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May 2014
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Stomping Grounds: 25 Pedals Reviewed

Stomping Grounds: 25 Pedals Reviewed

FUZZ

Mountainking Electronics The Megalith

Download Example 1
Engage
Download Example 2
More Heavy

Given its namesake and the fact that this pedal was built for Scott Kelly (Neurosis) and Wino (The Hidden Hand) to be used on their project, Shrinebuilder, my expectations were pretty high. Not originally intended for the rest of us, The Megalith is a massive sounding Fuzz/Distortion Pedal that will leave you shaking in the wake of its destructive path. Housed in a slick-looking black powdercoated aluminum chassis, the Megalith has boutique written all over it.

The features are Output, More Heavy, Input, Slope, Notch and a 3-way rotary switch called Notch Shift which just has the markings “1,2,3” above the knob. There are two switches, one labeled Engage, the other is to engage the More Heavy circuit: a booster circuit that increases the low end and volume of the pedal. The more you turn the knob to the right, the more low-end volume you get. Slope adjusts the high/low frequency, and Notch cuts the frequency as you turn the knob to the left, while the Notch Shift changes the frequency of the Notch Control. Two things worth mentioning here are that you need to have the Notch Control turned almost all the way counterclockwise to hear the changes in the Notch Shift. You might also hear some clicks when doing this, but according to the owners manual this is normal.

My favorite setting was the More Heavy at 11, Input at 2, Slope at 2, Notch at 2 and Notch Shift at 2 o’clock. Using both my Fender/Warmoth Bari-Tele and an Gibson SG-X, I was able to get some pretty destructive low-end tones, rattling my speaker cable out of the back of my cab when I was playing at a high volume. Mountainous riffs can be created with the amazing harmonics this pedal can create. It’s definitely the heaviest pedal I have ever had the pleasure of plugging in to, and it worked perfectly for bass as well. The features of the Megalith are very interactive with each other, and depending on which way you turn each knob you can get a variety of different fuzzed-out and meaty tones. The Megalith is a must have for fuzz enthusiasts. – BB
Buy if...
you crave a massively heavy fuzz pedal.
Skip if...
you’re afraid your other fuzz pedals may become useless after playing the Megalith.
Rating...
5.0 

Street $265 - Mountainking Electronics - myspace.com/mountainkingelectronics


Pedalworx Hellbilly

Download Audio Sample
The Hellbilly is a hybrid NPN Germanium/ Silicon drive/fuzz unit. Looking mighty cool in its red mini-box with scary, “down home” white graphics, it sports a total of three controls: Tone, Volume and Gain. On the surface, that doesn’t sound like a lot, but digging in deeper proves the HellBilly has more than a few tricks up his sleeve. The “Hybrid” part of the design is that it literally uses both a NOS germanium transistor and a silicon diode. By working the Tone control you can sweep between Rangemaster and Fuzz Face tones, and explore all the sonic territories that fall in between to make some surprisingly cool sounds.

I plugged my favorite Les Paul into the Hellbilly and went to town. With the Gain and Volume set around noon and the Tone down around 10 o’clock, it immediately spit out the Rangemasterlike sounds that I’ve become accustomed to hearing. Pulling the Tone down to the off position brought out a lot of bottom and gnarly thick, almost muddy, tones (in a good way!). Sweeping the Tone the opposite direction, I could hear a distinct crossing over to bring in the silicon diode. More gain just makes the Hellbilly angrier and nasty, although never to the point of cutting off, and still giving off a barky and rude vibe that you simply can’t ignore. Believe it or not, it doesn’t all have to be balls-out with this pedal. In fact, with my Strat I easily added a nice slightly overdriven boost to bring more harmonics out of the clean tone, and with added gain rolling back the volume knob on the guitar easily let the clean tones right out.

The Hellbilly is quiet compared to some Rangemaster pedals I’ve used, which is great considering how much gain and fuzz is on tap. Overall, a brilliant design, and while it’s not for everyone you will definitely get noticed with this one. – SO

Buy if...
you want versatile germanium and silicon tones in one box.
Skip if...
you don’t want to be rude.
Rating...
4.5

Street $199 - PedalworX - pedalworx.com


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