Innovative boutique pedals

Effect PedalThe market for guitar-effects has grown a lot in the recent years and therefore there has never been a wider range of pedals as today.
While the first boutique manufacturers focused themselves on the modification and the building of clones of old and rare pedals, the next generation of boutique manufacturers found a totally new way.
Instead of another Tubscreamer-modification these days the manufacturers offer innovative pedals that enable the user to create completely new kinds of sounds. And sometimes the boundarys between guitar- and synthesizer- effects vanish.
Here I would like to present a small selection of interesting pedals.

Montreal Assembly – Count to Five

The Montreal Assembly “Count to Five” is a good example for one of these innovative new pedals. After you have seen the video of this pedal on Youtube you actually do not really know how it works and I guess this is one of the reasons why in forums the “Count to Five” is presented as an autonomous instrument that invites the user to an experimental journey.
One might say the “Count to Five” is some kind of delay and looper but this description would underestimate the possibilities of this pedal a lot. It samples short sequences to reproduce them or to repeat them backwards in varying pitches. This can be done either in real time (similar to a delay) or as a short loop (up to 16 seconds). And it is also able to reproduce certain loops accidentally in different replay directions.
A quite interesting pedal with sounds that are almost impossible to reproduce and which indeed can hardly be explained.

Old Noise Blood – Endeavor Procession Reverb

The Old Noise Blood “Procession Reverb” is a lo-fi reverb with additional effects. A particularity is the maximal duration of the reverb which can be set as an endless effect. Additionally you can activate flanger, tremolo and vibrato. By this the “Procession Reverb” is able to create wonderful floating sounds which are especially interesting for soundscaping.
This surely is no spring reverb emulation and those who search for a reverb in studio quality should maybe choose another manufacturer but the spherical sounds of this pedal are absolutely unique.

Earthquaker Devices – Data Corrupter

The “Data Corrupter” is an analog and monophonic harmonizer with modulation. Its sound might remind you of those of the video game consoles of the 80s and therefore is miles away from conventional guitar sounds.
Mostly the sounds are like the ones created by a fuzz or octave pedal and you can also add a vibrato modulation.
These possibilities enable the user to create insane sounds which get close to the sound of a synthesizer and which by adding certain harmonies produce an interesting intermodulation.

Dwarcraft Devices – PitchGrinder

The Dwarcraft Devices “PitchGrinder” 8 step sequenced pitch shifter. It also creates a lo-fi 8 bit sound that can be reproduced in varying pitches by a sequencer with tap tempo.
The tone range reaches from one octave lower to two octaves higher than the original tone.
The sound is something like a bit crusher and the pedal provides numerous setting options. Similar to other sequencer pedals you can skip steps or choose a glide effect.
An interesting tool for experimenting and perhaps an entry into the world of synthesizers.

Hologram Electronics – Dream Sequence

With the mix of sequencer, envelope filter, pitch shifter, sampler and some more the Hologram Electronics “Dream Sequence” inspires to totally new ways of to create sounds.
The clearly structured pedal is able to produce nice tremolo sequences that can be modulated by the in-built sequencer. Furthermore it contains an overdrive which also enrichens the sound. The setting of the knobs can be saved in the sequences.

The designs of each pedal presented in this article tell a little story and in combination with the possible sounds inspire to experimenting. Even Hendrix used effects that have been newly developed in that time to elicit new kinds of sound from his guitar.
And maybe the mentioned pedals will inspire to a new approach to the guitar.