effects

Richard Thompson received the OBE, Order of the British Empire, in 2011 for his “singular and substantial contribution to music.”

Photo by Matt Condon

On his latest full-length, the English singer-songwriter reinforces his role as one of the 20th century’s greatest. Here, he muses on his musical roots, innovations, and rig essentials.

Any list of great British songwriters, from Lennon/McCartney, Ray Davies, and Pete Townshend to Elvis Costello, must contain Richard Thompson. But any discussion of England’s most impressive, identifiable guitar players (be they Clapton, Beck, Page, or Mick Taylor) also needs to include Thompson. And it’s a coin toss which 6-string he excels at more—acoustic or electric.

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Discover the Versatile Tones of the Nichols 1966 Fuzz Pedal by Danelectro
Danelectro Nichols 1966 Fuzz Demo | First Look

John tests out Steve Ridinger's reimagination of the fuzzy drive pedal that began his stompbox-building journey in 1966.

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Monstrous sounds from a Muff with a buzzy op-amp twist.

Big, big, Big Muff tones with a buzzy, midrange blast. Massive-sounding, full-frequency tone bypass mode. Beautiful construction.

Op-amp sizzle could put off fans of creamier Sovtek and Ram’s Head sounds.

$324

Wren and Cuff Eye See ’78
wrenandcuff.com

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It was only a matter of time before Big Muff wizard/scientist Matt Holl built a big-box version of his Eye See '78 V4/V5-style op-amp Big Muff. It is worth the wait. I’m not sure I even knew how much I loved this circuit. A good friend had one that he blasted through a Twin Reverb (yikes!) and it sounded memorably amazing. But I always stayed within my own Big Muff safe lane—sticking with familiar Sovtek tones and chasing canonical, definitive Ram’s Head sounds. The Eye See ’78 is most certainly different than those circuits. It’s aggressive, with a buzzy mid-forward voice that tops out with an acerbic, searing, almost giant Tone Bender-like character when you crank up the treble. It’s not a subtle pedal, and it is definitely most satisfying when it’s setting an amp on fire and exploding with jet roar and gritty harmonics.

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