2021 was a bumper year for new and re-released effects pedals! A plethora of stompboxes designed to help you sculpt your ideal guitar tone came out this year, across a vast range of sounds and price points. Although it was incredibly hard to narrow the list down to only 10, here are our favourite stompboxes from the last 12 months, including budget and boutique offerings.
Angry Rhubarb Paradynamic Overdrive MkII
The new Red Beard Angry Rhubarb Paradynamic Overdrive MKII was a highlight in 2021 for us here at Gearnews. Combining two overdrives to create a myriad of drive tones, this UK-made pedal has two separate drive controls for pre and post, plus a parametric EQ section that covers a wide frequency control range of 80Hz to 4kHz.
Walrus Audio Polychrome
The Walrus Audio Polychrome was another colourful highlight of 2021 and gave players access to a some pretty fantastic flanger tones. We did a review of this great new pedal, which you can read here. One to check out, if you haven’t done so already.
What’s better than a Rat-style drive pedal? How about 9 Rat pedals in one compact unit? The new JHS Packrat was another stand-out release in 2021, stuffed with classic ProCo Rat tones and giving you multiple takes on an ever-popular drive tone.
Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man
This is a new pedalboard-friendly re-working of a classic analog delay. The Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man offers players all the delay tones of the original but in a new compact format and with a price that won’t break the bank. Unfortunately, the big box originals have soared in price in recent years, but Electro-Harmonix has saved the day with this new Nano edition of the original circuit. Thumbs up!
Boss Waza Craft HM-2W
Possibly one of the most highly anticipated pedal releases of 2021, the Boss Waza Craft HM-2W is a recreation of the ’80s pedal that launched a whole new style of music and became highly sought after for its Swedish Death Metal buzz saw tone. Now you can get that ‘everything on 10’ tone in a modern pedal, and with an added mode for tighter bass response. Perfect for crushing riffs!
Line 6 HX Stomp XL
Sometimes you need more than one effect to create your tone, or require a multi-effect that’s compact and convenient to carry about. Among the best packages on the market right now is the Line 6 HX Stomp XL. This compact floor pedal offers over 300 HX legacy amps, speakers and effects for you to build your guitar tones with, making it a great companion for your digital rig. With four footswitches labelled A, B, C, and D, you can assign your favourite combinations of FX, amps and cabs, for easy access to each one.
Way Huge Atreides Analog Weirding Module
Like a modern day MXR Blue Box on steroids, the Way Huge Atreides Analog Weirding Module came crashing into 2021 with its unique tones. Combining a built-in fuzz, a sub-octaver and a phaser, this pedal uses sliders to let you dial in your tones. This one stood out this year for all the right reasons and may even have what it takes to become a classic.
Joyo R20 King Of Kings
This budget dual drive pedal from Joyo, the R20 King of Kings, is based on two Marshall Blues Breaker-style overdrive pedals that can be stacked together, reminiscent of Analog Man’s renowned King of Tone pedal. Each side of the drive has its own set of controls, plus has two mini-switches on the front panel to vary the diode clipping and the feedback of each drive section. Super affordable and with lots of great sounds on offer, the R20 was a highlight at the budget-friendly end of the market.
Old Blood Noise Endeavors Sunlight Dynamic Reverb
The Old Blood Noise Endeavors Sunlight Dynamic Reverb was another stand-out effect this year, offering a reverb with a freeze effect. This freezes the reverb trails when you stop playing, and creates some super interesting tones; this is not your bog standard reverb. A great pedal for players looking for something new to inspire their creativity.
MXR Deep Phase
This new MXR Deep Phase takes the original Phase 90 circuit and adds a scooped midrange, and a more dynamic, almost voice-like response to your playing dynamics. If you enjoy phasing effects, then this compact new pedal is certainly one to check out. Plus, you have the new MODE II mini-switch that takes the 4 stage phase shift and doubles it up, making it an 8 stage phaser, so you get two phase voices in one compact stompbox.
What was your favourite guitar pedal released in 2021? Let us know in the comments below!
- Redbeard Effects Angry Rhubarb Paradynamic Overdrive MKII: Redbeard Effects
- Walrus Audio Polychrome flanger: Walrus Audio
- JHS PackRat: JHS
- Electro-Harmonix Nano Deluxe Memory Man analog delay: Electro-Harmonix
- Boss Waza Craft HM-2W: Boss
- Line 6 HX Stomp XL: Line 6
- Way Huge Atreides: Thomann
- Joyo R 20 King Of Kings: Joyo
- OBNE Sunlight Dynamic Freeze Reverb: OBNE
- MXR Deep Phase a new two knob phaser: Dunlop