Eliminate signal loss with this powerful buffer/boost combo.

As any environmentally minded pedal junkie knows, signal loss is as real as climate change. Epigaze Audio’s Neutrino combines a high-quality buffer with a boost and then throws in a few smartly designed features on top. The pedal offers dual outputs (one is buffer only), two impedance settings (for all you vintage fuzz lovers), and a “body” switch. As a true boost should, the Neutrino doesn’t kill you with gain. There was plenty of heft without the fizzy high end.

After placing the Neutrino at the front of my signal chain, I was almost embarrassed to discover how much high end I was losing from all my pedals and cables. Even without a temperamental Fuzz Face in the mix, the impedance settings were fun to mix and match along with the body switch (which acts as a bass cut). Overall, the transparency of the boost circuit was impressive and rarely did I find myself turning the knob past noon. My favorite setting was with the imp switch in the down position and the body switch off—a great bluesy growl. Buffers can be boring, but the mad scientists at Epigaze have created an essential, but sometimes overlooked, tool for improving your tone.

Test gear: Fender Stratocaster, Fender Deluxe Reverb, Benson Monarch


Impressively transparent. Packed with useful features.



Epigaze Audio Neutrino


Ease of Use:



Can a bona fide funk guru help design a better Klone?

Wide range of gain. Very useful EQ.

Doesn’t do the Klon clean boost as well as original.


Jackson Audio The Optimist


Jackson Audio’s pedal collaboration with modern funk hero Cory Wong could have taken a few different paths. Considering Wong’s style, a compressor would have been an obvious choice. Instead, the Optimist is a dual overdrive that builds on a Klon-inspired baseline, adds a second overdrive, and has a clever EQ to create a super-flexible overdrive. Named after Wong’s second album, The Optimist suits Wong’s exuberant and fun-loving personality. But it also describes the way you might approach a gig with this pedal in hand. Together, the two separate overdrives and active EQ give you enough tones to cover almost any gig this side of Slayer cover band.

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See a sampling of picks used by famous guitarists over the years.

Marty Stuart

Submit your own artist pick collections to rebecca@premierguitar.com for inclusion in a future gallery.

How does a legacy artist stay on top of his game? The pianist, hit singer-songwriter, producer, and composer talks about the importance of musical growth and positive affirmation; his love for angular melodicism; playing jazz, pop, classical, bluegrass, jam, and soundtrack music; and collaborating with his favorite guitarists, including Pat Metheny and Jerry Garcia.

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