Brian Tarquin is a pretty prolific guy, but while he’s written music for CSI, Road Rules, Extra, Alias and other TV shows, I’m actually referring to his steady output of music production books. His latest is Stomp On This! The Guitar Pedal Effects Guidebook (Cengage Learning; $29.99) and in a nod to his prolificness (if that’s a word), it’s also subtitled “1st Edition.”
Stomp boxes have seen a resurgence in recent times, and no wonder: Everybody likes cool sounds and pedals provide a wonderfully tactile way to create them. They’re also collectible, which makes them ideal for folks with G.A.S. (gear-acquisition syndrome), and often look pretty wild as well. Tinkerers love to take them apart, tech guys love to hear how they were created, and anyone with a pedal always welcomes some insight into how to get the most out of it. With all those different audiences in mind, Stomp On This offers a little something for everyone.
Illustrated throughout with dozens of color photos, the book kicks off with a history of stomp boxes from the Sixties to today, focusing on specific brands and types of pedals along the way. Particular emphasis is paid to MXR, Roland’s Boss brand and Electro-Harmonix, the last of which I found fascinating as I recently picked up a Neo Mistress flanger. Out of curiosity, I thumbed through the index to see if the pedal was mentioned in the book—sure enough, it was there with a photo in the middle of a colorful chapter about founder Mike Matthews and his long-running company.
A middle section features a number of noted shredders, from Joe Satriani and Neal Schon to Robin Trower and Eric Johnson, among others. Each profile features input from the artists, ranging from them discussing their pedal board set-ups to what they use to get certain sounds.
The majority of the book, however, profiles no less than 40 different manufacturers, from big names like Line 6, TC Electronic, DigiTech, Moog and Zoom, down to boutique outfits like EarthQuaker, T Rex Effects and Circus Freak. The profiles vary from a paragraph to a few pages, but each comes with some background, a rundown of their most-popular effects and cool shots of pedals that will send you to the web to hear what they sound like, or just straight to your nearest guitar shop. Suffice it to say, if you’re one of those people who follow pedal board Tumblr blogs, this book is for you.
Stomp On This on Amazon