Tone Report Weekly Issue 80 - Page 25

A good ABY pedal is one of those invaluable, yet incredibly un-sexy, tools that should be in every guitarist’s toolbox. Few gear nerds develop lustful feelings towards these typically unadorned little boxes, but overlooking the power of such a simple, utilitarian device is a big mistake. The basic function of an ABY is to split an audio signal, such as the output of an electric guitar, sending it to two different destinations at once, and letting the user select between using one at a time, or both in tandem. If you already have more than one amp, an ABY can allow you to easily switch between them, or use them both at once in stereo, which not only sounds better than using a single amp, but also opens up a whole universe of creative effects possibilities. If you use multiple guitars on stage or in the studio, an ABY can let you quickly switch between axes without unplugging. Multiple effects rigs? No problem. An ABY can also perform handy, yet somewhat less exciting utilities, like acting as a mute switch, or just keeping your tuner out of the signal chain while allowing for silent tuning on stage. Back in the day there weren’t many options for switcher pedals. A few companies made very basic passive models, which are perfectly suitable for simple jobs, but when used in more complex rigs, the old-school passive boxes could become susceptible to noise and grounding issues, unpleasant sonic artifacts, and loud popping sounds when the switches were activated. Modern switchers solve all of these issues however, and music stores of today are practically overflowing with amazing, beautifully engineered ABY boxes that are quiet, smooth, packed with thoughtful features, and immune to tone suck. Here are a few of our favorites. 25