Why did you choose or love your favorite dirt pedal?
We all have our favorites. Having tried almost every dirt pedal discussed on this board, I find that most of them are quite similar to my ear. Given the plethora of options, I am curious as to why each of us chooses and keep the dirt pedals we love.
I pose the following questions for discussion:
1.) What is your favorite dirt pedal of course, but more importantly, WHY did get it?
-Was it based on the feedback of the board?
-Great YouTube demo or sound clips?
-Its the "sexy" pedal of the moment...
-My favorite bass player has one.
-The tone and features are the best.
2.) Does anyone besides me buy pedals because of the hype they get on TB? I have to admit, I have tried a few just because of the pseudo cool factor they add when posting pictures of my board.
Here are my answers: A lot of what I buy is based on the feedback of this board. I think that is perfectly healthy and being able to talk to other gigging musicians is of significant benefit. After trying nearly everything, I have two primary dirt pedals; The Source Audio OFD and Brimstone Audio Crossover Distortion. I chose them because of the versatility. I play in church, and my setlist changes every week. I need something that can be changed week to week to fit the songs we are playing. I don't really have "my tone." The OFD is nuts when it comes to tweakability and diversity of options. I also love that I can adjust the gain or amount of distortion on the fly with an expression pedal. The Crossover Distortion is very similar given the amount of voicing options. It reaches tones that I haven't been able to find anywhere else. I have no affiliation with either company. I just find these two pedals best fit my personal needs.
I'm interested to hear what everyone else thinks on this subject.
I have 4 fuzz pedals right now and I wish I had more. I haven't tried many distortions or ODs because I can get those kind of sounds from 2 of my fuzzes. I have a Gnomeratron VTF, Copilot Orbit, Zoom Ultra Fuzz, and I just got an Idiotbox Blasteriod.
I bought the Gnomeratron because it has a ton of controls to dial in pretty much any sound you want from crazy oscillating arpeggiations to fairly subtle OD and I liked the demos I heard. Plus I partially bought it cause it looks cool. :)
I got the Orbit because of John Davis's demo. I'd never heard anything like it and thought it sounded awesome. It's really more of a synth pedal than a fuzz to me.
I bought the Ultra Fuzz because I just wanted to try something different and you can get a ton of different sounds out of it. It has a weird reso knob that you can get some interesting noises with.
I got the Blasteriod because I saw it in one of Jaun Alderete's fuzz wars videos and I really liked the sounds he was getting. And Idiotbox stuff is ridiculously inexpensive so why not. I'd like to eventually buy a bunch of his other stuff like his delay, stutter box, laser fuzz, bass fuzzes and of course the Ron ****ing Swanson super fuzz.
Do I need all of this fuzz? Probably not but I like having them all and would love to have a giant pile of pedals to just pick and choose from eventually.
I went through a revolving door of dirt pedals before I found "my tone." In order, they were....
Frantone Lo-Tone Classic Fuzz
Electro-Harmonix Bass Blogger
Fuzzrocious Munch the Muff'n
Full Tone Bass Drive MOSFET
Blackout Effectors Musket vII
Moskova Count Bassy
Way Huge Pork Loin
and I'm sure I'm forgetting a few
Ultimately I found my way to the Fuzzhugger(fx) Bass Bloom after seeing clips on Youtube (while stupidly looking for Devi Ever clips) and based on recommendations from other boards and users. I like the wide range of tones available, how much grit is on tap, and how it can go from subtle growl to full on face melt with a turn of a knob. Plus, Tom is a class act and a great guy to deal with. As it stands it's currently the only pedal that's earned permanent placement on my board.
My favorite dirt pedal is the Fuzzrocious Rat Tail.
Why? Well, I always liked Rats, but owned several old ones that broke easily. The Rat Tail is built to last and has extra features to help it out with bass more.
It was the first time I plugged in a pedal and the sound in my head came out of the speakers.
As far as the hype thing, most of the ultra hyped pedals here don't do much for me.
1.) My dirt section is simple: the Barber Gain Changer for OD/Distortion running into a Wren and Cuff Tall Font Russian for fuzz. The Barber is my favorite. I chose it because I tried my friend's on guitar first. I loved the sound and fortunately it translated extremely well to bass...shockingly well, in fact. I play multiple instruments so I appreciate its tonal variety.
2.) I have tried plenty of pedals just because I saw them here, I have no problem admitting that. I always make sure, however, that I can justify it financially by either selling something else or making an even trade. I haven't had any urges whatsoever in months now, which is probably a sign that I've finally reached a place of contentment when it comes to gear. I still like checking out new pedals and talking about gear with others just to see what's going on, but I have no plans to buy anything anytime soon.
1) My favorite dirt pedal is a Ginger. I was first looking for a Flipster but found the Ginger (an evolution of the Flipster circuit) on Johnk's site after following his OD quest thread. Based on that clip, I asked him if he would build me one.
