As we learned yesterday in our catch-up with the pedal industry, 2020 actually ended up by being something of a boom year for many makers both big and small. Perhaps because of the cottage industry nature of many pedal brands, the effects world rode out the storm better than most, with the boutique pedal boom showing no sign of slowing down, and many builders reporting their best years ever.
As we kick off 2021, the future is at least looking a little brighter, but with many of us confined to playing guitar at home, how do the world’s leading pedal builders plan to continue to thrive in the year ahead, and what can they give away about the new pedals we’ll be drolling over for the next 12 months?
It all points towards 2021 being another hugely exciting year for the effects world, and so we thought we’d try to find out just how exciting – by hitting up the biggest names in the pedal world and asking them to get on the record and drop us a few hints at what they’re most excited about for the year ahead.
“I won’t bee the spoiler here. However, I can say that you will bee seeing some really different honey coming from our hive! Different than anything we’ve done so far, yet unique and out there!”
Filipe Pampuri, Beetronics
“We are working on a ton of stuff (as always). I can’t say too much, but I think you will be blown away by the sheer diversity in the pedals next year. We really are at extreme ends of the spectrum, both tonally and from a tech point of view. It’s really fascinating to see such wildly different ideas and technologies go from simply an idea to a drawing, through prototype stages, to a final product you can plug in. We can’t wait to show you, but let’s not ruin the surprise.”
Jay Dawe, Boss
“Gosh for the first time, I’m not sure what next year will hold. We have one really unique pedal that I know for a fact will come out in 2021, hopefully it’ll take people by surprise. Other than that, there are several projects floating around where it’s difficult to predict how long the development cycle will be.”
Joel Korte, Chase Bliss
“We like to keep things under wraps until they’re released, but I can tell you we have a new pedal coming out at the end of January and it’s probably the most ambitious design to date! It’s something we’ve been working on for over two years. I think it’s going to take everyone on a serious journey… We also have another artist collaboration pedal that should be coming out in early 2021. I can’t tell you who it’s for, but I can tell you she’s a legend and we’re super stoked! I’ve been working on product development pretty much non-stop since I moved my office into my basement back in March. I have a lot of new products in waiting, the next few years will definitely be busy for EarthQuaker!
Jamie Stillman, EarthQuaker Devices
“The long-awaited Electro-Harmonix MIG-50 50-watt guitar amp will soon be available throughout the world. It’s based on the original Sovtek MIG-50, which had a well-earned reputation for rich tone and sweet harmonics reminiscent of a tweed Fender Bassman. The MIG-50’s classic design features two channels, each with independent volumes. It really loves pedals! Also on the near horizon is the Electro-Harmonix MOP-D10 Isolated Multi-Output Power Supply, a professional, pedalboard power solution providing a premium transformer-based analogue power path with low-noise linear regulators and 10 isolated 9VDC outputs. 2021 should be a memorable year and there are plenty more pedals on the way.”
Mike Matthews, Electro-Harmonix
“We’ve embraced the COVID lockdown as an opportunity to focus on new products and ideas, and while we unfortunately can’t be specific, we have a lot of nice surprises planned for the next year and beyond.”
Stan Cotey, Fender
“We have to stay really secretive on releases or our distribution chain will get sandblasted for info they don’t have, so… I can’t say much. What I can say is that 2021 has some huge releases for us and that we are really excited.”
Josh Scott, JHS Pedals
“We have a ton of projects in the works at Keeley HQ, including a great release for the end of 2020 [shortly after this interview, Keeley revealed the Cosmic Country Phaser with Daniel Donato – Ed]. We can’t let the cat out of the bag just yet on what 2021 will bring, but let’s just say that we’re working diligently on several ideas, including some firsts for Keeley. We’ll also be working on a follow-up to our super successful ‘20 for 20’ series, offering limited edition Custom Shop variants of some of our most sought-after effects.
Robby Harris, Keeley Electronics
“We are streamlining the brand in 2021, bringing out a range of simpler, lower-cost, high-quality British-made products and fully embracing higher-end digital control of analogue signals at a reasonable price point. We are the number one brand for filters and they are only going to get better!”
Luke Hilton, Stone Deaf
“Since the acquisition, we’ve been focusing our efforts on relaunching our brands and upgrading a number of products. Without giving away too much, I’ll just say we’ve got all kinds of projects in the works. We’ll be kicking off the year with killer upgrades on some of our most well-known products, as well as a few unique pedals that could have only been born in the Pigtronix universe. And as the year continues, we’ll be releasing some very special products that respond directly to customer requests we’ve received over the last several years. This is hands down the most exciting time for Supro and Pigtronix. Expect big things.”
Ryan Kershaw, Pigtronix
“A whole bunch of things are in the works. We’ve been working on streamlining and enhancing some of the old modulation-based Lovetone designs, they should land in 2021. We’ve also been working on some new crazy effects that have really got me excited. I think our customers are going to be surprised and pleased with the direction we’re going. We like to give nods to the past and future.”
Adrian Thorpe MBE, ThorpyFX
“Very, very new pedals! I can’t say what exactly, but you can bank on us to keep building onto platforms we’ve been standing on. There’s lots of work to be done with the Mako family and the sky’s the limit of where we’ll go with the original line. If you liked the 2020 line-up, you’ll be into the 2021 line-up.”
Colt Westbrook, Walrus Audio
“I can’t be specific of course, but as of right now we have a ton of great pedals coming out. Being in quarantine, we were able to get a huge amount of new product dev completed… it’s going to be an exciting year!”
Brian Wampler, Wampler
“We’re still evaluating what our next steps are going to be. One path is to dig deeper into the world of recreating unique vintage unobtanium devices, but we’re also looking at what it might look like to offer customers new designs that take all of our extensive pro audio domain knowledge into account. I’m not meaning to be vague, it’s just that we’re so excited that we haven’t decided precisely where to go yet. Vive Le 2021!”
Sean Halley, Warm Audio
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