Price paid: $ 675
Sound — 9
The VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) Sub-Octave and Intelligent Ring Modulator provides triangle or square waves that can create a preternaturally versatile "glide" effect. Throw in an expression pedal jack and you get analog Whammy and ridiculous tunable pitch bending capabilities. It's powerful note recognition technology, 8 octaves, and tuning options give one the ability to really mimic some classic monosynth sounds as well as produce a quality of tone previously unheard of from an electric guitar synth... And that is where the beauty of this unit becomes apparent. What is any piece of equipment without great tone? The sounds that come from the Mothership are, as Pigtronix boasts, FAT!! Beyond it's incredible note recognition, harmonies and textures, it has awesome and elegant tone, which at the risk of pushing the limits of redundancyIS the most important element. The sub-bass range is volcanic and the highs are crisp and warm.
Overall Impression — 8
With an MSRP of $675.00, the Mothership is expensive for a fringe effects pedal. It is so fun though. My favorite thing about it is it's ability to completely bypass the clean channel and isolate the synthesized tones. There is a slight but noticeable problem of the attack presence that comes from your Pick or finger while in this mode. However, it is barely even worth bringing up as the issue is fairly negligible. The Pigtronix Mothership is a good one to listen to via some internet demos and to read about before you go testing it out. Make sure that you are really interested in it's weird world as it is not for everybody. Also, don't make the same tragic mistake as I. WARNING: Exposure to the Mothership may cause extreme facial expressions. Read more about Pigtronix Mothership. By Josh Hiken
Reliability & Durability — 9
That being said, the Mothership is certainly not the easiest or simplest thing to use. Naturally, it has a major downside that I associate with many electric guitar analog synthesizers and pedals. The problem being that achieving many of the awesome sounds requires the player to twist the knobs mid performance. The Mothership is superior to it's competitors in this respect as the expression pedal jack provides the player with a wide variety of hands free, slick sonic productions. However, it's still an issue for Pigtronix, just as it is for industry Legend and personal favorite, Electro-Harmonix. Also, and this may speak to how powerful the Mothership is, it takes a lot of experimenting and even studying to get comfortable with the thing. That doesn't bother me so much as I find the journey quite enjoyable. Although, I could see some players finding this to be a bit of a nuisance. Furthermore, many of it's features don't mesh well with chordal playing. This is one of the major complaints that users seem to agree on but it is sort of expected from an analog monosynth. Some claim that it is nothing more than a glorified harmonizer but I disagree as the synthesizer impressed me.
Ease of Use — 10
The Pigtronix Mothership is an electric guitar analog synthesizer. This thing is so fun that I felt and apparently, looked, very much like a giggly, dare I say... giddy, little schoolgirl as I experimented and navigated my way through it's astonishing array of sonically outrageous capabilities. Friends and strangers alike, scoffed and scowled in disgust as my face uncontrollably contorted and grimaced in unearthly delight at this little piece of technological sorcery. It truly did take me back to the days of my youth when I was first discovering the joys of the bizarre and esoteric world of guitar effects. You can learn more here.