Wampler Pedals has earned itself place at the top table of ‘boutique’ style stompbox pedal manufacturers and its small and dedicated workforce continues to produce pedals that are designed to inspire guitarists in their never ending quest for great tone. Built exclusively in the USA, Wampler pedals are used by a diverse selection of top players including Brad Paisley, Guthrie Govan, Neal Schon and Dweezil Zappa.
Part of Wampler’s A.I.A.B (Amp in a Box) range the Pinnacle and Pinnacle Deluxe are designed to emulate the so-called ‘brown sound’ that is forever associated with a certain Eddie Van Halen, who, back in the day, was reported to have cranked his Marshall head with a Variac voltage transformer, telling people he had increased the mains voltage to ‘watch the tubes fry’. Except it wasn’t true. What he actually did was to lower the input voltage, run the Marshall into a dummy load and use it as a pre-amp to drive some MOS-FET power amps to run his Marshall cabs. A lot of Marshall heads were fried by people who were after the sound they’d heard on the first few VH albums and who had followed his bogus advice.
Now, there’s an easier way. The Pinnacle Deluxe is a four knob stompbox that can produce everything from mild overdrive, scooped mid or warm mids distortion all the way through to the all-out, high-gain aforementioned ‘brown sound’. As well as Gain and Volume, the Pinnacle Deluxe features a Tone knob and a Contour control as well as a Vintage/Modern toggle switch. The Deluxe version adds the Boost function on a footswitch rather than a toggle on the standard version and other difference is that it has an additional, internal volume adjustment.
Plugging in the Pinnacle Deluxe immediately reveals a huge difference between the Vintage and Modern modes. Vintage produces darker tones that are ideal for rock or crunch rhythms as you would expect while the Modern is a bit cleaner with a lot more presence. There’s also a vast range of distortion levels available from the Gain control while the Contour is a super functional mid-shaper that can be fine-tuned to define your style of music. All through the demo, apart from the impressive range of sounds, we were struck by how ‘fat’ everything sounded, like a thick soup of tone. Brown indeed.