2) I definitely buy pedals because of TB hype. The hype is usually correct, even if the pedals don't work out for my needs and I sell them. I still have a Grey Stache, Musket Fuzz, Bogdan OD and Hardwire CM-2, all hyped pedals.
Been falling out of love with my Sparkle Drive for OD, even with the clean knob it's losing too much low end. Realizing it when comparing to the OD set channel on my rig, which is the bomb.
I bought the SD from GC after trying out a number of light OD pedals on their "return for full credit within 30 days" deal. Tried the Green Rhino, OCD, and Mastotron before finally settling on the SD.
One pedal I bought only because of TB hype was the TAFM, and boy do I still love that pedal! Thanks, TB.
For the longest time, I only had a Boss ODB-3, along with various multi-effects (Digitech BP-8, Boss GT-6b, Boss GT-10B).
And then I stumbled across Talkbass.
I quickly got hooked into the Darkglass hype. But it wasn't just the hype, the sound clips backed it up. I have stated elsewhere that I think this demo (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=emFyuS73jEI) is simply amazing---it's more or less a perfect demo in how it is constructed (interesting but useful and realistic riffs, variation in sounds, variations in playing styles, comparison with clean sounds, etc.), and to top it off the B7K sounds FANTASTIC. But it didn't just sound fantastic, it sounded like what I wanted to sound like. So when I was looking to finally make the plunge and buy a great boutique dirt, Darkglass was the only thing that was on my mind. In deciding between the B7K and B3K, I ultimately wanted to go with having more options on the EQ and output rather than less.
When I got it, it was everything I was hoping for, although I use it slightly differently than I thought I would---I had bought it for a range of sounds, but especially for the heavy dirt, but I have ended up mostly using it for my slightly dirty basic sound (though it excels at both ends of the spectrum).
I have two other dirt pedals, an Empress Multidrive and a Digitech Hardwire TL-2 Metal Distortion. I bought these more for guitar but for versatility on bass. The Multidrive I bought based on features and clips; the TL-2 was a happy accident when I found it used at a Guitar Center. So multi-instrument versatility as well as EQ/voicing versatility are important to me.
1) I've gone through quite a few different dirts to arrive at my current configuration. After buying a couple just on TB hype (Swolen Pickle and B3K) that I immediately flipped, I started being much more cautious. I will admit that I use Excane's demos to get an initial idea of what a pedal is like (along with builder demos) and try to demo as much in store as possible. The real deciding factor in whether or not something sticks around has been how it sits within the band mix with the sound that I like from it.
I've gone through along with reason for getting it in parenthesis:
Boss ODB3 (didn't know any better)
EHX Little Big Muff (didn't know any better)
Swolen Pickle (hype)
Tech21 Red Ripper (lots of favorable reviews)
Iron Ether Oxide (lots of OMG it is versatile reviews)
Dr. Scientist The Elements (lots of OMG it is versatile reviews)
Darkglass B3K (way too much hype)
Wren & Cuff TFR (trade)
Zvex Mastotron (demos)
And ended up settling on:
Fuzzrocious Rat Tail (trade)
Mountainking Magnetar (demos)
SS/BS TAFM (trade)
The RT and TAFM were both me taking a chance with trades (I actually wasn't a fan of the clips that I heard of both pedals, but decided to give them a try anyway) and the Magnetar was because I needed a bigger sounding gated fuzz than the Mastotron was able to provide. Excane's demos made me think I would love it (I do!). I would have a hard time pinning down one as a favorite because all 3 have very different uses for me tbh. The TAFM and, to a slightly lesser extent, the RT, have always been "sexy" on tb, but that really didn't factor in for me.
2) I used to buy on hype on TB, but those buys quickly became my least favorites. I won't buy any TB favorites without at least trying them a lot more in depth than I was previously.
I completely agree with you on the B7K. I didn't include it with my dirt pedals because I use it as an always on clean preamp. It was a complete game changer for me.
My favorite dirt pedal is the AusTone Fuzz Nutz TexTone that very sadly is not made any more. It is based on the Fuzz Face but has a full low end and a unique tone stack that really opens up the high end that is usually missing on a fuzz face circuit.
Aside from the totally blissed out sound there are several other reasons that make me cherish this pedal. Jon Bessent, my repair buddy of many years was the boutique builder that was totally obsessed with getting the perfect tone and spent several years perfecting the design and then having each pedal be perfect and identical. In this area the AusTone pedals have a high appeal and my Fuzz Nutz is just for the studio now after having some dweeb try to pull it off my board at a gig.
The VT Bass v.2 is my favorite dirt pedal, at least for now and has been for the last few months. I just love its burly growl (flat EQ, level 9 o'clock, character at 10:30 and drive @ 2:30) and find this tone fits my playing and my band's sound. I also have all the dirt in the 60B and a Digitech BassDriver at my disposal, but the VT kicks their collective asses from here 'til sundown.
