Last month, we published our annual post of the year's best-selling pedals, which highlighted the overall most popular guitar effects of 2016. While that data hopefully provided a good baseline of trends and successes within the market, there were definitely some very hot pedals and pedal builders from 2016 that were not represented.
The reason for this is fairly obvious: in the boutique realm — where many of the market's most hyped stompboxes dwell — production numbers are low, keeping these pedals from placing very high in the absolute best-seller rankings. This small-batch ethos is, of course, fundamental to the boutique pedal world and part of what keeps the demand end of the equation so high.
For this reason, to really investigate the actual most in-demand pedals and pedal brands of the year, we needed to bring in some additional numbers and look at the market from a different angle.
To start, let's consider the fastest-selling used pedals on Reverb. In this context, this specifically refers to the average time it takes a pedal to sell after it's initially listed on the site. Where a listing for a used Boss or Electro-Harmonix model that's always available might take several weeks to find a buyer, low-supply/high-demand pedals tend sell very quickly thanks to tools like our gear feed, which allows Reverbers to keep tabs on fresh listings.
As a result, looking at the lowest average time to sale should stand as a decent analog for how in-demand a particular model is.
Here's a breakdown of the fastest selling used pedals of 2016:
Note that with this list, I've omitted pedals where only a small handful sold in 2016 to try to keep the sample size meaningful.
The topped-ranked Immerse Reverb comes from Neunaber Audio Effects, a company that specializes in stellar digital reverb effects and is responsible for other hits like the Stereo WET Reverb. With the Immerse, Neunaber has packed most of their popular algorithms into one box making this pedal essentially a pro-level take on something like a Boss RV-6 or TC Electronic Hall of Fame.
While most of the pedals on this list are from boutique brands, there are some entries from bigger companies. The Boss CE-2W, for instance, is a fairly new model that people seem to love.
In instances like this, where players hold onto a pedal long after they buy it, used supply is kept very low (even for larger brands), which achieves the same market dynamic as a pedal that was in low supply to begin with.
Similarly, the inclusion of two different TC Electronic tuners indicates that people are very particular about which of the various Polytunes they want on their board.
Perhaps the most surprising inclusion is the Mooer Tender Octaver – an affordable octave generator from a brand that most pedalheads tend to dismiss. Perhaps there's a class of guitarists out there who are intrigued by the idea of an octave pedal but aren't willing to invest the same amount they would for a new overdrive or delay.
Fastest Selling Pedal Brands
We can glean similar insight by looking at the same metric across entire pedal brands. Here's a look at the fastest selling pedals by brand from 2016 by average time to point of sale.
|Pedal||Avg. Number of Hours to Sell|
|Endangered Audio Research||59|
|Old Blood Noise Endeavors||108|
|Neunaber Audio Effects||123|
|Chase Bliss Audio||177|
All of the brands on this list are smaller independent companies that produce pedals in low numbers. In fact, at the time of this publication, there are no live listings for several of these brands. This demonstrates just how quickly they get snatched up when listed.
The third-place ranking of Strymon shouldn't be surprising at all to anyone who follows the pedal scene. The consistently high-demand for Strymon pedals is especially impressive given the breadth of their product offerings compared to many other brands on this list that offer just one or two models.
Price Retention by Pedal
Another way we might consider these supply and demand dynamics and approach the question of the most in-demand is to look at the spread between new and used prices for the same model.
The logic here goes that if a pedal is in particularly high-demand, buyers will be willing to pay close to new prices when a used listing crops up.
Here are the 2016 rankings for used pedals that sold at prices closest to their original, new hang tag:
|Pedal||Used to New Price Ratio|
|Way Huge WHE208 Overrated Special Overdrive||99%|
|Neunaber Audio Effects Stereo Slate V2||98%|
|Paul Cochrane Timmy||95%|
|EarthQuaker Devices Avalanche Run||94%|
|Strymon Big Sky Reverb||91%|
|Strymon Flint Reverb and Tremolo Pedal||90%|
|Strymon TimeLine Delay||89%|
|Friedman BE-OD Overdrive||88%|
|Chase Bliss Audio Tonal Recall Analog Delay||88%|
|Strymon El Capistan||88%|
|Strymon Blue Sky Reverb||88%|
|Dr. Scientist BitQuest||86%|
|Hologram Industries Dream Sequence||86%|
|Fractal Audio FX 8||85%|
|Strymon DIG Dual Digital Delay||85%|
Keep in mind, the average price of a new pedal that we're using as a basis for comparison may include purchases made during sales and with other discounts, so this price may not be exactly the same as the normal new "street price" you see every day.
We’ve also excluded a few brands and models where used specimens consistently sell for over new prices due to extremely limited new supply. This includes pedals from Spaceman and Analogman, as well as the Bondi Sick As and Drybell Vibe Machine. The top ranked Overrated Special also appears to have been discontinued recently but is still available new here and there.
As you can see from all of the rankings above, the notion of a hot, in-demand pedal clearly goes beyond just what sells the most. The world's tone-chasers place a premium on originality and innovation, which often seems to come from artisans who produce their wares in very limited numbers. When these sorts of pedals get listed for sale on Reverb, they’re purchased quickly at prices near the original purchase amount.
What this means for those who buy and sell gear professionally is fairly obvious, and this info can be used for future market speculation. For us humble tone chasers, though, it means that if you're able to snag a hot, in-demand pedal that isn’t to your liking, you'll probably be able to “flip it” quickly and recoup most of your cash outlay in the process. Based on the above information, you could, for instance, buy just about any Strymon pedal, try it out, and sell it immediately if it doesn't suit your needs.
Are there any other hot pedals you've been after that didn't make these lists? Let us know in the comments.