Electro Harmonix Pedals: An Introduction to the Family Harmonix!

Back in 1968, guitar amps were intentionally engineered to keep players from experimenting with distorted sounds. Electro Harmonix changed all that. For 40 years we’ve been proud to contribute to many of the most famous recordings in music history, their circuits won’t ever constrain the color of your sound; rather, they give you the freedom to find it.
Did you know that Electro-Harmonix makes many of the world’s greatest vacuum tubes? The next time you need to re-tube your guitar, bass, or hi-fi amp, be sure to insist on getting authentic Electro-Harmonix tubes.

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Founding Years (1967 – 1968)

Electro Harmonix was founded by Mike Matthews in October of 1968 in NYC, USA. Himself an R&B keyboard player, he had traded his passion of music for a job as a salesman for IBM in 1967. Shortly afterwards he realized that his job at IBM no longer suited him, and he was interested in trying once again to make career for himself as a keyboard player. Concerned he may not be able to support his (now ex) wife while being unemployed, he aspired to save some money to support her before embarking on his journey to stardom. Partnering with an acquaintance of his, an audio repairman who claimed to have his own custom circuit for a fuzz pedal, they jobbed construction of their new pedal to a contracting house, and began distributing the pedals under a deal with the Guild Guitar Company. Fuzzboxes were in demand following a trail of hits involving their sound, including (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction by The Rolling Stones two years prior, and recent popularization of Jimi Hendrix. The latter connection resulted in the pedals being branded the ‘Foxey Lady’.

Following the unexpected and unexplained departure of his partner, Matthews was introduced to inventor and electric engineer Robert Myer through IBM colleagues. Together the two began conceptualizing a circuit designed to emulate Jimi Hendrix’s use of a Distortion-Free Sustain. While testing a prototype of the Distortion-Free Sustainer pedal, which Matthews did by simply plucking the strings of an electric guitar, as he did not play guitar, he noticed another small box connected to the prototype. When asked, Myer explained this box was a line booster, designed to boost the guitar’s passive signal to an appropriate level for the prototype. Matthews listened as the guitar’s volume increased greatly as the booster was turned on, and asked Myer what was involved in manufacturing the pedal. The pedal consisted of a simple circuit and used just one transistor. Shortly afterwards, Matthews founded Electro Harmonix to produce this and other pedal designs throughout 60’s, 70’s and early 80’s.

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Turns out that EHX also manufacturers a huge percentage of the world’s vacuum tubes in its factory in Russia, which are then sent back to New York for testing and pairing before being sold to vintage and high-end audio fans, as well as manufacturers like McIntosh.

Gadget site boingboing had a really good time checking out the factory floor to see the hand-made vacuum tube testing machines, as well as talking to the engineers that sit around all day and try to figure out how to get the ideas for new FX processors out of their crazy boss’s head and into working hardware.

The following Electro-Harmonix video demos will help you make the most of your favorite EH gear with clear, thoughtful demonstrations by Peter Stroud, guitarist for Sheryl Crow and founder of legendary 65 Amp company. So, if you don’t know your Big muff from your Double Muff  or your Wiggler from your POG ,then run the vids and wrap your ears around some of the funkiest pedals on the planet.


  • POG
  • Tube Zipper
  • English Muff’n
  • Wiggler
  • 16 Second Digital Delay
  • Graphic Fuzz
  • 16 Sec Foot Controller
  • Frequency Analyzer
  • Holy Grail
  • Double Muff
  • Deluxe Memory Man
  • White Finger
  • Big Muff Pi
  • Worm
  • Micro Synthesizer
  • Holier Grail
  • Pulsar
  • Mini Q-Tron
  • Bass Micro Synthesizer
  • Tube EQ
  • Stereo Memory Man with Hazarai

    It’s a multi-tap delay, its an echo, it’s a reverse echo, it’s a performance looper with tap tempo, and it’s programmable… it’s got all the Hazarai! Designed for the performing musician, the new Stereo Memory Man is destined to be one of the most creative instruments on your pedalboard. (Available Late Aug.)

