Known throughout popular DIY internet forums and publications alike, Brian Wampler is a true example of just how powerful the internet can be. After he modded several pedals for members of the Harmony Central gear forums, word spread of his talents and know-how, and soon he was in demand from casual and seasoned players alike. He started offering his own designs for sale, and also formed indyguitarist.com with a forum for DIY pedal modding enthusiasts to post communicate with one another on how to improve the sound of their gear. With 15 pedals available for guitarists, Wampler has now added the Super Plextortion (a modern update of his admired Plextortion) and Pinnacle Distortion to the lineup.
The Super Plextortion is a beefed-up variation of Wampler’s popular Plextortion pedal. The idea was to provide a more modern array of tones by altering the internal gain stages (three total), giving more transparency and bite with a tighter low end. The original Plextortion is still offered by Wampler, as it has more of a vintage-vibe with a heavier midrange emphasis than its newer brother. Located on the front panel of the Super Plextortion is a 3-band EQ consisting of Treble, Mid, and Bass controls. Sandwiched between a Volume and a Gain control is a Gain Boost switch for saturated leads and heavier riffing.
Part of the Wampler philosophy is affordability. Brian likes to test his effects through affordable rigs that most people would have the chance of owning. I now own a really great-sounding 1973 Marshall Super Bass head, but before I was able to acquire it, I went through tons of pedals trying to capture that sound with whatever amp I had at the time. Simply put, pedals like this exist because not everybody can afford a vintage plexi or metalface Marshall amplifier, so I decided to give the pedal a run through a Fender Twin Reverb reissue with a 1998 Gibson Les Paul Studio equipped with a Seymour Duncan JB (bridge) and Jazz (neck) combination. With all of the controls at noon and the gain boost off, the Super Plextortion handled light, open-chord riffing quite well, with a great amount of transparency. I love pedals that allow me to hear my pick making contact with the strings as I slice through a chord, while at the same time keeping a reasonable amount of string clarity. Not only did the Super Plextortion handle this expertly, but as I increased the Gain, the definition just got stronger and punchier. Only on lower strings below the fifth fret did the low end start to muddy up a bit, but backing off of the gain helped restore the tone to its former glory.
The voicing of the pedal is darker than most vintage Super Lead heads I’ve come across. Gear hunters who have scoured the ends of the earth for vintage Marshalls will love this, as many of those older plexis had very different feel and voicings due to slight variations in the circuit. The voicing of the Super Plextortion is just right, perfect for high-gain work in the vein of George Lynch. While the Super Plextortion has a great deal of gain, it’s best applied to styles of music famous from the modded-Marshall era of tones—the ‘80s and early ‘90s. Think Slave To The Grind
-era Skid Row rather than the more current, grinding rhythm tones produced by bands like Slayer. I especially liked how well it sat in line with the famously bright Twin Reverb. All too often I’ve seen bands with bright-sounding rigs try to pummel the front end of the amps with high-gain distortion pedals, only to produce horrible ear fatigue from a bad mix with the band. For players looking for that hot-rodded Marshall tone without having to lug a vintage half-stack behind them, the Super Plextortion might be just the ticket.
you’re looking for a versatile distortion to cover a wide range of
hot-rodded British tones.
you are after a distortion that cops tones with a more American voicing, à