Monthly Archives: December 2009

Fat Tone’s Top 10 Effect Pedals of 2009

It’s time for the annual Fat Tone Guitars year end Top 10 Guitar Effect Pedals of 2009 list.  In all fairness, this is our first Top 10 list but it’s fun to do so look for another list next year.  The Fat Tone Top 10 list seeks to acknowledge those guitar effect pedals that have left a positive impression on us this year.

Our criteria for recognizing an effect pedal for excellence is vague.  It’s kinda like we know it when we hear it.  In a loose order of importance, here’s the criteria:

  1. The pedal must sound killer.  Seriously.  No sandpaper or scratchiness allowed.
  2. The pedal must be a great value.  It can be an expensive pedal with awesome tone or lots of functionality and usefulness.
  3. Great manufacturer behind it’s design and sale.  As a retailer, it’s so refreshing to work with a pedal manufacturer that takes pride in their work, supports the customer AND the dealer.
  4. Sales volume and popularity.

As you can see, the popularity of a pedal comes in last giving some great sounding but still “under the radar” pedals a chance at winning the coveted award.  Enough banter–lets get started.

Our favorite effect pedal of 2009 was the incomparable, super sounding MJM LONDON FUZZ, Germanium Edition. This pedal hit all the criteria dead on and did it all year long.  Great smooth fuzz.  Affordable price.  It seems that everyone wanted a London Fuzz and we couldn’t keep them in stock.  We’ll do better in 2010.

MJM London Fuzz

MJM London Fuzz

  • Empress Superdelay Digital Delay Pedal–The Superdelay did it all.  A pristine sounding digital delay pedal that had the best tape echo sound we’ve heard outside an Echoplex.  And the learning curve was lower on the Superdelay than on other top of the line delay units.
  • Analog Man Beano Boost–A very cool vintage sounding pedal that rewards the skilled guitar player.  The Beano Boost is based on the Dallas Rangemaster and delivers organic overdriven dirt like it’s going out of style.
  • Xotic RC Booster–A good clean boost is like good vodka.  No coloration.  The Xotic RC Booster allows your amp to do it’s business and gives that extra ooomph to get it there.  This pedal became our best selling clean boost pedal and then some.
  • Durham Electronics Zia Drive–The Zia Drive is a super smooth, musical overdrive that is super amp-like.  And I’ve yet to hear a better rhythm guitar pedal that delivers the chunka chunka like it should.  Chicken Bone Dan plays the Zia Drive.
  • MJM China Fuzz–The China Fuzz is based on the old Univox Super Fuzz and in my opinion, the best sounding fuzz pedal at Fat Tone.  While the China Fuzz is still not selling in boatloads, those that give it a whirl are not disappointed.
  • Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz V2–The Musket Fuzz is based on the Big Muff.  But it’s so much more.  Vintage and modern sounds abound in this highly tweakable fuzz bonanza.  And Kyle at Blackout Effectors is one of the finest inthe business.
  • Tech 21 Boost DLA Digital Delay–Here is a digital delay pedal that is highly versatile, sounds great and has a super feature set while still selling for under $200.  One of Fat Tone’s top selling summer pedals.
  • Fulltone Clyde Deluxe Wah Pedal–The Clyde Deluxe is a tried and true monster.  Delivering some great wahsounds and with settings that make sense, this pedal will continue to sell well into the next decade and beyond.
  • Barber Electronics Half-Gainer Overdrive Pedal–Barber Electronics makes workhorse pedals that deliver the goods at the best boutique prices around.  The Half-Gainer is a two channel overdrive pedal that is tweakable and affordable.
Empress Superdelay

Empress Superdelay

Analog Man Beano Boost

Analog Man Beano Boost

Xotic RC Booster

Xotic RC Booster

Durham Electronics Zia Drive

Durham Electronics Zia Drive

MJM China Fuzz

MJM China Fuzz

Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz

Blackout Effectors Musket Fuzz

Tech 21 Boost DLA

Tech 21 Boost DLA

Fulltone Clyde Deluxe

Fulltone Clyde Deluxe

Barber Half-Gainer

Barber Half-Gainer

Check out all of Fat Tone Guitars great lineup of guitar effect pedals here.

Advertisements

YouTube Videos

We’ve been slowly building a YouTube video library.  Our selection of videos include:

  • Product demos, primarily of guitars, amps and effects
  • Various weird videos
  • Performance videos shot in-store at Fat Tone Guitars

YouTube allows viewers to comment on videos as well as rate the videos from 1 to 5 stars.  Overall, this is a fun feature as well as informative.  We’ve learned some fun facts from viewers leaving comments.  Believe it or not, we’ve also sold some gear as a direct result of our posting a YouTube video.

However, there seems to be a nasty trend emerging in the YouTube world.  I’m sure it’s not a new thing, but I’ve noticed that it is becoming much more commonplace.   I’m talking about negative comments on the posted videos.  And some of the comments are not only negative, but downright rude and mean.

For the videos, we’ve hired a guitar or bass player (as I suck too much to be the talent), hired a videographer, set up some awesome gear, and tried to showcase an entertaining–and in some cases  informative–video.  Why would a viewer take the time to write rude, demeaning comments?  Wouldn’t it be easier to simply not watch the video if it’s not to your liking?

This makes no sense to me.   Anyway, here are some examples of our video work:

Black Friday

Forgive me but Black Friday is ridiculous.  Watching the newscasts of Walmart Nation busting down the doors and trampling those in their way, just to grab a flatscreen TV or laptop computer that has its price marked down is just plain asinine.  If you ever catch me waking up at 3am to cram myself into a big box store in search of a few dollars savings, please shoot me.

Walmart Black Friday Madness

I am a retailer so I understand that luring customers in is no easy task.  But catering to the lowest common denominator–low LOW prices–doesn’t get you a loyal customer base.  And loyal customers are the bread and butter of the small, independent retailer.

Fat Tone Guitars is attempting to provide value to customers.  Our pricing is competitive and usually as low as Guitar Center’s but there are other things that make a shopping experience with Fat Tone worthwhile.

  • The best selection of guitar effect pedals in Chicago and one of the best selections on the web.  Want to buy a new fuzz pedal?  We’ve got about 13 different fuzz pedals IN STOCK right now.
  • Fat Tone has a decent return policy.  If you don’t like what you bought, call us up within 7 days or so and we’ll let you exchange it or return it.
  • We love what we sell.  I’m a bass player and our two employees are guitar players.  We love music.  Call us up and we can talk about music, guitars and effects for hours.  You just might learn something.  We just might learn something.
  • We are people who love music and we understand that our customers are folks that love music too.  We never lose sight of that.

Yes, we are running holiday sales.  And sure we are trying to grow a guitar and effect pedal business but we’re trying to do it in a cool, friendly way.  Check us out….

Fat Tone Webstore

Fat Tone on eBay

Fat Tone on Amazon