“Analog Mike” Piera was one of the first to recognize the power of the internet to disseminate information and as a tool for commerce. Peira’s background as a software engineer with a degree in computer science made him ideally suited to explore the possibilities of the new medium. His original website, on the earliest version of AOL, boasted more info about vintage pedal effects than any other. As connectivity grew and his skills in internet coding increased, Piera added graphics, manufacturer histories, and began to offer services in modifying pedals such as the Ibanez TS-9 reissue. This also grew quickly, and by 2000, Piera had quit his day job to work on the Analog Man line of pedals. His website (analogman.com) has grown to incorporate over 100 pages.
Now, with the help of “Analog Tom” Hughes, that knowledge and info has been captured in print.
The recent explosion of guitar effects books is the latest manifestation of an enthusiasm that began with early tremolo and reverb and quickly led to more substantial outboard effects with multiple adjustments – and the birth of an industry. The history has been documented in book form, but not to the extent of Analog Man’s Guide . Every facet has been gathered: vintage effects history, guide to manufacturers, effects technology, interviews with major designers and manufacturers, photos, FAQs, the state of the stompbox today and also its future. The book covers many rare and previously unknown pedals, made briefly by small, unsuccessful companies, and covers the majors in depth.
The interview with Mike Matthews of Electro-Harmonix is the most complete documentation of the company extant. If you play electric guitar and use any pedal, or if you collect and document various pedals, you need this book. Production is first-rate, with coated paper and a full-color photo section. There are also catalog reprints, a host of black-and-white photos, and an effects directory. A tip of the hat to Hughes and Piera for covering this subject with such depth and knowledge.
For Musicians Only Publishing 2005, Softbound 280 pages, ISBN 0-9759209-0-1, $40
This article originally appeared in VG‘s May ’05 issue. All copyrights are by the author and Vintage Guitar magazine. Unauthorized replication or use is strictly prohibited.