Gear Review: Mooer Audio ShimVerb Reverb Pedal

(Image credit: Damian Fanelli)

As an editor at a guitar magazine, there are many ways I could go about obtaining a new reverb pedal. Although those ways might not always involve money (but they usually do), they often involve paperwork, emails, forms, official-sounding business-to-business language and a whole lot of waiting around.

Well, I hate paperwork, I hate emails, I hate forms and, most of all, I hate official-sounding business-to-business language. I also really hate waiting around.

Ergo, when I need a pedal (or anything musical, for that matter), I often (but not always) just head to eBay to see what's floating around. This led me to the Mooer AudioShimVerb, a wee gem of a pedal that I picked up for less than $64, including shipping.

I know there are many great reverb pedals out there—I mean serious reverb/ambient beasts, many of which have been reviewed by our very own Paul Riario. I even own a few of them myself (including an EHX Holy Grail and a gigantic Fender Vintage Reissue 1963 Reverb unit). But, hey, all I wanted was a tiny pedal to sit on top of my reverb-free Supro and/or Marshall tube amps for practicing, rehearsing and gigging (country band only). Plus, as you all know, it's fun to buy pedals.

The pedal—which is made in China—has three modes: Room, Spring and Shimmer. With some tweaking, Room will take you from traditional "room" to "hall" reverbs. Spring does its best to simulate a classic spring reverb unit, as used by surf bands like Slacktone, the Razorblades and Mister Neutron (Hey, that's my old band!). Shimmer adds some bizarre overtones and has a very spacey, post-rock feel.

I have no use for Shimmer, although I'm sure someone else does (If I were a better pedal steel guitarist, I could imagine using it for an ethereal Daniel Lanois effect), but I can see Room and (especially) Spring coming in handy. That said, both modes can sound a bit boxy at times, and Room had a touch of sterility.

And, just to prove that everyone is different, the gang at Premier Guitar loved the pedal's Shimmer mode: "[It's] the star of the show and can dish out startlingly rich, glammy, post-rock colors with fluttering, warm overtones. Cranking up the level will completely devour notes—creating a cosmic acid-wash that can become marvelously synth like if you couple the ShimVerb with volume swells."

Hey, I play Bluesbreakers-style blues, Grady Martin-style rockabilly, vintage-inspired rock and classic-style country, so...whatever.

Getting to the point, is it inexpensive? Yes. Is it small? Yes. Is it good looking? Hell yes (I love the gunmetal grey, which is funny because I hate guns). Does it work as advertised? Yep. Are there 36.9 better reverb pedals out there? Probably. But again, this pedal was $64 and it gets the job done—especially when all you need is a sheen of reverb so it doesn't sound like you've been baked into a Cake song. It can—indeed—take the place of the reverb that's supposed to be in my amp (I prefer using lightweight tube amps these days, so my heavy, built-in-reverb models are sitting in my attic).

Check out some demo videos above and below, plus a little something I did with the ShimVerb and my B-bender Telecaster one recent boring Sunday afternoon.

• Input: 1/4” monaural jack (impedance: 470k Ohms)
• Output: 1/4” monaural jack (impedance: 100 Ohms)
• Power Requirements: AC adapter 9V DC (center minus plug)
• Current Draw: 128 mA
• Dimensions: 93.5mm (D) × 42mm (W) × 52mm (H)
• Weight: 170g
• True bypass

Click on these words for more info and stuff.

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Damian Fanelli
Editor-in-Chief, Guitar World

Damian is Editor-in-Chief of Guitar World magazine. In past lives, he was GW’s managing editor and online managing editor. He's written liner notes for major-label releases, including Stevie Ray Vaughan's 'The Complete Epic Recordings Collection' (Sony Legacy) and has interviewed everyone from Yngwie Malmsteen to Kevin Bacon (with a few memorable Eric Clapton chats thrown into the mix). Damian, a former member of Brooklyn's The Gas House Gorillas, was the sole guitarist in Mister Neutron, a trio that toured the U.S. and released three albums. He now plays in two NYC-area bands.