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We looked through our simply huge selection of guitar FX to find some little gems that you may have overlooked, simply not known about or indeed have yet to get your hands on. You’d be forgiven of course, the range and scope of pedalboard friendly stompers has consistently grown ever since Jimi Hendrix stepped on a fuzz pedal all those years ago and we all seem to have an insatiable thirst for new tones, despite the thousands of pedals already out there looking for a home.
Ear of the beholder
What makes a cool pedal though? It’s all very subjective, isn’t it? Whether it’s the look of a pedal that attracts us to it, you know, the age-old “that’d-look-cool-on-my-board” or whether it’s simply the tone…or both! There’s no denying the excitement that plugging in a new pedal can bring to us guitarists, young or old. So here are 5 “cool” pedals that you simply have to try before you depart your mortal coil.
Strymon Big Sky Multi Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal
Top of our list is the Strymon Big Sky Multi Reverb Guitar Effects Pedal. Since its arrival, there is already quite a buzz about this pedal across the net, with musicians everywhere claiming it as the new industry standard reverb as it puts rack quality effects into a sturdy stompbox that is easy to use and built like a tank! No, it’s not particularly crazy looking, but what it lacks in looks, it more than makes up for in the sound department. The 7 tone shaping knobs mean you can change the sound to exactly how you want it, and with 300 preset slots, you can create custom reverb sounds, assign them a name and activate them for a particular song – no more fiddling with knobs mid-set or forgetting to change the controls up. Try it out and we dare you not to fall in love.
Electro Harmonix Q-Tron Envelope Filter
No list of cool pedals would be complete without at least one envelope filter effect and the Electro Harmonix Q-Tron Envelope Filter is a beastly example. The pedal works equally well for Bass and guitar and responds to your funky playing in a very intuitive way. This pedal is even funky enough to keep Bass legend, Bootsy Collins grooving and for any of you out there who like a bit of slap and pop in your life, this is a must try too.
Boss Waza Craft VB-2W Vibrato Effects Pedal
Possibly the most coveted item on our list, the BOSS Waza Craft VB-2W Vibrato Effects Pedal is the epitomy of cool though. This vibrato pedal is inspired by the BOSS VB-2 from the 80s which fetches anywhere up to £500 on auction sites, and will give you that shaken not stirred Bond-esque shimmer, 1950’s B-Movie ambience right the way through to Alien Laser Zapper sounds thanks to all analogue circuitry. Couple this with the very useful latch mode and more specifically unlatch mode, which gives you the ability to engage the effect only when you hold it down and you have a fantastic pedal that will become your go-to vibrato for years. It’s bright blue too…which looks cool.
Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff Guitar Effects Pedal
When it comes to cool sounding pedals, Electro Harmonix have absolutely nailed it time and time again, especially when it comes to their fuzz pedals. The Electro Harmonix Little Big Muff sounds as gnarly as it’s bigger brother, but comes in a smaller package to help with that all important pedalboard real estate. This pedal will turn your guitar tone into a dirty, filthy harbinger of doom, offering some serious crunch, sustain and gain.
It’s a ton of fun to play and has an almost ubiquitous presence in music thanks to the likes of Nirvana, the White Stripes, U2, David Gilmour and the Black Keys championing this pedal.
Electro Harmonix have updated another great pedal that stands up against all distortion pedals on the market. Your riffs, solos and chugging chords will never be the same again.
Boss TE2 Tera Echo Pedal
In Jan 2013, BOSS released 3 new compacts into their vast range of indestructible, iconically designed pedals. All of them boasted a new intuitive technology entitled Multi-Dimensional Processing (MDP). Of those 3 pedals, 1 more than any other, really showed us what BOSS were capable of. The BOSS TE-2 Tera Echo is the love child of a Delay and Reverb pedal with a zany twist of tonal genetics thrown in for good measure. It has an almost AI level of intuition regarding your playing dynamics and will give you anything from Lush, wonderous sonic soundscapes to the sound of the Star Trek phaser with everything in between covered too. The thing that makes the TE-2 really cool though, is that it has a unique sound, one that is bound to appear on a record of note at some point at which point all us ‘cool kids’ will know exactly what made it.
An instant classic pedal and a future collector’s item we’d wager.
For a full range of awesome stomp boxes and Guitar Effects, see our selection here
Lee is the Dawsons in-house Guitar presenter for all guitar related videos. He is also the UK demonstrator for Roland & BOSS, performing all over the UK.