2011 Pedal Roundup: 37 Stompboxes Reviewed

“Stompbox.” The word just sounds fun. But, of course, it’s what you do with pedals that matters. And we sure as heck wouldn’t be cramming 37 reviews of the latest, greatest pedals into a single issue of Premier Guitar if stompboxes weren’t, well, a foot-stomping good time.



“Stompbox.” The word just sounds fun. But, of course, it’s what you do with pedals that matters. And we sure as heck wouldn’t be cramming 37 reviews of the latest, greatest pedals into a single issue of Premier Guitar if stompboxes weren’t, well, a foot-stomping good time.

It’s little wonder that most of us guitarists and bassists are addicted to these things, because they can be downright magical, too. Put your foot down and BAM!—the whole world changes: A smoky roadhouse becomes a desert expanse at sunset … a dusty country road becomes a vast and eerie underwater expanse … a thunderstorm becomes an apocalyptic alien invasion. Pedals can transform our playing and inspire songs and/or new stylistic meanderings. And at their best, they are musical instruments in very same way that a bass or a guitar is.

The world of stompboxes you’re about to enter is wild and varied. Here you’ll find reinterpretations and refinements of pedals that have long been enshrined in the stompbox pantheon, wild beasts that can barely be tamed, keys to unexpected adventures in expression, and portals to sounds you didn’t know you had at your fingertips. They come from legends in the guitar effects world such as Electro-Harmonix, Boss, and Vox, as well as established boutique builders like Strymon, Z.Vex, and Mad Professor— but you’ll also discover boxes from rising stars like the guys at EarthQuaker Devices, Skreddy Pedals, and Stomp Under Foot, all of whom are building beautiful wares that stretch boundaries and take classic sounds to new heights.

It’s a wild world that can leave you dizzy with possibilities. But we wouldn’t have it any other way—and we don’t think you would, either. In fact, we hope you’ve saved your pennies and dimes since last year’s pedal spectacular, because we’ll be flabbergasted if you don’t find a reason to bust open your piggybank in these pages. So take a load off, take your time, sit back and enjoy this trip through the boundless land of magical music-making implements.

First review: Burriss Boostiest 2.5>>>

Pedals Reviewed
Black Cat Bee Buzz
Boss RC-30 Loop Station
Build Your Own Clone Scrambled Octave
Burriss Boostiest 2.5
Carl Martin Blue Ranger
Catalinbread Naga Viper
Celestial Effects Virgo Overdrive
Earthquaker Devices Bit Commander
Electro-Harmonix Neo Mistress
Empress Effects Compressor
G&L Buckshot
Jacques Stompboxes Black Mamba
Juliet Collective Circadia
Levana Mellow-D
Lotus Yellow
Mad Professor Stone Grey
Mid-Fi Electronics Demo Tape Fuzz
Mojo Hand Colossus
MXR Noise Clamp
Pigtronix Tremvelope
Providence Chrono Delay DLY-4
Skreddy Pedals Lunar Module Deluxe
SolidGoldFX Surf Rider
Stomp Under Foot Red Menace
Strymon Timeline
Subdecay Octasynth
T-Rex Tonebug Sensewah
Tech 21 Roto Choir
VHT V-Drive
Vox VDL1 Dynamic Looper
Way Huge Ring Worm
Z.Vex Instant Lo-Fi Junky

Bass Pedals Reviewed
Fishman Fission Bass Powerchord FX
Fuchs Plush FX Jersey Thunder
Ibanez TS9B Bass Tube Screamer
Ruppert Musical Instruments Basswitch IQ DI
Tech 21 Bass Boost Chorus


Iriondo has been a member of the Italian alt-rock outfit Afterhours since 1992. Here he’s playing a custom Epiphone SG Custom at an Afterhours show in 2015.

Photo by Emanuela Bonetti

The Italian maestro talks about the spiritual inspiration he draws from his Basque roots, as well as channeling his endless guitar-tinkering passions into his latest musical project, Buñuel.

Italian guitarist and sonic adventurer Xabier Iriondo has an affinity for the Basque term, metak—which literally means, “pile”—and he often incorporates it into the names of his various projects. His custom-built experimental guitar is the Mahai Metak (or “table pile”). Some of his unconventional musical collaborations also include the term, as in PhonoMetak and PhonoMetak Labs. And Sound Metak was the name of the eclectic shop he ran for about a decade in the early 2000s, which sold everything from boutique guitar pedals to shoes. (Check out his Instagram profile, which, in addition to pictures of his amazing collection of guitars, pedals, and vintage amps, is also a showcase for his impeccable taste in footwear).

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