Sunday March 25, 2012
 

Wampler Pinnacle

The Wampler Pinnacle 2 stompbox comes with the claim that it captures Eddie Van Halen's Brown Sound in a box. It has Vintage and Modern modes to take you through the classic Marshall Plexi stack of the 70's to the 80's and beyond.  So put your headband, fingerless glove and overalls on as we go through what this pedal can do.

Ease of Use

As far as functionality goes, few pedals are as multitalented. There are four knobs and two toggle switches on the Wampler Pinnacle. the pedal came with very little in the way of documentation so it's a kinda experiment fest when the stompbox arrived. The Volume and Tone knobs are pretty self explanatory. I've never needed to put the Tone knob past 1 o'clock and thats plenty for even dark humbuckers. Around 11 o'clock is more than adequate for single coils. On the right side are the Contour and Gain controls. Turning up the Contour the molds the sound to a scoop tone but turn it too high and seemingly a little attack is lost.

Wampler Pinnacle

Wampler Pinnacle

For an instant variation in tone, flick the Vintage/Modern toggle switch which changes the EQ again from a darker to a brighter tone with a very slight amount of fuzz. One thing not so obvious is flicking the toggle up is for Modern and visa versa.

The all important Gain control needs no introduction. Dial in to the highest setting at around 5 o'clock and the Wampler Pinnacle 2 exhibits a little more dirt and grit. Back off the Gain to about 3 o'clock, in conjunction with the Vintage toggle switch and you get a similar boost similar to a Tube Screamer.

The Boost toggle puts this pedal into a cranked Marshall mode. Thats when the Wampler Pinnacle is at it's best. Switch to Modern mode with the Gain up and you get that creamy buttery overdrive that takes you back to 80's glam metal ala Mötley Crüe, Poison or Dokken. It does this so well that there is probably very little reason to turn this knob down, otherwise you've bought the wrong pedal!

Sound

As for the Van Halen Brown Sound, purists have described this pedal as more Van Halen II than Van Halen I. But that’s a testament to how good this pedal is. While it's obviously not an exact reproduction of Eddie's elusive tone it will get you in the ballpark which is amazing for a single pedal. Throw in another distortion pedal before the Pinnacle to get more grit and fuzz distortion for an Atomic Punk shred.  While you’re at it chuck in a Phase 90 (Script of course) and slap in a good Delay pedal after the Pinnacle and you’ll get even closer. In fact the Wampler Pinnacle sounds incredible with a delay at the end of it such as a Digitech Hardwire DL-8.

Wampler Pinnacle Side View

Wampler Pinnacle Side View

This pedal is both single coil and humbucker friendly. Great sounds can be had by both.  You don't need to crank an amp to get good tone too. This pedal is very bedroom friendly and the magic starts happening at low volumes. EVH tapping just requires a touch more volume but you can easily nail Hot for Teacher or even the Beat It solo. Throw in some pinch harmonics to your solo and you'll think you've travelled back in time in a DeLorean. No problem with rhythm crunch too, the Pinnacle can do Panama and Unchained intros with ease. But the real piece de resistance is squeezing Eruption out of it without a single 5150 insight. The Wampler Pinnacle also plays nice with solid state amps. Budding guitar heroes can now appreciate those 80's tones without an ear shattering, tinnitus inducing Marshall stack.

Construction

As the name implies this is the second issue of the Wampler Pinnacle stompbox. The first being in a larger case and the Boost rotary knob now gets replaced with a toggle switch. The new compact case is about the same size as a MXR or Love Pedal stompbox. The red speckled metallic paint adds another touch of class. The only thing missing are those Frankenstrat stripes and some kinda EVH branding.

Wampler Pinnacle Internals

Wampler Pinnacle Internals

A few of really, really minor niggles. I would have preferred though to see screen printed text rather than a clear sticker.  It would make it look a bit more professional than the normal home brew look. Don't be near Triffids as the blue LED light can be quite blinding. 

As with most boutique pedals getting access to the battery requires removing the back plate held by four screws. It's something those mass produced cheap pedals have an advantage over.

The foot switch also feels quite stiff in comparison to other boutique pedals, oil does not seem to help.  These are only minor nuances none of these detract from this incredible pedal.

 

Summary

This boutique pedal delivers! If you are looking for an affordable way to get a Van Halen or 80's metal tone then look no further than the Wampler Pinnacle 2.  Brian Wampler has set out to create a brown sound in a box effects pedal and he has nailed it. If there is only one stompbox I could own, the Pinnacle 2 would be it!

Looks like they've reissued the old Wampler Pinacle 2 Reissue for a limited time.

 

Wampler Pinnacle Reissue

Pros

  • Brown sound in a box. 
  • Covers an array of 80's shred.
  • Lots of options to shape tone.
  • Solid state friendly.
  • Bedroom level friendly.

Cons

  • The wait. It took 6 weeks for mine to arrive.
  • The foot switch is really hard to press.


www.indy-guitarist.com
www.wamplerpedals.com

 

 

 

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