The new Gamma Guitar pedals lineup features 6 effects of mythological proportions, yet offered at a humble price. Today we check out the entire series, and talk about tones.
The New GAMMA Guitar Pedals
Gamma Guitar Pedals: Who Is GAMMA?
GAMMA might seem like a new name to a lot of guitarists, but those of us that have been playing for a while definitely know the parent company. You see, GAMMA Guitar Pedals are made by Acoustic Control, which has been making amplifiers for a long time.
Acoustic Amplifiers made a name for themselves back in the 1960’s with the Acoustic 361 Bass Stack. This thing was an absolute unit, and those 360/361 models rivaled the famous Ampeg bass sound of the time, and stood out on stage. The Doors, Led Zeppelin, and Fleetwood Mac were all note-worthy players of Acoustic Amps.
So Acoustic Control was popular for bass amps, and eventually moved on to solid-state guitar amplification. But I think the name gets lost in translation, and the company realized this problem. I mean, you see “Acoustic” on the amp and you think “oh, that is for an acoustic guitar“.
So the GAMMA moniker became the new guitar amp series to avoid any confusion (although Acoustic does make amps for acoustic guitars). I can understand why the company changed the name around to something different. Plus, GAMMA has a really good ring to it!
GAMMA is the next step for Acoustic Amps, and it started with the GAMMA Amp combos. The GAMMA amplifier range was designed starting with the speaker first. The over-sized magnet means it doesn’t break up easily, giving you high-fidelity sound at any volume.
The idea, is to have a fantastic solid-state amp, with a powerful articulate speaker. The GAMMA amps are made to be raw power for your pedalboard, with no modeling technology to worry about. No effects, no amp models, just a dead-simple, solid-state guitar amplifier.
These amps are made especially for guitar, and the 50 watt variant is meant for the stage. These are a great budget option for guitarists that want an affordable solid-state amp, but without all of the added features and effects of the Katana or Line 6 Catalyst. GAMMA is totally analog, which is rare these days.
Unlike something like the BOSS Katana, there are no USB ports or updates with the GAMMA Amp series. The Gamma Series is simple, offering you plenty of power with an amazing “True Blue” speaker. Acoustic realizes that most of the tone from your amp relies on the speaker, so that is where the design really shines.
The new GAMMA Guitar Pedals are designed to work perfectly with the G-series amps, or ANY amp that takes pedals well. Clearly, if you make the “ultimate pedal amp” then you should probably make some pedals to go with that amp right?
Just like the GAMMA Amplifier Series, these pedals are no-nonsense and affordable. Each pedal takes a moniker from mythology, and these pedals act accordingly to the colorful, creative names. The Hades for instance, is a heavy distortion made to chug.
So today we are going to check out each pedal, and go over what each one does in detail. GAMMA Guitar Pedals are following the same budget-friendly creed as the amp series. These are solid, professional pedals that are a steal at the price they are going for, with classic sounds that we all know well.
While the sounds are classic, GAMMA has added some extra features to make the pedals stand out from the myriad of pedals that are similar. Each one does something really cool, as well as the effect that you are expecting.
So let’s dive in, and check out all of the new GAMMA Guitar Pedals, starting with what they all have in common. Then we will dive into each one, and talk about how they sound. But we will also look at how they can be used creatively.
GAMMA Guitar Pedals: Overview
“Featuring crafted blends of carefully selected components, expertly engineer circuits, a classic full-size
chassis, rugged metal knobs, all-metal construction, and a pristine metal flake paint finish, the six
GAMMA Guitar Effects Pedals provide guitarists with a new palette of sounds that can be used for stage, studio and song-crafting inspiration.”
I can really appreciate simplicity these days. While I think gadgets like the Line 6 Helix are great, and can be valuable studio tools, sometimes it is nice to just have a few great sounding pedals and an amplifier. We recently talked about how there is some intangible, mystical appeal to analog gear, and clearly there is some truth to that.
Don’t get me wrong, I like just about any tool that can be used to get guitar tones. If a pedal does it for me in the moment, then so be it. The same can be said when it comes to amp sims, and even “capturing” gear like the Neural Amp Modeler. I will use just about anything to get the sound I hear in my head.
All of the GAMMA Guitar pedals have a full-size chassis, which is something I can appreciate since I have big feet. The mini-style pedals come in handy if you want a compact board, but anything over a size 12 shoe will cause chaos to ensue on stage!
Otherwise, these pedals are dead-simple when it comes to how they work. Each one has a metal chassis, metal knobs, and 9V battery or power supply option. Additionally, all pedals feature mono audio input and output, with buffered bypass for consistent tone in any setup.
Before you mention “why not true bypass?”… let me address that. True bypass is really neat, but many players prefer a buffer. Especially if you are mixing pedals with something like a Helix rack, or AxeFX. I promise you, your guitar signal will not suffer.
