Our "That Pedal Show" Blog

Dan & Mick’s Year in Gear: Top Ten Pedals of 2017

By Andy Perrin | December 26, 2017

That Pedal Show 12/22/2017

2017 was a big year for TPS. Dan & Mick cleared 100,000 subscribers and then some on the channel, took the show on the road for some live gigs, including a stop stateside for a gig and interview at our New Hope location, developed and launched the custom Keeley D&M Drive, and played host to both eminent guitarists and gear builders alike. In the midst of all this, week-in-week-out, the pair offered up surpassing insights and exceptional experiences with the best of pedals, amps, and guitars.

As holiday specials give way to re-runs in the days ahead, this week Dan & Mick undertook a retrospective of their top picks in pedals played in 2017 and presented a prospective of player tips as we press ahead into 2018. To give a sense of the gear side of things, what follows is a TPS rundown of the top ten pedals to make an appearance on the show with links to all associated content from our own Riff City TPS blog.

The Top Ten Pedals to Make an Appearance on TPS in 2017

  1. Keeley D&M Drive. As Mick noted, “This first one ought to be pretty obvious for both of us!” This pedal not only marked the first ever signature pedals spawned by YouTube creators, it also seems to have sparked a trend for internally stackable overdrives. For more on this little orange terror machine, check out our review.
  2. Analog Man Sun Face NKT (Red Dot). After an epic fuzz experience with Mike Pierra in the Analog Man shop, Dan remarked the pedal “has been a revelation for me…I’ve got lots of fuzzes, but oh my word!” If you missed out on Dan & Mick’s tour through the shop and museum of sound that is Analog Man, check out our blog for the short story.
  3. ProAnalog Devices Manticore. As Mick noted, “I’m a big fan of my Klon Centaur and I’ve always been looking for something that can do its job. The Manticore does its job and then some.” While the topic of Klon clones is not new, Dan & Mick’s recent foray into the world of Klon-esque pedals that go beyond gave a fresh take on the topic. Check out our TPS blog rundown of pedals by Wampler and Keeley for more.
  4. Empress Effects Echo System. As Dan commented, the Echosystem for him sits in between his collection of old school, analog echo boxes and deep-customization DSP devices. “It’s just absolutely glorious!” 2017 was indeed a big year for delay innovations. For Dan & Mick’s tour through some key analog options, check out our blog with samples of pedals from Boss, JHS, Seymour Duncan, MXR, and Providence.
  5. GFI System Specular Tempus. As Dan lead in, “[This is] an incredible little reverb that has delay presets in it, spatial stuff, and oh man!” The Tempus made an appearance on TPS in the episode aimed at recovering the Vox AC15 as a pedal amp. Check out our blog for thoughts on the Specular Tempus’ spacey sounds in the chimey upper-EQ of the Vox.
  6. Fryette Power Station. One of the new topics on TPS this year was using attenuators. The Fryette seemed to be the front-runner in that race. Of course, the insight here was not only how to utilize an attenuator for keeping top tone at low volumes it pertained to optimizing one to create an effects loop in vintage amps where there is none. For attenuator options and tips, check out our coverage of Dan & Mick’s attempts at taming a Plexi.
  7. Neo Instrument Mini Vent II. Early on in the year, Dan & Mick hauled in a real, live Leslie cabinet for a shootout with pedals. As Mick commented, “Every single one of the real [effect] vs. pedal shows we’ve done this year has always ended up concluding you should just get the real thing—but I can’t haul around a Leslie! The Vent was the nearest thing by a mile.” Check out our blog for a summary of Dan & Mick’s comparison between the monstrous sound of the rotating Leslie and pedal counterparts like the Strymon Lex and Electro-Harmonix Lester G.
  8. TC Electronic Flashback II and Hall of Fame II. This year, Dan & Mick hosted Tor from TC, who blew everyone’s mind by innovating the simple footswitch into an expression pedal. As Dan noted, both pedals have been completely overhauled with new, expertly crafted echo and reverb sounds as well as game-changing Mash technology. Did you miss Tor’s stop in at the TPS pedal shack? Check out our blog for highlights and a full explanation of the Mash revolution.
  9. Hudson Broadcast. Mick reflected that, “The Hudson Broadcast is continuously surprising…It’s the pedal for when all the other pedals don’t work.” Whether it’s deployed as a clean boost, a medium gain overdrive, or set on the verge of fuzz, the Broadcast has been a regular item on many a TPS pedal boards. For a few descriptions of the Broadcast alongside options like the JHS Colour Box and Orange Two Stroke, check out our blog of the TPS episode on non-traditional overdrives.
  10. Free the Tone Flight Time II. Many TPS regulars will sympathize with Mick’s “option overload” problem with many pedals offering deep customization. However, his discovery of the Flight Time struck a happy medium. “I struggle with programming [pedals] and can’t deal with that stuff on the fly, [with the Flight Time] I had no problems and didn’t even have to read the manual.” For a few words on the Flight Time in the context of another 2017 TPS innovation—the “pick n’ mix”—check out our blog from back in the summer.
As Dan & Mick promised, the year ahead has huge things in store for TPS. If the milestones they hit in 2017 are any indicator, 2018 is going to be incredible to watch. Don’t miss out! Be sure to subscribe to TPS over on YouTube and keep an eye out for our weekly blog of highlights over on the Riff City Facebook and Twitter feeds. Until then, see you in the New Year!