Video: What Is a Boutique Pedal, Anyway? 10 Builders Weigh In

Guitar effects have become one of the biggest and most competitive markets in the entirety of the music instrument industry. Countless effects brands have sprung up with new and interesting offerings for all manner of tone tinkerers—and they haven't all opted to make mass-produced machines.

Over the last decade or more, the boutique pedal industry, specifically, has grown at an exponential rate. But what exactly does the word "boutique" describe here? What in particular makes a boutique delay pedal separate from a regular delay pedal? If you're an effects lover, you probably have an internalized and instinctual answer to this question. But how would you explain it to someone else?

Because the answer here is a bit muddy and can take so many different forms, we wanted to go straight to the source and ask the builders themselves. In the video above, watch builders like Brian Wampler, Robert Keeley, Victoria Theide, Johnny Balmer, Zachary Vex, and more explain what "boutique" means to them.

We're excited for the release of Reverb's first feature-length documentary, The Pedal Movie. While originally planned for Summer 2020, we have delayed the release slightly to January 2021. Read about the update here or sign up with your email address to stay in the loop below.

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