118 PREMIER GUITAR NOVEMBER 2009 www.premierguitar.com
There was a chapter in the book titled
“State of the Stomp Today,” where I summarized the stompbox scene as it then
existed. Well, a lot can happen in five
years, so when the folks at Premier Guitar
asked me to write a feature for their
pedal issue, it seemed like a great opportunity to look at some of what’s happened
since that time.
One thing I noted in Analog Man’s Guide
was the then striking proliferation of new
up-and-coming pedal makers. Between 2001
and 2004 they seemed to have come out
of the woodwork. Little did I know it was
just the first trickle of the flood to come.
The boutique pedal market of today far
exceeds anything that existed five years
ago. Oversaturation does not even begin to
describe it. It’s been estimated that there
are (ready for this?) more than 2,000 different pedal “brands” currently available on
the market. It’s absolutely staggering! This
figure, of course, includes everything from
the biggest, most well-known brands, such
as Boss or Electro-Harmonix, to the smallest
little one-man startups selling homemade
Fuzz Face clones with Sharpie graphics on
eBay. Not surprisingly, the majority of brands
accounted for here are somewhere closer to
the latter category. I used to try and keep
track of it all, but I’ve long since given up.
Suffice it to say, there’s a lot to choose from
in today’s pedal market.
Let’s Talk about What’s HOT!
Yes, fuzz! But not just any fuzz. We’re talking
some serious old-school fuzz, built like they
did it in the days of yore. We’re talking über-boutique clones of exotic English fuzz pedals
from the ’60s, like the Burns Buzzaround,
Tone Bender MKI and Tone Bender MKII.
We’re talking NOS obsolete transistors and
capacitors wired point-to-point on tag board
or perf. D*A*M, JMI, Skin Pimp, and Creepy
Fingers are the boutique Fuzz du jour right
now. Tomorrow, who knows? As long as it’s
fuzz. Fuzzes of all flavors are what players
seem to be most interested in these days.
Heck, there was even a whole movie about
it. Seriously, it’s called Fuzz: The Sound That
Changed the World (it’s really more about the
boutique pedal business).
It’s been nearly five years since I wrote
Analog Man’s Guide To Vintage Effects.
The book has sold remarkably well for a
self-published tome with no distribution
written for a specific, niche audience on
such an obscure topic.