We’re used to guitar-gear inventors and
engineers touting their wares and
peppering their pitch with words like revolutionary,
innovative, and groundbreaking.
Unfortunately few of those promises lead to
products that actually improve our experience
Not all of these mad-scientists-with soldering
irons are hoax peddlers, however.
With the introduction of the lithium-ion
powered, rechargeable Seven Sisters line of
effects, Ben Fulton of Red Witch Pedals
may be able to count himself among the
tinkerers who have opened up new options
for the gigging guitarist in a real way. And
given what these little pedals could mean
for the player on the go—or even players
who rarely leave the house but have little
dedicated space for their gear—Red Witch
may be on the brink of changing up the
stompbox market in a significant way. Here
we check out the Ruby Fuzz, Violet Delay,
and Scarlett Overdrive.
More Like the Seven Dwarves
Red Witch is well known among pedal
fiends as a builder of top-notch analog
effects. But the Seven Sisters represents
thinking beyond tried-and-true templates
for success. All of the Seven Sisters are
housed in just about the tiniest metal
enclosures I’ve ever seen. We’re talking
miniscule here—a little bit bigger than
a standard size matchbook and about
an inch tall. Small size doesn’t come at
the expense of style, though. Each pedal
is painted with a high-gloss finish and
adorned with a likeness of each pedal’s
namesake rendered in a minimalist, almost
Japanese line-drawn style. In fact, they
wouldn’t look out of place as a high-fashion
Each Sister has two knobs for
adjusting tone parameters as well
as a sturdy true-bypass switch. To make
their presence even less cumbersome the
input and output jacks are located at the top
end of the box. If you were to purchase the
entire series and string them together, your
pedalboard would be less than a foot long.
Sometimes smaller pedals can get a little
squirrely underfoot. So thoughtfully, Red
Witch ships every Sister with textured rubber
feet and a precut Velcro strip to affix to
the bottom of the effect.
Small size isn’t all that makes the Seven
Sisters special, of course. Red Witch
claims to be the first company to put
lithium-ion batteries inside an effects
pedal. What’s so cool about having a
smart-phone battery in a guitar effect? For
starters, they’re rechargeable, which means
freedom from unreliable power sources,
tangles of wire, and noise from shoddy
club wiring. Just grab a 9V DC power
supply and plug it into the left-hand
power socket for four hours (12 hours
the first time) and you’ve got one to two
weeks of power before recharging again.
An LED mounted on the top of the box
helps you monitor the charge capacity.
The company says the cells last about two
years, and replacements can be purchased
at authorized Red Witch dealers.
I tested the Ruby Fuzz, Violet Delay, and
Scarlett Overdrive with a Vox Pathfinder,
a ’68 Fender Bassman powering a 4x12
with Celestion Vintage 30s, and a Gibson
Les Paul and Fender Stratocaster. And the
Ruby Fuzz was my first up.
The artwork on the Ruby suggests that
she’s the most serene and shy of the Seven
Sisters, but that’s a total put-on. With the
Volume and Fuzz knobs at about 75 percent,
I couldn’t help but think of Seattle,
circa 1992 (and Ruby in a pair of Doc
Martin’s and ripped fishnets with some
chipped-up nail polish). Ruby can create a
very thick wall of fuzz and burning sustain
that doesn’t get too raunchy. The general
character is quite close to a Big Muff, but
without the rotund and flabbier qualities
that some players associate with that
type of fuzz. Instead, Ruby’s tone is quite
focused and clearer in the midrange.
The Fuzz control is remarkably responsive.
Halfway up you can get a very hot
overdrive tone that compliments the
6L6-powered Bassman’s lower clean settings.
Or you can push the Fuzz to its maximum
setting and then roll off your guitar’s volume
for a weighty growl. I found some of my
favorite tones with the Fuzz around 80 percent,
which gives the Bassman a very aggressive
bite and a capacity for sharp, defined
harmonics—perfectly suited for a rhythm or
lead tone, and particularly with the Les Paul.
You could make a case that the Volume
control could use a little more firepower.
Most of my time with Ruby was spent
with the Volume control in the upper
reaches to achieve unity gain with the
Bassman. This isn’t necessarily a flaw,
depending on how you employ a fuzz box.
And if it makes Ruby less than the best
way to get an aggressive volume bump
on top of your fuzz, it does nothing to
diminish Ruby’s capabilities as a texturizing
tool. You just may need the help of
a boost pedal (check out Sister Lily) if
you’re looking to really cut through a loud
Violet is a big sounding delay for having
such a dainty frame. There’s 800 ms of
delay available—impressive for an analog
delay, which often maxes out at about
600 ms. It also has a very balanced voice
complete with a touch of analog darkness
and a clarity that keeps things from getting
With Delay turned all the way counterclockwise,
you get the full 800 ms
experience. At the lowest Repeat setting,
you’re looking at 6 to 7 repetitions of
your original note. At the highest, repeats
seem almost infinite and will self-oscillate.
