Zvex Fuzz Factory

Guitar Effects: Why choose boutique pedals?

Every guitarist in search of their own unique sound knows that it is not the "effects" that make you great. You could put the worst guitarist behind the best effects pedal board and nothing great would come out the other end. Conversely the best guitar players can make any equipment sound great, whether its on an knock off guitar, or an expense high end boutique pedal.

Although you can make do with much less, adding boutique pedals to your effects chain gives you the opportunity to develop everything from extremely precise overdrive sounds, to unique and original sound effects. Boutique pedals often tout robust features like true-bypass circuitry, meaning your guitar signal will not be effected by the pedal when it is turned off. Additionally, many boutique pedals are hand panted and creatively designed adding a personal flare to your pedal board.
The benefit of boutique pedals is two-fold, not only are they high quality hand made and usually numbered pieces, there is a limited number of guitarists that have them. Exclusivity means that you can create sounds that guys using the generic manufactured pedals can't touch.

The Top 5 Boutique Guitar Effects

1. Analog Man ARDX20 Dual Analog Delay - The difference between digitally produced and analog delay is subtle but you will find it is important to all of the top guitarists in the world because of its "pure" reproduction of the original sound.

2. Z-Vex Super Hard-On - The super hard on is a wonderfully transparent preamp pedal who's input impedance is so high (>5Meg) it naturally overdrives your amp the same way they did in the sixties. It reacts differently to every guitar and amp setup which really allows you to carve your sound.
3. T-Rex Replica - Given Guitar Magazines "editors pick award" this analog delay is used by guitar greats like John Mayer. It has warm analog tone controls and features a tap tempo switch to dial in the delay.

4. The Keeley Compressor - Known for is modifications to standard manufactured effects pedals, Robert Keeley also developed a multiple award winning compressor for guitar and bass that boasts true silver soldering, hand matched parts, and true-bypass circuitry.

5. The Lovetone Doppelganger - If you're looking for freaky effects, then the Lovetone twin oscillator and vibrato pedal is a great pick. Hand crafted in England, the doppelganger has found its way into studios worldwide as both an intstrament as well as a vocal effect.

These are definitely some of the most well known boutique pedals on the market, and for good reason - they rock! But the beauty of effects pedals is there is an near infinite amount of sounds that can be generated by using different guitars, amps, and even the order you put your pedals in.

What is your favorite boutique pedal? (Be sure to include your rig as well)