Summer School Electronics Introduces The Trash Panda

A muff-like gain pedal for your guitar, bass, or whatever you want to plug in.

Check out my demo the Trash Panda! Gear used includes my Howl Sirena 3 plugged into the Walrus ACS-1 and Canvas Stereo (serving as a Vox-voiced amp). Other pedals you hear include the Gus Drive, White Tape Echo, and RE-2 Space Echo!

Grab your own from Summer School’s website or from Reverb (to help support my work)!

How It Works:

The Trash Panda is not too far off from a Big Muff, think of the rich sustaining distortion, but it never quite reaches full on fuzz like a traditional Muff does. It may be referred to as a drive pedal, but it’s a distortion through and through in my book. Standard controls (volume, tone, drive) do exactly what you think, making this a lean, easy to use gain stage for your guitar or bass. The circuitry is also quite simple, made from excess parts while Summer School’s owner Mark was waiting for new components to ship.

How It Sounds:

Sustaining and distorted, what more could you need? It definitely does exactly what you think/expect it to do, and I was generally impressed. For such a simple circuit, it is a load of fun, and far more pedalboard friendly than my Big Muff Pi. I found the pedal was really special when the drive knob was basically cranked past noon. I wasn’t really a big fan of the “low gain” sounds it produced on the other end of the spectrum. They weren’t bad, simply just not really useable/unique from other pedals on my board. But man, when you punch the distortion this thing rips!

It also sounded even better when stacked with a more sparkly drive in front. Specifically, it’s Summer School sibling, the Gus Drive, sounded just fantastic adding some high end that I couldn’t quite pull out of the Trash Panda. Lead lines were big, loud, and filled a ton of space, while chords had a presence all their own. Good sounding pedal, very useable, solid alternative to a Muff, RAT, or DS-1 type pedal.

My Verdict:

Checking in at $150, it doesn’t offer quite the versatility of another $150 distortion I just reviewed. That’s not a major issue, as I still love this pedal and will likely use it extensively with my P-Bass. I do love it as a Muff-style pedal, and would recommend checking it out for sure if that’s what you’re into/looking for. Out of all the Summer School pedals, I don’t think it is my favorite. As the Gus Drive and Snow Day Delay are still firmly my most used pedals. But it sounds good, and should be cranked, and I definitely see myself using it for some punk rock riffs soon!

Published by Matt Dunn

Guitar and music journalist for Ultimate-Guitar.com and Guitarsforidiots.com as well as a contributor for Guitarniche.com and Stringjoy.com. Reach out to talk about guitars, commission a partscaster, or ask for a review.

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