You’re probably using a wireless rig on stage anyway. Worrying about true bypass these days is a little silly. I don’t care, as long as the pedal sounds good!
If you have the GAMMA G25 or G50 amplifier, then you know that those amps are built for being a perfect pedal platform. Finally, we have simple and affordable pedals that are meant to work well with the GAMMA amplifiers!
But the GAMMA Guitar pedals would also work well with any amp that handles pedals well, and the first thing that came to my mind was the BOSS Katana. Especially for those of us that like to run modulation pedals through the FX loop, something that is unfortunately lacking from the GAMMA amps.
So what does each pedal do? That is exactly what we are going to go over today! I really wanted to do a review for each pedal, but these all dropped at the same time. And again, all of the GAMMA guitar pedals are pretty simple, and focused on tone. So let’s check them out!
The GAMMA Guitar Pedals Lineup: Sounds And Features
Each of the GAMMA Guitar Pedals lineup offers a unique spin on classic effects. Like I said, it is nice to have multi-effects pedals, but sometimes it can be nice to just have a simple pedal. Something you can dial in, and rely on during a gig or studio session.
All six GAMMA Guitar pedals put together would give you a huge tonal canvas. You can have anything from a singing, super hot lead tone, to a glassy chorus clean sound. GAMMA really thought about everything, covering all of the basics.
Editor’s Note: While there are a lot of different ways to use these pedals, I always recommend trying the pedals in front of the amp, as well as through the FX loop. When it comes to modulation in particular, like delay and chorus. Some pedals work fine in front of the amp, but most modulation sounds better in the FX loop.
So there are a lot of different ways to use these pedals. But what makes them special, other than the budget price? Just like the G-Series amps, a lot of thought went into the “quality” of each pedal. These may seem basic at first glance, but each pedal has a little bit of a “twist”.
GAMMA Guitar Pedals: Overdrive & Distortion
I think the GAMMA guitar pedals lineup has tried to cover all of the bases when it comes to tone. The overdrive and distortion options go from basic and light, all the way to heavy chugging. There seems to be something for everyone, no matter what genre you play.
ATLAS Boosted Overdrive
Kicking off the new GAMMA guitar pedals, is the ATLAS Overdrive. It seems like everyone is trying to make TS9 copies these days, or a KLON-like pedal. Honestly, this has been done to death, and I am glad that GAMMA took a different route.
Featuring classic Level, Tone and Drive controls, plus a Boost switch that pushes low frequencies
and adds more high-end bite to the drive sound, the ATLAS Boosted Overdrive’s distortion preserves your
dynamics and articulation, and is nicely responsive to volume, tone and pickup adjustments you make
on your guitar.
So yes, you can absolutely use the ATLAS like a TS9, and use it to “clean up” the flub from your heavy chugging amp sounds. But the ATLAS is better used with a clean amp in my opinion. You can use the Atlas a lot like a Blues Driver, but with more articulation and transparency.
The Boost will make the difference here. With the boost off, sure, you can use it in front of your 5150 or Mesa to clean up the bass frequencies. But I think using it as a stand-alone OD with the boot is a much better option. Let me explain…
The ATLAS would be perfect for anyone that plays on the clean channel often, or with just a little bit of dirt. Then you kick on the Atlas for a louder, dynamic solo tone. Likewise, you could use the Atlas as your “dirty” sound, and “stack gain” on top of it!
This is a deceptively simple overdrive, that has a lot of potential uses. It is really up to the player, and what type of music you play or your personal style. But I would use it as a “solo boost” primarily, since it retains so much of your amp’s character with the Boost option engaged.
The BACCHUS Dynamic Driver
If the ATLAS is just a little too tame for you, and you need to add some extra gain to your solos, then the BACCHUS Dynamic Driver is what you are seeking. While the ATLAS is much more subtle when it comes to overdrive, mimicking a tube amp overdrive, the BACCHUS is a step up when it comes to gain.
The BACCHUS is a versatile overdrive with wide-ranging Level, Tone and Drive controls,
plus a Fat switch for those times when you want a little more low-frequency push. Go from smooth
blues through dynamic crunch to full-bore distortion, while reflecting all the nuance of your individual
playing style, guitar choice, and pickup configuration.
So the BACCHUS works a lot like the ATLAS, but you have some more gain on tap. In fact, you could combine the two and get some really cool sounds with the Boost/Fat switches engaged. This is exactly what I mean by “stacking gain”.
I think the BACCHUS would great for someone using an already “dirty” sound, but maybe you need a little more gain for the chorus of a song, or for a solo. If you throw this on top of an already saturated gain tone, you can kick it to the next level whenever you want.
