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