ProGuitarShop

Worst Effects from the 80s & 90s

July 26, 2013

An Off the Cuff Editorial By PGS Fitz

Okay, so maybe the word “worst” is a little subjective.

None of the products or companies below have made the “worst” pedal (chiefly because it would be impossible to name “the one”), but there are definitely some mis-steps that happened back in the day. Not every pedal can be a TS-9 or a Big Muff—as with all manufacturing and marketing, there’s always a dud or two in the house. Today in the corner we’re revisiting some of these “what were they thinking” products just for nostalgia’s sake—with the endless stacks of pedals around the office here, we wanted to take a trip down memory lane to when we were all fighting the good fight to find our tone with what was available to us…

 

IBANEZ

Despite being the proud parent of one of the world’s best effects of all time (I don’t really need to tell you what I’m talking about here, do I?) – Ibanez stumbled somewhat in the 80s/90s with their weird Soundtank series. Check out the tank-styled enclosure; they were serious! With the Soundtanks, the only question is which is actually the worst: the Black Noise? The Cyberdrive? The Slam Punk? The Thrashmetal? Based on ‘tone’ plus its controls for Blast, Spike, and Anarchy? I’m calling it for the Slam Punk.

 

 
Ibanez also fired off a bunch of weird ones in the 10 Series, like the Metal Charger, Metal Screamer, and my personal (least) favorite: the LA METAL. You can track these down pretty easily. Why you'd want to? 
 

 

 

DANELECTRO  

Players seem split on Dano’s original pedal line of the era featuring the original metal enclosure Cool Cat Chorus, Fab Tone, and Daddy-O; some players swear by them (with or without mods) and some players curse them. However, rare is the player who hung onto any of the Danelectro Mini Effects—and not simply because of the silly naming scheme that found every pedal named after a food you’d typically score in a greasy diner (though a cursory look through the list does make me feel suddenly hungry). Though a few of these pedals have come away with a positive rep intact (see Chicken Salad Vibrato, Tuna Melt Tremolo,  FishnChips EQ), the Pastrami Overdrive, Slap Echo, and Black Coffee Metal Distortion & Black Licorice Beyond Metal pedals have not fared so well over the years. These pedals came in plastic heat seal, not even in boxes. The cheap construction wasn’t known to take a beating, either—I know people on their third or fourth Tuna Melt (tremolo, not the food). 1

 

 

DOD 

I’m going to nominate a couple DOD pedals for this distinction. Despite their strong start in the 70s (the 250 overdrive is a classic!), DOD in the 80s and 90s churned out a couple uninspired boxes and a couple whose marketing really fell short : the Punkifier, Gonkulator, and Meat Box all come to mind. However, word on the street is pitting the Supra Distortion, American Metal, Super American Metal, Metal Maniac, Thrash Master, and Death Metal boxes in a  tie—with all being, at some point, compared to sounding like a box of bees.2

 

And who can forget the DOD Grunge pedal?! Though some claim that it was one of DOD’s best selling pedals of the era, it was never embraced or taken seriously by the guitar community. I didn’t even know they made a bass version.

The Grunge pedal, in its early configuration, literally had controls for “Butt” and “Face”)… Subsequent versions were changed to a more acceptable “Low” and “High,” but I don’t even really know if that (or anything) could help this pedal.

 

 

BOSS

Though they’re legendary for being the first giant, mass-produced pedal maker with more than one legendary pedal under their belt(s)—Boss has also gambled on some boxes that have literally and figuratively fizzled… For example, have you even heard of the Xtortion or seen one in the flesh? The XT-2 Xtortion pedal purportedly was manufactured for only 11 months starting in summer of 1996 and from the looks of the internet, is resolutely tolerated at best and generally considered to be a flat, harsh distortion with little to no depth.3

 

 

WASHBURN  took a swing at making pedals back in the day, with several forgettable effects including the Stack in a Box:

 

 

PEAVEY also threw their hat into the pedal ring, making an entire line of pedals that did not stack up against anything else of the era. The Dual Clock Stereo Chorus is as icy as any chorus that came out in the 80s while the Hotfoot Distortion is buzzy and one-dimensional.

