#1
Swollen Pickle MK II Effects Pedal Review.

The re-release of this pedal is a god-send to any fuzz enthusiast!

This pedal is made by Dunlop, so you know it is well built, sturdy and durable.

The sounds that you get out of this pedal are amazing; it does exactly what it is designed to do – Fuzz the f**k out of your tones and rattle your bones!

There is no added hum to your line signal into your amp, so need to spend money extra money on a noise suppressor if you do not own one already.

I play this through a Behringer GMX210 amp, with either my PRS Custom 24 or Epi SG with EMG 81/85 set up in a chain that goes Dunlop Wah, Jekyll and Hyde, swollen pickle plugged into the front of the amp, then Electric Mistress, Super Knockout EQ Pedal, and EHX Octave pedal into the effects chain. Sometimes also have a Boss NS-2 pedal in there.

This pedal is so easy an autistic monkey with a penchant for drool could work this thing; it has 5 knobs, Loudness, Sustain, Filter, Scoop and Crunch...

Now the first two really are self explanatory, and to some extent I guess they all are.
First we have the loudness knob, you want it louder, turn it up, duh!
Same with the Sustain, for more turn it clockwise, for less turn it anti-clockwise.

The filter knob is a little more tricky, not use, I mean, it is still just a knob that turns, but getting the hang using it correctly, doesn’t take much time, just a little patience and a fresh set of ears to get the tone you’re after. This Filter function allows you to filter just how much fuzz is being released from the pedal and into your signal. You can get quite a dry, almost deadened effect with this filter right through to saturation, to the point overkill, where tones wash into one another and it is just a mess, maybe good for someone on their third hour of an acid trip.

Next up is my favourite, the Scoop! Want to scoop out the mids, crank the knob all the way around, if it’s too dry, just slowly bring it back, and you can literally hear more colour and saturation slowly being introduced to your tone. It really is music to your ears, well great tones any way.

Crunch, is self explanatory also, in fact I take back what I said earlier that, ‘to some extent they all are self explanatory’, they’re all self explanatory!
Anyway, how bad-ass do you want your tone? That is the only question here, you can get the most intense crunching fuzz out of this unit when you have the crunch turned all the way up, backed by the sustain and the scoop at about mid-range.

This pedal was the Big Muff of yesteryear; it wasn’t around instead of the Big Muff but competed with it as far as I am aware. And this re-release in this reviewer’s opinion holds it’s own against any Big Muff of any era, and even supersedes it in some respects – but mainly and most importantly it’s the Pickle’s overall tone delivery that set’s it apart and puts it in a class of its own. I jammed on both at my local store before placing my order with Musician’s friend and it took me all of ten minutes to be happy with the Swollen Pickle over the Big Muff. But like with anything, it all came down to my personal preference, the Big Muff does indeed kick some major ass, I just believe the Swollen Pickle kicks it a little better.

The reliability of this unit is second to none. It is has a hard plastic casing, that is durable and not easy to break, I love to jump up and stamp on my pedals like a real rock star and this thing easily withstands my jump and stomp shenanigans. This pedal has stood up to multiple gigs.
As for the circuitry I couldn’t tell you, I haven’t looked inside this or any other pedal, and frankly I don’t want to. I’m a muso, not an electrics expert!

My overall impression of this pedal is that I rate this as the most precious in my arsenal, considering the tone I love to produce, but having said that it isn’t my favourite, that is reserved for my Jekyll and Hyde Overdrive /Distortion combo. But as far as Fuzz pedals go, I would purchase this over a Big Muff any day of the week, without hesitation.
Here in Australia this pedal retails for about $350, but I got it shipped to my sister in Canada via Musicians Friend and payed about $120 US I think from memory, either way I saved a heap of money and I couldn’t be happier!
I’m off to play it now!