Although trends in the guitar world move at glacial pace - guess the world's two most popular guitar designs this year - technology fortunately shifts along at a faster rate and never more so than in the effects pedals market. Here we present your top stompbox picks from 2014...
We love Z.Vex's colourful stompers, and the Fuzzalo is no exception.
It's silicon-based transistor circuit runs off a main adapters and there are two tiny dials for volume and pulse width. It sounds as a good as it looks.
The Digitech Drop offers a range of down-tuning options - up to a full octave below - with the same tracking algorithm found in the latest Whammys.
It's a little expensive, given it's pricing proximity to a full Whammy DT, but it nonetheless tick all of our down-tuning boxes.
Mesa/Boogie Throttle Box EQ
Combining Mesa/Boogie's Throttle Box distortion stompbox and the same five-band EQ found in the firm's amps was a fine plan and 'Boogie has pulled it off in style.
It's a little pricey for a distortion pedal, but it captures that Mesa X-factor - if the amps are out of your financial reach, this is well worth a go.
Seymour Duncan Dirty Deed Distortion
Built around a set of MOSFET transistors, the Dirty Deed Distortion offers an organic response that does a good job of aping a driven amp.
In addition, there's an active EQ, which allows you to tweak the tone. Humbucker users who need clean tones should looks elsewhere, though.
Boss OD-1X OverDrive
Featuring Boss' Multi-Dimensional Processing tech, this vamped-up version of the classic stomper reacts to the signal in order to apply the perfect amount of distortion to each frequency.
You really can hear the note clarity, even on chords, and it's a really responsive unit.
Electro-Harmonix B9 Organ Machine
Ever wanted to nail some Booker T lines on your guitar, but struggled to get anywhere near that fat organ tone?
Now you can, thanks to EHX. If you can adjust your phrasing appropriately, you'll find organ sounds a-plenty on tap.
TC Electronic Alter Ego X4 Vintage Echo
As the name suggests, the Alter Ego X4 combines the excellent TC Electronic X4 Delay with a selection of vintage echo effects.
It's a seriously attractive package, and for vintage tone hounds not ideologically opposed to digital effects, it's hard to beat.