Pitch Fork review by Electro-Harmonix

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  • Ease of Use: 7
  • Sound: 8
  • Reliability & Durability: 6
  • Overall Impression: 8
  • Reviewer's score: 7.3 Good
  • Users' score: 8 (4 votes)
Electro-Harmonix: Pitch Fork

Price paid: $ 130

Purchased from: Musician's Friend

Ease of Use — 7
Play with it. That's the only way you'll find out the odds and ends of it. Everything is an option and there are many of them. A 9v power supply is recommended as it eats batteries. EHX also gives you an option for an expression pedal which I highly recommend. The pedal does not give you a proper place to put your foot while the pedal is "unlatched" and you're trying to get, say, a wah effect by stamping on the pedal in rhythm. I often found myself missing the foot switch entirely while looking completely pants on head ridiculous.

Sound — 8
A relatively new product from Electro-Harmonix; the Pitch Fork is a combination of harmonizer, pitch shifter, octave and ring modulation effects pedal. With a choice of up to three octaves up or down from your input signal it gives you a variety of usable (and a handful of not so usable) sounds to play with.

The pedal also acts as a harmonizer via the shift knob. The choices for intervals are minor 2nd, major 2nd, major 3rd, perfect 4th, perfect 5th, major 6th and minor 7th. The same knob is also used to select how many octaves you want to modulate from your input signal. The harmonization feature and octave feature cannot be used at the same time.

A blend knob controls the ratio of dry to wet signal. Cranked all the way, you will only receive the wet signal. Half way is roughly a 50/50 mix of the two and cranked all the way down you will only hear your input signal. For example with the blend knob at noon and the octave feature on with the octave set to +1 you will hear a half and half of your original signal and the modified signal, i.e. a simulated 12 string guitar.

A three way switch controls if your signal goes up or down, or both. Flipped up you will receive either the harmony or octave above your input signal, flipped down you will receive the harmony or octave below your input signal. Put in the middle you will receive both. For example with the one octave option selected and the blend at noon with the selection switch in the middle you will hear a simulated 18 string guitar. With blend all the way cranked and the switch flipped to the bottom you will have a simulated bass guitar.

A button controls whether the foot switch latches or is only activated when depressed. With it activated you step on it once and the effects pedal is on until you step on the switch again. With it deactivated you step on it for the desired amount of time of the effect and release it to return to your original signal.

The pedal can also be used as a detuning pedal. With the blend cranked all the way up, the direction switch selected down and one of the harmonies selected you will receive a detuned signal. After two or three intervals down the tone does because noticeably altered in an unpleasant way.

Reliability & Durability — 6
I've had on and off luck in terms of EHX pedals and reliability. Some of them have lasted me my entire playing career. Others have crapped out on me months after purchasing them. Though the ones that have failed have impressed me enough to buy another one.

The metal case seems solid enough, though when shaken it clacks an awful amount. Though what this says in terms of how long it will last I don't know. The way the knobs turn is satisfying and the pots make no noise when plugged into the signal chain. The switches feel solid and well built; which should be expected with how much it lends itself to wanting to be abused with the latch feature.

Overall Impression — 8
It's a good novelty pedal. Something fun to play around with and find new tones and sounds you didn't know your guitar could make. Apart from the detuning function (and there's plenty of other, arguably better, dedicated pedals for this) I can't see this being a staple on most pedalboards. The harmonies available are only useful in a handful of situations and going a full two or three octaves up or down from your standard guitar doesn't make any noises that are remotely pleasant (and sometimes don't make noise at all). A song would have to be written around this pedal for it to really make sense. However, it's fun to play with. It can produce some very beautiful sounds and harmonies given proper context. Play with it a little and you'll even find the organ setting. I like it, I like it a lot. It's just not very... practical.

3 comments sorted by best / new / date

    Great review! You shouldn't be too worried about the build quality of those EHX pedals, they're very sturdy. No reasen for them to break at all!
    I do agree with the reviewer the harmonies available from a non-intelligent harmonizer (ie one where you can't set the key to get appropriate minor or major 3rd or 6th depending on what key you are in) to be fairly limiting from a musical point since it makes 3rds and 6ths settings somewhat useless outside of diminished/augmented arpeggio-based playing, in which case they can still be useful... But I'm guessing more players would prefer diatonic harmony and therefore would be out of luck. And really, 3rds/6ths are the bread and butter of harmonizing, since a major appeal is obviously the ability to play harmonized leads on one guitar. Not to say harmonizing in 5ths or 4ths can't be useful, but still... Though the idea of having all these things in one pedal with the ability to add an expression pedal is always nice. Still, other companies like Boss already provide the same thing, but with intelligent harmonization and Digitech offers plenty of options with the Whammy pedals, which have the expression pedal built in. It's a nice thought, but there already are other pedals that do all the same things but better.
    Great review however I disagree about the usefulness of the Pith Fork. I have already used this at gigs and find the basic octave settings good for organ sounds, which are very easy to attain. It also does half reasonable twelve-string with one octave above and blend turned down slightly. It's a very useable, affordable alternative tp a MPOG. Not having independent levels for high and low octave when both are engaged is not really a deal breaker for me. Very happy with this and my other ehx pedal - the Memory Toy.