Various sleeper pedals. That's what I want to talk about today. A few of those pedals that I have come across over the years that (1) are surprisingly good and (2) won't break the bank. Also, some of these have been "discovered" so, when I mention the price I paid, I'll try to mention the current pricing as well. No pics on this one either, so it's going to be another wall of text.
First up is the Danelectro Chicken Salad vibrato pedal. It's a super simple vibe pedal that only has two knobs, Intensity and Speed. I got turned on to them back when Max and Travis were still working at Wampler and the two of them and Brian W were doing the podcast/youtube thing. I think Max was the one that mentioned them. Picked up the only one that was listed on Reverb the evening after I heard about it. Cost me $30. Got mine in and plugged it in. I've got a little board that I call my grab and go board because it's the one that I throw in my backpack if I'm just running to a buddy's to play. It's got tuner, a drive, a delay, a reverb, and that Chicken Salad. It's been a great little pedal that, at the price point I paid, has been a super pedal. Nowadays, it seems they go for around $70 on Reverb.
Next would be another vibe pedal. In fact, it's one that I picked up just recently. It's the Moen Shaky Jimi. I paid $35 for mine. New they're going for $60-ish on Amazon. It's got the whole univibe thing going one. It has the chorus/vibe switch and then knobs for rate, depth, and hue. I still haven't figured out the hue knob, but it's on there too. So far, I've been really enjoying the vibe side of the pedal. Not that I really needed another vibe, but it does seem to be my fave effect, and this one is good enough I won't be getting rid of it anytime soon. Not as good as my Fulltone DejaVibe, but it was also 20% of the price.
Now we leave the vibes and go to a distortion. The Donner Dark Mouse. It's a Rat clone. I like it better than the Rat. Granted, I'm not actually sure I'm being totally honest in that statement. I have several Rat clone-ish pedals, including the Wampler Ratsbane, but this is the one that I like the best of them all. When I want that Rat sound, it's the one that I grab. I paid $35 for mine on Amazon. That's about they're going for these days. It has the whole Rat thing down pretty good, including the backwards tone knob. This one also has a switch on it to change from the classic Rat sound to the Turbo Rat. Another one that, for the price paid, I'd do it again.
Two left, and the next one is the Behringer CL9 Compressor/Limiter. Now, I admittedly don't completely understand what a compressor does. That's not right. In theory I know what a compressor does and how it should affect the tone. But put a compressor pedal on the board, and I'm still not really sure how to use it well. I've tried a bunch of different compressors. I've got like 5 of them in the closet in there. This is the only one that I use. It's different than the others somehow, but I'm not really sure how. I just hear something different in it and the others. And, to my ear, this one doesn't do that squishy, compressor thing quite as...squishily. It actually looks kind of out of place on my main board next to the array of much more expensive pedals. It cost me $25 when I got it. That's 15% of what I paid for the Klon KTR sitting next to it. This is also the Behringer that changed my mind on Behringers.
Finally, I want to mention the Tone Bakery Creme Brulee. It's a klone. On several occasions, including one here a couple of years ago, I've plugged all my klones in and tried to be objective about the ones that I like and want to use. Oddly enough, the Tone Bakery consistently comes in either first or second place. The only one that ever beats it is the KTR...the actual Klon. I only ever use the klone as a clean boost kind of pedal to push the amp, and the Creme Brulee does that incredibly well. I think I paid $70 for mine new like 4 years ago on Reverb. Looks like they're going for $100 give or take now.
So that's it. My list of sleeper pedals that won't break the bank. I might could list a couple more. The Sonicake Twiggy Blues or maybe the Tone City Durple. Depending on the circles you're in, you may agree or disagree about whether they're actually sleepers, but they're definitely a great bang for the buck.
What about you? What pedals have you used that were super good but either aren't widely use or are relatively inexpensive?
Snarf is a wannabe musician who currently resides in the great state of Texas. His wife is his favorite. He believes chocolate milk made from milk that is anything less than whole milk is basically water and deserves to be dumped down the sink so nobody has to suffer through it. He hates having to shop for clothes. But he has a thing for really cool bags, and, consequently, has more gig bags than guitars and a closet full of messenger bags and backpacks. He still misses his dog who was taken by cancer 5 years ago. Check out his Reverb shop and see if he has any gear he's trying to get rid of.