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Analogman Pedals

I don't remember how I first found out about Analogman, but I've been very happy with his work.  I had my reissue Ibanez TS-9 and TS-9DX pedals modded by him, and have purchased several other pre-modded pedals.  All of them are great, and I highly recommend them.  Of the modded pedals, the ones I use the most are my TS-9 and Boss SD-1.  The latter has the pull pot mod for either symmetrical or assymetrical clipping.  However, his Analogman branded pedals are amazing.  I've been able to get two (there is a waiting list for many pedals), and they have a unique sort of magic.  You do need to be an experienced player to appreciate them.  My favorite is the large BiCompRossor, which is a Ross-style compressor and an Orange Squeezer compressor in one package.  I've used compressors on and off over the years, but this one, and the Barber Tone Press, are the only ones that I would use now.  The Analogman and the Barber pedals are very different beasts, and each has a unique magic for clean tones (more on the Tone Press in the Barber section).  The BiCompRosser comes well-recommended, since Trey Anastasio uses them.

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Barber Pedals

I first heard about Barber pedals in the Guitar Player review of the Direct Drive.  They clearly loved it, and so I thought I'd give it a try too.  The problem with Barber is they make so many great sounding pedals!  I find they have a full range sound (the LTDs do sound like you just cranked your amp up without coloration).  One of the cool things is that their pedals are customizable, either by swapping out the op amps, or by having an additional board added that lets you adjust all sorts of things.  This is far more important to tweaking the sound than one would originally think.  Most of their offerings are overdrive/distortion pedals, but they make several that are very unique.  One is the BarbEQ, which is basically a Fender Blackface tone stack with some tweakability.  It is specifically designed to go in front of amps with limited tone controls, like my 1963 white knob Princeton.  It also has a toggle that will shift the tonal response around, even adding a Marshall-type sound in.  It also has a lot of clean boost available, since they step up the voltage internally.  The LTD series is also unique in that they are configured for low-gain overdrive.  There is also a low-gain version of the Direct Drive, which has a distinctly Bluesbreakers sound to it.  The Trifecta Fuzz is also very cool. 

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Fulltone Pedals

Fulltone pedals are really well-known (even Guitar Center occasionally carries them).  I find they have a very distinct sound to them, without a wide range of tweakability.  This isn't a bad thing, since they generally sound pretty great, but you get what you get.  I preferred the Barber pedals for the sounds that the GT-500 is apparently aiming for, mostly because I just couldn't control the massive amounts of boost inherent in the GT-500.  I do like the Fulldrive II, OCD and the fuzzes as well (particularly the Soulbender).  It is fun to mix up the Fulltone and Barber pedals, since they have distinctively different voices.

The ChoralFlange is probably the best overall chorus pedal I have.  The mini-Deja Vibe is wonderful, and an essential part of my sound.  The key to using Univibe-type choruses is to put them early in the pedal chain. 

More later

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Other Pedals and Rack Effects