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    Holy Stain multi-effect

    Reverb, Pitch Shift and Tremolo can blend with the Stain’s unique analog gilded distortion. Plutonic interaction of the controls creates ultra novel effects. (available late september)

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    Stereo Electric Mistress

    The name says it all – what was great got even better!  Generate the slithering, panoramic textures of “Axis Bold As Love.” Manually flange or freeze your sound in Filter Matrix mode. Chorus and Flanger work together seamlessly for unique stereo modulations. Colorful and seductive! (Available Early Aug.)

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    Micro POG

    Make your 6-string guitar sound like a 12-string. Make your 4-string bass sound like an 8-string. Super fast tracking with glitch free polyphony. Makes a great bass using the sub octave. Polyphonic tone in a small die-cast XO enclosure. (Available Aug.)

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    Knockout Attack Equalizer

    Electro Harmonix Knockout Attack Equalizer

    Convert Gibson™ to Strat™ or Strat™ to Telecaster™

    Give your tone the heavyweight punch it deserves. Two powerful filters are the key — make your humbuckers sound like single coils and your Strat sound like a Tele. Amazing on bass!  (Available Late July)

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    Holy Grail Plus

    Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Plus

    For years the Holy Grail has been the musician’s choice for reverb. The Holy Grail+ adds Room reverb and a multi-function decay/ damping/modulation speed control. The Grail just got even more divine!

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    #1 Echo

    Electro Harmonix #1 Echo

    Digital delay with analog tone. Comes in a small die-cast package and produces the FINEST digital echo available. Full 2 seconds maximum delay time.

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    Germanium OD

    Electro Harmonix Germanium OD

    This pedal was built to produce the kind of classic ’60s-style overdrive that only a true Germanium transistor can offer, along with the added convenience of an adjustable GAIN control, BIAS control, and a circuit VOLTS knob for dialing in what E-H calls “that sweet spot found when a battery’s voltage dips.”

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    Soul Preacher

    Electro Harmonix Soul Preacher

    Three selectable attacks coupled with silky, long sustains blend in perfect harmony to create the finest compressor ever built for guitar and bass. The Soul Preacher is your tool for sonic salvation.

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    Q-Tron+

    Electro Harmonix Q-Tron+

    The classic envelope filter pedal gets a new face and now comes in compacf die-cast chassis.

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    Octave Multiplexer

    Electro Harmonix Octave Multiplexer

    Likewise, the Octave Multiplexer pedal also gets a makeover, and now comes in compacf die-cast chassis.

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    Electro-Harmonix Bass Big Muff Pi

    Introducing the Bass Big Muff Pi, a new version of the famous distorsion/fuzz/sustainer stompbox.

    This XO-series sized box features a bass boost switch and was specifically designed to handle bass frequencies. It also features a “dry” output. Features: Controls for Volume – Tone – Sustain Mini Switch for Bass Boost …

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    Electro-Harmonix USA Big Muff USA Pi

    The pedal that started it all The distortion countless musicians such as Hendrix, Santana and Jack White relied on for its rich, creamy, violin-like sustain. A timeless piece, the Big Muff has been defining the sound of rock guitar for the past 30 years. Like the legendary Big Muff Pi of the ’70s, the reissue Electro-Harmonix USA Big Muff…

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    Electro-Harmonix Metal Muff

    Electro-Harmonix spent many months creating what we believe to be the best heavy metal pedal ever built. The Metal Muff utilizes three powerful EQ bands, including a midrange control designed for perfect contouring. Along with beautifully sculpted mids, the Metal Muff offers commanding bass and defined top end—coupled with user-controlled distortion from pinched-edge to totally crushing—making it a heavy metal…

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    Electro-Harmonix Little Big Muff

    After extensive research into what made the 1970 Big Muff such a special and legendary pedal, Electro-Harmonix came up with a new addition to its Big Muff family: The Little Big Muff. Housed in a compact, die-cast box with smooth corners, The Little Big Muff presents the classic, true-to-heritage, 1970 tone that falls somewhere between the…

    Souce:boingboing

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    ~ by itsstecole on June 23, 2009.

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