My first pedal – Aria AUM-1 Ultra Metal

I remember going into Rockbottom in Croydon, South London in search of my first guitar pedal. The guy said ‘well, what do you want to sound like?’ and I said ‘I want to sound like Billy Gibbons of ZZ Top!’. I absolutely loved the fat singing sustaining tone of the guitar sound he had laid down on the track ‘Rough Boy’ (Afterburner), but of course, back then, as a complete beginner I had absolutely no idea that his kind of sound originated from his fingers, his guitars and his amps and probably had little to do with pedals.. I just thought you could buy a stompbox, whack it in the effects chain, tread on it and voila – you’d have world class tone. In fact I didn’t even know the word ‘tone’ back then. You gotta remember that the Internet at that time was only used by University geeks from Stanford University and MIT, or the U.S. Military, so there were no resources like, or to help you find info out – it was pure trial and error; you kids just don’t know how lucky you are….

Anyway, I tried about 20 pedals and ended up buying this one because it had the coolest name; sure – I wanted my sound to be metal, but not just any metal – I wanted it to be ULTRA METAL. Needless to say that when I got it home and plugged my Squier Strat into it (weedy single coils) and then into my borrowed (from Warhead) 0 Watt Winfield Amplifier (Winfield being the brand name of F.W. Woolworth’s back then) it wasn’t very Ultra Metal at all and I vaguely remember some farting tinny noise coming out of it. Certainly, I didn’t sound remotely like Billy Gibbons. I sold it or swapped it for something else much later on and I think I eventually traded up to a Boss MZ-2 Digital Metalizer (again purchased because it had such a cool name) which also sounded farty and tinny, but in a much more expensive kind of way.



Internet photo.


One Response to “My first pedal – Aria AUM-1 Ultra Metal”

  1. […] in there just o buy a pack of strings, but always looking at all the cool gear they had. I bought my first effects pedal in this store. This store was also the place where I first heard of Yngwie Malmsteen from a helpful […]

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