If you're looking for a list of boutique guitar pedal brands in the UK, you've come to the right place! Although Boost Guitar Pedals is a retailer of some of these UK pedal builders, this is a completely un-biased list.
I've made a concerted effort to list as many UK pedal builders as I can to make this a truly useful resource for everyone. Have I missed any? Probably! Let me know...
Guitar Pedals UK: A Golden Age
From super-high end build quality to forward-looking circuit topologies and eye-popping artwork, we’ve never had it so good. The British boutique pedal scene is currently enjoying a golden age, with seemingly endless releases of exciting and sought after pedals from established as well as new guitar pedal companies.
What Are The Origins Of Boutique Guitar Pedals In The UK?
The UK has been at the forefront of guitar effects pedal design since the 1960s, when pioneers including Roger Mayer created some of the first guitar pedals. Many of the earliest pedals were fuzz pedals, a primitive form of distortion. It was not long until fuzz was all over the airwaves, changing the course of musical history forever.
Mayer made his name as Jimi Hendrix's effects wizard, modding existing pedals and creating new designs such as the Octavia which went on to define Jimi's legendary sound.
Of course, the UK's influence didn't finish at the end of the 1960s, and other builders have built rock-solid reputations, perhaps none more so than Pete Cornish, who took on Mayer's mantle as pedal guru to the stars in the 1970s.
Fast-forward several decades and many boutique pedal builders today are still captivated by heritage circuits from the early days of the effects pedal, sourcing rare NOS components to replicate the originals as closely as possible. Others, meanwhile, prefer to focus on modern designs and new sounds.
Below you'll find a map of guitar pedal brands in the UK. The plan is to make it as comprehensive as possible, so I'll update it as often as I can.
Whether you're into vintage-correct Tone Benders or multi-clipping modern distortion, it's fair to say that the burgeoning guitar effects pedal scene in the UK has you covered!
Guitar Pedals: Made In Britain
Here's a small selection of UK-made guitar pedals worth checking out...
[product=fredric-effects-verzerrer] The Fredric Effects Verzerrer may be made in London, but it's based on the only cold war-era East German distortion pedal, originally produced in the 1960s and '70s. It veers from distortion into spitty fuzz and full on velcro mode and sounds remarkably unique.
"It’s just pure nastiness. This pedal nails the splutter-fuzz effect as well as any we’ve tried" - Guitarist Magazine December 2019 [/product]
[product=stompnorth-clipshear-getter-drive] Made in Scotland, Stompnorth's flagship Clipshear Getter Drive combines valve and MOSFET circuits with optional silicon and germanium clipping diodes to achieve a multitude of low to mid-gain tones. Stompnorth founder Duncan MacKinnon designed the Clipshear Getter Drive to be an integral part of your rig, an "always on" pedal that enhances your core tone. It provides up to 17dB of clean boost that can easily push the input of your valve amp. [/product]
[product=raygun-fx-dual-soda-drive] From Southend-on-Sea, the Raygun FX Dual Soda Drive+ is a super-flexible drive pedal which ranges from boost to dense distortion. It combines two Soda Drive+ circuits in a single pedal, with the option to run each channel independently or stack them for more tonal variation. Both channels have a 3-way toggle switch, allowing you to select from Dirty, Boost (less gain, more volume) or Fuzz (a germanium diode) modes. [/product]
[product=bleak-district-electric-antistatic] Bleak District Electric is based in Derbyshire. Phil has cleverly designed the Antistatic as a combined CMOS fuzz and micro-looper. It's a phenomenal little package that's great for experimental synth layers or expansive soundscapes: pair it with a good delay and/or reverb and you're good to go! [/product]
[product=tate-fx-raise-the-dead] Located just up the road from Boost Guitar Pedals HQ, the Tate FX Raise The Dead is a single-knob design based on a 1960s Colorsound fuzz. Founder Stuart is a stickler for attention to detail, and he has gone all out with the components for this pedal. After feedback from early versions, he has also included a small input transformer to simulate the inductance and resistance from a guitar pickup to allow it to work perfectly anywhere in a signal chain - particularly after buffered pedals. [/product]
Some parts were hard to find even before the chip shortage we're currently experiencing. The supply chain issues are affecting the entire electronics industry, and that includes us guitar pedal builders.
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from 109 reviews
The Bleak District Tapescape is one of the best delay and ambience style pedals ever invented. The controls are all intuitive but highly flexible, the sounds are rich and detailed, the modulation can go from dreamy to nightmarish very quickly, and all of that inside a small footprint with a low power requirement. It's difficult to get a bad sound out of it, honestly.
Add in that Boost shipped it out quickly and it arrived with a nice note written on the invoice, is there anything else you could ask for? Definitely will be buying more from both Boost and Bleak District in future.
I ordered a set of strings from Boost, that did not initially turn up. After contacting Boost via the website they immediately sent out another set (no questions asked). Both sets arrived a few days later (Thanks Royal Mail!). Boost were prompt in dealing with the issue (gave) me a set of strings and got things sorted out. Highly recommend you use these guys.
I didn’t know that particular manufacturer from Italy, but I definitely recommend their "Vintage Vibe”. It’s simple, intuitive, it looks awesome, the build quality seems impeccable, and most importantly, it sounds fantastic.
Really loving the range of organic tape sounds from the tapescape. Great build quality and a world of wobbly good times. Instant atmosphere as soon as you turn it in. Great small company from the UK, worth every penny