Review: KHDK Electronics Ghoul Jr Overdrive

(Image credit: KHDK Electronics)

Of all the things in the world that aim to “Seek & Destroy,” I wasn’t expecting it to come from Kirk Hammett. No, I’m not talking about Metallica’s guitarist launching a heat-seeking missile toward my house (however some people might enjoy that), but I did receive an explosive overdrive from KHDK Electronics, fiendishly called the Ghoul Jr. And after plugging in, I must sincerely confess, this brand-new mini pedal comes pretty damn close to blowing your doors off in tone.

KHDK Electronics is the brainchild of Hammett and David Karon (hence the KHDK acronym) and is fueled by Hammett’s passion for creating a line of kickass guitar pedals, which happen to be mostly dirt boxes of fuzz, distortion and overdrive, and the Ghoul Jr is their first mini pedal. When asked about his new creation, Hammett remarked that “Evil things come in small packages…” and while he might be right if he’s talking about certain dictators, the truth is the Ghoul Jr is less evil but far more wickedly good.

The Ghoul Jr features controls for drive, volume and tone, plus two threeway mini-toggle switches for Voice and Style. It’s an extremely transparent overdrive that’s—oddly enough—sweetly voiced. I was expecting incendiary crunch but found that the Ghoul Jr excelled at creamy overdrive that cuts.

What’s amazing is I didn’t even use the tone control because it didn’t color my amp’s settings. The Style switch offers three modes of gain, while Voice acts as a frequency switch. For the most amount of gain, putting both switches in the down position unleashes in-your-face aggression. But I found leaving both switches in the center makes the overdrive tone dynamically rich with harmonics that jump out.


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Paul Riario

Paul Riario has been the tech/gear editor and online video presence for Guitar World for over 25 years. Paul is one of the few gear editors who has actually played and owned nearly all the original gear that most guitarists wax poetically about, and has survived this long by knowing every useless musical tidbit of classic rock, new wave, hair metal, grunge, and alternative genres. When Paul is not riding his road bike at any given moment, he remains a working musician, playing in two bands called SuperTrans Am and Radio Nashville.