And who can forget ROCKTEK?! These pedals have become playgrounds for modders and mad scientists to circuit-bend within an inch of their lives because the pedals themselves have value mostly only as enclosures. Check out this Chorus and re-live the worst of the 80s:

 

 

There are a million forgotten pedals of the era (does anyone even remember KMD pedals?), but these pedals are the ones I remember as being ones I wish I could forget!

 

HONORABLE MENTION

This isn’t an effects pedal, but I’m throwing the dirty channel on the Roland JC-120 under the bus RIGHT NOW. For an amp that is otherwise so perfect—no one I know can understand how this amp left R&D with a dirty channel in the first place. Distortion so anemic and gutless that it almost sounds like what a video game thinks distortion sounds like. Thankfully, no one used that channel. Ever.4

 

Now that everyone is all fired up, what we’re really looking for here is to find out who’s still using stuff like this to desired effect! We know that there’s no such thing as a bad pedal, just the wrong rig combination. Your Klon would sound terrible in my guitar rig and my old Ibanez Bi-Chorus probably won’t sound good in yours (but it sounds awesome in my Cocteau Twins tribute band!). With that said, we’d love to hear about your surprising successes with pedals that didn’t stand the test of time. That's the great thing about gear-- *someone* always finds a way to make it work.

Thanks as always for reading the blog this week and hope to see you next time!

 

 

 

FULL AUTHOR DISCLOSURES

1I still own a Dano Hash Browns Flanger which I get out from time to time when I cover Catherine Wheel’s “Black Metallic” or when I just want to feel awesome and stadium-y.

2The first two effects pedals I ever owned were an FX59 Thrash Master + FX60 Stereo Chorus. Additional disclosure? They sounded horrible. Yet another disclosure? I was playing them through a Peavey Rage solid state amp with an 8" speaker. My bad.

3 I owned an Xtortion for 4 hours once in 2002, pairing it poorly with my ’72 Tele Deluxe and a Fender Twin and found it, in this set up, to be a flat, harsh distortion with little to no depth. I sold it on eBay and it got lost in the mail, causing a kerfuffle between me and the mom who bought it for her son for $40. Not only did I hate the pedal, but it got me my only negative eBay feedback ever. Thanks a lot, Xtortion. 

4 This is hyperbole. I assume someone used the dirty channel. Once.

Comments

  1. Dan says:

    Oh come on, the dirt channel on the JC120 is perfect for 70’s era pop.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 5:44 am
  2. Skattabrain says:

    Ha, great post!

    The DOD American Metal… my first pedal. It single handedly ruined me from caring about any pedals in the late 80’s/90’s. I figured they must all sound terrible and went straight for rack gear. QSC Poweramp + Rocktron MAX-E and Digitech FX units.

    Today is a different story!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 5:45 am
  3. MARK says:

    Sad.  Best and Worst have no place in music.  Only “I like” and “I don’t like” are valid.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 5:49 am
  4. Skattabrain says:

    Mark sounds like he needs a hug.  :(

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 5:53 am
  5. m says:

    The Metal Screamer and Metal Charger are really quite decent pedals (aside from the 10-series ugliness).

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 5:53 am
  6. Mike says:

    Great article.  I was a teen guitar newbee in the late 80s and we did not have much information on what good effects were.  I still own (but never play) a DOD Overdrive from the late 80s that sounds pretty bad.  I also (still) have a DOD multi-effect pedal with the Grunge pedal built in.  It sounds like someone passing gas into a coffee can (and that is the best thing I can say about it).  In 1987, I did buy a ‘74 MXR Phase 100, Boss CH-2, a Ross distortion (black, not tan) and an old-school reverb tank from my guitar teacher for a whopping $15 bucks.  That was pure luck - otherwise I probably would have bought some of the pedals listed in your article!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:01 am
  7. Broian says:

