The internet changed when Andy Martin showed up on YouTube about a decade ago. Back then, the idea of a pedal demo online didn’t exist. Yet with guitar in hand and a camera perched on a tripod, Andy made the guitar pedal gear experience open-access. In short order, the world of YouTube exploded with demo channels, shows, and highlights. Now none of us ever purchase a pedal without consulting the streaming content on the cloud.
This week, Dan & Mick hosted an epic YouTube cross-over with Andy’ guest spot on TPS. They talked all things at the intersection of gear, creativity, and social media. Of course, it would be utterly impossible to have this trinity of YouTube gearheads in the room without talking pedals. So what does YouTube’s top pedal reviewer have on his board? Here’s some highlights and an unexpected big reveal at the episode’s end.
With two stompboxes on his board that harness the warbly warmth of old school tape units, Andy clearly has a soft spot for vintage delay.
The TC Electronic Alter Ego V2 was behind door number one. As Mick noted, this pedal began as a special release between TC Electronic and Pro Guitar Shop, but under the hood it’s essentially a TC Electronic Flashback Delay. Andy recollected, “I had all the vintage units at the shop and I just basically tweaked the TC software to get it as close as I could.” With the exclusive presets on board the Alter Ego provides a gateway into nine expertly engineered tape sounds, which, of course, exist in similar forms on the TonePrint app awaiting a blast into the Flashback II.
Behind door number two was the Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe. Apparently, nine tape models is not enough! I couldn’t agree more. As Andy noted, “I’ve always had an Echoplex and there’s a reason this made the board.” So what’s the reason? Of course, it’s the sound but what truly sets this pedal apart is it’s attentive design that was based on the idea of recreating every detail of the Echoplex—preamps, components, routing, you name it—except the tape, which is rendered digitally. “This just does every part of that sound,” noted Andy, “you can even get that noise of sliding that head back and forth…and you [can control] the record level, which is key because it gives you a bit of breakup.” After hearing a few riffs on the Belle Epoch Deluxe, Dan launched off his stool and exclaimed, “we’re so getting one of those!” Hold on Steinhard, you’ve got to get in line behind me…
2000 Demos On, and a $40 DOD Box Still Makes the Cut!
Andy clearly had his echo well-sorted with two boxes that leverage the latest innovations. After having reviewed thousands of pedals, however, his board included some unexpected throwbacks. One was a 1990s vintage DOD FX65 Chorus, which, if you follow our Sunday Papers blog, you’ll know is just one piece of DOD’s ambitious marketing and effect experimentation binge leading up to the new millennium. So what is it about this little effect that earned it a place on Andy’s board?
“You can find these for like $40. They’re all analog but it’s one of the few choruses that has a delay time control.” If you’re curious to know where you might have heard this pedal before, rumor has it that John Frusciante played this on tracks like “Soul to Squeeze” on Blood, Sugar, Sex, Magic (1991).
As Andy continued to talk gear, it became clear why a box like the DOD FX65 could cohabit next to others that outranked it by a 10-1 budget and are unabashedly boutique and modern. Simply put, play the gear you like, not the gear that’s supposed to be cool. As Mick said, and all agreed, “There is no ‘good’ and ‘bad.’ It’s all about what appeals to you and what inspires you.”
And hey, if you’re inspired by a bargain piece of gear, win-win! Be sure to check out our pre-owned gear section to find your next unexpected source of inspiration for less coin.
As Dan & Mick drew the episode to a close, they mentioned they received some mail and asked Andy to have a look. Regardless of what you think about the Boss Metal Zone—love it, hate it, or some maddening combo of both—it has persisted for years as an unexpected favorite of players across genres. So, Boss finally wizened up and re-released it, this time with the Waza treatment.
With YouTube’s top demo personality in the room, Dan & Mick were curious to get Andy’s first impression. “It’s got a real ‘roar!’ For me, something like Judas Priest comes to mind more than Metallica.” Part of the new sound of the pedal was due to its tweaked mid-range. As Andy demoed, this new EQ character doesn’t shy away from anything, even a tap solo, which are few and far between in his videos! As Mick noted, “there is some serious EQ tweakage in there. The left hand pot does bass/treble, the right hand pot does parametric mid.” For Andy, the new Waza version “sounds tighter.”
If you’re a fan of the Metal Zone or yet to experience one, put in your pre-order for the new Boss MT-2w today and be first in the queue to get your hands on this reimagined classic!
TPS Rig Rundown:
Guitars: G&L Fullerton Deluxe ASAT Classic, Fender Custom Shop 1952 Telecaster Relic, Gibson Memphis 1958 ES-335
Pedals: TC Electronic PolyTune Mini, Benson Preamp, Hamstead Odyssey Overdrive, MI Audio New Fuzz Germanium, Empress Phaser, Drybell Vibe Machine, Wattson Classic Electronics Super Fuzz, DOD FX65 Stereo Chorus, TC Electronic Alter Ego V2 Delay, Digitech Supernatural Reverb, Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe.
Amps: Marshall 1987x with Marshall 1960AX cabinet, Supro Black Magick 112 combo.