Top 10 Guitar Pedals For Your Christmas Wishlist
We’ve seen dozens of exciting guitar pedals released in 2020. In fact, there were so many cool new stompboxes - we struggled to even narrow down this shortlist!
Nevertheless, we've fought our way through and presented our top 10 pedal picks just in time for Christmas - comprising a mix of best-sellers and new-to-the-market products!
With countless guitar pedal brands constantly innovating and pushing the boundaries of stompbox design, the bar seems to be raised every year. We've certainly tried out lots of fresh and inspiring guitar pedals that piqued our interest in 2020 - many of which you may have seen featured on Andertons TV!
To give you some inspiration for Christmas this year, we believe that our top 10 list will help you to decide on the pedal you’d like Santa to leave in your stocking. There’s tons of variety, so we’re sure you’ll find something interesting to add some Christmas glow to your pedalboard!
Landlord FX are newcomers to the large and competitive world of stompboxes, but over the last couple of years they’ve already made a serious statement with their super-affordable mini pedals! Okay, so we know that these count as more than one, but their lineup is so diverse and inexpensive that we just couldn’t resist adding them to our list!
With the tiniest of enclosures, you can easily find a vacant space on your board for one of these petite pedals - or even a few! With dirt pedals, modulations and time-based effects like reverb and delay available - Landlord FX has catered for just about every player. Oh, and their pedals are all true bypass too!
Landlord FX Pedals on Andertons T.V.
Tone City pedals have been among our best-selling products for a few years - and there's a good reason for that! Much like their Landlord FX contemporaries in terms of their pedal sizes and affordability, Tone City boasts a bigger range that includes almost every effect type under the sun.
The Lil Heat is their latest release - essentially a Sweet Cream overdrive on steroids! Collaboratively-designed with zany blues rocker Greg Koch, the Tone City Lil Heat is a dynamic mini gain pedal that adds luscious low-to-medium grit to your guitar signal with powerful bottom-end punch.
Tone City Collaboration Pedals on Andertons T.V.
One of the talking points of 2020 (at least in the pedal world!) was the release of JHS’ 3 Series of stompboxes. Made in their Kansas City factory, the JHS 3 Series is an affordable collection of pedals with simple, uniform enclosures - all under the £100 mark! Made from high-quality components, there are no compromises when it comes to their sonics or usability.
The JHS 3 Series comprises several effects, with all pedals sporting three simple controls and one toggle switch that enable you to achieve a wide range of different sounds - ideal for both beginners and professionals alike.
JHS 3 Series Pedals on Andertons T.V.
Wah pedals are some of the most dynamic and expressive effects out there. Plenty of companies produce them, but Jim Dunlop’s Cry Baby wahs have always been incredibly popular, with the brand now boasting a huge range that comprises both traditional and modern wah pedals along with various signature models.
The latest product that joined their legendary lineup was the Cry Baby Junior. Collaboratively-designed with Pedaltrain, Dunlop's Cry Baby Junior wah is engineered for optimal layout efficiency on arguably the world’s most popular boards - featuring top-mounted jacks and sitting perfectly between Jim Dunlop's standard wah pedal dimensions and those of its Mini versions. Other key specs include 3 switchable wah voices, an on/off LED indicator and switchable true bypass circuitry!
Jim Dunlop Cry Baby Junior Wah Demo
Walrus Audio is part of a new wave of American pedal brands looking to really push the envelope. Synonymous with shoegazers seeking absolute tonal nirvana, the Julianna chorus/vibrato pedal was a warmly-received addition to their lineup in 2020. Enabling players to create lucsious modulated sounds in true stereo, the Julianna also boasts expression pedal compatibility and features a variety of ramp, LFO shape and division functions - it’s an experimentalist's dream!
The company also expanded its overdrive range with the 'Ages' - one of the most versatile dirt pedals we've ever seen! Featuring a 5-position rotary knob that allows you to access different combinations of internal gain and clipping style, the Walrus Audio Ages pedal covers practically all of the overdrive bases with flexible EQ controls suiting even the most fastidious on tone-chasers.
Walrus Audio Ages Overdrive Demo
There aren’t many pedals that offer more fun or bang-for-the-buck than loopers. Enabling you to record ideas and jam along to yourself, looper pedals serve as excellent practice tools and are fantastic for forming layered songs with. There are lots of options out there, but BOSS loopers are regarded by many as the industry standard - for both their sturdiness and their impressive feature-sets.
