Summer NAMM 2016 Gear Spotlight: Effects Pedals

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Last week’s Summer NAMM 2016 show was relatively light on electronic music tech, save for the blockbuster announcement of the OB-6 desktop analog synth module, a collaboration between Dave Smith and Tom Oberheim. I can understand though. I mean, it’s in Nashville, after all — the place where they make country music that people still buy on CD. CfrikkinD!

Fortunately, the great saving grace for any tech head at a mostly guitar-based show is the stompbox. This year’s Summer NAMM was virtually overflowing with interesting new effects pedals from big names to boutique names.

When’s the last time you bought an effects pedal? If it’s been more than two years, you are entirely too responsible with your money. Maybe it’s time you gave into the instant gratification of a fun-sized, affordable effects processor. And in case you didn’t know, they are generally made for guitarists, but they are entirely appropriate for your keyboards, tabletop hardware synths, vocals and really anything else you what to throw at them.

As long as we’re breaking the “rules,” try these pedals on the opposite use case that they advertise. For example, if there’s a heavy-metal bass effect pedal, try running a flute line through it or your high-hat patterns, etc. If you really catch the stompbox bug, a big part of the fun comes with lining up a bunch of them on a pedalboard and experimenting with combinations and the signal chain order of the effects. Just be careful though. Remember that you were once a fiscally responsible person.