Last night I got around to resurrecting my long-dead homebrew Noise Swash...
That definitely needs to be in the discussion here.
"Seriously, there's a certain kind of creative inspiration that can come from exploring the outer limits of a musical instrument. Now days the limits are so vast that it can be difficult to set boundaries." --spargee
When it comes to weird , it's hard to beat Trogotronic products : | Analog Audio Instruments & Controls Built by Hand in the USA
These are not specifically for guitar (in fact, they can be used on their own as they're random sound generators), but can be used with one. In this case, it's better to use a buffer / preamp/ distortion in front because there are impedance issues. Whatever you plug into it becomes part of the circuitry and modifies the sounds output by the device if its settings allow it to generate sound by itself (which is random, there's no "dont output sound by yourself" switch).
Warning : these devices are totally uncontrollable.
Mostly used in the harsh noise and power electronics scenes, although I believe the most recent products are a bit more 'normal user' friendly.
I own a 656 model (discontinued) which isnt the best stuff they've built. Anyway, it allows for tons of distortion which are unobtainable by other means (it's not overdrive, nor fuzz, nor a hard-driven amp, nor a combination of those, it's just ... something else...).
The difficult part is that it often farts, burps and does some Geiger counting between notes/chords, which can make its use difficult in a song, even a weird one... Also turning it off when part of a pedal chain will mess with the overall level. You cannot do what you want, as even a volume knob becomes part of the sound processing/generating circuitry, in a weird way.
Their tube devices could be fun, but I wont buy from them anymore because I'm living in Europe and I had to pay a huge ball-scorching VAT fee when I imported the 656.
Hey all I just received my ring mod from Guillaume in Hull and holy wow.
It's fun all by itself with just manually fiddling with the knobs but plug an expression pedal into it and WOW.
I'm having a lot of fun with it.
So far I've been able to get tremolo, univibe-ish, of course ring mod type stuff, all the way to synth type sounds..
This pedal sort of makes me feel okay with just having this pedal alone and nothing else...
It's that fun.
I'd say that there are at least 3 different types of "weird" pedals out there:
1. Those that mess with the wave shape of the guitar itself, the various fuzzes and noise makers and manglers. You have to have at least one of these but the choices are so broad it's hard to make recommendations. The WMD and one of the 4ms boxes will cover pretty much anything you want.
2. Those that change harmonic content-including subharmonic sythesizers, octaves, multiple octaves and various filters. Again, lots of choices but many function similarly, so a MicroSynth and a Mothership will cover similar bases, although I'd argue the Mother does it better. One harmonic generator, one low pass filter, one ring mod and you should be good. Having CV control (like the Moog stuff) adds a lot of flexibility.
3. Rhythmic modulation-this would be flangers, phasers, tremelos and the LFOs or sequencers that drive them. The Goatkeeper above, as an example, is a pretty cool LFO/sequencer that can tap into your rhythm. Delays fit here. The Adrenalinn can cover this ground while adding filters, distortions and a drum machine.
Once you're spent this kind of money, you might want to consider something like the Studio Electronics SE-1x (a Minimoog with midi control and an external input) and a Roland guitar synth to trigger it (it won't trigger from an audio even, needs a midi kick). For that you get 4 LFOs, 2 filters, 2 VCAs, ring mod, 3 oscillators to use as drones or track the guitar...
I saw this post a while back and thought I'd chime in. Snazzy FX Tracer City, SubDecay Prometheus DLX, Roger Linn Adrenalinn 3, WMD Effects, Guyatone Ultron, EHX (POG 2, Micro Synth, Sitar), Strymon Timeline, and Copilot FX. These are all really amazing funky pedals. I have all of them and they all have there specific applications. I love the Subdecay Filter pedal because it has a tap tempo. It makes getting to the sound you want a lot easier! The Snazzy FX stuff is cool but there is a bit of a learning curve when it comes to dialing in an applicable sound. The Roger Linn is by far the most out there but every effect is usable and can synch via MIDI. The timeline is simply the best sounding digital delay on the market in my opinion and has amazing warble effects and filter effects that can be utilized on the front end of your sound or can be used only effecting the trail of your delay. These are my favorites personally.
I am surprised that no one has mentioned the Electro Harmonix Flanger Hoax. It is a truck load of weird. It's very cool and frustrating at the same time. All the controls are microscopically interactive. Sometimes you find something amazing and sometimes it just goes to hell. But it's never boring.
Try circuit bending! You can take just about any boring "normal" pedal (especially an old digital delay) and morph it into some kind of death ray just by soldering across certain pins on the right IC. Of course you may also just destroy your gear...
That said, I own an XP-300 Space Station and that is the wildest effect I've ever heard, circuit bent or otherwise. The forward-stop-reverse mode is seriously amazing for tripped-out guitar solos and backwards synth swells. Nothing else really comes close in my opinion.
There's not a whole lot to fiddle with but the Roland Funny Cat is the weirdest pedal I have.
It's a "harmonic mover & soft distortion sustainer". The harmonic mover sounds like... a weird, farty, auto-wah almost. I once got it sounding like a formant filter with a pedal pushing it. The SDS gives a bit of an old rock 'n' roll sound. With a lot of pick attack.
Seeing some of these demo vids gave me an awesome flashback to when i had my first boss DD-3 delay pedal (Uh...Back in the day...), and discovered that it had some amazing sounds right when the battery was almost (but not quite) dead. Maybe someone can work on a power supply mod and some fun can be had....
I came into this thread to post the about the Sonic crayon anti-nautlius auto sampler/lo-fi looper but it looks like someone beat me to it. I have been watching the progress on this pedal for months and will have no problem paying up to $400 for it when/if it finally get released.
On a different note, when you combine multiple standard pedals you can also get weird sounds: true bypass loopers with feedback (DBA total sonic annihilation) comes to mind.
Digitech XP-300 Space station does it ALL. Rare and expensive.
Boss PN-2 with mega panning can do the trick with the proper chain before it.
Theremins can be great with fx pedals, or similar idea the ZVEX probe series (the ones with proximity foot sensors). Maybe even try them together for kicks.
Auto-swell pedals such as Boss SG-1, Pigtronix ASDR, work great with a slow attack when paired with reverb or delay or both.
I use the Roland Gr-55 guitar synth. It isnt fair to count it for this topic since it is more like a rompler.
I guess the Moog pedals would apply also, but I've never been able to afford one so I can't say.