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Ask Strymon: What’s Your Desert Island Pedal?

Hypothetical situation: You’re stranded on a desert island. Sounds like a pretty bad situation to be in, right? Lucky for you, you’ve managed to shipwreck with your favorite amp and guitar intact! Maybe it’s that vintage 70s Les Paul and your old Marshall half-stack, or maybe a shiny new PRS Silver Sky and Iridium with your favorite pair of headphones! You also, weirdly enough, have electricity to power all of your gear.

Sadly, only one of your pedals survived the voyage onto the island with you.

If you had to pick which one managed to make it to shore with you, which would you pick, and why? 

We’d genuinely love to know, so please let us know in the comments below!

If you, like me, are curious as to what the folks here at Strymon would choose as their desert island pedals, wonder no longer — I bugged a few of them into answering that question for me and our blog readers! Let’s see what they had to say.

“If I had to choose one, I’d say Deco because of its wide sonic palatte being able to provide drive, modulation, and delay effects all from one pedal.  Plus, you can apply its effects to all sorts of audio signals, not just guitar.  Everyone should experience Deco’s Wide-Stereo mode at least once!  It is definitely utilitarian, but I also think that Deco is one of the best looking pedals of all time.” 

— Hugo, Customer Support Manager

“I mainly play bass, so a compressor might be the only pedal I’d need. With Compadre, I’d have all the compression I’d want, with the bonus of boost and a little bit of overdrive just in case. Plus, it was the first pedal I worked on so I’m a little sentimental about it.”

— Matt A., Electrical Engineer

​​”My desert island guitar pedal is hands down Deco. I’m a big fan of the 70s classic rock tone, and Deco can achieve that no matter what amp or PA that I’m plugged into. I love the unique, nostalgic sound, and could probably spend my entire time on a desert island playing “Free Bird” to my heart’s content.”

— Victoria, Customer Support Rep

“When I think of my favorite pedals one of them is one I seldom actually take out of the box and use, except when I play weird gigs! I love my MoogerFooger ring mod! I connect an expression pedal to control the frequency, and at very low frequencies it becomes a really lovely tremolo effect (since ring mod is audio-rate amplitude modulation). It’s fun to have that smooth continuous range from strange and aggressive to gorgeous tremolo under my foot.”

— Matt P., Videographer/Copywriter

“I would have to go with the classic Ibanez Tube Screamer. It was one of the first pedals I ever used because it was so simple. I loved using it live because it just made everything aggressive and covered up all the mistakes I would make.”

— Austin, Customer Support Rep

“If I could only have one pedal for the rest of my life it would be Flint. It’s basically very versatile. In my opinion it can be utilized nicely in so many genres including country, jazz, pop, rock, and R&B. I used it the other day on “Down By the River,” Neil Young. It sounded good!”

— Darlene, Human Resources

“My desert island pedal is Volante. I just love the era of the late 60s and early 70s and tape/magnetic media related artifacts in particular. This isn’t just true of delay effects – I am obsessed with Mellotrons as well! I initially used it primarily to emulate the Echorec sounds, but as I used it more, I particularly valued the rhythmic possibilities of the multihead controls regardless of the voicing. I also like to use a lot of wow and flutter – it has so much more character than a clean delay or a chorused delay.”

— Mark, Product Development

“I’d have to go with a Strymon TimeLine. A desert island is a lonely place, so a pedal that can create wildly diverse moods and offer lots of room for exploration is key!”

— Pete, DSP & Sound Design

And now for my desert island pedal pick! I’m a gear minimalist myself, so armed with just my 60s style Les Paul Classic and ‘65 Fender Princeton reissue, I can cover a lot of ground. 

With that in mind, I have to go with Sunset as my desert island pedal of choice! My obvious bias aside, to me Sunset is the ultimate overdrive. It has all the flavors I need for what I like to cook — want a transparent, light overdrive? Texas and Ge have you covered. A chunky clean boost to push my small tube amp into a natural overdrive, or boost a certain part of a song? Sunset’s JFET circuit handles that splendidly. Want crunchy, reactive distortion that can be amp-like at times, and borderline fuzz when you need it? Sunset serves that up easily with its 2 stage and hard circuits. 

Between that, its built-in noise reduction, and the ability to stack and route the A and B side of the pedal every and each way, I have enough permutations to keep myself occupied for a long time if stranded!

So now we want to know: what’s your desert island pick? Is it your elaborate all-in-one digital multi-effects that gives you 300 effects and amps, or maybe that humble Boss DS-1 that you bought at the pawn shop when you were 13? Something else? We’d love to know!

If you have questions about these or any other Strymon products, don’t hesitate to reach out to us at [email protected].

Have an idea for a blog or a question about Strymon, our products, or effects in general? Let us know in the comments below!

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17 Responses

  1. +1 on Deco! Versatile, could def keep me busy and the drive is the closest thing to an “always-on”.

    I’m fond of saying that it is the LAST pedal I would ever get rid of!

  2. I guess if it’s a dessert island no one will complain if I crank it up for some grind. So I’d need a BigSky.

  3. I am blown away by the fact noone picked the best pedal ever, the El Capistan! Sounds gorgeous, in mono or stereo, and super simple to dial in. That one is glued to my rig forever!

  4. My Volante is my desert island pedal! Love it! Love the Plate setting on my blue sky though and want to get a Deco.

  5. Voy por volante. Sin lugar a dudas es un tremendo pedal. Mi strato + iridium + volante, combinación perfecta. Lo siento mucho por Mr. flint pero volante es mucho más que un pedal. Imaginación sobrará en esa isla y volante explota esa área como ninguno lo hace…!!

  6. I’ve had the Flint since it was released and it stays on my board no matter how many times it is reconfigured.

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