As with most analog delays, turning both
the Repeat and Delay in conjunction can
yield some very impressive delay warbles
and washes that are great for experimental
soundscapes and cool intros and outros.
Rockabilly and surf fanatics will find a
very useful slapback setting by dialing the
delay to about 75 percent or higher, and
keeping the Repeat turned down low.
Violet does make one sacrifice in the
cause of being compact. The wet/dry
blend control is located inside the box
in the form of a pot that you access by
removing the four back-plate screws. The
unit ships with a 40 percent wet/60 percent
dry setting, but if you love to tinker
with tone, you’ll probably find yourself
tweaking the Blend pretty quickly. I
found the stock setting offered a cool,
well-rounded flavor for the Stratocaster
and its single-coils. The Les Paul benefitted
from a wetter signal, however.
In the end, the Blend knob isn’t a huge
issue, especially given the other advantages
of a very un-huge delay unit and that
the alternative is a cluttered control set. If
your sets are built around songs that have
wildly varied delay blends from tune to
tune, Violet won’t be the best option, but
Violet excels in both it’s simplicity, ease
of operation, and the colorful breadth of
delay sounds you’ll get.
Scarlett is the sienna-tinged overdrive Sister.
And while ostensibly the tamest of the three
dirtboxes in the series, Scarlett has the capacity
for a guttural bark when you need it.
With the Volume at 75 percent and a Les
Paul driving the signal, Scarlett matched the
volume of the Fender Bassman’s clean tone.
And with the Gain setting at about 10 percent
I got a sweet smooth break-up with nice
harmonic glow. These lower settings are great
for pushing amps over the edge into warm
tube crunch for leads. Scarlett’s output doesn’t
smother the original tone of the guitar, either,
though there is a midrange emphasis that’s
common to many ODs. Rolling up the Gain
to 50 percent gave riffs a truculent swagger
and a smoky, whisky-soaked voice. Pushing
her up to full Gain sounds like an all-out bar
fight complete with razor-blade trebles and
a heavy low end. Even at this extreme setting
you don’t really have a distorted sound,
though—more of a true-to-form Hammer
of the Gods, big-amp tone. It seems Scarlett
stopped listening to rock in 1979 and has
some very classic tendencies to show for it.
Like Violet, Scarlett has an adjustable pot
inside the enclosure and a clockwise rotation
produces less treble and gain. The stock setting
was fine with the Les Paul, but proved
a little piercing for my taste with singlecoils.
A slight clockwise twist on the pot
fixed this right up. I would expect having
to access this adjustor to be less of an issue
than with the Violet delay, as many players
will maintain a congruent tone with their
crunch setting or work with the amp’s EQ
to accommodate different pickups.
The baby blue Eve tremolo is capable of very
lazy, liquid output. Compared to the deep
throb of a Fender Twin Reverb, Eve’s tremolo
tends to be a bit brighter. However, the analog
circuitry keeps Eve surfing safely away
from tinny, watered-down waves that you
might hear in digital trems. When the Speed
control is swept completely counter-clockwise
you can get a pretty choppy tremolo without
the signal turning into monotone buzz.
Bringing the Speed down (clockwise)
delivers a cool Ventures-style warble. These
slow settings work beautifully with the
equally responsive Depth knob. At the 3
o’clock position it will give your tone the
faint undulating motion. Turn it all the way
up and you’ll have a saturated, intense pulse.
A small trim pot mounted on the silicon
board enables adjustments to Eve’s gain.
The unit ships at unity, but a full counterclockwise
turn adds enough gain to overdrive
the Bassman I tested it with. Extreme
settings won’t be for most tastes, but it’s a
very cool option that is lacking on many
onboard tremolo circuits and stompbox
trems. And it’s great for textured spectacle
or machine gun leads.
The Seven Sisters pedals are a pioneering
innovation, and Fulton probably deserves
a Boy Scout medal for the work he’s done
here. The Sisters’ small size means they’ll
find homes on cluttered boards, and they’re
great for players who need an extra flavor
without taking up too much space. Any gear
freak can always find another 1 1/2" spot to
jam in one of these gems, especially if they’ll
last two weeks on the road before a recharge.
Getting these pedals through the airport for
a fly-in gig will be a breeze—no more bulky
ATA flight cases for those one-off shows.
And a retail price of $129 per unit isn’t
all that bad for an analog effect with truebypass
and notably solid construction. With
normal upkeep and attention, it’s a fair bet
these Sisters will age well and remain active
on the pedalboards of gigging musicians for
many years to come.
you need a compact, portable effects
solution that doesn’t sacrifice tone.
your Big Bird feet can’t handle