There are a lot of boutique and custom pedal designers these days, so many that it can be pretty daunting to dive into the deep end of the pool of slightly off-the-beaten path, more independently produced effects pedals. There are many of them, who all make beautiful, incredible sounding pedals – but Brooklyn-based BIG EAR n.y.c are beginning to make a claim to take the cake.
I’ve been aware of BIG EAR for some time, mainly because they have so clearly made it game, set, match when it comes to naming and designing the look of their products. That’s no small praise in the world of effects pedals, which can so often lean on gimmicks like neon colors, cool names, etc. But, like, who is doing better than this?
Photo credit: Nathan Peterson
No one. That’s who.
More importantly, BIG EAR mainman Grant Wilson produces his pedals with multi-instrumentalists in mind, so that the fuzzes will sound as good on bass as they do on guitar. For their newly released CHAKA Octave Fuzz, Wilson went with LEDs as the clipping diodes for the fuzz side, a big part of the reason why the pedal sounds so dirty. For the octave side of the pedal, Wilson picked hand-matched NOS Germanium diodes, because in his words, “the octave just wouldn’t sound as chunky and tough without them. I could really care less if components are NOS or not, but for CHAKA they just had to be. It just sounds best with those particular diodes.”
I was also pleasantly surprised to learn that the Mad Doctor Joe Anastasio of distortion-terrorists Lone Wolf Audio helps design and build their pedals. Joe is one of the top dudes when it comes to modern-day distortion pedal engineering (don’t take it from me – take it from Kurt Ballou, Joel Grind, Darkthrone, and more, who use his stuff), so it’s cool to know that there is some synergy in this little corner of the gear market.
Anyway, check out demos of the CHAKA, as well as of the LOAF Fuzz, below:
Learn more about BIG EAR and their full line here.