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The Wonderful Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe Distortion Pedal

by vaughn skow May 02, 2012 2 min read

Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe

Fellow tone travelers I come to you in peace!  Like all of you, I’m a pedal lover from way back.  My first pedal was an MXR Phase 90 that I bought when I was about 15.  I walked into Lusk Music in Jackson, MN with about $80 in one-dollar bills and another twenty in change; I had literally saved up for months to buy that pedal!  Today, overdrive/distortion pedals are my main floor-bound addiction.  I just counted, and as of today, I own 27 "dirt" pedals; from simple tube-screamer types to complex modeling jobs to a vintage 60’s Dallas Arbiter Fuzz Face.  Big, little, fat or small ... I’ve loved them all!   Most of my pedals come to me pre-loved from pawn shops, eBay, etc.  Recently, I actually acquired a brand-spankin new Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe distortion pedal that belongs to the coveted class of pedals broadly classified as "boutique".  In a nutshell, this gem is hand made right here in the US of A.  Just like the good old days ... just like that old 1970’s Phase 90!

With her sparkly candy-apple red finish, she’s a looker to be sure, but I don’t buy my pedals based on looks (like I said, I have an original Fuzz Face; could anything be more ugly?), it’s all about the sound baybe; and this thing is Sweeeeeeet!  I’m used to dirt pedals broadly falling into one of two categories:

  1. A one-trick-pony that does what it does great, but doesn’t have a lot of versatility. And,
  2. A jack-of-all-trades that does a lot, but does nothing in a spectacular manner.

The pinnacle deluxe is pretty feature-rich, so it would be fair to assume that it falls into the latter category, but that is so not the case.  In "vintage" mode with the mid-scooping "contour" control off and the tone & gain set fair-to-middlen, it delivers one of the tastiest TS-808 flavors you’ll ever hear.  Switch to "modern" mode, and crank up the contour control and it quickly goes into nu-metal land in a very sumptuous way, and everything in-between is a tone delicacy as well; it’s like a smorgasbord of fine caviar, no one tone stands out, they are all superb.  This pedal is famous for its ability to deliver Edward VanHalen’s "Brown Sound", and that it does deliver in spades.  Set to vintage mode, with a good bit of gain, the tone at high-noon and the contour barely cracked, it will nail classic David-lee Roth era VanHalen; and it’s superbly touch-sensitive too, cleaning up nicely with a reduction in picking intensity or a rolling back of the guitar’s volume control.  The added clean boost is simply the icing on this very delicious cake.  Tell ya what, I’m gonna shut up now and let my buddy Brad Sample put the Pinnacle Deluxe through some trial laps:

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This weeks "outside" blog recommendation this week is, as you may have guessed Wampler’s: Check it out! Be sure to sign up for their newsletter, too, as they give away a pedal every month to a newsletter subscriber!!!

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