As if 2020 could not possibly get any stranger, popular online retail giant Amazon has released their own line of guitar pedals starting at under $30. The burning question is: Are they any good?
Well, this is awkward. This whole week I have been talking about guitar pedals, and building your own pedalboard. Of course many of these pedals and devices that I suggest are from boutique companies and long-time guitar pedal companies with a big reputation.
I make a ton of jokes about how Amazon sells literally everything under the sun. I can honestly say I did not see this one coming at all. At least, not until I really started thinking about it.
AmazonBasics sells all kinds of essential items like bookbags, batteries, phone chargers, computer cases, and even clothes. The company initially launched it’s own brand over the past couple of years, to mixed reviews. Most of these products are pretty average while also being bargain.
So it comes as a little bit of a surprise that Amazon has it’s own line of guitar pedals. But then again, not really. Not if you’ve been paying attention..
Amazon Guitar Pedals: A Little History…
So AmazonBasics having it’s own line of guitar pedals may seem a little strange at first, but if you have kept up with their inventory over the years, it really isn’t strange at all. The website has always sold off-brand, Chinese made guitar gear. You just had to search for it.
These brands are all over the place with names: Best Choice Products, LYx Pro, Donner, and a whole slew of other brands that probably all come from the same place/factory. Most of these products sport the same designs and features, just under a different brand name. Or lack thereof.
In fact, you can find a bunch of these same exact products on Wish.com. The problem with ordering from Wish, is that the products ship directly from China in most cases, and that can take weeks to arrive at your doorstep.
Along with the actual guitars usually listed, comes accessories and effects pedals. I have watched plenty of reviews on these affordable pedals from Wish, and I have even considered ordering a couple just to try them out. Some are as low as $17.
Wait. How does Amazon connect to Wish?
About a year ago, I started seeing the same products popping up on Amazon frequently. The problem was keeping the pedals and other gear in stock. These were selling faster than Amazon could acquire them, especially since they did not come with a long wait time for shipping.
What’s the solution then? Make your own brand based on the same devices, of course!
Amazon Guitar Pedal Lineup: Features
AmazonBasic’s new lineup consists of just about every type of pedal you need to get started. These all qualify for one day shipping from Amazon Prime. The list is pretty impressive, actually:
- Delay (Mono)
Let’s talk about the features of these pedals, because for the price it appears you’re actually getting a lot. These may be affordable but they don’t seem “cheap” at all. Amazon describes them as “durable” and “rugged”.
These are all technically “mini pedals” that take up a small footprint on your pedalboard. Some people love these smaller sized pedals. People (Me) with big feet loathe them.
Beyond their small size, they feature some things that more expensive pedals also offer:
Aluminum Construction: That’s right, these are actual metal housings. Usually budget pedals are made of plastic that can easily break.. considering it’s made for stepping on. The housing also has no-slip rubber feet on the bottom. Each pedal also has a built-in LED indicator light that is built in.
Simple Operation: None of these pedals seem to have any extra features or knobs. The Looper only has one knob, while the others have your basic, standard controls for each type of pedal.
True Bypass: This is a feature you usually only see on name brand guitar pedals. True bypass means that when switching the circuits on and off, it creates a direct signal to your amp without degradation of the sound/tone of your guitar. Personally, I have never really cared about true bypass features, but other guitarists will disagree. Especially those that have a massive pedalboard.
AC Adaptor Powered: I looked everywhere to see if these took a 9V battery, and I could not come up with the answer. However, they are marketed as being powered by an AC adaptor, so I suppose that is you only choice. This makes sense given their small size.
The Possible Cons
There is some great potential here, but I have a few concerns. There is a lack of any type of Fuzz pedal, which guitar players are fond of. Players from Classic Rock, Punk, and Doom Metal use Fuzz in their rigs.
I checked out the features for the Looper pedal, and there is not a time listed for how long of a loop you can create. Most loopers start around the 30 second mark, while more expensive offerings can loop much longer. The one button design can easily get confusing as well.
Being AC powered only may be a turn off for some people that prefer 9V battery operation over having a power source. Some people say it affects the sound, while others just don’t want any extra mess on the floor that comes with adapters and power sources.
So Are These Pedals Worth It?
That’s a tough question. I’m awfully tempted to spend a little cash and try these little guys out. I haven’t seen a ton of reviews yet for the line, but the few that have been posted are generally positive.
Personally, I am interested in the tuner. The display is pretty large, and looks great for the low price that they are advertising. It certainly seems like a good deal.
I guess it all depends on your budget. To some people, $30 is a good bit of money to drop on what may be a middle of the road quality pedal. For others, this is the perfect price to buy a couple and try them out with your rig.
I’ll leave you with Fluff’s review of the overdrive pedal, and let you make up your own mind.
So these are totally re-branded pedals made by NUX. It was proven in a video by Gear Gods that the actual circuitry is all NUX branded. This makes sense when we look at the history of most of these products.
That doesn’t discount what it does as a pedal, or what any of them do. It’s still pretty cool.