Eight best weird effects for guitarists in 2019

These are the top off-kilter stompboxes on the market right now.

Sometimes, you just want to force your guitar to make some crazy sounds –
here are eight of the finest esoteric noisemakers you can place on your pedalboard…

1Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MKII

Chase Bliss Audio Warped Vinyl MkII

Boasting an all-analogue signal path, this boutique pedal offers comprehensive digital control over vibrato and chorus sounds, designed to create sounds reminiscent of a warped old LP. This results in a library of unique modulations, warbles, gargles and pitch-based effects, which can be further tweaked and refined by a series of DIP switches on the top of the unit.

2Red Panda Particle

Red Panda Particle

The Particle is a ‘granular delay’, which uses the principles of granular synthesis to chop up your guitar signal in real time and then does a range of “trippy, robotic things” to the sound. In reality, this means it creates interactions between three pitch modes and five delay modes to create everything from modulated delay shimmers to extreme glitchy rhythms and kaleidoscopic pitch-shifted alien modulation patterns.

3Hologram Electronics Infinite Jets

Hologram Electronics Infinite Jets

Beloved by experimental guitar wizards such as Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, the Infinite Jets is a re-synthesiser pedal that tracks and samples the notes you play and then reinterprets those notes using two channels of infinite sustain. This results in a plethora of ambient soundscapes, from glitching granular loops to distorted delay and vibrato and beyond.

4Dr Scientist Frazz Dazzler

Dr Scientist Frazz Drazzler

Canada’s Dr Scientist has a reputation for innovative and esoteric effects and the Frazz Dazzler is no exception. This sci-fi fuzz offers a huge range of tone-shaping potential thanks to a full three-band EQ, but most interesting is the Volts control. This enables you to alter how much juice the circuit gets, allowing you to force glitchy, gated space-age sounds.

5Zvex Effects Fuzz Probe Vexter

Zvex Effects Fuzz Probe Vertex

What happens when you mix a fuzz pedal with a theremin? Well, you get the Fuzz Probe from maverick US effects maker Zachary Vex, and what a strange, fun marriage it is. By moving your hand or foot in proximity to the copper antenna on the pedal, you can use the Stab control to create feedback-heavy fuzz squeals and glitches ideally suited to set-ending wig-outs.

6Catalinbread Csidman

Catalinbread Csidman

Do you remember the days of portable CD players? Do you also remember how they’d skip and jump at the merest bump or jolt? Well… the Csidman takes that glitchy, jumpy quality and adds it to a delay pedal. It might sound odd, and it is. But it adds a musical and intuitive level of randomness to your tones that few other pedals can match.

7EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine

EarthQuaker Devices Rainbow Machine

Billed as a ‘Polyphonic Pitch Mesmerizer’, EarthQuaker proudly states that “no natural sounds that come from this box”. Instead, what you get is lashings of powerful polyphonic arpeggiated harmonies. If great-sounding pitch-shifted harmonised craziness is your bag, the Rainbow Machine will provide you with a broad palette of colours to play with.

8WMD Geiger Counter

WMD Geiger Counter

If you wanted to, you could use the Geiger Counter as a decent regular overdrive pedal, but you’d be doing your inner wild child a disservice. The overdrive stage feeds into an 8-bit computer that mangles the sound into everything from impossible amounts of gain, to multiple-octave foldover, digital-data errors and sculpted noise madness.

Check out our lists for best delay, reverb and compressor pedals, too.