    This was my first pedal.

    http://www.effectsdatabase.com/model/tronix/black/distortion

    Horrible, wish I still had one just for fun.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:01 am
  8. Cesar says:

    The Ibanez soundtank Tubescreamer was actually a good little pedal. It had almost no meat on it, but it was smooth. The Nobels OD pedal can get that same sound with the drive turned down.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:04 am
  9. SeanG says:

    I did have a Dano Black Coffee for a while. I liked it in a shrunken head kind of way. It actually made me laugh at first becasue the settings are basically “off” and “melt face”

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:05 am
  10. CJ says:

    Really? JC120 was Fripps amp for a while.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:05 am
  11. Randy says:

    Ibanez L.A. Metal.  Holy crap what a crappy pedal that was.  It was a friend of mine’s only distortion pedal.  We called it “the garbage can” because it made everything sound like complete and total garbage.  How on earth did this thing get out the door and into the market?  I agree one of the worst pedals of all time.  What a turd.  But that’s just my opinion.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:09 am
  12. Leif says:

    I had (have) a stack in the box… it would quit on me from new.  I took it apart to mod it and found that it had two JRC chips used in a Tube Screamer… it had two of everything a tube screamer had.  I guess Washburn thought that if they doubled it, it would be better… more like 10lbs of crap in a 5lb bag.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:14 am
  13. Dave says:

    I still have my mini Dano French Toast octave fuzz that came in a box.  It’s still in the box, but mostly because I don’t like fuzz.  If I ever need it, I know where it is.  :-)

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:15 am
  14. Richey Lather says:

    I still use my Dano PB ‘n’ J delay, it sounds amazing! Too crappy to be all digital-clean, comes off like an analog delay. 2 speeds, slapback and dreamy, what’s not to like?

    My DOD Grunge makes an excellent doorstop. I painted one of those Peavey choruses and put a “swoosh” on it to transform it into a Nike Air-Chorus (think I had an Air-Distortion too). Too much fun!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:17 am
  15. Max says:

    I used the Jazz Chorus for one entire agonizing set because the other backline amp went down.  Didn’t have any pedals with me because I thought I would be using an amp with a gain stage as was understood and that was a big mistake.  I ended up playing the entire high gain set basically bone clean and that was WITH the distortion channel on.  It’s funny to look back on that in hindsight though

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:22 am
  16. igor vihnanek says:

    MARK, you’re the only sad thing here.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:23 am
  17. Brian Langsford says:

    You guys skipped over a bunch of junk(shit) in the past twenty years,ZOOM,all the fender solid state crap! Magazines like this one pushed ALL of that cheap shit on wanna be rock star kids! Notice to the unwise.it pays in the long run before you spend your hard earned money( or your parents) to search to quality made products made in U.S.A.! 9 times out of ten if its not,made here it’s crap! I speak from experience.no Iamnot saying All, but damn nearly.New is not better the days of high quality and well made are loooong gone! Even most of theses boutique amp guys are getting their shit from china,and Vietnam,ASIs etc.I worked for a very famous ampbuilderfor three yrs,and he showed me where he got his parts from,all over Europe and abroad to find N.O.S parts.it pays todo your homework listen all the old records he didn’t have 99 bazillion effects and gadgets they used their imagination and creativity.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:28 am
  18. Michael says:

    When I saw the title of the article, I thought, “they have to mention the L.A. Metal pedal from Ibanez.”  Bingo!  Nice job.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:29 am
  19. James says:

    At least some of the Dano mini pedals came with boxes, I have one for the French Toast. The range is certainly very hit and miss, though. Every pedal in the range is either fantastic or up there with the worst of them.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:29 am
  20. Christopher Bell says:

    No mention of the MXR Commande series?  They were certainly built like crap! :)

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:31 am
  21. immyownpet says:

    Back in the 90’s I picked up an Ibanez Crunch Rhythm in the sound tank series. My impression was actually pretty nice. It provides an edgy distortion sound.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:34 am
  22. Erik says:

