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This is it, the one we’ve been waiting for with bated breath. Out of the original Way Huge product line, the Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz certainly garners the most attention. Obviously inspired by the Electro Harmonix Big Muff Pi, the Swollen Pickle has been a trade secret among gearhounds for years. While it’s definitely in the same vein as the EH fuzz, the voicing of this device and the reaction of the Tone knob set it apart. The reissue, dutifully designated by a “MKII” label, continues the tradition of the famed fuzz, while adding a few other features under the hood.
One thing that made the original Swollen Pickle so unique was the heft that that sound had. The best way to describe it would be that the sound pushes a lot of air, but is quite aggressive. Most Muff-esque pedals have a huge, thick sound, but are often plagued with a farty low end and a displeasing upper frequency range (icepick highs when the tone control is cranked). The Swollen Pickle MKII has all of the punch of the original, and a massive tonal range. With a stock setting (Tone: 12 o’clock, Sustain: 1 o’clock, Volume: 11 o’clock) the pedal immediately sounded fantastic, with great note separation, clarity, and a nice even frequency range. There is a very hi-fi quality to this pedal, but in a surprisingly musical way.
With an opportunity to improve upon the original idea, Way Huge has included four more controls in the circuit: Scoop, Crunch, two internal controls for adjusting the intensity of the Scoop control, and one to change the style of clipping. These additional options seemed a little overboard at first, but provided hours of fun.
The Scoop control allows the player to scoop or boost the midrange frequencies of the unit, which is highly useful on its own. Crunch controls how compressed the fuzz is, which resulted in highly squeezed square wave-esque sounds to all-out sonic annihilation. Using these in tandem with the Scoop intensity control yielded very smooth vintage tones to razor-sharp modern distortion, and the clipping type control provided a sucker punch intensity that just took it completely over the top. It was actually strange to turn off the pedal after an hour and play clean; the tone felt wimpy after being hit in the chest by this little beast for so long. The pedal can dish out fantastic, less extravagant traditional fuzz tones if need be, but it excels at aggressive, huge sounds.
Construction-wise, the Swollen Pickle is no slouch either. The enclosure is identical to the originals: thick, brushed aluminum. The jacks were solid and the pedal was very quiet with the Scoop intensity knob at lower settings (which was very nice). Even the battery compartment, which is usually an afterthought in so many pedal designs, is clever—it’s situated on the front edge of the device and requires no tools to get to. Why doesn’t every pedal out there have this as an option? The Way Huge Swollen Pickle MKII is an extraordinary fuzz pedal, and certainly lives up to its name.
huge fuzz tones are your thing, and you want to craft a unique voice with lots of punch and clarity.
you need more subdued, low-key fuzz.
Street $160 - Way Huge - wayhuge.com