Good afternoon, music fans! We are fast approaching the holiday season but before we all get ready for the upcoming four day weekend – at least here in the states anyway – and camp out in front of our local Wal-Mart for a $50 flat screen, we’d like to quickly introduce all of our guests to the newest member of the PAL family: Voodoo Lab! That’s right, we are now proud providers of some of the most unique and versatile pedals out on the effects pedal market today and if you are one of the people out there that have yet to experience these bad boys, you don’t know what you’re missing!
Known for their rugged, reliable and handmade professional electronics, touring and recording musicians from around the world have been using Voodoo Lab gear since the company’s inception in 1986. They continue to add to their success by delivering pure, richly detailed tones that can be heard on some of the biggest stages in rock today! Alright, now that we know a bit more about the company, we’d like to take the time today to check out one of Voodoo Lab’ss more popular pedals – the Giggity Overdrive! Actually, the Giggity much more than just a simple overdrive and booster pedal. Think of it more like a ‘tone-clinic’ inside a nice looking stompbox and you’ll begin to see a clearer picture.
The Giggity Overdrive
As most musicians who have dabbled in the realm of live performance can tell you, there’s much more that goes into the tone of your sound than just your guitar and gear. And as any player with experience in recording can also tell you – home or at a studio – there’s a huge variable out there that always has to be taken into consideration. I’m talking of course about location – room acoustics, if you will. And unless you have a professional sound man with you at all of your gigs and recording sessions or are pretty well versed in on-the-fly EQ compensation and tone trouble shooting, you’re going to need to need something able to make up for all of the variables that can turn an awesome pairing of guitar and gear into sonic mush. That’s where the Giggity Overdrive comes in – a very unique little stompbox that consolidates as much tone-troubleshooting versatility into one easy-to-use piece of gear.
The company themselves calls the Giggity an “analog mastering preamp” that is meant to be able to drastically change the character of your tone quick and easy – perfect for those times when you find that your location setting isn’t ideal for your go to tone presets. One of the best features of the Giggity in my opinion is just how well Voodoo Labs melded form and function in this one box which is a great thing seeing as how the pedal’s main function needs to be conducive to quick changes when time is of the essence. Alright, so let’s take a closer look at the pedal and check out what it can do for you!
This is hands down a flexible pedal. The layout and construction alone both scream optimal control – enough that you can be sure that any quick changes needed on the fly can be done fast and can count on the controls to remain in place. As far as settings go, you have Loudness which regulates the input gain, Master Volume which controls the output level along with Body and Air. Body cuts or boosts the low-mid frequencies while Air cuts or boosts the high-mid presence. The fifth control (which is located at the center-top of the pedal) is a four-way position switch that is called the sun-moon control which is actually a pretty appropriate name given the fact that it functions as a voicing control which magnifies progressively brighter open tones on the sun side and darker, smokier tones as you move it towards the moon.
As far as the build is concerned, like most Voodoo Lab units, this thing is built rock solid. Although I haven’t had the misfortune to try it out myself but this thing feels like it can really take a beating and should do just fine against the normal wear and tear of live shows or studio work – just don’t go throwing this baby against a brick wall anytime soon (although it would probably walk away from that with only a few scratches from the feel of it). The controls themselves feel great with slightly higher torque resistance in the knobs than your average effects pedal which definitely a good thing seeing as how sensitive the controls are in regulating tone, meaning that even under the duress of being constantly stomped on, you can rest assured that your settings will remain in place.
As far as the power goes, like most pedals, this baby can either be powered by standard 9 volt battery or an equivalent charge AC adapter. Although I have yet to take this baby’s battery life to the limit, it’s far from a power guzzler and should last you a good amount of time on one 9 volt – although it’s never a bad idea to have a spare in your gig bag just in case! And of course, this pedal comes with 100% true bypass which for all of you newbies out there means that the pedal doesn’t have to be set on or even powered in order for your signal to run through – pretty much a necessity for anyone with a pedalboard.
This unique little pedal’s versatility really starts to shine once you incorporate it as part of a signal chain. Placing the Giggity at the beginning pretty much allows you to sculpt your pickups’ tone to match your playing situation while placing it at the very end enables you to reintroduce body, character and air that your signal might have lost going through the chain – not completely unlike a preamp and EQ mixer in a studio environment. But in order to really see what this pedal can really do for you – especially in a live stage environment – you have to try it out raw with just your amp and guitar. I tried it out using a Fender Telecaster with a Marshal Bluesbraker Combo for my own test. The Telecaster itself is known for its unique clean high end – that twangie sound that can be heard throughout electric-guitar centered country music – but by introducing the Giggity to the mix, you start seeing how much flexibility this stopmbox offers. Setting all of the controls to their mid settings, including the sun-moon control, the Telecaster sounded thicker, warmer and less brittle, not unlike that of a humbucker equipped guitar but without losing the signature voice of the Tele. Moving the sun-moon control more towards the moon end of the spectrum produced a dark acoustic feel with plenty of warmness that made for a very mellow kind of tone all without losing much detail and adding plenty of character.
But where this pedal shine’s most is most definitely in its ability to adapt to almost any onstage situation. The cut/boost aspect of the Body and Air controls means that no matter what the stage might throw at you – be it feedback, a piercing high end in a reflective room or even that boomy bass sound in crowded spaces – you’ll be ready without having to compromise with tone. Combine this with your guitar and amp’s native controls and you have yourself a setup that can handle almost anything or at the very least at lot more manageable.
And finally, the Loudness and Master controls let you have a bigger effect on your amp’s tonal character. Whether you need some added attack and plenty of body or simply want to change the character of your amp from tame to traumatic, the Giggity can deliver. By slightly putting the Master Volume knob down a bit and adding some Loudness you can attain a pretty mellow, warm Vox AC-30 liveliness especially when given a bit of Sun and Air. Cranking up both Loudness and Master can let you achieve a very aggressive kind of punch, especially when using a tube amp. Moving both Body and Air up will yield a fuzzy kind of overdrive that perfectly suits classic rock and blues and with some added Sun in the mix, you get a very mellow type of crunch not unlike that signature Marshall tone. And there’s plenty more where that came from.
While it might not be the only pedal on the block that can shape your tone in outstanding ways, the added simplicity of the controls along with its general layout feels like it was made for the stage – something that can’t be said about similar overdrive/boost units. If you’re in the need of a effects pedal styled preamp that has enough versatility to ensure great tones for almost any acoustic situation, the Giggity pedal was made specifically for you. With its very easy to use control setup, tough as nails build and excellent tone versatility, the Voodoo Lab Giggity is definitely worth the dough!