A man likes to hear his pure tone veiled by distortion or overdrive. A man will go to great lengths to resolve this dilemma until a man realizes he needs to A/B his deep rich clean tone and replicate it with a dirty one. A man must also have options for both the clean and dirty tones, therefore a man will go to further lengths to augment and reshape and octave-duplicate his tones which are already difficult to shape to begin with. That is why a man is constantly buying new s and discussing s on TB.
Why did you choose or love your favorite dirt pedal?
The B3K is obviously hyped on here but it's still my favorite, and I've tried a bunch. Rarely put the drive past 9 o'clock, but I just love how it cuts through a busy mix yet stays fat...so good. Bought a B7K at one point thinking it would be my DI/EQ, but ultimately sold it because the 3Leaf enabler worked better for me because of the headphone amp.
Only other dirt I have right now is a TAFM...had one in the past and loved it, but traded it to try other fuzzes. Ultimately bought one again because none of the others did it for me in a live mix, and it's super versatile. Love that I can get gated aggressive fuzz and subtle barely noticeable fuzz from the same box.
Mine is my Myco Three. And I kind of went into the purchase blindly.. I first read about what they were, being a "real" tube pedal, I said yes immediately. Thankfully I wasnt let down. Like I said I don't remember there being any tone samples or references to hear for it but I bought it anyways. All the hype that happens here, I've partaken a few times in the OD/distortion game, to major disappointment. Except the Three, it's not very bright sounding, much warmer than any I've tried but still smooth creamy tubey sounding and for me it's brilliant. None compare.
In this order, and why:
Lomenzo Hyperdrive - exactly the kind of high-mid/high frequency chime I like
Tall Font Russian - exactly the kind of vroomy low-mid frequency distortion I like
B3K - exactly the kind of mid frequency grind I like, and it stacks really well with anything
I stumbled upon the Hyperdrive and TFR whilst searching about online.
The B3K I found here, when Doug introduced it.
Hype is, well, hype.
But I'll never get disappointed because I don't like what many others do.
I haven't been impressed with the Iron Ether, Fuzzrocious and ss/bs stuff I've tried (with my gear, for my use), but I know they produce quality effects that work great for others.
No doubt, worth the hype.
And I'll keep trying what others say is awesome whenever I can afford it.
You just never know what works and what doesn't until you try.
being from the philippines with no chance to test or even meet someone who owns boutique pedals, i tend to trust and fall for the hyped pedals here in TB. so here's my fuzz journey:
1.) prescription electronics depth charge - while this wasn't hyped, i first read it here when somebody mentioned that Trent Reznor uses it in his radio gig with peter murphy. i heard the fuzz on 'Reptile' and i had to get it! ... it was very good, however, i found the build rather flimsy that something like a strong gust of wind is enough to change the ever touchy volume knob. i would have never sold it, but the build quality just made me curious for something else.
2.) IE Oxide - super TB hype, along with a really nice builder who really takes the time to talk to you. sadly, i never was happy with the pedal. i tried my best. i found the clicking sound (when you pick the strings) so distracting i could never find a practical use for it. i traded it at a lost, and never missed it.
3.) Malekko JMJ Diabolik - im not sure if its TB hype, but JMJ is pretty much respected here, and since i always loved b:ass master based octave fuzz, i gave it a shot, and i'm currently happy with it. i have no complaints, but then again, i have owned it for less than 2 months.
4.) darkglass b3K - another TB hype ... and when i first plugged it in, i thought "wow... its a damn Sansamp BDI with a different name!" i never sold it, cause there's always a use for sansamp BDI, but as i used it more and more, i realized that while it has the same voicing as a sansamp, it doesn't have a sharp mid scoop, and it plays well with other pedals. i currently am still keeping this made in finland version i bought brand new from way back.
5.) rusty box - a TB hype again. and when i got it, it sounded like a bass treble-lizer lol my first impression was that it had very limited application cause it turns everything into a grindy treble monster. after owning it awhile, i discovered it is amazing when chained with fuzz and OD. i kept it and i am still using it till this day. and contrary to TB hype, i will never be calling it a versatile distortion/preamp.
hyped pedals i wanna try:
-fuzzrocious rat tail
-wren and cuff tall font russian
-fuzzhugger bass bloom
the thing is, i currently love the pedals i have, and i cant seem to sell my used ones locally.
Arion Bass Distortion.
There was this buzz about it - I kept hearing about how great it sounded, even though it's plastic and inexpensive. I found one in new condition for about $25, so I had to try it. It has Direct (clean) and Distortion level controls that are truly separate; no weird phase issues. The other knobs - Tone and Dist. - only affect the distortion, not the clean. The pedal has low end for days even before you mix in the dry signal, and the controls give me a huge range of useable tones. I would love this pedal at even at 4 or 5 times the price, but for $25?!?! It's an incredible value!
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