We already know Wampler makes great effects and it produces one of the best Klon-influenced overdrive pedals you can buy with the Tumnus. But after all the DigiTech Bad Monkey hype that JHS Pedals' Josh Scott helped fuel and saw prices for that pedal rise significantly on the used market, he wants players to check out two other pedals from the Wampler catalogue that he thinks give you a better monkey for your money.
Josh is great at celebrating other brands and really supporting the pedal-building community on the JHS socials and YouTube channel, and he knows his onions too, so we're all ears when he's making recommendations. He focuses on the Triumph and Phenom from Wampler's new affordable Collective Series in the video above, a $99 overdrive and distortion, respectively. They're American-made too – not just American-assembled.
Josh notes the "insane flexibility" of the Triumph that can move from Bluesbreaker to Tube Screamer-esque character. "This is huge," he adds. "Anyone looking for an extremely versatile thing, if you enjoy Wampler's work, this may be his best drive… it's pretty nuts."
Wampler himself drew influence from the Bad Monkey and Boss SD-1 for the Triumph but with his own cleaner and higher gain extremes. The Phenom is based on the iconic Peavey 5150 amp – but the "mid to high-gain" territory.
"This is a really nice alternative to the Guvnor / Angry Charlie thing – a lot of these distortions that are based on classic pedals," notes Josh, referencing one of his own designs with the latter pedal. It's definitely a rich amp-like tone with satisfying crunch with the scope of Bright and Classic voicings.
But this distortion pedal poses an interesting proposition; could it bring the 5150 influence to players who dismissed it as a metal amp that's not for their tastes?
"It's a phenomenal distortion pedal," enthuses Josh. "The 5150 thing is interesting because it's rarely brought up in the genres that I listen to or the world I kind of revolve in… but the 5150 is a big deal and this pedal does it very well. It's super versatile, I think I like the Classic mode but it was difficult to get an abrasive sound – I think it's dialled it in pretty darn perfect."
So not only is a great to see a pedal maker championing another brand but Brian Wampler has ensured his first $99 pedals are very serious value propositions.