Price paid: C$ 179
Purchased from: Spaceman Music
Sound — 3
The Whammy features three different effects: Harmony, detune, and Whammy. I was surprised to find that it did not offer any straight pitch-shifting. The detune is actually a very useful effect, very similar to the shimmering sound of a chorus, but a little gloomier. This is probably the most useful detune I've had the oppotunity to try; it is much more lush than that of other units I've used. The Harmony function seems to me not to be very useful, mostly due to the fact that the DigiTech Whammy does not have any sort of wet/dry mix control. While units like the Boss PS-5 allows the user to control the balance between the detuned signal and the dry one, or between the Original signal and the Harmony, these parameters are already set on the Whammy and cannot be altered. The Whammy effect itself is sort of a one-trick pony. I was very dissapointed to see how few options there were under the "Whammy" section of the pedal: two octaves up, one octave up, one octave down, two octaves down, dive bomb, and drop tune. Unlike the Boss PS-5, which has a much more versatile Trem. Arm function, this will not shift up or down to a 5th or a 6th. It can be done with a tremendous amount of Precision, but in a Live setting, I cannot imagine trying to Whammy up to a 6th, holding that precise position on the footpedal for a moment, and then whammying back down. Another unit that offers a much more versatile Whammy function is (sadly) the DigiTech RP-200A multi-effects processor. For a much cheaper price, the RP-300 offers not only useable delays and reverbs, but a spectacular improvement on the Whammy which allows the user to dial in the minimum and maximum pitch of the Whammy, as well as the level of the wet/dry signal. I currently use the Whammy in front of a Fender Blues Deluxe, typically followed by a Boss Super Feedbacker & Distortion and a number of delays and reverb in the effect loop. I've also used the Whammy through a Fender Jam, a Mega GL-30B and a Fender Bassman, and I have to say that of all the pedals and multi-effects units I've used, the Whammy is by far the one that most colors a guitar's tone. A signal going through the Whammy when t's on will sound thin and metallic, whether the footpedal is down or not. Even when it's off, the Whammy noticeably sucks the instrument's tone. I was very dissapointed after buyingthe Whammy; it is a great idea for an effect, but its lack of control and versatile means that ultimately, it was wasted.
Overall Impression — 5
Pitch-shifting has always been a huge part of my playing style, but I've been using it decreasingly since I traded in my Boss PS-5 Super Shifter and got the DigiTech Whammy. At first, I was certain that the option of real-time pitch-shifting would by far outweigh this unit's lac kof versatility. Sadly, it does not and I now realise that I would have been much better off simply buying an expression pedal for the PS-5. While I do find myself using the detune function often enough and I have found a use for the harmonise effect coupled with huge delays and reverse reverb, all in all, I would probably have been happier with a different effect. I wish I had given it a bit more of a try before buying it, as I hadn't yet realised how much of a one-trick-pony it is. I will almost certainly be selling it soon in order to pay for one of DigiTech's newer multi-effect units (maybe the RP-1000), as they honestly have much more useful Whammy finctions. If DigiTech ever decide to release a Whammy V, more control over the Whammy effect and a wet/dry blend control for single outputs may be some features to consider.
Reliability & Durability — 6
The Whammy seems to be solid enough. The metal chassis is a much more sturdy-looking encloseure than the flimsy XP-series boxes and DigiTech's plastic mutli-effect unit enclosures. The one knob that toggles between effects seems fragile enough though, and I have seen a case where it was simply broken off during transportation. In addition, I'm not really a fan of the footswitch; it seems too easy to turn it on accidentally and would be much better if replaced with an Electro-Harmonix-style click-Switch. For the outrageous price the Whammy goes for Brand New, I would expect something a little better.
Ease of Use — 6
The DigiTech Whammy is a fairly simple pedal to understand, particularly for guitarists Who are already familiar with the Wah-Wah Pedal. There is absolutely no adjusting, tweaking, or fiddlin gwith parameters on the Whammy; instead, there are a number of pre-set functions and a knob that switches between these. While this makes it a simpler job to operate the pedal, it also makes it much less versatile. Though the pedal is fairly self-explanatory (the labels on the Whammy serve as a quick guide to each function), it does come with a manual that guides the new user. Operating the Whammy footpedal itself for anything more complex than simply shifting up and down an octave is much more difficult. This is where the user's complete lack of control over the Whammy's parameters comes into play. More on this later.