Pedals That Withstood The Test Of Time, And Some That Didn’t

Before we dive back into reviews and demos, let’s look back at what I still actually like.

When you review guitar gear, no matter how famous, successful, or popular you are, you’re going to have a lot of gear pass through your hands. It doesn’t matter if you get to keep it, it was just loaner product, or if you bought and sold it, you develop opinions as part of your job and hope you can properly represent the product.

So what happens when a year or two passes by and your opinions start to change? Maybe you thought you would miss a guitar or pedal that was loaned out to you, but you never actually end up thinking about. Maybe a pedal you loved suddenly becomes boring and predictable. Or vice versa, something that scored an “ehhh” grade is now a vital part of your rig years later.

As this website and blog moves forward, expect less traditional reviews and far more personal, opinionated, and transparent discussions on gear. Nothing unfair or unjust, but certainly far more subjective than my very objective Ultimate-Guitar articles.

So to kick things off, here are some pedals that I love a lot more now and use all the time compared to when I first reviewed them.

Donner White Tape Stereo Echo

This pedal was affordable, unique, and so incredibly awesome when I reviewed it. However, I didn’t give it all the credit it deserves. It has become an essential part of my recording rig, specifically because of A) how good it sounds and B) the stereo delays ping ponging off each other is such a useful and cool sound. I use this in tandem with the Boss RE-2 Space Echo, which is a far more expensive pedal, and I don’t think I could live without both. This is easily one of the top 10 best pedals I’ve ever reviewed, and it should have gotten a 9+ out of 10 in retrospect.

Walrus Audio ACS-1

I know that I gave this a glowing review already, but it is almost completely replaced my beloved Vox AC15 amp in terms of hours used. I record my original music, my gear demos, and generally just noodle around through this now. I still wish it had better onboard gain, though the updates to the firmware definitely improved this. But it just takes gain pedals so well, that it doesn’t really matter. This pedal is one of the best values on the market, plain and simple. Once I paired it with the Canvas Stereo DI box, PERFECTION.

Caline Lucky 7 Modulation Pedal

I’m not sure if I ever even gave this a proper review or demo, but I have used this pedal on countless demos and boards through the years. It was like $40 on Amazon, and packs a ton of useful and fun modulation sounds. Even better, they all sound average to above average in quality. This takes the spot of like 3-4 pedals that I use on my main board and has taken a beating through the years, tough to find any real complaints!

And here are some who unfortunately, sort of fell out of favor. I want to clarify that none of these are objectively bad pedals (unless I specifically say so), but they just didn’t wind up outcompeting their peers as much as I hoped or predicted.

Wampler Ratsbane

This pedal is still objectively really good, really fun, and worth every penny. I just had a realization that I don’t need a more versatile Rat, I just need a Rat. The Pro Co RAT2 made its way back on to my board and I realized that while some people can get so much out of the Ratsbane, I’m just not one of them. Still deserves all the accolades it received, but ultimately it’s just not for me.

Earthquaker Devices Astral Destiny

This is eerily similar to the Ratsbane in the sense that I just can’t be the one to make full use of this pedal. I realized quickly I was just using it as a more tweakable Boss RV6 to get some shimmer delays, and that if I wanted modulated reverb, I could just engaged one of the four modulation pedals on my board (TR2, CE-2w, Spaceman Aurora, or Phase 100). Really cool, really fun, good idea for a pedal, but better off being used by atmospheric composers than me.

Danelectro 3699 fUZZ

When I first got this pedal I was absolutely was obsessed and had it strapped to my board for months. The octave fuzz tones were just killer, aside from the fact that it was way too loud at almost all settings for my apartment. But that certainly wasn’t Danelectro’s fault. But as more and more fuzz pedals came into my life, I realized that this one wasn’t quite as unique as I believed it was. And quite frankly, was probably a bit overpriced. Considering the size of the Danelectro company, $200 was a bit stiff. Would I pay a boutique pedal maker that much? Certainly more likely as I knew the money was probably supporting a smaller business, or local builder and their family. But in the wake of great reviews for the Thirty7fx FGLC, October Audio NVMBR, Maestro FZ-M, and Interchange pedals, it just didn’t compete in my opinion.

Oh and for the record, here’s the pedals I’ve reviewed & demo that I actively use on a board (guitar, bass, or studio board).

Summer School Electronics Stone Thrower Fuzz, Gus Drive, Snow Day Delay (bass, studio board, & main board)

Boss RE-2 Space Echo & CE-2w (studio & main board)

Heather Brown Electronicals Blessed Mother Overdrive (main board)

Shotmaker Instruments Heroine Fuzzdriver (main board)

Interchange Noiseworks Element 119 (main board)

LPD Pedals FIFTY5 Overdrive (main board)

Poison Noises The Crook Overdrive (bass board)

Donner White Tape Stereo Echo (studio board)

Thirty7fx Fat Guy Little Coat (studio board)

Walrus Audio ACS-1 and Canvas Stereo (studio board)

Strymon Iridium (bass board)

Published by Matt Dunn

Guitar and music journalist for and as well as a contributor for and Reach out to talk about guitars, commission a partscaster, or ask for a review.

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