In 2014 NYC’s own stompbox manufacturer Tech 21 (pioneer in the amp emulation technology with the legendary SansAmp line) introduced a unique product called the Fly Rig 5. It included some of the company’s most beloved effects (SansAmp included) in a single housing, with a simple goal in mind: offering a complete “rig-in-a box” that was at once versatile, portable and affordable (street price is around $250-$275).

Featuring an overdrive section (called Plexi, a Marshall distortion emulation), a boost, the iconic SansAmp for tone coloring and reverb, and a delay section with tap tempo, the Fly Rig 5 is a true mini-rig that can easily fit in any guitar case.

Not long after that first release, guitar hero Richie Kotzen created his own signature Fly Rig design, featuring a different overdrive section called OMG.

Never a company to let down the bass world (their SansAmps for bass were a huge hit) Tech 21 soon released one equipped to handle the lower frequencies of bass guitar, called Bass Fly Rig, featuring compressor, SansAmp, Octaver and Chorus.

Two new iterations of the Fly Rig for guitar – which will be showcased for the first time at our upcoming Los Angeles Stompbox Exhibit! – were recently unveiled. They feature two circuits from the Tech 21’s Character stompbox series in lieu of the Plexi in the overdrive section, giving players even more tonal options (and less excuses not to own one). The Brit conjures the crunchy mid-range sounds of Marshall amplifiers, while the Cali lends some Mesa Boogie-inspired goodness to heavy and clean sounds alike.

Perhaps the coolest feature of the Fly Rig is that you can ditch your backline altogether and run them right into the house system, and for pros, they are also ideal as a backup, in case your full rig gets lost or catches fire!

It’s also worth noting that while many of these types of units run on digital technology, these babies is all analog. – Stoner