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.

$179

Pigtronix Space Rip
pigtronix.com

4
4
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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

A faithful recreation of the Germanium Mosrite Fuzzrite with a modern twist.

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Presets extend the flexibility of an already expansive and easy-to-use reverb.

Intuitive. Great range in all controls. Well-built.

Some digital artifacts at long decay times.

$229

Walrus Audio Slötvå
walrusaudio.com

4
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4.5

Walrus Audio is a prolific builder, but, as the five reverb pedals in their lineup suggest, they have a real affinity for manipulating time and space. The beauty of the Slötvå reverb (which is derived from the company’s very similar Spin FV-1 chip-based Slö reverb) is how satisfying and simple it makes dramatic shifts between time/space textures.

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With such a flashy flame top, the Silvertone 1445 was built to catch the eyes of department store shoppers.

I don’t know what’s going on lately, but I’m breaking down all over and my shoulder is the latest to crumble. When I was a kid I would practice guitar in my bedroom near a radiator with an ungrounded amp plug and I’d get a zap right through my guitar and into my hands. Well, my shoulder pain is like that now, only without the cool story of rock ’n’ roll survival. I simply woke up one day like this. After a few weeks of discomfort, I figured I’d try out a new pillow, since mine are flattened like a wafer. I ventured out to the mall and, much to my sadness, saw the local Sears store shuttered, with weeds growing up from the sidewalks and concrete barriers blocking the large glass doors. I know I don’t get out much, but, man, was I sad to see the Sears store I’d known since childhood closed-up like that. My wife was laughing at me because apparently it had been closed for some time. But since I seem to exist on a separate timeline than most folks, it was all news to me.

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