Joining the BOSS looper lineup this year was the mighty RC-500. Arguably the Japanese company’s most comprehensive compact looper to date, the RC-500 allows you to form real-time compositions with two loop tracks, mic and stereo instrument inputs, 57 built-in rhythms and inspiring Loop FX. With the ability to store your favourite loops via 99 generous built-in memory slots and explore extended operation with external controls and MIDI - not many loopers can rival the RC-500!
Beyond the RC-500, BOSS' selection of looper pedals is enviable to say the least. The mainstay RC-1 is a simple design to get you up and running quickly on Christmas day, while the more advanced RC-3 can recall up to 99 loops and offers a longer recording time. If you're serious about looping then you'll love the RC-30, which contains extra effects to flesh out your ideas - a great addition when playing live. And finally, there’s the monolithic RC-300 - a full-on pedalboard-sized looper ideal for creating sprawling tracks on-the-fly with.
BOSS RC-5 Looper on Andertons T.V.
We've cheated here a little, as this particular pedal actually came out in 2018. But the Thorpy FX 'The Dane' has been so popular with our customers that we think it definitely deserves a mention! Andertons TV’s very own Peter "Danish Pete" Honoré collaborated with the British pedal brand to create a signature 2-in-1 overdrive and boost that can act as the gain-stage centrepiece on your pedalboard!
Finished in a stunning chrome and purple colour scheme, this pedal is also in a smaller enclosure than Thorpy FX’s other dual pedals. This allows you to easily mount the unit to your board, especially with the ergonomic top-mounted jacks.
In terms of how it sounds, the overdrive circuit has a responsive and high-headroom quality that excels for styles such as blues and classic rock. Reacting beautifully to the placement of your guitar’s volume pot and your picking attack too, this pedal lets you play with loads of expression. The boost side is super-fat and warm, providing creamy lead tones and long-lasting sustain when used in conjunction with the overdrive circuit.
Thorpy FX 'The Dane' Demo
The trend of amplifier brands moving into the pedal scene has become more apparent over the last couple of years, with Victory making its first foray into the market back in 2018. Releasing three powerful preamp pedals based on some of their most popular amp heads, these feature-packed devices could let you attain genuine Victory tones through almost any sound source!
Fast-forward to NAMM 2020, and Victory bolstered its V4 lineup with the Duchess pedal. Employing four genuine preamp valves just like its other V4 cousins, Victory managed to pack even more functionality into its Duchess unit - essentially making it a fully-fledged guitar amp for your pedalboard! With a dedicated speaker output, the V4 Duchess can be connected directly to an external cabinet - forming a light, compact rig that’s ideal for gigging with.
Victory V4 'The Copper' Pedal on Andertons T.V.
Industry giants Fender completely revamped their pedal lineup in 2018. At every major trade show since, they’ve added some incredible new effects to their range that, pretty much, cover all of the bases! A few models joined their critically-acclaimed stompbox series in Summer 2020, which really caught the attention of keen Fender fans worldwide.
The Acoustic Preverb is essentially a 2-in-1 preamp and reverb pedal. Featuring three distinctly “voiced for acoustic guitar” reverb settings that are perfect for giving your performances some tasteful ambience, the high-fidelity preamp can get the most out of your acoustic guitar’s pickup system for a natural amplified sound.
Two expanded versions of Fender's best-selling pedals joined the range too - the Duel Pugilist Distortion and Dual Marine Layer Reverb. While the Duel Pugilist is equipped with more controls for greater tone-shaping potential, the Dual Marine Layer boasts updated reverb algorithms and a new sustain footswitch that's great for soundscaping with!
Fender Pedals on Andertons T.V.
So the BOSS Pocket GT isn’t a pedal per se, but it’s a powerful personal amp and effects processor that you can take anywhere with you! Serving as the perfect practice tool with integrated YouTube learning, the unit also pairs seamlessly with your smartphone or tablet - making it a fantastic "grab and go" lesson studio.
Designed to couple with BOSS' proprietary 'Tone Studio' app, you can easily craft your own guitar sounds, download patches and access deep-editing tools for precise tone-shaping. The app also allows you to watch YouTube content and create song lists, set loop markers and much more. And with automatic user memory switching - you can change up sounds as a YouTube video plays!
These features in conjunction with Bluetooth audio streaming, USB audio interface capability and a host of additional appointments make the BOSS Pocket GT one of the most comprehensive companions for guitar players on-the-go - especially with its rechargeable battery that offers up to 4 hours of continuous use.