Wampler is a pedal company that is known for well-designed products that sound great. Not willing to rest on its laurels, it has revamped its original Pinnacle distortion pedal. This new take on the Pinnacle has quite a few added features and lots of flexibility. Lets take a closer look.
Out of the box, this is a fine looking pedal. The white knobs and lettering on a metallic red box definitely catch the eye. Upon inspection, there was a little black button on the left side that sparked curiosity. Two stomp switches and two toggles on the top give it a touch of chrome. I couldn't wait to plug it in and see what happened.
With the toggles set to Vintage and Gain, I put the Volume up and added some gain from the Gain knob and found a really chimy, sparkly grit. The Bass and Mid controls were at about 2 o'clock, with the Treble at 10. I noticed that as I added some Gain the guitar reacted with a spongy feel, much like it would with an overdriven tube amp. That's when I saw that on the top of the pedal—just along the left edge between the Volume and Bass knobs—was the word “Sag.” It was referring to the black button on the left side. Pushing that removed that spongy feeling in pick response and tightened the sound up a bit.
I kicked on the boost switch next. This gave a sort of gritty gain bump to my clean guitar signal going into my amp. The boost knob allowed me to add extra gain. It wasn't a lot, but enough to push the amp a touch. Reengaging the pedal while leaving the boost on took the sound I had previously dialed in and kicked it up a notch.
I next played with variations between the Modern-Vintage toggle and the Sag control. I was able to dial in such an extensive array of tones, from American vintage amp breakup to thick British valve sounds and all the way into high gain territory. And the feel can change, too—it's not just the sound coming out of the amp, but the touch response can be manipulated with these controls.
If you were to run this through a clean front end, you could use the boost switch to get some grit, use the pedal for heavier rhythms, and the pedal with boost for leads or another level of intensity. The only downside to the pedal (if you can call it a downside) is that you may want multiples to dial in various types of tones for your rig. This is one of the rare pedals that does everything within its tonal range very well.
What we like
Outside of the fine looks and construction on this pedal, the Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe V2 impressed throughout its tonal range from vintage to modern high-gain sounds. The Sag feature is a real bonus, allowing for a change in the touch response of your guitar. The ability to use the boost switch as a standalone feature or to enhance the rest of the pedal adds to the versatility of this device.
The only real concern with the Wampler Pinnacle Deluxe V2 is that the bottom must be unscrewed in order to change out the battery. While many guitarists are working with a power supply these days, for those of use that don't easy access is appreciated. Still, this is a minor concern given the performance of this box.