May 27 2010

Review of the Mojo Hand Gyro

Mojo Hand Gyro Vibrato/Leslie SimulatorBrad Fee, owner of Mojo Hand effects and partner at Tone Factor sent us a Mojo Hand Gyro, a vibrato / Leslie simulator pedal. This is a ‘true’ pitch shifting vibrato which can also combine a rotating speaker simulation. It was fun to work with a modulation effect, so here we go.

Let’s first break down the units controls. There is a 3-way toggle which selects vibrator (top position), Rotation (center position) and Mixed which will combine Vibrato and Leslie (bottom position). There are 3 pots. Going from left to right, we have Volume, Speed and Depth. The volume allows for you to quiet the pedal’s output or you can use it to overdrive the signal. Speed will control the rotation or vibrator speed, and the Depth will control the overall intensity of the rotation. You can dial speed and depth for a very subtle to extreme setting. There is a indicator LED which let’s you know the pedal is on, but it will also reflect the speed rate you have set.

Here is a quick official description from Tone Factor:

True Pitch Shifting Vibrato as well as Rotating Speaker Simulation. The 3 way toggle chooses between Vibrato, Leslie, and Blended (which mixes the two). Expression pedal jack controls speed. Works in conjunction with Mojo Hand’s upcoming Ramp Unit. True Bypass Switching Powder Coated, Screen Printed enclosure

Just like the other demos, I gave Jimmy Rolle a call to see if he was up for the demo… and of course.. he was.

This first demo is what I’m calling a ‘straight’ demo. Here Jimmy plays with medium grit to higher gain settings while adjusting modes and settings. This should give you a good sense of what this pedal is capable of.  Jimmy is playing a American Standard Fender Stratocaster through a Rivera Knucklehead 100 w and Marshall 4×12 cabinet. It was recorded with SM57 and AKG Solidtube microphones. Both close mic’d.

Optionally, you can listen to high quality MP3 of this same clip

For this demo, we did something a little different. With a modulation pedal such as this, we thought it would be great to show how this pedal would react with other effects. In this clip Jimmy has the Mojo Hand Gyro first in line, and utilizing his other pedals (Fulltone ’69 Fuzz, Bad Cat 2-Tone, Big Muff+Maxon 808, Fulltone Fulldrive 2, EHX Memory Man and Teese Picture Wah) The yellow switch toggles between the Big Muff/Maxon 808 and Bad Cat 2-Tone. He has a small looper that keeps the EHX Memory Man in true bypass. Jimmy – Let me know if I missed something!

Optionally, you can listen to high quality MP3 of this same clip

As you can see, you can get some pretty classic vibe tones.. as well as achieving some classic stoner tones!

I also had a chance to pass a few questions to Brad Fee about the pedal.

What inspired you to develop the Gyro?

The Gyro was developed because there seemed to be a hole in the market for true pitch shifting vibratos, as well as rotary speaker simulators. The Gyro does both, so it’s like killing two birds with one stone.

What genres of music will go nuts for the Gyro?

Any fan of classic rock radio can probably enjoy and find a use for the Gyro. It’s really easy to get a good sound out of, so it’s applicable to a lot of styles.

What makes the Gyro different than other vibrato / roto vibe pedals out there?

It sounds better. :) Really all of the credit goes to the designer, Robert Gillan. He’s the man behind the curtain, and he’s truly a brilliant builder/designer.

How long has the Gyro been out there?

Prototypes have been floating around for a year or two, but it’s really only been in full production for the past few months.

How long has Mojo Hand been developing pedals?

About 4 years. It kind of sprung out of the Tone Factor custom shop, but once I started selling them through other vendors I figured it would make more sense to branch off and make it a separate operation altogether. We’re currently looking for new retailers to help expand the Mojo Hand brand.

What’s Mojo Hand’s philosophy for developing pedals?

I think the key thing we strive for, in all of our pedals, is simplicity and ease of use. I want it to sound good when I plug it in, without much fuss.

Overall, this is a great sounding pedal. With high gain amp settings, it’s a touch noisy, but with analog you should come to expect it. The rotation provides a warm, and depending on how it’s set (volume level) can also give a interesting overdriven undertone. The pedal also responds nicely to volume adjustments from the guitar. The pedal is only DC powered (no battery), and it is true bypass. It also has the ability to add a expression to control speed. I really wish we had a expression pedal to play with this ability. I’m sure it would be great.

This pedal sells for $239.00 at Tone Factor!

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