    You should have mentioned the possible correlation with the Butt and Face knobs of the Grunge pedal and it’s model number :)

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:34 am
  23. Tube Schemer says:

    I nominate Phil Collins as the worst effect of the 80s and 90s

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:34 am
  24. Myles Mintzler says:

    I had the Peavey Hotfoot Distortion once, didn’t use it and sold it on ebay for a fair price…. that was about 8 yrs ago….. good thing I guess…

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:36 am
  25. Tim Satterwhite says:

    I still own a Rocktek delay pedal.  Whatever its impression on the world, I love mine, because it was a very thoughtful gift from my parents at Christmas.  I wanted a delay pedal really badly, and they came through for me.  I’ll never forget.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:38 am
  26. stevieod says:

    I have or have owned all of the pedals mentioned in the article, as well as many, many others.  I started playing guitar in 1963, so you can imagine what has passed through my hands and what I have seen.

    But in my eyes, there are no bad effects, only bad users, really.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:38 am
  27. danbehavingbadly says:

    My first was a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal, which I still have. Unfortunately, I paired it with a Fender Bullet and a Sidekick Reverb 25…sounded super thin with the single coils. Then I picked up an old Big Muff at a garage sale and I was on my way.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:39 am
  28. Schmubescreamer says:

    come on…...

    the soundtanks (especially the first series with the 6 dirt pedals) were awesome…. circuitwise…

    the Metal Charger is the same as the SM9 and the PDS1 and is a great pedal (again circuit wise)
    the Metal Screamer is basically just a tubescreamer

    the XT-2 from BOSS sounds like shit when used as a dirt pedal but AMAZING when set clean….

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:41 am
  29. Billy Blaze says:

    Ah the 80’s! Thanks for the memories! I had a Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal Pedal through a Crate G-60. Thought it was the bomb. Listened to some board tapes of my band a few weeks ago. YIKES!!!! On another note, I love my Sound Tank Echo Machine (EM-5). It looks awful but is a very warm, lush analog delay. It’s amazing how many flavor of the day “metal!” boxes that came out. None of us could afford Marshalls or Mesas but the magazines sure made those types of pedals “sound” great (at least in print). Great article!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:41 am
  30. Troy says:

    I laughed when I saw the JC120. The distortion on that thing is worthless. If It was amazing, just think of how great that would be!!!!  You should have added the Boss Metal Zone and the Best AND Worst pedal of the 80’s - 90’s… depending on who you ask : )

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:42 am
  31. Dave says:

    Hey, I loved my Ibanez LA Metal pedal through my solid state amp since I could not afford a Tube amp back in the day. I rocked with my Ibanez Blazers humbuckers

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:42 am
  32. Keith says:

    I’m not sure what these pedals are called, but Ibanez had/has a series of silver pedals with knobs that can be pressed down to recess them safely into the pedal.  That’s a cool idea, but the sound of these pedals is horrible.  I have a friend who’s as opinionated as he is cheap and he got three of these Ibanez FX pedals for a combined $50.  He’s so proud of them but they sound like crap.  The delay’s not that bad, but the chorus / flanger (CF7)is the most digital sounding pedal I think I’ve ever heard.  I feel like GIVING him $50 just so I can throw that CF7 against a brick wall (with the knobs extended).... repeatedly.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:44 am
  33. Andrew says:

    I had a DOD Grunge and a Boss Metal Zone with an 25 watt SS Epiphone with a 10” speaker.  Pure crap

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:51 am
  34. Shawn says:

    In my junior year of college I had a DOD FX53 Classic Tube that sound terrible…. unless I was playing slide with a terrible 60s Harmony with one Dearmond Gold Foil in it.  Then it really sang, for whatever reason.  I traded the pedal in mass trade for a 4x12 cab and missed it terribly.  I later picked up a second FX53 but the second one sounded like shit, even using the same Harmony with the same slide and the same 60s Traynor Bassmaster.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:52 am
  35. David Johnson says:

