Swollen Pickle MkII WHE401 Review

manufacturer: Way Huge date: 10/16/2009 category: Guitar Effects
Way Huge: Swollen Pickle MkII WHE401
The Way Huge Swollen Pickle mKII Jumbo Fuzz absolutely rules for a one-stop fuzz pedal.
 Sound: 9
 Overall Impression: 9
 Reliability & Durability: 9.3
 Ease of Use: 7
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reviews (3) pictures (4) 23 comments vote for this gear:
overall: 8.8
Swollen Pickle MkII WHE401 Featured review by: UG Team, on october 16, 2009
4 of 4 people found this review helpful

Ease of Use: Way Huge Electronics was Launched in 1992 by Jeorge Tripps who set out to make reliable, rugged, and pedal-board friendly stomp boxes for the serious guitarists. Mr. Tripps invented some highly sought after products, but in 1999 closed the doors on Way Huge. Almost 10 years later the demand for Way Huge pedals seemed greater than ever with online auctions and bidding wars reaching the $1000 mark. Teaming up with Dunlop the Way Huge pedals have returned and the Swollen Pickle MkII Jumbo Fuzz is a serious addition to the Dunlop family.

Heavy-Duty footswitch
True bypass
Blue LED indicator
2.1mm power jack with AC protection
Easy access battery door
Aluminum anodized chassis
Cliff jacks
Military spec Teflon wire

The Filter control retains on the Swollen Pickle has a very wide range of heavily band-pass-filtered tones. You could think of it as being a reverse filter than that of a ProCo Rat. As you turn the filter clockwise the high end becomes sizzlier and as you turn it counter clockwise the low end gets fatter. The Loudness (volume control) cranks out more dB than any pedal I have ever used... seriously. The updated features on the mKII include a tone stack Scoop control that allows for flat or mid-sweep tones, and a Crunch knob to that adjusts the compression intensity of the fuzz much like running a tube Screamer after a Fuzz Face.

Additionally the Swollen Pickle MKII pedal has two internal mini controls that control the outboard trim pots. The Voice control sets the intensity of the external Scoop control from light to heavy mid-cut. The Clip varies between two sets of clipping diodes for smooth or opened fuzz sustain. // 9

Ease of Use: I actually found this pedal to be a bit difficult at first. There really are a lot of tonal options on this pedal and the Scoop trim pot and the Filter knob really work with and against each other. Once I found the right spot for these two knobs the pedal really opened up. I definitely wouldn't advise throwing this pedal on a pedal board before a gig without a few hours of getting-to-know time. // 6

Sound: The Swollen Pickle mKII is one of the most versatile and musical fuzz pedals I have ever played. On one end you can get a nasty biting fuzz tone ridden with tonal anomalies and 60s character; on the other end there's a modern Smashing Pumpkins style Big Muff wall of sound fuzz...and everything in between. My favorite tonal aspect of this pedal is the Crunch control, which allows for more contained fuzz tones. With a little bit of tweaking I was able to achieve the David Gilmour The Wall-era distortion, fuzzy and Vintage but very contained and dynamic. Usually I would achieve this tone by running a Big Muff through a Tubescreamer which would round the edges of the Big Muff fuzz. With the Swollen Pickle in my rig I can dial all of my favorite classic fuzz tones as well as modern harmonic fuzziness. There are even hints at an upper octave when dialed a certain way. Check out sample 4! // 10

Reliability & Durability: I've been rocking this thing for a few months now and it seems to be holding up like a champ, but time will tell. It hasn't taken any drops or suffered any spills yet. // 10

Overall Impression: The Way Huge Swollen Pickle mKII Jumbo Fuzz absolutely rules for a one-stop fuzz pedal. In the boutique stomp box world there are hundreds of different fuzz pedals out there, and many of them sound great. However, this is by far the most versatile of the bunch in my experience. The only downfall I can think of is that it's not entirely intuitive at first to dial in. For serious tone seekers it is definitely worth the time and effort to check this pedal out and integrate it into the live rig. Check out the Way Huge website for some of the coolest audio clips I've ever heard, and also an impressive endorsee list. This is probably my new favorite pedal. // 9

- Josh Johnson (c) 2009

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overall: 7.8
Swollen Pickle MkII WHE401 Reviewed by: pinheadslts75, on october 21, 2011
0 of 0 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 110

Purchased from: Guitar Center

Ease of Use: While not quite as finicky and sensitive as, say, a Z.Vex Fuzz Factory, this pedal's various knobs and settings will take a while to get used to. Especially since what passes for the user manual is just as unhelpful as the handful of demos you'll be able to find. The three big knobs, "Loudness", "Filter", and "Sustain" function much as you'd expect them to. However, the external and internal trim pots are where you'll do the most tweaking. All the trim pots work in a counter-clockwise fashion, eg, the farther you turn them to the left, the more extreme that parameter becomes. "Scoop" on the front of the pedal allows you to adjust how pronounced the midrange scoop of the "Filter" knob will be, from completely flat to unusably scooped. You'll hear this most with the filter knob set to 12:00. "Crunch" allows you to control the overall level of compression. On the inside of the pedal, "Clip" allows you to blend between two sets of clipping diodes. This is the least explained control on the entire pedal. Basically, the more you turn it counter clockwise, the more you get a harsher, modern day fuzz sound. The more you turn it clockwise, the more you get a vintage, smooth fuzz tone. "Voice" allows you to adjust how intense the "Scoop" trim on the front of the pedal will be. Overall, the pedal gets knocked down on this simply because so few places give you an actual explanation for how the trim pots actually work. // 6

