Sunday, June 15, 2008

Way Huge Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz

You may have a different opinion, but personally, I don't think it matters too much what guitar you play through when you use a big, fat fuzz pedal. It all sounds the's like playing through a Line 6 amp...what difference does it make if you use a Strat or an SG if all you are doing is dialing in some modeled sound of a "British Stack" with delay? For me it's the same with a fuzz all sounds the same. I'm sure there are variations that I'm not discerning enough to grasp, but for me, no need for fuzz. Which brings me to the Way Huge Swollen Pickle I used to own...for about a week.

The good news is that Way Huge is about to reissue some of their pedals. The bad news is that those of you who own some of the originals might be getting ready to lose some of the enormous value that these pedals command. Maybe not...maybe the fact that they are "originals" will keep the prices high. A Way Huge Aqua Puss analog delay pedal easily goes for $800 or more. Back when they first came out I remember reading something about them and that some famous guitarists were saying they were the best pedals ever made. I stopped in a well known guitar shop in Huntington Beach one day to gawk at the super rare vintage Marshalls and old Fenders and other cool stuff and, lo and behold, they had a couple of Way Huge pedals. I didn't know much about compression (still don't), and I already had a delay pedal, so I migrated toward the Swollen Pickle, which was categorized as "Jumbo Fuzz." Not just regular fuzz...JUMBO fuzz. I think that I forked over around $200, which was unheard of for a new pedal at the time, and walked out the door feeling pretty pleased with myself.

Maybe I should have tried the pedal out first.

I got home and called my fellow bandmates and bragged about my new possession. We had band practice the next night and I was the first one there. I got all plugged in and powered up and kicked in my new Way Huge, cream of the crop, coveted by many owned by few, Swollen Pickle and...FUZZZZZZ. Big fat fuzz. Jumbo Fuzz if you will. Man, I'd heard that before in a $45 pedal and it didn't sound much different than the thing on the floor that I just paid two hundred bones for. Let me note right here that I know some of you are reading this right now and thinking to yourself, "Holy shit, this guy's an idiot. Fuzz is awesome and there is good fuzz and bad fuzz and the Way Huge Jumbo Swollen Fuzzy Pickle Machine is the best f*$%in' fuzz known to man!"

I'm sorry. It's me, it's not you. I just don't like you that way.

Let's continue...I had no use for a fuzz pedal for the kind of music I play. I quickly realized my mistake and thought about seeing how fast I could pack it back up and put it in the car before anyone else showed up for practice. Too late. Door opens and in walks our lead guitarist, also not a big fan of the fuzz. I decided to get his very valued opinion. Quote: "You paid HOW MUCH for that?" Damn. And at the time there was no such thing as eBay or Craig's List. I honestly don't remember how I sold it or for how much. I do wish I had it back right now to sell on eBay since the value has gone up so much. And, by the way, I have played through other Way Huge pedals and they really are amazing...I don't want anyone to think I'm bagging on Way's the fuzz that I'm not excited about and the fact that I bought a fuzz pedal is my own mistake. I'm a little stupid.

Ironically, just last year I got an email from Jeorge Tripps, the original inventor/owner/mad scientist behind Way Huge and he had seen my website about Locobox pedals. He asked if I would be interested in building a tribute website for Way Huge pedals. I was gung ho and we were going to do a trade out for some Way Huge pedals he still had...but Jeorge is a super busy guy who now designs pedals for Line 6 and MXR (Jim Dunlop) and it just never came together. From what I understand, MXR just came out with an analog delay pedal called the Carbon Copy that is supposed to be as good as or better than the Aqua Puss for less than $150. I believe Jeorge designed it. I think I'm going to need one.

1 comment:

Ben said...

Hey there!

I actually have both original (MKI) and reissue (MKII) Swollen Pickles.

Well, the difference is way huge (pun intended).

I'm really interested in finding out for how much people would buy my stompbox (it's no. 40 of the series) but the thing is that I wouldn't sell it because it sounds really amazing.

I don't think they have a leged status such as the Klon Centaur, but well, they are really amazing sounding pedals. There are some other impressive fuzzes nowadays (personally, I love Devi Ever's) and the MKI swollen pickle is one of those.

I found the MKII "ok", but didn't get me the tones I was looking after when I discovered the original.

I've bought mine in a small store in Brazil where the guy didn't know what he was selling me, so he sold me as if it was a MKII. Lucky me. I didn't know either that it was a MKI at first, I just played it and came to found the sound I was looking for. Then I realized that it was slightly different than my Way Huge Fat Sandwich MKII and realized I had actually bought an original.

With respect to playing fuzzes with different guitars, well, it just happens that they make a huge difference. Huge. Fuzzes are really sensitive to their inputs and that's actually the thing about it.

I can get most of any fuzz I own when I'm playing my strat. Humbuckers can make them sound a little dull. P-90s kind of do that too. Strat's single coils are the best for fuzzes.

There's also an impedance issue when you're playing active or passive pickups hence most modern fuzzes have an "input load / stab" knob which will adjust that for your kind of pickup.

I also don't believe in hypes. My conclusions are all grounded in my experiences. When I found out that I was playing an original swollen pickle I immediately bought the reissue in order to put the hype to test. And part of it was true. The same with respect to other fuzzes and gears.

I like to put everything to test. This means I've been spending a little bit more with gear, but I think that I can sell the ones I don't like later, or trade them. Until now it has been a positive thing but many times I just realize I had a great thing just after I have sold it... =/

Living and learning.

Great post by the way!