It’s been a busy period for us all at Wampler, and it’s fair to say we have had some unforeseen challenges, so I thought I would treat you to a collection of my unfettered ramblings in one easily digestible blog article. I shall make no reference to the “events” of this year save to say we have now shifted our entire production from our previous factory to an all new, more efficiently laid-out manufacturing facility. It’s situated not too far from our previous factory and production is hitting new highs.
Earlier this year we released a new Artist Signature pedal, the Andy Wood Gearbox Dual Overdrive, so here is a potted history, and also a view on some of the hugely frustrating supply issues we have been facing. Brian started talking with Andy a few years back about a dual pedal that would suit his needs, something that gave him two very important gain stages, and he has had a prototype of this pedal on his board for some time. It’s no secret that a fair chunk of his previous (and totally excellent) album “Junktown” was recorded with this prototype pedal, and it was definitely “the industry’s biggest open secret” for a long time before we released it. The architecture is based around two of our most popular pedals to date – the Pinnacle on the left side and the Tumnus on the right side. Both circuits were tweaked a little to Andy’s tastes giving these a unique flavor. He wanted a pedal that was super simple to get good sounds out of – so we engineered it pretty much so that if you dialed all the knobs up at the 12 o’clock position this pedal would sound great through pretty much any rig.
We had to tweak the circuits a little, for example altering the volume taper of the Tumnus, and we had to add something we hadn’t done before in a production pedal – a dynamic noise gate on the Pinnacle side. I haven’t always been a fan of noise gates, all the ones I had tried previously on pedals had been of the “create massive chug here” variety, essentially binary switches, and therefore basically killed my tone dead after activation. This is very different and operates in a more progressive fashion. The detection and gating circuits sit at different parts of the signal chain which allows a fantastic level of control. You can go from “please remove 60 cycle hum” to “You sure you shouldn’t be playing an acoustic here, Bub?” with a swift rotation of the controller. If you’ve not tried a dual pedal with a noise gate before I highly recommend you test this feature out. Preferably on a very loud tube amp through a 4×12.
The other feature we have implemented with this pedal is a new improved pedal order switching system. We have 2 inputs and 2 outputs allowing you to connect either both channels independently with 4 cables (to a looper for example, or to two amps), or you can just use a two cable method and go in on the right and out on the left to connect both channels as you would a normal pedal. What’s different here is that if you use the aforementioned two cable method, the order switch allows you to switch the order of both channels without any recabling. With the dual inputs and outputs you can also “insert” a pedal (or a chain of pedals) in the middle of both channels if you wanted. Andy does this often and to great effect; it sounds particularly sweet with a compressor or another light gain pedal inbetween…and yes, another Tumnus sounds superb.
Now a few people on the internet have commented on how the background graphic is not accurate as it is not a “gearbox” – it is in fact an engine block blueprint. We know. Trust me, we tried all forms of gearboxes, cases, gears, axles – none looked as good to us as the engine block in blueprint form. We have also expanded on how we do our labelling to try and make it as easy as possible to hook up our pedals – with a dual channel pedal it’s now easier to find the single cable input and output now as we use the solid triangle icons to denote the primary path and the outlined triangles for the second set of ins / outs. We also dimmed those LEDS a little as per Andy’s request, and of course we went for high quality knurled metal knobs for the controls. Feedback to these subtle improvements and the product as a whole have been universally positive so expect to see these standards continue and grow with our pedal range.
It was also a massive pleasure of course to welcome Andy Wood onboard as a signature artist for Wampler Pedals. Junktown is one of my favourite albums for some time as I hinted above, and Andy is a fantastic artist and utter monster player who I can only see going from strength to strength. I was lucky to have a one-to-one lesson with him and his attitude and approach to playing is as natural and musically brilliant as you would expect, all delivered with his trademark humor and easy going nature. I urge you to go check out his patreon and if you get a chance to go and see him play live, definitely do not hesitate!