Another year, another paycheck spent on your Reverb watchlist, am I right?
2019 is now behind us, and it is time for another addition of “More of the same, less of the lame” when it comes to guitar pedals. Let’s take a look back at last years predictions (from me and Effects Bay readers), see what we nailed and what we bailed, and make some predictions for next year.
2019: Were We Right?
Last year around this time, I predicted a few things:
- DIY kits would see a surge
- Strymon would continue to be the “Apple Computers” boutique guitar pedals
- Deadbeat Sound pedals would rise in popularity
- Boss would remain the boss.
I was posited that affordability would dominate the guitar pedal market, and that the movement of mini-pedals from years past would echo in mini-prices for the future.
I think I was a little off, and dare I say, biased? Sure, Boss is doing what everyone else is doing, but cheaper and better. But DIY kits are still a sub-genre, and those budget pedal makers are just sub-par.
However, the Strymon Volante did seem to take off this year. It has become a mainstay for some of John Mayer’s many rigs (via the @johnmayergear instagram page, a fun follow for absolutely opulent front-to-back guitar rigs), and has shown up on many well manicured boards throughout the internet.
What Effects Bay Readers Predicted
In the wake of last years post, we did have one prediction come in that seemed to pan out:
By the time the post went live, Earth Quaker Devices had announced the Swiss Things. And by years end, Rattlesnake Cables (the cable company masterminded by Effects Bay owner, Hank) had announced they were getting into the utility game as well, with a series of junction boxes and splitters.
Utility equipment is proving useful for players looking to continue combining analog and digital equipment (as predicted last year), and for those that don’t want to have to commit to always maintaining a stereo rig.
Predictions for 2020: Staying In The Loop
A quick browse of Reverb.com’s Top Selling Pedals of 2019 carries the usual suspects: reverb, delay, synths, and loops. But one thing I noticed in 2019 that I predict will continue, is another look at loop pedals.
Chase Bliss has been teasing its Blooper pedal for over a year now, and it seems like Kickstarter backers are still waiting. But between this Tycho collab and the Mood, it is clear to me that the industry is taking a closer look at how players are using loop pedals for ambient functionality and sample-style creation. Loopers aren’t just for practicing your blues licks anymore, folks.
The Limited Edition “Pedal-Bait”
In the barrage of marketing emails that I get from pedal builders and distributing companies, I’ve noticed a bit of a marketing trend: Special edition designs:
Boutique builders are taking the same pedals, and repackaging them in updated, topical, or even just seasonal designs to move some more product. Ya know, in case you treat your pedalboard like it’s a Kardashian’s closet.
While I am eye-rolling at this marketing tactic clearly aimed at a millenial’s insatiable craving for exclusivity, I’m also thinking “I could use an ugly sweater themed compressor for the holiday party gigging season…”
What Do You Think? NAMM is Just Around The Corner….
If you read Effects Bay, you probably have a good idea of what is going on throughout the pedal industry, and what you want to see. What do you think 2020 will bring to the pedalboards of the world? What will Andy review this year? What Knobs demo are you going to watch three times before you decide to sell three old pedals and forgo your Hulu Live subscription for two months so that you can purchase? Leave a comment below.
The good news is, we won’t have to wait long to know what 2020 holds. NAMM is coming up, so prep your Instagram stories! (PS — If you’re going to be at NAMM, make sure you say hey to Hank at the Rattlesnake Cables booth this year!)
About the author:
Jake Van Paepeghem is a touring guitarist and music producer/composer based out of Portland, Maine. Student of jazz, Jake has shared the stage with American Idol Kris Allen, Seattle rock group This Providence, NYC based vocalists Emily Braden, and many more. His latest original release is the 5 song EP “Until I Fall Back Down” from the Boise Idaho based band, Interstate. Jake also works as a content writer and video editor for the marketing firm Energy Circle, and lives in Portland with his wife and collie-lab mix Sara.