Sound: Once you jump the hurdle of figuring this damn thing out, you'll uncover its heavenly sounds. Generally speaking, this pedal is a fuzz with a massive amount of gain and a very prominent bass response at most settings. However, it's an incredibly versatile thing, owing to the amount of control you have over the tone. You can go from some smooth, low gain Fuzz Face-esque tones, all the way to some over the top insanity. My personal favorite sound is a high gain, post-metal sludge ala Baroness and Isis. It tends handle drop tuning and palm muting surprisingly well. The only thing to watch out for is that is doesn't necessarily clean up well with a volume knob roll-off, and turning the "Filter" knob too far to the bass end of things will muck up really quickly. I use an Xaviere Jazzmaster knock off and some MIM Fender Strats and Teles. I use DiMarzio instrument cables and Planet Waves patch cables. The amplifier I use is a Jet City Amplification 20w head, which powers a matched 2x12 speaker cabinet. It stacks well with a slightly overdriven preamp setting and really shines on high-volume settings. My chain goes Guitar->EHX LPB-1->Boss BF-2->MXR Smart Gate->Dunlop DVP-1->Way Huge Swollen Pickle->Dod DFX9. I structure my chain this way because this pedal is insanely loud and the Smart Gate really can't handle it. It's better to have it afterwords, so you only have to bear the hissing and not the feedback. Overall, I personally find it to be my favorite pedal, but I do have to dock a few points for noise and muddiness. // 8

Reliability & Durability: The thing is built like an aluminum bunker and during the period I still could have taken it for a refund I made a point of testing out that switch. It holds up to the abuse pretty well. // 8

Overall Impression: This has quickly become my favorite distortion sound and I use it rather extensively. It's not necessarily for everyone and certainly takes some getting used to, but overall I could not have made a better choice with my purchase. I would pretty much have to replace it were anything unfortunate to happen to it. // 9

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overall: 9.3
Swollen Pickle MkII WHE401 Reviewed by: ledzep426, on september 01, 2014
0 of 1 people found this review helpful

Price paid: $ 130

Purchased from: Sam Ash

Ease of Use: A manual is provided but you can really figure out how to use the thing without it. Its very simple and straightforward. Like I said before there are two knobs underneath the back-plate which can be accessed by removing the feet. Those two knobs let you adjust how much clipping you want to allow among other things which can affect the sound. The seemingly endless amount of sounds you could get from this pedal is staggering. I don't think this is the type of pedal where one would get lost using. I use it with almost a dozen other pedals in my chain and I can easily adjust it accordingly depending on what kind of sound I would like to get out of my rig. // 9

Sound: First of all, this thing sounds monstrous. Completely enormous. This was my first pedal from Way Huge so I initially did not know what to expect. I initially went to the store to buy a Big Muff but was left slightly disappointed by it so the sales rep who was helping me recommended me this little green pedal with the funny name and instantly I dug it. I am using it with a Fender Champ 100 (2x12 100 watt) and it sounds amazing with it. This pedal can make sounds as diverse as a lightly distorted fuzz sound reminiscent to a very light overdrive to completely balls out fuzzed (like the live Jack White guitar sound or Jimi Hendrix in the studio). My favorite sound I could get out of this thing is almost exactly like the tone Jack White gets on the bridge of The White Stripes track "Hypnotize" as well as the tone he gets on the heavy riff part of his solo instrumental "High Ball Stepper." You can also easily get the trademark Jack White "stutter" sound if you chaotically punch at the strings with a quick attack. Its a very warm, rounded out guitar tone but extremely heavy. You can alter the tone via the 5 knobs on the pedal plus 2 inside if you choose to unscrew the feet and mess around with it. // 9

Reliability & Durability: This pedal is built like a tank. Not only will it not break in most circumstances, I don't even think it can bruise without intent. The buttons have not fallen off or anything yet, I can depend on it without backup live no question. The finish seems like it will last for quite a while before even the slightest amount of chipping or fade. If I lose this or it somehow manages to break I would most certainly go out and buy a new one right away. But that is very unlikely since this thing is very durable. // 10

Overall Impression: I've been playing guitar for almost 8 years, I play a lot of alternative, indie, garage rock, blues, and plenty of metal too. This fuzz really works with anything except for chugging metal which would require a straight distortion. It works well as a riff heavy rhythm or a chaotic lead. This pedal totally eliminates the need for an overdrive or a screamer since it can create and OD tone with the right EQ and knob settings and is loud enough to work without a boost. It blows the Big Muff, Fuzz Head and the Fuzz Face out of the water no question. // 9

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