Electro-Harmonix has unveiled the Spruce Goose, an overdrive pedal based on Marshall’s classic Bluesbreaker circuit, which the New York stompbox co is hailing as “a new interpretation on a responsive classic”.
Famed for its amp-like breakup and response, the Bluesbreaker appeared on John Mayer’s seminal Continuum record, and its sought-after circuit has been subject to many boutique variations over the years – not to mention an official Marshall reissue this year. So what’s EHX brought to the table?
Versatility, for one: the Spruce Goose offers additional flexibility over many BB-derived designs with the inclusion of a three-way Lift switch, which delivers three levels of input gain.
This essentially acts as an in-built boost pedal, allowing you to – yes – goose the input signal for extra saturation and compression, meaning the pedal can span edge-of-breakup tones to more distorted sounds.
Another smart move is the inclusion of individual Treble and Bass knobs, the latter of which is active in order to fatten or trim the pedal’s low-end – as EHX points out, it’s indispensable for switching between single coils and humbuckers, and means the stompbox plays nicely with bass guitars, too.
There’s also a new relay-based true bypass footswitch, which allows EHX to incorporate selectable latching/momentary functionality. Adopting a similar approach to designs from EarthQuaker Devices and TC Electronic, tapping the footswitch activates your usual latching switching, but pressing and holding allows you to engage momentary blasts of overdrive.
Elsewhere, the usual Volume and Gain controls are present and correct, while the Spruce Goose can run from a 9V battery or power supply.
There’s a wealth of Bluesbreaker clones o the market, but EHX seems to be shooting for a player-friendly middle ground between the basic three-knob Bluesbreaker and tricked-out takes like Snouse’s Black Box.
The price helps, too, with the Spruce Goose clocking in at $129 – almost half the price of Marshall’s $249 BB reissue. Purists will still fawn over the OG unit, but the Goose’s trimmer dimensions will be most welcome for anyone running a tightly packed pedalboard.
EHX has form with producing affordable versions of classic dirt circuits – its Hell Melter takes on the Boss HM-2, while the Flatiron Fuzz apes the Pro Co Rat and the East River Drive is its take on the Tube Screamer.
The Spruce Goose is available to preorder now – see EHX for more info.