Strymon has taken over the world.

From their humble beginnings with the huge Damage Control pedals that no one was quite sure what they were, to Damage Control pedals crushing the competition (both in sound quality and by, well, literally crushing them…in fact, the other day I found a Malekko pedal I forgot I had…been hidden under my Timeline for years), to being the company that can put out a blasted Leslie Sim pedal (a Leslie Sim, folks!), and have it sell out in 2 hours. I don’t even care if they only made like, 10 of them. Name me one other company that can sell 10 rotating speaker simulator pedals in a week, let alone 2 hours.

And of course, as is my custom here, they were too popular for me to have on my board. It’s true. Boss DD20? Didn’t like it until everyone started selling theirs. Tim pedal? Loved it until everyone started owning one. Then I sold mine. Yep. Of course, I do want a Tim pedal again, and now I am officially a Gear Page guitarist with a Strymon pedal on my board. (Oh wait, I need a Pharaoh Fuzz now, too. Blast…I’ll never be cool enough. ;) You know, I am certain there are psychology classes out there where the entire semester’s assignment is just to read the posts on Gear Page. It’s a strange and frightening world over there.) And that Strymon pedal is probably not going anywhere for a while.

Onwards! (What?)

The Clean Tone

Godin SD fat strat–>Fryette Valvulator pushing the signal through my Loop-Master’s (all disengaged except where noted)–>Matchless HC30–>65 Amps birch cab–>Celestion Blue mic’d

Pedals Used

–Strymon Brigadier
–Fulltone Fatboost
–Damage Control Timeline
–Arion SAD-1

Possible Biases

–I got this for cheap and wanted to make some money on it.

–But it does look lovely

–It’s still too popular for my tastes

–But I’ve used it live the last week, and in between songs I pretended to mess with knob settings so that I could lick it.

The Demo

Just a gorgeous pedal. (Also, 1,000 points to anyone who counted how many times I said ‘Let the pedal do what it will.’ Yikes. Learn some more phrases, homeslice. And ya, that is for some reason how I refer to myself.) I did not expect that sound when I first plugged in. I have not heard a delay that stays out of the way of your guitar like this one. And of course, I have not heard a delay decay so perfectly into a reverby lushness since the DC Timeline.

The Good

–Amazing modulation.

–Great sound; not fully digital, not fully analog-sounding. It’s its own thing, and I dig it.

–The ability to have a preset is an added bonus.

–That perfect Strymon/DC decay.

–Spillover, and controls that interact with the spillover while the pedal is off.

–Great sounding bypass, even with spillover. Sounds almost completely transparent, and just like the Timeline’s spillover bypass sounds.

–Infinite repeats and oscillation. Most delays have either one or the other, or it’s very difficult to find the exact setting on the knob where it infinitely repeats before going into oscillation.

–Once again, and most companies don’t seem to think about this, but the ‘weight’ to the decayed notes is just rad. Timeline, Replica, and now Strymon…have that weight. Think of it as most delayed stuff as the cgi in most movies…balloon-like, and you can tell there’s no weight to the animation. And the Brig is like the Christopher Nolan of delays; when it wants to get the effect of a fight scene in a rotating room, he builds a rotating room. Hence, the scene looks real and has weight. That’s the Brigadier.

–Looks like a champ.

–Contrary to what I’ve heard from most folks, I actually liked the weird modulation that happens to the delay while you tap a new tempo.

The Bad

–This is only the second delay (Empress SuperDelay being the other one) I have ever owned where the tap tempo is on the left, and the on/off is on the right. Timeline, Replica, DD20, Timefactor…all have the tap on the right, and the on/off on the left. Which makes sense to me; on/off switch at the end of the circuit by the output jack. This isn’t a big deal, but it has taken some getting used to…especially with a Timeline and DD20 on my board also.

–To access the filter control, you have to hold both switches, and then the Bucket Loss knob becomes the filter knob. Just seems odd to me, and difficult to do.

–I do wish the favorite switch was on the actual pedal, rather than having to get an external one, but I am not a tech and have no idea how difficult that may have actually been to do.

The Verdict

If you’ve ever wanted an analog delay, but needed the versatility and features of a digital delay, then the Brigadier is the ticket. (Bringing back the Jon Lovitz. Yep.) If you’ve ever wanted a delay that says, ‘That’s okay, you just play…I’ll sit in the corner and quietly make you sound good,’ then this is the ticket. If you’ve ever wished like crazy, like I have, for a pedal that you can hit at the ends of phrases to wash your decay out into oblivion, it’s also the ticket. And if you’ve ever wanted modulation that says, ‘Here I am world. Love me.’ Then this is it. Now, if you’re looking for crisp digital delay, this would not be it. But give it a shot. At least give it the chance to tell you that no…you’re in fact actually not looking for crisp digital delay. You’re looking for this.


(So…Jon Lovitz was in Three Amigos, and it made me think of Chevy Chase. And guitars. Ya, there’s not a while lotta logic to it. But…how can you go wrong with that picture?)

And for the record, this is of course a digital delay. But it doesn’t sound like a digital delay. Neither however, does it sound exactly like an analog delay. I think Strymon has succeeded in bringing a new delay player to the table; one you never would’ve known you needed. But you so do. I’ll be keeping this as my ambient machine, that also has the ability to have tap tempo a favorite switch plugged into it, where I can store a preset of just regular delay timed delay to use with the tap tempo. Totally takes away my reasoning for not being able to get just an ambient delay because it doesn’t do anything else and I am poor and need things to do many things. It doesn’t get much better than this. Sure, I’m a little late to the party, but I’m also pretty proud of myself for being able to wait a year and buy this for a reasonable price, rather than for a 150% markup. Very un-me-like. Oh, and also, if you want to buy it…now that the heat has died down a little and they actually stay in stock for a bit, go here…Strymon. It won’t make you a rockstar, but……oh, who am I kidding. Yes, it will make you a rockstar.

Splendid.
Karl.

P.S. Free albums!! I’m still not sure exactly how much crossover this site should have with my ambient music, but for now, it’s still happening. So apologies to those of you that hate that; but here it goes. The support for this new venture has been really astounding for me; not earth-shattering by a long shot, but more than I expected! So I’m just kind of running it out and seeing where it goes!

To that end, and to say thanks, I’m giving away some free albums to folks that may like the ambient stuff. Please go to:

karlverkade.com

…for details. Thanks again, guys.