Shin Suzuki is the most celebrated amp and pedal designer in Japan, renowned by tonechasers the world over for his ability to faithfully recreate some of the most elusive sounds in music history. As proprietor of Shin’s Music in Tokyo, he has cultivated an unfailing ear for incredible tones. In 2016, Shin collaborated with the MXR Custom Shop to create the Shin-Juku™ Drive, a pedal widely praised for the way it captured the raw sonic complexity of a rare amplifier with a legendary reputation.

Shin and the MXR Custom Shop have come together once again to create the MXR Raijin Drive, a pedal that reinvents two iconic Japanese stompboxes—an overdrive and a distortion—with greater tonal range and usability so that those beloved sounds can keep up with the modern tone chase.

We sat down with Shin to talk about this new creation, what inspired him to design pedals, and more.

Despite the overwhelming consensus that compressors are one of the most indispensable studio tools, compressor pedals can be one of the most misunderstood effects. Some players swear by them, others avoid them. But if you need sustain without distortion or want to tame aggressive peaks and even out dynamics, a good compressor is the ticket. And when guitarists think about compressor pedals, they think about a little red box called the MXR® Dyna Comp® Compressor.

Released in 1972, the Dyna Comp Compressor featured simple, straightforward controls—labeled Output and Sensitivity—to govern the volume and compression levels, respectively. Inside, it contained the coveted CA3080 metal can integrated circuit, which remains a key component to its sound and vibe.

We’ve been exploring the possibilities of pick design since day one, always asking what else is possible and what more can be done to provide an improved playing experience. Tortex® Picks embody that pursuit—their bright, crisp attack and grip-enhancing matte surface are the result of a special treatment process painstakingly developed by Jim Dunlop more than 30 years ago. But we continue to ask what more is possible with Tortex Picks.

One way we’ve explored that question is through the expansion of available shapes. That’s because using a different shape can drastically change how a pick feels in your hands and interacts with your guitar strings. Today, Tortex Picks come in 11 different Tortex Pick shapes, more than any of our other pick lines. Here’s what each has to offer.

The bright and timeless color palette of Tortex® Picks is just as important as their feel and tone. For countless players, the color of their favorite Tortex Pick gauge is part of their identity. Jim Dunlop first introduced color-coded gauges at a time when player choice and quality control were limited in the pick business.

For gauges, you were stuck with Light, Medium, and Heavy. Consistency was questionable not just from company to company—it was also questionable within individual companies themselves. Starting with Nylon Picks, Jim doubled the number of gauges available and noted the gauge right on the pick, in millimeters, to prove to players that he was serious about providing them with reliable options. Overnight, Jim established a new standard for player choice and consistency. Today, we take it for granted that a pick you buy today is exactly like the one you bought last month, or last year, but we can thank Jim for setting that expectation.