals that mean the most to me and their stories.
J Rockett Audio Designs Archer
Let’s go right back to the beginning. While the Archer was certainly not my first pedal, it was my first boutique pedal and it started this whole pedal craze off for me. Not to mention my love for “Klon” pedals. My first ever video on YouTube was actually a demo of this pedal. While I have come a long way since then, it’s not a bad demo!
I remember being so nervous before buying this pedal. You know how it is when you’re younger, I saved up for months and months and finally added it to my Andertons basket and checked out. What a relief! When it arrived I was blown away by the sheer weight of the thing. The Archer is a chunk! A small chunk but a damn weighty one.
This pedal has shaped my tone and tastes more than any other piece of gear too. I now feel naked without a “Klon” type pedal on my board. There’s something about that EQ curve and the clarity of the gain that has become so cemented in my head and playing that it is now a MUST on any board I make.
Jānis Alt Manis Miesnieks X
You may not have heard of Jānis Alt Manis before, and for that I wouldn’t blame you! Jānis is a one-man operation from Latvia of all places. I’ve worked with him on a few videos in the past and I love the sound and industrial vibe of his pedals. It was a big surprise to me when this Miesnieks X (a deluxe version of one of my favourite distortion pedals) arrived unannounced at my door. WITH MY NAME ON IT! How cool is that?! While distortion is not always my sort of thing, this is still the only piece of gear out there with my name on. I am super grateful to Jānis for this kind gesture. May it take pride of place on my pedal shelf for years to come.
Miesnieks in Latvian means “The Butcher”. Is this the coolest name for a brutal distortion ever? I think it might be. And no it’s not the same as the skinny blue character from Rick & Morty, I had to double check that.
Chase Bliss Audio MOOD
The MOOD is on this list for a slightly different reason. It represents a turning point in my life and a present to myself as I took a leap of faith in my career. I was in a dead-end job, selling computers and phones to rude customers (retail, I know). I had no time for my music or what I'm passionate about. The time I did have seemed ruined by the fact I was destroyed from the shift before. Maybe I’m not made to have a “proper” job!
Anyway, I handed in my notice and put all my eggs into my own basket. With my last pay-check I wanted to really treat myself with something special. Along came the MOOD. I have never owned or heard anything make noises like this pedal can. I love everything about it; the look, the collaboration between Chase Bliss, Old Blood Noise and Drolo FX, and it never does the same thing twice! That’s the sort of spice I need on my pedalboard. The fact that it is one of the last serial numbers to come in a wooden box also adds to the sentiment.
Boss BF-2 Flanger
I am a big Boss fan. But I wasn’t a year ago. In my naivety and snobbery, I thought they were cheap, ugly and bad sounding. All this was based on no actual experience with a Boss pedal. Then I decided to pull the trigger on this little guy and now I am a true convert. I would place Boss in my top 3 favourite pedal brands and I own more pedals by them than any other manufacturer. The fact that Boss Europe have always been super kind and supportive towards me has nothing to do with that… I swear.
It’s my only piece of vintage gear too. This particular one is a 1984 Made in Japan BF-2 and it is pretty special. I’ve yet to play a flanger I like more than this which I think is because it rolls off less bass than others. My favourite sounds in it are the more subtle, chorus-y sounds. Truth be told, this is my favourite chorus pedal too!
Well, there you go, a few pedals and the personal stories behind them. I would love to hear if you guys have any similar stories with your pedals or if they conjure up any emotions. Get in touch or leave a comment on this blog! I look forward to reading them.