Imagine the ability to change the tuning of your guitar with just a simple stomp of a switch. No more spending precious time on stage messing with your tuners, no more lugging around a separate guitar to get the job done. The DigiTech Drop aims to do just that – a polyphonic pitch shift pedal made for guitarists that regularly employ multiple down tunings during their gigs.
The DigiTech Drop is based off of the company’s drop-tune feature found in its Whammy DT so those of you familiar with that pedal will know more or less what the Drop can bring to the table. With the Drop, you are able to tune your entire guitar down anywhere from one half-step all the way down for a full octave (through seven half-step increments) with the simple turn of a knob. There’s also a setting for instant octave-down or octave-down mixed with your dry signal for added effect. While you won’t be able to use the Drop to tune up, it shouldn’t be too much of an issue as a tried and true capo can easily get that done for you.
Other settings include the option to choose between latching and momentary bypass. With latching engaged, you simply stomp the switch and you’re good to go. With momentary, the Drop will work as long as the switch is being physically pressed down, allowing for some punctuating notes at just the right time. Latching meanwhile works as you would expect with your standard pedal – hit the switch to turn the effect on, hit it again to turn it off. It should also be said that the Drop is a polyphonic tuner, meaning that all six strings are shifted evenly at once so if you were hoping to be able to seamlessly tune to a Drop-D or an open tuning, a manual adjustment is still required.
While it seems obvious, the DigiTech Drop doesn’t work by actually re-tuning your guitar but by shifting all six notes depending on your dialed-in settings. This is important to note; when physically tuning down, your guitar strings get looser which has an impact on tone. With the Drop, the strings retain their tension, keeping your tone firm and tuning stability consistent, albeit at a lower register. This might feel strange at first if you’re used to that looser sensation but that quickly goes away.
All in all, the DigiTech Drop works surprisingly well, accurately lowering the guitar’s tuning note for note, free from any unnatural coloration that you might expect from an effects pedal. Each setting delivered as advertised. The octave setting was especially entertaining with the momentary setting engaged, allowing for some pretty interesting licks. Just make sure your guitar is tuned before engaging the Drop – out of tune strings stood out more and more the lower the settings got.
In order to avoid any unwanted latency issues, DigiTech recommends you place the Drop at the front of a signal chain. Personally, there wasn’t any issues or noticeable gaps heard when engaging the Drop but players who employ a good amount of pedals might be more susceptible. In any case, make sure this pedal is at the beginning of your chain for the best experience.
As far as build goes, the Drop is a solid pedal that should handle the wear and tear of years of gigging or the busy schedule of touring easily. And at a third of a pound, it had a good high-quality feel when held. The pedal also comes with its own 9V power supply and offers true-bypass.
The Drop does an excellent job and seamlessly and instantaneously lowering your guitar's entire tuning without any unnatural pause or jump. Players out there who regularly play at lower tunings during gigs will find the Drop to be an especially worthwhile investment, saving them time and hassle with just a simple press of a switch.
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