Few pedals can lay claim to having mastered one of the most distinctive signature tones around, but the Wampler Pinnacle has indeed copped the “pinnacle” of classic hard rock, the ever-elusive “brown sound.”
Brian Wampler of Wampler Pedals is a verified Internet success story. The founder of indyguitarist.com, Brian freely shared his knowledge with others and steadily built up a solid reputation as not only a capable pedal modifier, but a pedal designer as well. The Wampler Pinnacle is Brian’s attempt to chase down the Bigfoot of tone, the so-called Van Halen “brown” sound. Does he succeed?
The Wampler Pinnacle is a 4-knob pedal with controls for Volume, Gain, Tone, and Contour. Two mini-switches allow you to choose between Vintage and Modern, as well as engage a Boost (a larger version of the Pinnacle features a separate footswitchable Boost).
I tested the Pinnacle with a Fender Reissue ’65 Deluxe Reverb and a Carvin Bolt+ equipped with a Floyd Rose (hey, if you’re going to imitate Eddie, get as close as you can). Setting the tone controls as noon and gradually increasing the gain, I was easily able to dial in some Van Halen I and II sounds. While following some of Wampler’s suggested settings, I could easily get pretty much any Van Halen-inspired tone I desired. However, in playing around with the EQ and the Vintage/Modern switch, I was able to get a wide variety of sounds useful for other things than playing in a VH cover band. The tone controls are very responsive, which was both impressive and surprising.
Few pedals can lay claim to having mastered one of the most distinctive signature tones around, but the Wampler Pinnacle has indeed copped the “pinnacle” of classic hard rock, the ever-elusive “brown sound.” Its versatility, however, makes it an even wiser purchase, since not everyone needs “Van Halen in a Box.”