Quote "If you want proof that guitarists gleefully cling to the past, just look at their feet. Most likely, their boots are hovering near a bunch of metal boxes that were conceived back in the ’60s and ’70s. The truly addicted collect masses of these things and Velcro them on pedalboards—often employing arcane and complicated routing systems to switch between a series of old-school tonal colors. And even though digital technology has made it possible to inject these classic sounds into sleek, programmable designs, most guitarists still get a little weak in the knees upon discovering a new analog stompbox.
The simple, visceral design of most stompboxes is actually the salvation of the species, as it’s easy and fun to create sonic carnage by mixing and matching pedals. Beginning with the introduction of the Maestro Fuzz-Tone in 1963, the pedal population has grown exponentially to the point where vintage models now commonly share board space with classic reissues, modern boutique units, and mass-produced newbies.
The GP staff decided to pay homage to these bottom-feeding beasts by detailing 50 revolutionary models. Each pedal has either defined a certain tone, pushed the sonic envelope of its time, been adopted by legendary players, and/or graced essential songs and albums. This was far from a simple task. We’re also aware that extraodinary new boutique pedals are produced in garages all over the place—and that an exuberant community endorses each little-known wonderbox—but we focused this list on pedals that have been heard ’round the world.
So spin through this collection of classic blasters and modern masters, and bask in the simple pleasures of these powerful tone machines. We’ll await your letters and e-mails trashing us for not mentioning one of your fave stompboxes. But, hey, arguing over every minute shade of sound is part of the joy of being guitar players. Have fun!"