Okay another pedal review, and I will try to keep this short, as the Big White Monkeys Freaky is more of a functional boost pedal with EQ shaping capabilities rather than the usual effects stuff I normally review. The Freaky is a pedal the boys on the Gold Coast at Big White Monkey amps have had in their big yellow stomp box range for a while now, which I am finally getting around to checking out.
First up, I just want to give BWM a bit of a plug, then we’ll check out a couple of vids, along with my review. Now for those of you who are not familiar with BWM, please check out our list of growing reviews or their Facebook page, where you can get good discounts (as opposed to buying through EBay, which charges big fees and obviously gets added to your buying costs). I personally think their products are fantastic value for money and their amps and pedals rock!, but also, the customer support for an online distributor is fantastic. I have found that any thing I buy from them, I always receive excellent customer service and they stand by their warranty, so I can have peace of mind knowing that if I have a problem they will fix it! Okay there is my plug, on with the Freaky!!!
So first up, lets have a look at a couple of videos. This first video Darren has the Freaky at the end of his signal, meaning it’s the last pedal before it hits the amp. In front of the Freaky is a mid 90s ProCo Rat distortion pedal. The amp is a Peavey Delta Blues and the guitar is Darrens heavily modified ‘E’ serial MIJ Fender Strat.
In this next video, we have the Freaky before our distortion pedal, so the entire signal from the OD pedal gets a boost, adding a little extra dynamic to your sound. The pedal in front of the Freaky in this next video is a Lovepedal E6 Eternity Overdrive Pedal.
So what is the Freaky pedal?
The Big White Monkey Freaky is an EQ and boost pedal, well a type of parametric EQ, in that it shifts or emphasizes a specific tonal range, such as the treble or bass spectrum. It is actually based around the classic preamp side of an Xotic EP booster, which is itself based on the echoplex 3 without the delay/echo. A pedal which goes for big big bucks, if you can find one.
As you can see in the pic, it is a simple pedal, which is encased in their indestructible steel RAT style enclosure.
Like I said, it is a very simple pedal in terms of its design and function. It has two switches, one for Treble and the other (on the right) for the Bass and a single knob to control the volume. Sorry to all you tweakers out there, there isn’t much to tweak on this pedal.
So engaging the pedal will, even at minimal levels boost the volume, not a lot, but it will definitely add a distinct volume boost even when turned right down. The volume range on this pedal is huge, giving up to 20dB of boost, so I doubt you would be looking for more boost in volume for lead solos in a band situation when your using this pedal.
Flicking the switch on the left will add more Treble emphasis and add a little sparkle to the tone. Now it is very subtle and when I first tried this pedal I really had to play for a while then turn it off to notice something missing. I also tried plucking the top 2 treble strings on my guitar and letting them ring out, then flicking the Treble switch on and off to hear the lovely sparkle and added presence coming in and out! It’s very subtle at first, but when you hear it, it’s very sweet to the ear.
The other switch on the right, for the Bass does a similar thing. I thought that the difference the bass boost made was less noticeable. I actually preferred the sparkle and clarity the treble boost added to my rig, rather than thickening up and darkening my already thick tones. But, remember, Tone is subjective, the bass frequency wasn’t bad, I just preferred the Treble.
Okay not much else to say in terms of the Freakys functions, but would I recommend it?
Hmmm, honestly it’s a very subtle effect and I think if you got used to it (like a BBE Sonic Stomp) not having it would be noticeable and you would most likely miss it. It definitely adds a really nice element to your tone that is kinda hard to describe. Being a sole person playing guitar at home in my bedroom, I probably don’t need one, as I play quietly most of the time, and I am not in a band situation, so boosting volume and tone at such low volumes is a little unnecessary for me personally.
However, for a lead guitarist who is playing live, in a loud band situation then you would absolutely love the Freaky and no doubt get a lot of use out of this pedal, or if your playing a heavy and dark instrument (some LPs can be quite dark) and need the occasional boost in treble, it would be a very nice addition, and because BWM have such good prices on their products, you just can’t go wrong for the $50 or so they are asking for this pedal.
I think if your sitting on the fence, and you’ve got a bit of spare cash, then it’s a good pedal to have around. It works great with other pedals, especially Over Drive pedals and as with the rest of their pedal range, it’s as tough as old boots. Being built on a military grade PCB board, using discrete MOSFET electronics, heavy duty switches, steel enclosure etc! it’s a pedal that will last you a long time to come.
Peace and Rock to ALL!!!