Price paid: $ 120
Purchased from: eBay seller
Ease of Use — 10
I already talked about this mostly in the sound section above, but all in all I think this is easy to use and for me much more useful than an actual Whammy even when you take out the size factor. I don't think I ever looked at the manual as it's very simple to use. No programming that I know of, it would just make me not use it anymore if it was any more complicated than plug it in. The fact that you can't really time it perfectly with tempos with the rotary pots in my opinion makes it sound less processed and for my kinda music being imperfect is usually better and more human. Thanks DigiTech for giving the Whammy tech some new life that got me interested again.
Sound — 10
I have a Whammy 4 but it was a pain in my ass and I didn't really like the sound of it or using it or the size of it that much. To me it was hard to control for what I wanted to use it for, which was mainly for mimicking an actual whammy bar on my hardtail guitars (in this case, a Gibson Memphis 335). Thinking I was cleverer than I am, I bought a Molten MIDI II Whammy controller after seeing a review. It just made me dislike the Whammy IV altogether. One day I saw a video of the Ricochet by Andy at PGS and was intrigued enough to seek one out. No stores carried them is stock, but you could get one easily enough online. Unfortunately middle age and a few million dead brain cells somehow got in mind that I wanted a DigiTech Whammy Drop, which is, while useful for what it is, not what I wanted. So I found one on eBay, and amazingly enough, the guy who I bought it from had the exact opposite problem as I did so we just swapped.
Anyway it sounds great and is dyno-mite except for one gripe that I'll explain. It convincingly will transpose to several preset points on the dial. I think it's +/- 2nd, 4th, 7th. octave, 2 octaves, and a 50/50 mix of dry and 1 octave up or down.
The real unique and cool thing about this is the footswitch, which can be either momentary or latch between "dry" and effect. Really very simple once you start dickin around with it. Where it gets even cooler is what they call the Ballistics control, which is a rotary dial within a dial, with the center being speed of change to the set interval (think glide on an old synth), and the outer dial being the speed of return to normal pitch.
One really useful setting for this pedal for me is to set the interval go down two steps with the footswitch set to momentary, with the "attack speed" set to about 1 beat if what I'm playing, and the return being around 3 beats. Very musical and controllable rhythmically with the one switch. Also when you add some OD or distortion you can get some great tones that mimic some of the sounds of slide. This thing is really cool and Ive been surprised how much nuance I can get out of it just utilizing the momentary switch. I leave it set on the "chord" setting rather than whatever they call the more glitchier tone more familiar in the big Whammy (but I don't really care for that). Easily worth the $120 I originally paid for the Drop pedal I traded to the guy on eBay.
Reliability & Durability — 9
It seems well made to me, it's in a tough steel box that has a tiny bit of heft to it. Although it's made in China, all of the switches, pots and jacks are good quality; the switches are all solid and the pots are not loose at all and everything has withstood three months or so of the same negligent abuse all of my pedals get, including getting spilled and stepped on. If you were to rely on it too heavily and it was needed for some distinctive sounds, you might be up a creek if it were to die on you. But honestly I've never had a problem with the operation of it or have any trepidation that it's going to fail anytime soon. Oh, and it's been on pretty much 24/7 since I got it so that says something.
Overall Impression — 9
Sounds great to me and is really easy to use, and it's great to get a medium-priced pedal that allows some pretty incredible creative tools especially for writing in my case. It's quite an effective way to work through a block or if you're just stuck. Don't really know how to explain it but you can use a virtual key change that suddenly offers a new perspective or add a chord bend that was just what you had in your head. Very handy inspirational when tracking, especially if, like me, you like to overdub ideas on the fly. Double tracking is even cooler if you have the speeds set just a little different on each track. When you play the exact same things but have the speeds a little different and then pan them out form each other you can get a pretty cool effect.
2 gripes, one major and one minor:
MAJOR GRIPE: Why did they leave out the interval of a half-step? The minimum interval is a 2nd up or down. Going from a major to a minor or vice versa is almost always involves a difference of a half step in one of the notes. Also in latch mode it would be easy to play a half step down like all the cool alternative rockers do. It seems to me like such a no-brainer that it's absence surprises me. Would make this pedal twice as useful.
MINOR GRIPE: I wish the two pots were on top and the +/- and momentary selectors below them above the footswitch. If I'm not looking when I go for the footswitch I often knock the interval switch to the next detent so all of a sudden rather than the octave I'm expecting I'm on the 2nd. I have a lot going on around my feet, it can be dark, and I am often trying to accomplish something with my mouth and a microphone while simultaneously operating this and other pedals.