    +1 for the Danelectro French Toast. I got mine in a pawn shop in Ottawa years ago and it does two things perfectly: pick up radio signals and make my guitar sound like a hangover. I love it!!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:53 am
  36. Giu says:

    Now the king of kings is Rainger Dr. Frankenstein Fuzz… improbable and almost unplayable.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:54 am
  37. Willy P says:

    The Peavey Compressor from that series was pretty good. I’ll also defend the Dano minis: they came out when I was around 14, and were absolutely perfect. For $20-30 I could get an effect to try out for as long as I wanted and figure out what effects I really liked, then buy a better one. And they all sounded decent (except the chorus). Nowadays you can get a $99 Line 6 box that has a million well-simulated effects, but back then multi-effects were expensive junk. The Minis were a godsend for us kids!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 6:54 am
  38. Darin Ames says:

    @David Johnson
    Great comment! Still laughing.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:03 am
  39. David says:

    Ten years ago I used a soundtank slam punk with bass—unlike many dirt boxes, it left the bass eq range intact. For a little grind without taking the meat and thump away, it was perfect.

    And my chicken salad only came off my board within the last year!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:07 am
  40. Jeff says:

    RE dirty channel on the JC120: check out the guitar leads on David Sanborn’s 1984 album, “Straight to the Heart.” The minute I heard the dirty channel on my JC, it was an “Ah ha!” moment.  Oddly enough (and to go along with your last paragraph), in that context it actually seems to work.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:07 am
  41. Jesse says:

    JC120 is was the best clean channel for pros and anyone choosing a great clean amp for acoustic,guitar,vocals,side fills,monitors or keyboards and there’s more versions made to this day, but as you stated the dirty channel,  and then the clean also both came in as 60watt per side, I guess as a stereo mix the dirty could be faint as for an effect I used it and others as well Aerosmith,etc it did have some really exceptional uses though the dirty was really an ugly choice and I don’t remember anyone using it as a choice for distortion just an effect for faint expression.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:11 am
  42. Erik says:

    Try stacking DOD Grunge with an Analogman King of Tone and PaulCAudio Timmy… :-)
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lJ-o2qiFy8Y

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:15 am
  43. Greg says:

    I actually have a Washburn “Soloist Distortion” that I picked up for 5 dollars (clearance at Target, when Target went through a quick period of selling guitars and effects pedals a few years back) that I absolutely love. It’s not anything to write home about in terms of construction or anything, but it makes for a really nice warm overdrive that works perfectly for gritting up my thin-sounding Telecaster and adding just a little bit of grit to its sound (think jangly alt-country). I’ve never used it for solos, really, but it’s a great constant use pedal that actually helps me push my amps just a bit harder without going too overboard.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:22 am
  44. Chris says:

    Some of the best Chilliwack and Headpins tones came out of a JC120….RIP Brian “Too Loud” Mcleod….

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:26 am
  45. dan says:

    I use a DOD Classic Fuzz to great effect.  Granted,  this thing isn’t really a fuzz as much as a woofy distortion unit, but if you put the “fuzz” all the way off, and turn the level all the way up, you can get some really warm liquid rhythm sounds, especially when paired with a fuzz face.  Goes great with a Crate half stack.  Ha!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:27 am
  46. IPLAYLOUD says:

    I got a Roland JC-120 when I graduated High School in 1978.
    The distortion channel was good for ONE sound and ONE SOUND only: playing the song “Love is Like Oxygen”. That was it. ;-)
    At :27
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kRVwcPTnug8

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:29 am
  47. Jim Dimenno says:

    I don’t think there is a truly BAD effect! Many of these effect are quite usable if you think “outside the box” and use them in ways for which they weren’t really designed for. Take the xtortion. If you use very low gain settings it had a pretty nice sound. Also, that Rocktec chorus sounds good with the rate down and depth at 12 o’clock or so. Even a “bad” effect can make a unique sound!

