Wampler’s limited edition Tumnus Germanium has become the latest guitar effects pedal to be listed online for upwards of £/$500 after selling out in quick time.
Those prices on Reverb and eBay will sting all right – the Klon Centaur-inspired Tumnus Germanium was only launched in December 2023, street price $179 – but they will not come as a surprise to anyone who has followed pedalboard culture in the past few years.
This is a market that that has been running so hot that, for a brief moment, the long-forgotten DigiTech Bad Monkey was the internet’s hottest drive pedal after a recommendation from JHS Pedals supremo Josh Scott sent prices rocketing. Prices have since stabilised. At least in that instance, the Bad Monkey fever has broken. Not so elsewhere.
The lesson for anyone who is in the market for a limited edition pedal – particularly an overdrive or fuzz pedal with rare components, e.g. NOS germanium transistors, which do not grow on trees – is that they need to act fast.
Remember the Boss Waza Craft TB-2W, that classy reproduction of a Sola Sound Tone Bender MKII, launched in 2021, street price $349? It sold out in no time, of course, and now you will be lucky to find one mint for less than £600.
You might ask how much is a pedal worth? The answer is simple. Like anything else, it is worth how much anyone is prepared to pay for it. But can anyone tell the difference to the point where that price makes sense and there is genuinely some value in acquiring one? That’s more difficult to answer – though the fact that an original Klon could set you back up to $7,500 offers some context.
The Wampler Tumnus was already one of the world’s favourite Klon-inspired overdrive pedals. It is one of MusicRadar’s favourites. There was the small-format version. There was the larger Tumnus Deluxe, with its switchable gain stages and 3-band EQ. Both are still in production and are superlative. Then along came the Tumnus Germanium.
Compact, limited edition, with an ‘Alien Silver’ makeover and those knurled red anodized knobs, the Tumnus Germanium looked the business, but was the germanium diodes in the circuitry that confirmed its bona fides to those looking for a more uncannily close representation of the out-of-production (and prohibitively expensive for most) Klon Centaur.
Those diodes were the “unobtanium” that Bill Finnegan, the Klon’s designer, spoke of and now Brian Wampler had some and made his own version. Was it more authentic? With these prices for second hand units, it might be best to stick the headphones on and listen to the demo videos to hear for yourself. You might just agree that the original gold Tumnus can hold its own against all comers, the original Klon included. And remember, there are always alternatives.