I’m excited to write a review about the Swollen Pickle MKII Jumbo Fuzz pedal by Way Huge Electronics, which is back with help from Jim Dunlop Manufacturing. The Swollen Pickle originally debuted in 1997 and became the flagship pedal for Way Huge, and with it’s re-introduction along with a few modifications, it’s quickly making noise in the pedal world today. It’s tag line has been “more fuzz than a moldy peach!”, I can agree 100% that this pedal has buckets of fuzz and gain.
Let’s break down the controls of the Swollen Pickle. The main controls are Loudness, Sustain and Filter controls. The Loudness controls the signal level coming from the pedal, and I have to say that this pedal does get loud, but without being too noisy. The Sustain controls the fuzz or distortion level of the pedal. Cranking the sustain will release a pretty violent fuzz. The filter control is very interesting. It controls the range of band, pass or filtered tones. Basically it can give you that super heavy 70s fuzz or allows for a tight, stinky type of fuzz distortion.
Along with the primary controls there are a two smaller pots that control the scoop and crunch of the pedal. These adjustments are great to dial in the fuzz that you’re looking for. The scoop is a mid-scoop which goes from mid-scoop to flat mid-frequency level. The scoop on this pedal is pretty severe, and the amount of low end thunder that you can generate from this pedal is pretty impressive. The crunch control manages the compression related to the sustain of the distortion. Basically, it tightens and cleans things up a bit if needed.
Under the hood, there are two ‘mini-controls’ which controls the clip and voice. The clip adjusts the smooth or opened fuzz sustain. The voice adjusts the intensity of the external scoop control. During our tests, we played with a few of these settings and liked the clip at 12:00 for a blend of the two clip types. If the range of scoop is too severe and would like to narrow that down, then adjust the voice control, this should help with that. If you buy this pedal, I would recommend playing with these settings to take full advantage of this pedal.
The physical pedal is built very well. The knobs are smooth and precise, and the footswitch feels very good, but I had a few issues with engaging and disengaging the pedal when switching with a light foot. The blue LED which is lit when the pedal is activated is extremely bright, and should be easily viewable on stage in a low light environment. The pedal is powered with a single 9V battery but also can be powered with a external 9VDC power supply.
When I think of this pedal, I have a few things come to mind:
- very aggressive fuzz
- very loud
- thunderous low end
I had a good friend of mine, Jimmy Rolle, demo the pedal for the site. We wanted to provide you with two scenarios. This pedal can be easily used with a clean or clean-ish amp tone, and we wanted to provide a high gain sample as well. The first clip (clean amp), Jimmy is playing through a Matchless DC-30 through a Marshall 4×12 cabinet (2 Vintage 30 speakers and 2 Greenbacks). This second clip (high gain channel), Jimmy is playing through a Rivera Knucklehead 100 watt head through the same Marshall 4×12 cabinet. Jimmy is playing his Les Paul Custom Shop Elegant guitar for both clips.
Using a clean channel, you can get a serious amount of fuzz from clean to full fuzz glory. If you’re using low wattage amp or if you’re preamp stage is max’d out, you will not see the significant boost in your output level. For the second clip, Jimmy is using the Rivera Knucklehead 100 head, which is an extremely loud head and set with boost on. You can see how it fattens up the tone and it still cuts through nicely. You can clearly hear the ‘thump’ of the speakers when he’s muting or attacking the strings.
Overall, comparing this pedal to other fuzzes (Big Muff pi and Fulltone ’69), this pedal sounds more closely to the Big Muff, but with the obvious ability to modify your tone with more options. The scoop is more drastic than the other fuzzes, and the low end was way more evident compared to the others. For the $159.99 price, it’s a hard to not add it to your pedal collection. If you like heavy fuzz, then the Swollen Pickle mk II Jumbo Fuzz could be the pedal you’re looking for!
I would like to disclose that EffectsBay.com was able to keep the Swollen Pickle after reviewing the pedal.