    Think outside the box!! Use that old effect that has been collecting dust! Experiment!!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:38 am
  48. Andy says:

    You forgot the ZOOM 505. Fuck that thing.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 7:51 am
  49. Reid Moberly says:

        I like my danelectro hash brown flanger when it works which is about 80% of the time but I really love my castle rock flanger.  But what can you say music is in the ear of the beholder.  So keep rockin!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:01 am
  50. Mattias says:

    My first pedal was a Boss Hyper Metal. Through my mighty Peavey Backstage it turned my bedroom and my 14 year old fingers into Kirk Hammett. I thought. In reality the rig sounded more like a matchbox full of wasps. I know, because I have recordings… But it served its purpose, as it inspired me to play more and (after a looong while) helped me become a better player.

    I actually have an Ibanez Soundtank Tubescreamer that I use every now and again. It works wonderfully as a boost for an overdriven amp or in conjunction with other dirt pedals. The switch is not very reliable, though.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:04 am
  51. mattias says:

    Edit:
    ...turned my bedroom into an arena…

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:06 am
  52. Jim says:

    A few Soundtanks were pretty decent; the Fuzz seems to be hoarded by some players, the TS-5 Tube Screamer was a good copy of the TS-9 (and a mod was popular to make it even better), and the EM-5 Echomachine is a bonfide collector’s item and a superb delay unit.  But yeah, the design was horrible!

    Of the Peavey series I somehow ended up with a “DEP-16” - a 16-effect delay/flange/modulator/noisemaker that managed to make all 16 completely unusable - and the rubber-dome footswitch on those things takes a sledgehammer to engage the pedal.  Probably a good thing!

    I also nominate the Boss AW-2 Auto-wah, which should be renamed the Auto-hum.  Constant hum along with your guitar signal, wavering with the speed of the (non-triggered) auto wah circuit.  If they’d just conquered the hum issue it could have been a good precursor to the ZVex Seek Wah.  As-is: paperweight.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:14 am
  53. Michael says:

    I had one of the original ART rack effects and it was dreadful. I don’t know if they have gotten any better because after my first experience I swore it would be my last.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:26 am
  54. mrbluebass says:

    I had a Fender Blender pedal in the early 70’s. There is not one usable sound on that thing.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:31 am
  55. Tom Tobin says:

    Only most of the Dano pedals were crap but a few of them were actually good like the Slap Echo which received top awards from GP magazine.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:35 am
  56. Brian Cullen says:

    Take back to my teenage years!
    Those Ibanez soundtanks were so shit but that sound just reminds me of what good time I had, even the way that guy plays so badly in the video. Warm feelings.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:36 am
  57. Michael says:

    This rocktek chorus thing demo has some interesting sounds actually.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:46 am
  58. Mark Chatterton says:

    The Ibanez Metal Screamer IS a TS-10 Tube Screamer before the 10 Series - IT’S THE SAME EXACT TUBE SCREAMER CIRCUIT!! Try researching a bit more!

    I have several Tube Screamers (stock, Keeley modded, and other modded clones) and my Metal Screamer that I bought for $25 many moons ago is the BEST sounding TS and my go to for TS tones. Actually I have a TS-5 that sounds great too.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:49 am
  59. Jack Gould says:

    Call me crazy but I really like my Dano Mini Surf and Turf Compressor. It’s extremely transparent like a good compressor should be and if it’s set properly doesn’t kill the attack. I use it more often than my Boss CS-3 and it cost me all of $15.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:57 am
  60. Michelle Rose says:

    Okay, hold it right there, bud! I still have and use quite frequently, my Peavey Hotfoot. Maybe the version you tested sucks, but mine is wonderfully nasty and loud, perfect for rippin’ leads and truly crunchy power chords. It sustains like mad and fiddling a bit with the presence control gives me everything from a warm Marshall tone to a trebly Vox scream. Sure, if it’s turned up too loud or if there’s too much treble, then it sounds terrible.  But I’ve never had a problem with it.

