There are boundless debates that arise of the Christmas holidays. Real tree versus fake tree? Is Die Harda Christmas movie? Legit cranberry sauce or shaped like a can? Among all these questions, few would argue against the classic, iconic, and uncontested colors of Christmas. It’s just got to be red and green. These timeless two tones instantly conjure up cheer and are undoubtedly associated with this special time of year.
This got me thinking. Like Christmas, there are also certain pedals that are famously associated with a particular color on their façade. So what would a curated pedal roundup look like of only red and green pedals?
Here’s a top picks list of historic effects to deck your board with red and green pedals, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah, wah.
This one has to lead the pack. You can’t talk about green pedals without talking about the green pedal. For all its evolution and iterations since the initial release of the Ibanez Tubescreamer 808 in the late 1970s, this modern classic has always donned green. In fact, the only time it momentarily shed this exterior was in black plastic Ibanez Sound Tank Series and brushed metal Ibanez Seven Series. Yet even in those cases, the green shone through in the labeling and script.
Dunlop Fuzz Face
This too has to come first in the pack of red pedals. While there are no shortage of colors and variations in the Fuzz Face family, for most players, the blazing red and boldly circular design of the Dunlop Fuzz Face has become synonymous with the sound. Of course, the heritage of this design goes back to as early as 1966 with the Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face designs. While these stompboxes were mostly in a hazy gray, a few fabled red units existed even in the pre-Dunlop days.
Line 6 DL4
With modern technology, it’s almost impossible to keep current with digital effects. So it is a real accomplishment for a digital unit to stay in active production for nearly twenty years. The green brick that is the Line 6 DL4 first hit the market in 1999. Ever since, this formidable and nearly indestructible effect has been a go-to for echo lovers and loopers. While you might think the DSP technology beneath the shimmery green exterior has changed over the years; however, the only thing that’s changed in the design of this green machine is the exterior logo!
The original Klon Centaurs are most famous for their silver and gold exteriors. These tinsel-esque colors, however, would pair nicely with the more recent release of the next generation Klon KTR. While its sound may be transparent, its exterior is anything but. This warm red pedal even comes with a gift tag of sorts, with a note embossed on the exterior reminding the user that the controversy and hype of this pedal is “not of my making.” Yet without the fame of this red pedal that began back in 1994, we likely wouldn’t be where we are in this current golden age of guitar tone.
No fuzzy holidays would be complete without a bit of fatigue green fuzz from Electro-Harmonix. The latest addition in this lineup and color, of course, is the reissued compact version of the Big Muff Green Russian. This pedal is aggressive yet tight and comes with enough sustain on tap to ring through the holidays and into the New Year. The story of this green box hearkens back to Mike Matthews’ entrepreneurial (mis)adventures in his days with Sovtek. What initially started as a foray for vacuum tubes in Soviet era Russia as early as 1979, ended with one of the most sought after signature sounds of fuzz: the Sovtek “Green Russian” Big Muff Pi. This line of pedals originally came in army tank, camo green and later in common black.
When I think red pedals, I can’t avoid an automatic association with the pitch-shifty brilliance that is the Digitech Whammy. From the inception of the Whammy WH-1 in 1989 to the most recent Whammy V and pint-sized Ricochet, Digitech’s most famous and long-standing pedal design has come in a fire engine red you could spot on a pedal board from the back of the club. The only times the lineup strayed from this color scheme was between 1994-1998 with the classic black Whammy II and deep blue Bass Whammy. This momentary wardrobe change, however, wouldn’t last and by the turn of the millennium the Whammy was back sporting its bold red look.
This handful of red and green stompboxes is no doubt just a conversation starter. Inevitably, there are effects I’ve missed or others that rank high on your top picks list. If you were to deck your board in holiday décor, what famous green and red pedals would you include? Let us know in the comments below or respond on social media using the hashtag #riffcitysunday. From all of us here at Riff City, Happy Holidays!