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Pedal Crush

Book Review By Paul White
Published March 2020

Pedal Crush

This hardback tome might just be the ultimate coffee table book for anyone interested in effects pedals — in fact it's so substantial that you could probably screw four legs onto it to build the ultimate coffee table! Written by self-confessed pedal addicts Kim Bjørn and Scott Harper, Pedal Crush kicks off with a foreword by Steve Vai, who expounds on his love for pedals. Then we're into the basics of pedal anatomy, augmented by some very basic electronics before moving on to numerous revealing interviews with both pedal designers and high-profile users.

From the outset, it's made clear that pedals are not only for guitarists — there are chapters on using pedals with vocals, for example, and there's a chapter where Lara Somogyi reveals how she uses pedals with her harp to create unique sounds. Pedals are also a great fit for the modular-synth sector, of course.

Pedal CrushPedal Crush

This book is lavishly illustrated with photographs of just about every pedal you can think of, and while there are inevitably a few omissions there really aren't many! Classics such as Tube Screamers get covered in their many variations, and there are masses of weird and wonderful boutique pedals, some of which produce very non-mainstream effects (eg. the Gamechanger Audio Plasma pedal and Death By Audio's off-the-wall pedals).

Each type of pedal has its own section that includes a description of how each specific type of effect is created, but the author doesn't get too technical in the process and it remains easy to follow. Pedalboard setups are considered, along with the important subjects of power supplies, pedal switchers and methods of fixing. There's also a discussion about the best order in which to arrange your pedals, and which work best before buffers (such as germanium-based fuzz boxes and some wah pedals). Multi-effects devices are covered too, virtual pedalboard plug-ins get a mention, and there's coverage of pedal-format guitar synths. Indeed I was surprised by just how up-to-date the content is; it included some pedals I've only recently reviewed and which haven't yet made it into the pages of SOS!

Pedal Crush

The reader is encouraged to experiment by breaking a few rules when it comes to combining pedals, and even circuit-bending gets a mention. Pedal Crush includes a timeline of pedal development, a useful list of good resources you can find online, and a wonderfully comprehensive glossary covering all things pedal-related. This is one of those books you'll keep going back to — it has obviously been a labour of love for the authors and it deserves to do well.