    ‘Dis not the Mighty Peavey Hotfoot! Or I’ll turn it up full blast and make your dog hide under the bed and howl!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 8:58 am
  61. Justin says:

    Supra Distortion and rocktek chorus were my two first pedals…..then followed shortly by a Marshall blues driver, I believe. I’m sure they sounded crappy, but it was fun!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:05 am
  62. Toph says:

    I have a love/hate relationship with DOD. Older pedals are less than consistent. Then there’s the switches. Those cheap plastic things that keep cracking or falling off of the pedal. Despite the downs, pedals like the FX-20 Stereo Phaser are always amazing regarless of whether they sound like the next one or not and they’re so common that it’s easy to find a replacement for the one that died in the middle of your last show.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:21 am
  63. chimneychuck says:

    One of the other worst effects of the 80’s and 90’s was the proliferation of rap (not even going to follow that word with “music”

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:27 am
  64. Msm Workshop says:

    Thanks for choosing my video and put it in the “worst” of the 80’s ...  I don’t think this rocktek is at this point a bad pedal. Ok, The enclosure is cheap, knobs are moving but in terms of sound, it has a bit of “mettalic sounding” and remember me the oldy Aria pedals serie. The flanger is really particular..

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:28 am
  65. Franc says:

    I’ve had a TS-5 on my board since they came out, the only really bad thing about them was the ALPS switch to switch it in and out, easy to replace if you know how to solder… I bought a bunch of replacements so I can keep them going for awhile longer… even though it’s a plastic shell, mine has held up quite well over the years (nearly 1,000 gigs!) other than the $#$^#$ switch…

    I’ve only gone through 2 Tuna Melts, ‘cuz I made a point of scoring one of the knob guards (very hard to find even then!!!). My second one is getting ready to go, so I’m probably going to get another tremolo pedal altogether… I also have a Fab Echo, which is really just a slapback (and another plastic case!!!) one trick pony pedal, but a nice trick if you play any rockabilly…

    One pedal I didn’t see mentioned was the Boss HM-2 Heavy Metal-sounded like a colony of Africanized bees chasing after you… ugh!!! Had one, sold it in a week…

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:31 am
  66. Mike says:

    ** Hanging head low **  Yes, I own a Super American Metal distortion pedal—and it’s true, it does sound like a box of bees. However, I’m STILL searching for that one possible usable setting where it ACTUALLY sounds good….
    Okay, not really, I’ve since moved on and it sits collecting dust.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:41 am
  67. Abbacus says:

    Criminy!!!!  Just like anti-matter must exist in the universe, there must be anti-tone!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:46 am
  68. Dennis says:

    I loved my DOD American Metal

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 9:57 am
  69. Reverend Slim says:

    Most Honorable Mention: Zoom 9002 Multi-Effects Processor! In my opinion, the coolest all-in-one thing to have as a guitarist in the 80’s-to date…

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:01 am
  70. Reverend Slim says:

    Honorable Mention: the Zoom 9002 all-in-one processor! For a guitarist from the 80’s to date (in my opinion), best all around thing to have..

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:06 am
  71. Fuzzy Soul says:

    There is more fail in this article then in any of the pedals listed within it.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:07 am
  72. K-Dawg says:

    As a guitar playing dad of a guitar playing kid who came of age in the 80’s and 90’s, I can see that a lot of these were my son’s first pedals.

    Some were rejects from my 80’s board that he ended up with, some were the cheap pedals in the local music store when he was learning to play.
    Either way, it didn’t hurt him any. He made them work and is still rockin’ it as a pro player at 26 years old.
    And dammit, he ended up escaping the house with my 70’s green TS808, it’s on his board right now!