I would have a clean tone on my amp, then stack the ATLAS for dirty tones, and then have the BACCHUS on my board to really kick things into high gear for solos. Dynamics are important, whether it is on stage or in the studio, and stacking gain can make songs very interesting for your listeners.
But the GAMMA guitar pedals range doesn’t stop there! If this is just not enough gain for you, there is one more option that you can use to stack, or just use it all by itself…
HADES Metal Distortion
The GAMMA HADES Distortion has all the gain you could possibly need, and it would work well with the ATLAS or the BACCHUS if you wanted to stack the gain to the point of having 4 different tones, clean all the way to Metal.
The HADES empowers you to add aggressive yet articulate distortion to your guitar sound arsenal, with a particularly wide range of MID cut/boost for great tonal versatility. It’s the ideal choice when it’s time to unleash the “dark arts” of high gain, whether you’re chugging and palm muting, shredding intricate solos, or delivering soaring melody lines.
Level and Drive control and three knob EQs allows you to carve your ideal sound — from death-and-doom to hyper-speed shred. The EQ has plenty of mid sweep to get that classic Pantera sound, all the way to modern Djent.
In a lot of ways, the HADES reminds me a lot of the BOSS Metal Zone, since it has a vast amount of EQ options. Like the Metal Zone, I think this pedal might sound great through the FX loop of your amp, since Ola Englund found out about this trick!
Ola proved that the Metal Zone is not a “terrible” guitar pedal at all, it just needed to be used a certain way. It sounded better in the FX loop of the amp, and sometimes… that is exactly what a pedal needs. Maybe the GAMMA is completely different, it just reminds me of the Metal Zone with the EQ.
But like the other GAMMA guitar pedals, articulation is the key here. A lot of guitar distortion pedals can muddy-up your tone. But again, you could totally gain stack the HADES with other distortion sources. However, I think it would be best used with a clean sound.
Using a clean sound, you can have the EQ dialed in a totally different way, and then kick on the HADES for added bass, mids, or highs. You have a lot of options to dial in a really crazy tone that can be used for rhythm chugs, or a boosted solo sound for shredding.
Note: Since the Hades has a full EQ section, it would probably work really well with bass guitar as well. You could easily dial out any frequencies like the low end, and get a killer Metal bass tone.
GAMMA Guitar Pedals: Modulation & Reverb
Modulation and reverb was not left out of the new Gamma guitar pedals lineup, and what we get is some really cool ideas. I would say to definitely experiment with these, and try them in front of the amp, as well as through the FX loop. It really depends on your amp, and what kind of tone you are after.
GAMMA guitar pedals have mixed up modern designs, with some vintage technology. This makes these pedals a bit of a “hybrid”. This also means you have a lot of tonal options in all three of these pedals. So let’s check out what each one does, and how they do it!
CUMULUS 3-Way Reverb
I use reverb for just about every clean tone and solo tone, no matter what my setup may be. It seems like reverb just really glues everything together for my sound. I particularly love a single coil guitar with a clean amp, with a dash of tasteful reverb.
The CUMULUS 3-Way Reverb allows you to add inspiring ambience to your guitar sound, with a choice
of three classic flavors of reverb with Mix, Tone and Decay controls. In the Studio setting, it emulates a
crafted recording studio space, with a well-controlled decay that avoids muddying up your sound.
In the Spring setting, it emulates the splash and bounce of the spring reverb hardware of vintage guitar amps from the 50’s. The Plate setting emulates the sound of a classic studio plate reverb, for smooth, mellow ambience that sits in the mix.
The CUMULUS reverb pedal is deceptive at first glance, with just three knobs and a switch. But there are a TON of different sounds that you can dial in on this pedal. In fact, this may be the perfect reverb for me, personally.
Like I said, I LOVE reverb, but I use different types of reverb when I am recording. For example, I may use a spring reverb with a Strat for a tone that sounds more vintage. But for solos, I would use the “Studio” setting on the CUMULUS to push my lead tone into the stratosphere. Plate reverb will sit in the mix, and add some ethereal ambience to your tone.
All three of these settings are controlled with the big metal knobs. Which means there are endless combinations when you flip through the three different reverb types. This is something that you usually only see on boutique-style pedals that easily cost twice this much.
EROS Clean Chorus
When you think about chorus, most guitarists think about the 80’s. It was everywhere back then, and bands like Def Leppard used it on clean guitar to get a big, swirly sound. Lots of bands used the Roland Jazz Chorus amps back then to get that signature sound.
GAMMA guitar pedals have a slightly different approach than Roland, when it comes to function. Sure, you can get that huge swirl-like sound out of the EROS, if you want. But it also does a little bit more than just that one, single sound.
