There is definitely no shortage of overdrive/distortion pedals on the market. I, like many guitarists, have more than I probably need. But, hey, us guitarists are tone chasers and we will never be satisfied with what we’ve got for long.
I have some great dirt pedals including the Xotic AC, Xotic BB Preamp, Suhr Riot, plus my Blackstar amp’s dirt channels. I didn’t really need another. But, I kept hearing about Wampler. And I saw the demo videos as well as the raves by a number of my favorite guitarists. So, I decided I just wanted to get a Wampler pedal. But, which one?
The Hot Wired was made for Brent Mason, one of the most prolific guitar players in Nashville (if you don’t know of him, I bet you’ve heard him play). It is a dual-channel, overdrive and distortion pedal in one, that can go from subtle dirt to full-blown distortion. You can use either channel separately or stack them for some sweet, milky distortion.
I periodically fly to some gigs and I’m limited on what I can take on the plane. This pedal has pretty much replaced three of the pedals on my board that I used to stuff in my carry on: an overdrive, a distortion and a boost.
The Channel 1 side is the overdrive. It has Volume, Overdrive, Blend, and Tone, plus a switch that lets you go from Fat, Normal to Fatter. The Blend knob is awesome because it allows you to blend in the amount of dirt vs. your clean signal. So, when you have the right tone, but the gain is a bit much, and you want some more articulation, you can blend in some more clean signal. Really cool!. The Fat, Normal, Fatter switch is also awesome especially if you switch from a Fender single coil to a Les Paul humbucker like I do. You can find the right tone for all your guitars.
Channel 2 is the distortion side of the box. It has a Volume, Distortion, and Tone knob, plus the same Fat, Normal, Fatter switch. It’s a very smooth distortion that can get pretty gain-y. You can stack the two channels together for over-the-top leads. But even when stacked, it is still smooth sounding, not muddy and unpleasant like some other distortions.
You can set this pedal up in a number of ways. When this is my only dirt pedal, I definitely stack them for leads, and use only one channel plus my guitar volume know for rhythm parts. Sometimes I use just the right side for subtle overdrive.
Like all Wampler pedals, it’s built like a tank, has clever usable features, stacks well with other pedals, and oozes high quality.
Here’s a great demo of the pedal. Warning!!! You might be pulling out your credit card before the end of the video.