    I guess he deserves it after growing up in the pedal vacuum era.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:09 am
  73. Matt says:

    Pick on the names of those pedals all you want. PGS and other stores proudly trumpet the virtues of pedals with incredibly twee, silly names. I swear I can’t tell the difference between some of these “boutique” names and pretentious microbrews. At least the pedal with the “Butt” knob wasn’t trying to impress us with the vagueness of its artisan-sounding-but-completely-inexplicable name.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:19 am
  74. Mike G says:

    The Roland JC120 is what confirmed my belief that solid state amplifiers are simply WRONG for rock and roll guitar. That said, I was dumbfounded to see 2 of the greatest blues guitarists EVER (Albert King and Lonnie Mack) playing those things in the 90s and actually getting a decent tone out of them. I can’t tell you how many times I left a club in the 80s with a splitting headache because somebody had a telecaster or (even worse) a rickenbacker plugged into one of those abominations with zero low end or midrange at all in their tone. Makes my head hurt to even think about it. I use a modded sound tank tubescreamer that purportedly has the JRC4558D chip in it. It is decent and I run it into my 1965 Pro Reverb when I can’t turn the amp up enough to get the natural overdrive (which is pretty much anywhere I use that amp these days). I intend to replace it with some flavor of clean boost pedal with true bypass whenever I come up with the dosh…

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:20 am
  75. Jeff Hollers says:

    I have become very picky and just yesterday it payed off. I was out of town working in the oil field when my girl decided to break up with me. My gear was at our house including my pedal board. She said she was moving out and I had no reason to go there. Naturally crazy people destroy the good stuff. So I have started from square one. I needed a distortion so I found a Digitech Black13 used. I get it hooked up to the clean channel on my amp and hit the first setting then the next. and so on. Haven’t found the sweet spot. Not sure how Scott Ian can even market this box of shit. The 7th setting would confuse anyone. What the hell is that auto pitch shifting buzz?

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:25 am
  76. Carlos Danger says:

    I admit to having had some of those Danelectro pedals. I had to sell some gear after a financial emergency and thought they might be a cheap way to build things back up. For some reason I still have the compressor, they never take it when I go to trade things. I might start using it as a paperweight.

    Next person who sez “there is no best or worst, just opinions” gets slapped. If you can’t learn to think in a critical way and have the courage of your convictions, don’t say anything. Being silent is better than being a mamby-pamby whitebread jerk-off.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:27 am
  77. Jeff Hollers says:

    All is grand now. Yesterday The Zoom G2.1DM came to the house. It was love at first strum. I may never buy another effects unit again. This has everything even drum loops for practicing. Its got a looper, multi parameter expression pedal. I just need to get another Dean and a Good ol basic half stack.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:30 am
  78. David says:

    Listen to the song “Books are Burning” by XTC to hear a great solo by Dave Gregory done on the dirty channel of the JC-120.

    I had a Peavey bass chorus from back then and it was a great sounding pedal. Unfortunately it stopped working one day.

    The DOD Meat Box was awful. Glad I only paid $20 for it new.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:33 am
  79. David says:

    Oh yeah, and I still have a SoundTank bass chorus that I got to replace the Peavey. And I still don’t like it. But it does do one particular sound I like.

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:36 am
  80. stringbender53 says:

    I purchased an Ibanez MSL Metal Screamer dirt cheap (about $15) from a pawnshop a few years back and on opening it up at home during a good cleaning was astonished to find it had the same desirable JRC4558D IC chip used in the original TS-808’s and TS-9’s. After I put it back together I chained it up with my Fulltone Fulldrive II, an early original TS-808, and a re-issue TS-9 I’d just repaired and modded. I then ran them all into my Princeton Reverb and tested them against each other using one of my Strats and “Surprise, “Surprise” as Gomer Pyle would say; there wasn’t one real iota of tonal difference between ANY of them! Sure, there were some slight differences depending upon knob settings, but I found that with some knob twisting ALL of them could be set to sound identical to each other. The Fulldrive basically beat out the other three only because of it’s Boost switch, but without it the whole thing was a toss up. About the only real differences in the Ibanez units was in the build quality slowly declining from the TS-808 to the TS-9 to the MSL, but even still the MSL was built well enough that if it was treated right, it would hold up well. The moral? If your needing a “Tube Screamer” type overdrive and can find an MSL cheap, buy the damn thing and save yourself some cash!

    posted on July 26, 2013 at 10:46 am

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