Hey there, everybody. I know what you’re thinking, two posts in one week? What am I, an animal? No, my friends, I’m a mere human being with a sick insatiable desire for one thing….pedals. Plus I miss you and just couldn’t resist talking to you again after our last conversation went so well.
The good gents at Guitar Riot mentioned the miniscule pedals made by Henretta Engineering when I last visited the store. Surprisingly, I’m not going to talk about the Choadblaster, despite it’s amazing name (that’s another post for someday I guess). Sorry. What makes this Chicago-based company truly unique is found in their cute color-coded 2″ x 2″ enclosures. I had heard of/seen them before, but didn’t think much of them because I dismissed them as a novelty or gimmick. I know, I can be so superficial sometimes. You see, there’s no trippy or shiny graphics to drool over or external knobs for that thing called tactile sensation. What, no tweaking??? Does not compute… Don’t worry, you still have control over essential parameters via trim pots located inside the pedal. Personally, I don’t know how I feel about having to open a pedal every time I want to tweak something, but for those who like to ‘set it and forget it’, these pedals could be perfect.
My favorites are the Green Zapper Envelope Filter and the Purple Octopus Octave Up. The Green Zapper has a nice and musical auto-wah quack to it. I think I even hear a little Frank Zappa tone in there. Some envelope filters can be all treble-y and harsh on your ears and therefore make you want to throw them away or bury them in a deep hole in the woods. The Green Zapper is set at a manageable starting point for the filtering of your envelopes (although you’re free to fuck it up as you see fit). As it is though, this thing is fat and crisp and would please even the funkiest of soul brothas. Check it:
The Purple Octopus sounds especially awesome. It reminds me of a super gnarly old school fuzz pedal. Leads produce an octave up, rusty knives cutting cold glass kind of sound. Chords produce a really fat wall of sound explosion. Sounds like someone is murdering a robot. Watch the video:
I could see myself making some old-school synthy textures with these.
I have to admit Henretta has made themselves a clever niche having ventured into the opposite realm of most builders by taking a minimalist approach. By embracing this philosophy the company is able to focus on the most important aspect of designing any pedal – tone. We all know that this is all that matters. Luckily all their pedals sound really amazing, especially considering the price and their appearance to be far from one-trick ponies. And imagine never having to mark your settings or worry about knobs mysteriously shifting just enough to mess up that sweet tone of yours when you fire up at a gig (I’m pretty sure underwear gnomes have a division for this). My lovely wife would be ecstatic if I had these because I am a notorious tweaker. I like to tweak, tweak, and tweak some more. Like at band practice I take only a quick 15 minutes to get something to sound just right, then I’ll tweak it again and have to start all over. Bless her heart…I’m working on this, I swear!
If you’re a traveling guitarist and need effects as part of your rig, look no further as these pedals are so tiny you can fit the whole line on the smallest pedalboard ever (apparently someone did just that at Guitar Riot to make a sweet travel board) and into a backpack, overhead compartment, or clown car glove box. Henretta also gives you the really cool option of putting multiple units (up to everything they offer) into one still pretty small sized enclosure. They’ll even let you pick the order of effects and put on external knobs (to control some parameters) if you want so you can completely customize your own analog multi effects pedal unit. Sweet idea! They also do all kinds of crazy shit like adding BYOC circuits and effects loops for adding external effects. That way you could use the compact version for travel and when you have the time and space you can expand your rig to include your other favorite pedals. If you’re like me and you’re too afraid to let go of your tweaking ways you can even buy a ‘normal’ sized pedal with external knobs included. But who knows I might have to get my hands on one of the little guys someday.
Check out www.henrettaengineering.com for more info.
What do you think? Do you care if a pedal has knobs for adjusting? Let me know!
Thanks for reading.
The Pedal File