I love the smell of a shiny new guitar pedal! I’ve bought and sold many, and after years of searching, I’ve settled in with a few of my favorites. I wanted to share some of the characteristics of some of the highlights on my board. If you’re looking for some fantastic guitar pedals to spice up your tone, this list might help.
1. CMATMODS RATIFIED
This is a killer distortion pedal that can do anything from mild overdrive to wild fuzz. Chad Matthews builds, or more correctly, built, boutique pedals that won’t break the bank. They aren’t cheap either. Chad had a fire in his workshop and discontinued producing his fantastic pedals. I own six of his pedals, this one being my favorite of the bunch.
Ratified emulates the classic Rat circuit with some slick improvements. Several tweaks make it more versatile and musical. The RATIFIED’s three-way switch allows you to choose between different clipping options.
Choices are smooth and compressed, open and dynamic, or loud and raw. The tone knob is very responsive and lets you dial in the right amount of brightness or darkness for your sound.
The RATIFIED is excellent for rock, metal, punk, blues, or anything in between. It’s a beast of a pedal that can handle any genre and amp.
2. MojoHand fx Rook Royale
A quick story, I discovered this pedal while watching a Youtube demo by Har Maes (look him up, he is a fine player). I owned an Iron Bell by MojoHand but sold it because that’s what I do. I got a great deal on the Rook Royale by purchasing it used but in like-new condition.
This is a dual-channel overdrive and boost pedal that sounds amazing. The Rook Royale is a Rook overdrive with an added boost channel. It can operate solo or stacked with the overdrive. In addition, it also has a Bandaxall-style EQ. The Rook overdrive is a transparent and organic-sounding pedal. It can go from clean boost to medium gain crunch.
The three-way switch lets you choose between different voicings. They include classic (warm and smooth), modern (tight and bright), or open (full and fat). The boost channel gets its mojo from the legendary EP-3 (Echoplex) preamp section. This adds up to 20dB of clean boost or some extra dirt to your tone. The boost also has a treble control to adjust the high-end sparkle.
The Rook Royale is a versatile pedal that can cover much ground and work well with any guitar and amp. I really like this pedal, and you would too!
3. TC Electronics Hall of Fame 2
Hands down, this is one of the best reverb pedals out there, and I’ve owned many. The Hall of Fame 2 offers 10 different reverb types. This pedal provides various reverb types, from classic spring and plate to lush hall and church to ambient shimmer and modulated.
Its TonePrint slot lets you load any custom reverb sound from TC’s library. You can also create your own TonePrints using the editor app.
The Hall of Fame 2 also features a new MASH footswitch that acts like an expression pedal. This offers control of different parameters of the reverb with your foot pressure. You can increase the decay time, the mix level, the modulation rate, or the shimmer octave wist a touch of your foot. This adds a new level of expression and creativity to your reverb sound.
The Hall of Fame 2 is a must-have pedal for any reverb lover.
4. Way Huge Swollen Pickle Fuzz
This was my first pedal from Way Huge, a division of MXR. This monstrous fuzz pedal can deliver the thickest and nastiest fuzz tones ever. The Swollen Pickle Fuzz has a massive gain range, from mild crunch to insane saturation.
It also has a two-band EQ that lets you shape the low end and high end of your fuzz sound. The scoop knob enables you to adjust the midrange contour from scooped to boosted. The crunch knob lets you adjust the compression and clipping character. This takes it from smooth to sputtery.
The Swollen Pickle Fuzz also has two internal trim pots allowing for fine-tuning. These pots control the voice and clip settings. This is a very tweakable fuzz pedal that can produce some fantastic sounds. It covers you if you love vintage fuzz face, modern muff, or synth-like tones.
5. Carbon Copy Deluxe
I recently added the Carbon Copy Deluxe to my collection. I used to own the Carbon Copy but found it too dark for my sole delay option. I considered purchasing the Carbon Copy Bright, but luckily the Deluxe was released. It took me some time to make the purchase, but I am pleased I did.
The Carbon Copy Deluxe has new features and options. It has an extended delay time of up to 1.2 seconds, twice as much as the original. The tap tempo function allows for synchronization of the delay time to your playing or song tempo. The pedal also offers various controls, such as mix, regen, delay, modulation, bright, tap division, and tempo (tap tempo).
The Carbon Copy Deluxe has two modulation modes: bright (sparkly and shimmery) or dark (warm and organic). The modulation depth and speed are adjustable with knobs on the outside of the pedal, unlike the internal trim pots on the original.
Furthermore, the Carbon Copy Deluxe has a bright switch that provides two different voicings: standard (dark and warm) or bright (clear and crisp). It also features an expression pedal input for further control, stereo inputs, and outputs, true bypass, or a buffered bypass option.
The trails mode allows the delay signal to fade out when bypassed. A mini toggle switch controls two on-board presets. The Carbon Copy Deluxe is a versatile delay pedal that can easily produce lush and organic sounds.
While these pedals may not be the most or least expensive in each of their respective effect categories, they all bring something special to the table. I would repurchase them if they were lost or stolen. Together, they produce the tones that I like and that’s what matters most; I think they sound fantastic!
Please keep an eye out for online listings that fit within your budget. The Ratified pedal’s prices are rising because it is no longer being produced, so if you come across one available, it would be wise to make a quick purchase. Please share your thoughts if you have any personal experience with these pedals.
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