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Electro-Harmonix Spruce Goose Review

EHX Spruce Goose

Low-gain overdrive? Tell that to the amp you just blew up with this Jekyll and Hyde stomp.

Snappy-to-nasty OD colors. Dynamically responsive. Easy to dial in a wide range of tones. Nice price. Momentary switch option.

Bass-heavy settings can sound cloudy.


Electro-Harmonix Spruce Goose


I was very late to discover the Marshall Bluesbreaker. There’s no reason, really. We just didn’t cross paths often, and unlike, say, a Boss SD-1 or something, there wasn’t one lurking around every practice joint. Last year, though, I got to hang out with Marshall’s recent re-issue and was sad to see it go. So, I was equally stoked to get my hands on EHX’s Spruce Goose, which uses the Bluesbreaker as a point of departure.

The Spruce Goose (and the circuit it’s derived from) are popularly regarded as low-gain drives. I’m never sure where the threshold between low gain and something nastier lives. But the Goose sometimes pulls to the aggro side of that line like a mad dog on a leash. It doesn’t take a lot of work to make the Spruce Goose explosively alive, and it’s quick to wake up a thin amp. Telecaster bridge pickups can sound firecracker hot and SG Burstbuckers beastly. With the latter, you can transform any decent black-panel Fender-style amp turned up to 7 or 8 into something a lot like a Marshall in the service of Angus. Those single-coil sounds are my favorite, though. Via the Goose, they come through clear, snarly, rowdy, and rude. That clarity crossed with filth extends the Goose’s utility. High-octane folk rock arpeggios, Zep’ I lead stingers, Black Flag grind, and Sonic Youth yowl all sound perfectly at home in the cradle of the Spruce Goose. Mind the boost from that lift switch, though. It’s a little like pouring nitroglycerin on a stack of twitchy dynamite. Hearing it blow is a rambunctious pleasure.

Electro-Harmonix Spruce Goose Overdrive Effects Pedal

Spruce Goose Overdrive Pedal