Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Fuzz Week/Part #4: Way Huge Swollen Pickle

Fuzz Week
A collection of unique and superb fuzz boxes


Oh how stoked was I when I heard that Way Huge Pedals were making a comeback, definitely the most exciting thing to hit the stompbox world in a good long while. As a serious tone connoisseur and pedal junky, having Way Huge back in the mix meant that once again we would have access to the interpretation of tone as seen through the mind of George Tripps. Would these pedals be able to influence and grab a hold of players like they once did? Hell Yes! Not only do these pedals still own their unique vibe but they've managed to keep their signature sound and feel. Any fan of the boutique pedal world must go out and try these pedals, as someone who makes it a point to try out as many pedals as possible I highly suggest it. I invite you into the world of Way Huge, and what better pedal to start with here than the Swollen Pickle mkII.


Way Huge Electronics
Benicia, California
Builder/Designer: George Tripps
Years in the Game: Plenty
Pedal: Swollen Pickle

This killer reissue wasn't in my presence longer than 5 minutes before I made up my mind to add it to my gigging pedalboard. The range of sounds this fuzz box is capable of just blew my mind and all sounded killer, absolutely ridiculous. All of the controls works well with one another and each one sounds great in just about any setting. Yet there's more to this pedal, something beyond it's look and sound that makes it super freakin cool, like a cult film and it's cult following. From the packaging these pedal's come in to their layout of controls these are not your every day stompboxes, even the enclosures are super cool. I am sure you all know the Way huge line very well, chances are you may have come across a few in your time, if you're lucky. If you didn't get a chance to rock out to some of the first run these will have you more than satisfied. This new and improved version of the Swollen Pickle sports a layout of controls that makes it one of the most versatile stompboxes we have ever come across. Just when you think you've reached all it can do you remember there are also internal controls. Let's start with the outside first shall we? Sustain knob: With this badboy you can dial in as much (and I mean as much) smooth and off-the-wall grit or fuzz you want. Starting from it's lowest settings gets you some tasty natural break-up sounds, from Rolling Stones grit and Clapton woman tones. It's crazy just how much further this knob will actually take you. Getting into higher Sustain settings is Black Sabbath and Queens of the Stone Age land. The effect somehow maintains all it's great sounding gritty overdrive while delivering a massive onslaught of fuzz, it's beautiful. Filter knob: This amazing control isn't the norm tone/eq control, no sir. Rolling back the Filter produces some really cool low-fi sounds, this perfect for layering tracks or coming off as dirty and mean as you want. Roll this puppy up and you get more in your face, open fuzz tones. Twist a few of the other knobs and the possibilities are endless. Loudness knob: This here controls the amount of volume you want slamming into your amp, believe me you won't need much, unless you want to kill your pets and your neighbors all at the same time. The next couple knobs are new to the Swollen Pickle, but oh am I glad they're there. Crunch knob: This knob does exactly what it says it does, controls the squash and compression of your sound. This knob will have some affect on your volume depending on where you have it, it can also produce some killer trumpet-like sounds in the right spot. Scoop knob: Works to control the mids in the fuzz tone. Again the possibilities are endless. I found this working best for me right at noon, but turn it left and right and it's like day and night, very cool. You get enough? No? Good cause there's more. Flip the Swollen Pickle over, unscrew the feet and WAHLAH! Inside it's guts you'll find a few controls that will help you fine-tune and match the sound to whichever amp/guitar you might have. Voice control: This works to set the overall intensity of the external Scoop knob, great for dialing in the perfect mid tone. Last but not least, Clip control: This flips between two different sets of clipping diodes. Your choice of smooth'n'creamy or raw'n'wicked. Like having two completely different fuzz boxes in one. I have no idea how the hell Tripps did this, but he managed to up himself by giving us more out of the Swollen Pickle. Everything I threw at this pedal sounded great, Tele, Strat, hollowbody, and Junior. All the sounds coming off well defined, balanced, rich, and powerful. If I had to pick a favorite fuzz box for the year I might just have to go with the Swollen Pickle. Never has a fuzz box made it to my board so quickly and never has a fuzz box done so much for so many different instruments. My favorite setting by far, which pulled off a sound somewhere between a woman tone and Fuzz Face. Sustain at two O clock, Filter just behind eleven O clock, Crunch a hair past noon, Scoop at ten O clock, Voice at stock setting, and Clip in the smooth mode. Last I roll back my guitar's one knob 50% and I'm there baby. That's how this monster sits in board and I don't see myself changing a damn thing for a long long. I have been hunting for this sound for a long time, to able to knock it out with just one box is stunning. Don't get me wrong, it's beautiful when we can mix and combine our pedals with one another, when it helps us. When we have to work to combine a few pedals a different story. The key is to have tools in our arsenal that will take us to where we're trying to get, gear that will enhance our core tone, and motivate us to play what's floating around in our heads. Plugging into the Swollen Pickle unleashed so many of the riffs I have been wanting to release from my hands. You know how it goes, you write a riff or a lick, then when you go and play it you notice something's just not there. Now how good does it feel when we come across those sounds that work best with our playing? Freakin awesome! As a cat who is big-time into fuzz boxes and vintage pedals this mkII version of the Swollen Pickle has me floored. In some cases I've seen that reissues don't always stack up to the original's, this is not one of those cases. I'll tell you something, at first I thought this pedal was going to be a difficult to operate, but once I got in and got my hands dirty my ears led me to all the right places. One amazing tone monster.


For more info on Way Huge Electronics go to www.wayhuge.com or click the logo in our links. Also look out for the rest of the Way Huge line reviews here on Analog War Cry and a feature with George Tripps next month. Do the damn thing do it!


  1. Decent review, though it'd be nice to have a little less hyperbole from the author.

    Content of the article aside, the review is almost impossible to read. Three hundreds lines of stacked white-on-black text with no paragraph structure is to reading what static is to music. What's the point of writing a review if it literally causes the reader to squint and fight to read it?

  2. This review is awesome! I just got one off Ebay and I'm stoked to try it out!
    Thank you for taking the time to write this.

  3. Just received my Swollen Pickle. Every word in the above review is spot on the money. I've owned LOADS of fuzz's & OD's, and most take a while to get to grips with - you kinda have to live with them & play about before you get the best out of them; but this is different - every sound is great, and the variety of sounds is insane. Do yourself a favour - try one.

  4. Loved the tone of this review and I agree completely. This is such a great, versatile pedal. It's also one of the few fuzzes that will retain chord clarity. God I love this pedal.