Pigtronix: New Pedals on the Block

Even though they’re still new to the game, Pigtronix has put out some impressive pedals in a short amount of time. With artists like Anthrax, Mastodon, Primus, Red Hot Chilly Peppers, Ghost and Aerosmith on your roster, you already know you’ve made your mark. But then you add Dweezil Zappa, Guthrie Govan, Mick Thomson Gary Hold, Bootsy Collins, Billy Sheehan, Johnny Hiland, and Andy Larocque to that list, and you that you’re doing something right.




Class A Boost

A good boost pedal needs to be dynamic enough to give your tone a subtle nudge or a full on kick in the ass without making your tone sound two-dimensional. The Pigtronix Class A Boost can deliver anywhere between 1db and 20db of boost. And, the use of “discreet transistors in a single-ended “Class A” configuration” creates a boost that isn’t harsh or brittle.





The Gate KeeperGatekeeper-tilt_Render_ArmyGreen-307x450

With all of that volume and dirt, you could really use a noise gate to keep that beast back after unlocking the chains. That said, also available from Pigtronix is the Gatekeeper noise gate pedal. The Gatekeeper cuts in and out like a ninja. 100% attenuation compounded with diamond point precision and ultra-high speed J-FET circuitry to completely eliminate hum, hiss, and buzz.

While I want to make a Sigourney Weaver/Ghostbusters reference, I’ll hold out. Not everyone needs to know how old I am.

“There is no Dana, only Zuul.”

OK. Sorry. Couldn’t resist.




Pigtronix-CSD-PhilosophersTone-Tilt-450x250Philosopher’s Tone

Note: Fellow writer of TheToneKing.com, MJ, suggested I make a parallel between the German philosopher Heidegger’s notion of “Dasein” and the “design” of Philosopher’s Tone pedals. I told him that I had no idea what the hell he was talking about and neither would anyone else.

In my experience and without pointing any fingers, a lot of compressors have a tendency to squeeze tone like a loaf of bread and distort whether you want it to or not. If I was a funk guitarist, this would be my purgatory.

Before I knew what kind of pedal it was, I looked at just the aesthetics of the Philosopher’s Tone pedal and thought, “this is a high quality pedal.” But, I knew I wanted to see what was waiting inside of this box. And, I’m glad I did.

An analogue compression and sustainer keeps your guitar ringing just as long as Nigel Tufnel’s infinitely sustaining Les Paul. More importantly, there’s an expansive horizon of compression sounds that can be mixed with your favorite distortion tones to bring out more of the things that you like and stifle the things that you don’t.

Check out guitar virtuoso Johnny Hiland to get a glimpse of what the Philsopher’s Tone is capable of. I can definitely say that Johnny Hiland is one of the best guitarists out there, and he stands by The Philosopher’s Tone.




Philosopher’s RockROK-tilt-336x450

Note: MJ suggested mentioning Prometheus here. Apparently, Prometheus was chained to a rock for bringing fire to human beings or something like that. I told MJ to get some sleep and stop calling me.

While using almost the same circuitry, but with simplicity in mind and a harmonic germanium distortion switch to go with your coffee, the Philosopher’s Rock still a compressor but one that moonlights as a gain pedal. It has the same charm as it’s brother but instead of a knob, it has a smooth harmonic germanium distortion. In spite of its size compared to its brethren, it actually has 4 times the range of compression tones available.




Pigtronix-FAT-FatDrive-tilt-307x450Fat Drive

I use the term “dirt” as an umbrella term to represent all forms of gain, be it distortion, fuzz, overdrive, etc. Not only used in contrast to what we all call “clean” tone (clean as in unaffected by other modifying agents) but also because the line between dirt pedals can, in itself, be distorted. Talk about Philosophy!

That said I welcome back to TheTongKing.com, the Fat Drive. This girth-monger is described as a “cascaded gain,” and given the literal meaning of cascade (a waterfall descending over a steep, rocky surface), I am inclined to agree.

I can tell you with fond memory of the thickness of the drive this pedal offers from when The Tone King himself demoed this pedal.



[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QwXiuYm9P2E’]

He focused for a moment on the difference in tone once the “more” switch is activated, which gives a fluid, transparent like water sound while going over the EQ of your amp.

I don’t mean to steal the thunder form the other dirt pedals, but the Fat Drive is an old friend to the site. Even though the PolySaturator and the Aria are cut from the same cloth, they are still two different children. While the Aria pedal sounds smooth and clear, the PolySaturator is one step above that in drive. Both have a 3-band 12 DB / Octave Graphic EQ and are compact enough to fit on any pedalboard. And Disnortion… Did you catch that? I didn’t at first. Dis-Nor-Tion. Used by Joe Perry, this pedal has more then one trick up its sleeve. With a slick overdrive, fuzz and octiva switch, you can either play “Money For Nothing”, or just get money for having a neat sounding effect. This pedal is far more my speed then any other in the warehouse.


Bass Fat DrivePigtronix-BOD-BassFAT-TILT-323x450

“But Grin, you forgot about the bass pedals!”

No I have not. It has been said that all of the Pigtronix pedals can be used for bass, but these ones are made specifically for bass.

The Bass Fat drive is just as thick as its thinner voiced brother, still with the “more” switch. Friend of TheToneKing.com, Joe Fazio had a chance to check out one of these pedals, and the sound was more than fat. It was gigantic.





[youtuber youtube=’http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=49c76KasETc’]

The Philosopher Bass Compressor has the same quality squeeze but the Bass Envelope Phaser is an effect I didn’t touch on with guitar. There is a bigger brother for a six-string, but this one is more focused on bass. This is a pedal best boasted by Doug Wimbish of Living Colour fame. A nice feature on this pedal is the direction of the sweep (the diffrence between “wah” and “how”). With the switch on the “up” position you definitly get a more bubble effect.

The thing I had to search for was why they tacked on the name “Phaser.” Well I had to try it, and if you set it up just right, it does give you a Phase 90 effect (Sen: 11o’clock- Res: 3o’clock and switch down)

Pigtronix has made a lot of noise in a little amount of time. It’s hard to be heard with so many pedal manufacturers out there. If someone can hear you at all, you’re doing pretty good. If you’re as loud as Pigtronix, you’re on a whole different level altogether.

Check out everything Pigtronix has to offer at Pigtronix.com



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Filed Under: FeaturedReviewsPedals


About the Author: Started playing bass at 15. It was Danko Jones who inspired me to play at all, and in a small town I couldn't be picky on what I can get my hands on, so I bought a squire with pride. Obtained a B.C. Rich guitar months later. Moved to the city at 17. At 19 joined my first metal band as a bassist which ended at 20. Joined a bass heavy rock band, which I loved being in whole heartily. I now wait to venture into a new project. For the time being though, I am exploring my abilities as a writer.

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