Premier Guitar features affiliate links to help support our content. We may earn a commission on any affiliated purchases.

Quick Hit: EarthQuaker Devices Westwood Review

With the ability to dial in transparent boost or use the active EQ to summon radically voiced overdrive, what’s not to love?

 

Ratings

Pros:
Active EQ yields wonderful array of tones, from powerful transparent boost to low- and medium-gain dirt.

Cons:
Dedicated midrange control might enable faster, more precise dialing of tones.

Street:
$179

EarthQuaker Devices Westwood
earthquakerdevices.com



Tones:


Ease of Use:


Build/Design:


Value:
 

For years now it’s seemed a day can’t pass without at least five companies debuting a supposedly transparent overdrive. Plenty of them are good, but most have very linear (and passive) tone, gain, and level controls that offer limited palettes—which is fine, if that’s all you need. What’s tantalizing about EarthQuaker Devices’ Westwood is that it ignores the notion that radical and invisible must be mutually exclusive.

Not only does Westwood bust the usual one-tone-knob approach into two frequency bands, but its active treble and bass controls also offer up to 20 dB of boost or cut from their flat, handily detented center points.

Westwood is a wonder for myriad applications where you don’t need mondo saturation—though it’s got more than enough
for aggressive rock.

That means the controls are highly interactive with each other. For example, middling level and gain settings are much tamer with treble and bass at noon than they are with higher EQ settings.

This makes Westwood a wonder for myriad applications where you don’t need mondo saturation—though it’s got more than enough for aggressive rock—or for instantaneously giving your axe a highly contrasted personality, from skanky thin and toothy to grodily girthy, but its powerful EQ also makes it killer for, say, making a lower-output guitar viable in a rig tailored to higher-gain pickups.

Test gear: Schecter Ultra III with TV Jones Magna’Tron bridge pickup, Squier Vintage Modified Tele with Curtis Novak Tel-V and JM-V pickups, Fender ’76 Vibro Champ, Jaguar HC50, Goodsell Valpreaux 21, MXR Reverb.


The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview
The Return of Johnny Cash—John Carter Cash Interview on Johnny’s New Songwriter Album

The Man in Black returns with the unreleased Songwriter album. John Carter Cash tells us the story.

Read MoreShow less

The GibsonES Supreme Collection (L-R) in Seafoam Green, Bourbon Burst, and Blueberry Burst.

The new Gibson ES Supreme offers AAA-grade figured maple tops, Super Split Block inlays, push/pull volume controls, and Burstbucker pickups.

Read MoreShow less

Mdou Moctar has led his Tuareg crew around the world, but their hometown performances in Agadez, Niger, last year were their most treasured.

Photo by Ebru Yildiz

On the Tuareg band’s Funeral for Justice, they light a fiery, mournful pyre of razor-sharp desert-blues riffs and political calls to arms.

Mdou Moctar, the performing moniker of Tuareg guitar icon Mahamadou “Mdou” Souleymane, has played some pretty big gigs. Alongside guitarist Ahmoudou Madassane, drummer Souleymane Ibrahim, and bassist Mikey Coltun, Moctar has led his band’s kinetic blend of rock, psych, and Tuareg cultural traditions like assouf and takamba to Newport Folk Festival, Pitchfork Music Festival, and, just this past April, to the luxe fields of Indio, California, for Coachella. Off-kilter indie-rock darlings Parquet Courts brought them across the United States in 2022, after which they hit Europe for a run of headline dates.

Read MoreShow less

How do you capture what is so special about Bill Frisell’s guitar playing in one episode? Is it his melodies, his unique chord voicings, his rhythmic concept, his revolutionary approach to pedals and sounds…? It’s all of that and much more.

Read MoreShow less