pigtronix space rip

A wee synth pedal that packs enough sub-octave power to shake down the house.

Fat, fuzzy, bossy octave tones that can be used to double or stand in for bass. Many unexpectedly lyrical sounds at dryer mix levels.

Fine-tune control can feel imprecise.


Pigtronix Space Rip


I'd love to do a show just with Pigtronix mini pedals. The always-creative New York company has built a sizable stable of little stomps that range from practical to weird. Space Rip inhabits the latter category, but its bombastic, belching, bass-y, and buzzy synth sounds would certainly be a highlight of whatever presentation I might concoct.

When combined with certain amounts of dry signal you can conjure singing ringing-and-fuzzy composite tones that evoke trashy cellos or gamelans from some dusty, broken Philip K. Dick alterna-verse.

The Space Rip uses pulse-width modulation synthesis to generate fuzzy square and sawtooth waves. The unusual control set uses an equally unusual set of functions to manipulate these waveforms—among them, a VCO modulation rate knob, a somewhat tricky fine tuner that you can almost use as a pitch-bend effect, and a fairly massive-sounding sub-octave mix knob. There's also a very welcome wet/dry mix knob. I don't term the mix knob "welcome" because the synth sounds are repellent or hard to manage. On the contrary, they can be rich and sonorous.

All sounds (apart from drum machine) are the Space Rip with a Fender Telecaster and black-panel Fender Tremolux. Recorded via Universal Audio Apollo Twin into Universal Audio Luna

And when combined with certain amounts of dry signal you can conjure singing, ringing-and-fuzzy composite tones that evoke trashy cellos or gamelans from some dusty, broken Philip K. Dick alterna-verse. As with almost any synth pedal, clean technique pays dividends, and you can summon the most lyrical and fluid effects by concentrating on single-note melodies. Using the same technique and the effective sub-octave control, you can also generate very funky and snappy bass lines with your guitar's lower strings. Be careful hitting that octave button though—it lowers everything, including that fat sub-octave tone, by yet another octave. And while you may not actually rip space, you might dislodge the contents of the china shelf.

Test Gear:

Fender Telecaster, black-panel Fender Tremolux, Universal Audio OX

Made in Canada, this two-voice guitar features a chambered Mahogany body, carved Swamp Ash top, 25.5” scale Mahogany neck and Rosewood Fingerboard.

Read MoreShow less

Gain is fun in all its forms, from overdrive to fuzz, but let’s talk about a great clean tone.

We’re all here for one thing. It’s the singular sound and magic of the stringed instrument called the guitar—and its various offshoots, including the bass. Okay, so maybe it’s more than one thing, but the sentiment remains. Even as I write this, my thoughts fan out and recognize how many incarnations of “guitar” there must be. It’s almost incomprehensible. Gut-string, nylon-string, steel-string, 12-string, 8-string, 10-string, flatwound, brown sound, fuzztone…. It’s almost impossible to catalog completely, so I’ll stop here and let you add your favorites. Still, there’s one thing that I keep coming back to: clean tone.

Read MoreShow less

A supreme shredder’s signature 6-string dazzles with versatility.

This immaculately built guitar sounds great and can do it all.

The more affordable price is still out of reach for many guitarists


Charvel MJ San Dimas SD24 CM


Charvel’s first Guthrie Govan signature model was released in 2014, after an arduous two-year effort to get the design just right. Since then, the guitar—now in its second edition—has become one of Charvel’s most coveted models. Unfortunately, its $3,699 price keeps the U.S.-made axe out of reach for many.

This year, though, the company released the Made-in-Japan signature MJ San Dimas SD24 CM, which sells for a slightly more manageable $2,799. Needless to say, that’s not cheap. But depending on your priorities, it’s a fair price for a very high quality, pro-level instrument.

Read MoreShow less