I worked for Electro-Harmonix three times. Once in the mid 70s, once in the later 70s, and finally when I moved back to New York from San Francisco in the early 2000s. By the last time, DAWS and plugins were a thing and hardware effect companies were cashing in by licensing plugin versions of their products. I suggested to Mike Matthews that he consider turning some of his classic pedals into plugins. He wasn’t into it at the time but apparently has now decided to put a toe in the water. Starting with his flagship effect, the Big Muff, he has launched a hybrid pedal/plugin concept.
I am aware that “ultimate” is like “unique.” Something either is or it isn’t in both cases, making “third ultimate” ridiculous. I just like having fun with the click bait concept. Also apologies to the manufacturers of the pedals for taking so long—life intervenes.
This roundup leans heavily on classic, less extreme fuzz, though with three octave fuzz boxes in the mix there are plenty of strange sounds available. This time we tackle two multi-sound EarthQuaker units, two Electro-Harmonix pedals, and one each from Crazy Tube Circuits, Keeley, Joe Gore, JHS, MXR, and Fender.
NAMM 2018 was even bigger than last year, yet much more manageable. The brand new ACC (Anaheim Convention Center) North building housed most of the high tech and pro audio stuff, allowing guitars and related products to be centralized in one area on the main floor of the original building. NAMM further reduced the spread by offering the new boutique manufacturers—previously relegated to downstairs Hall E—smaller, more affordable booths in the main guitar product ghetto. Thus, I was able to cover the show in two relaxed, rather than three grueling, days.
The new AAC North building