Video: Andy Martin's Top 5 Pedals of All Time

If a guitarist were pressed to pick their favorite pedals, they might point to their always-on drive or the one cherished vintage piece they happen to own—both perfectly reasonable choices for those of us starved for options.

Andy Martin, on the other hand, has demoed more pedals than he can remember—from best-in-class vintage finds to the latest-and-greatest boutique stompboxes. So when asked for his favorites, you know the answer is coming from an informed authority.

In our video below—split into a two-part series—Andy looks at the first of his all-time favorites.

Andy's Top Pedals Ever, Pt. 1

No. 5: Vox King Wah

Coming in at No. 5? The Vox King Wah. The second model ever made by Vox, this is the first to drop the pretense that trumpet players would be their main users. Often imitated, Andy's vintage King Wah is one of his most prized—particularly for its "Stack of Dimes" inductor, which gives a different tone than other wahs.

If you don't want or can't afford a vintage unit, Andy recommends the Vox V847A Wah or a clone of a Vox grey wah like the one Andy bought from Wilson Effects.

No. 4: Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe

While Andy has played and loved the real-deal, in the form of an EP-3 Echoplex, his No. 4 pick for his all-time favorite pedal is the Catalinbread Belle Epoch Deluxe. This take on the Echoplex circuit gives rich echoes and analog warmth without the fuss and whirring of tape—and with a number of handy modern features.

"One of the things I love about this pedal is getting a little bit of the preamp grit and also just using a little bit of slapback delay to enhance a solo, as opposed to using a boost or other distortion," Andy says.

No. 3: Op-Amp Big Muff

No. 3 on Andy's list, however, is another vintage favorite, as he's a lucky owner of an original 1970s Op-Amp Big Muff. Prized and often-cloned, nothing tops the fuzz of the real model.

"I chose the Op-Amp Big Muff because it's a really versatile pedal. You can use it with single-coils or humbuckers, and that op-amp circuit really tightens up the low-end and really helps with my finger-style playing. So it's better-suited for my tastes," he says.

If you want to try out an Op-Amp Big Muff without the vintage price tag, you can get the recently released Op-Amp Big Muff Pi Reissue.

Andy's Top Pedals Ever, Pt. 2

No. 2: Morley Pro Flanger

Morley Pro Flanger

In the second video of our two-part series, you can see and hear Andy's next favorite, the Morley Pro Flanger. A rare pedal from the 1970s, the Pro Flanger uses the prized Reticon bucket-brigade chip at the heart of its circuit.

"I've seen a lot of flangers come and go, and this one still has a unique feature set that really isn't matched by a lot of modern pedals," Andy says. Such features include the ability to control the speed with the foot treadle, and a wide sweep in both its delay time and feedback.

While the Morley Pro Flanger has not been reissued, Andy says you can get pretty close with the A/DA Flanger Reissue, though of course that won't include the Morley's treadle.

No. 1: Marshall Blues Breaker

That the Marshall Blues Breaker sits at the top of Andy's list might surprise you, but as a trusted overdrive that's been in his rig since the '90s, it's the one pedal that stands above the rest.

Designed to give the same past-the-breaking-point tone that Eric Clapton achieved by pushing his Marshall combo on John Mayall's Blues Breakers album, Marshall's pedal has gotten a second life in recent years thanks to John Mayer's praise of it.

Andy usually maxes out the Volume and then sets his Gain level to his liking. In recent years, some brands have released their own takes on the Blues Breaker, like JHS' Morning Glory.

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