The EROS Clean Chorus allows you to add bold or gentle modulation to your guitar sound. At low Depth
settings, Eros’ classic chorus effect adds subtle richness that’s perfect for thickening up a solo or adding
character and bounce to a rhythm guitar tone.
High Depth or Speed settings transform your guitar tone into a richly modulated wash of sound. Level, Depth and Speed controls are also provided for sound-sculpting precision. This sound is making a comeback, especially when it comes to Indie Rock and Shoe-Gaze.
Chorus was almost blasphemy among guitarists for quite a while, and I am glad to see it be welcomed by younger guitarists with open arms. The EROS allows you to get that huge wash-out sound if that’s what you are looking for, but I think the lower settings are much more interesting.
At lower settings, you can get that awesome Black Label Society tone, which makes harmonics and squeals really stand out. The lower “Speed” settings would blend well, even with heavy distortion to get those tones that sound so unique and wide.
NARCISSUS Warm Delay
Last but absolutely not least, is the final piece in the new GAMMA guitar pedals lineup. The NARCISSUS Warm delay takes a few hints from original, discrete delay technology. Old-school delay pedals used very specific “bucket brigade” technology, and analog delay sounds VERY different than digital.
Stereo delay, and other forms of digital delay have a specific sound, where the repeats are almost as loud as the notes you are currently playing. This works fine for stuff like 16th notes, or anything that needs quick delay. Think about The Edge from U2, as he was an early adopter of digital gear.
The NARCISSUS Warm Delay allows you to add inspiring echoes to your guitar sound, with a tone
quality reminiscent of classic “bucket brigade” delay units of the past. The delay chip at the heart of this
pedal provides echoes that get darker with each repeat, helping to ensure that the ambience Narcissus
creates doesn’t obscure the new notes you are playing, as echoes of previous notes are fading away.
And when it’s time to get spacey, cranking up the echoes knob to the max will take you into self-
oscillation as your saturated echoes build into a dark and distortion-rich pulse of throbbing sound. Level,
Echoes and Time controls are provided for sculpting the perfect sound.
This means the NARCISSUS is perfect for solos, as it will add a haunting ambience to your lead tones. But I could also see myself using this pedal with my analog synths! It can be hard to find a truly analog delay based on the bucket brigade setup, without breaking the bank.
GAMMA Guitar Pedals: Price Guide
All of the GAMMA guitar pedals are under $100, and that is a relief these days. It seems like the pedal market continually goes up and down. The boutique side of the pedal market can be absolutely insane when it comes to prices, so it is nice to see GAMMA keeping things “on brand” and budget-friendly.
I have seen boutique pedals that do much less, for more than twice the price. Just like guitars, the theory of diminishing returns definitely applies. The fact that all of the GAMMA pedals are packed with features for a budget price is an outstanding move.
These are pro pedals, not something like you find on Amazon for $40. It is so nice to see more companies join the budget-friendly gang, and Acoustic Control is a trusted brand. GAMMA didn’t just come out of nowhere, they have a great legacy.
GAMMA Guitar Pedals: Wrapping Up…
I really like all of the new GAMMA guitar pedals, and I am eager to do a deep dive on these. I would like to eventually do a review on each one on our new YouTube channel that is coming soon! These are great budget options for guitarists looking to build a versatile pedalboard.
Likewise, if you already have the GAMMA G50 guitar amp, any of these pedals can be used to really fill out your tones. That amp was made for gigging, and using pedals specifically. Acoustic Control has really put a lot of though into rebranding into GAMMA.
As I said at the very beginning of this article, Acoustic Amps have been a great budget choice for a long time. The company has a rich legacy, yet never really reached the status of Ampeg or Marshall. Acoustic Amps has almost been an “insider” secret, and all of the pros know the brand.
These GAMMA guitar pedals are an excellent addition, and I like that just about every tone you could need is covered. I would love to see GAMMA make a good looper pedal to round out the collection, as most “good” looper pedals are pretty expensive.
But as a start, GAMMA seems to have thought of the basics, without coming off as “basic”. These are not boring, one-dimensional pedals that you find online for $40. Each one of these pedals have loads of options that can be used for any genre of music.
My personal favorite is the NARCISSUS, and I would love to do a deep dive testing it with both my guitar, and my synthesizer collection! There is a lot to like with each of the GAMMA pedals. So if you are looking for “boutique on a budget” then these pedals might be right up your alley!
Christoper HortonChristopher has been playing guitar, bass, and piano for 28 years. He has been active in the professional music industry for over two decades. Chris has toured for years with several bands and music projects across the United States. He worked in Los Angeles as a studio musician and engineer working with many genres, but mainly Pop, Rock, and Metal. In between giving private lessons, he is usually recording under his various projects at home in Georgia. Christopher plays Schecter Guitars, BOSS Amplifiers, and uses STL Tones in the studio.
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