DOD Gonkulator review

And now for something completely different: a cult pedal that combines ring modulation and distortion

DOD Gonkulator
(Image: © Future / Olly Curtis)

Guitar World Verdict

The Gonkulator certainly has unique covered, but is arguably too niche to move the needle, even if it is a cool pedal in the right section of the right song.

Pros

  • +

    There's nothing else like it.

  • +

    Improved controls.

  • +

    Compact.

  • +

    Works well on bass, too.

Cons

  • -

    It's definitely an acquired taste.

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The Gonkulator is a re-imagining of one of the most eccentric pedals from DOD’s 90s stable, the Gonkulator Modulator. 

The Gonkulator Modulator is a divisive pedal in that you’ll probably either love or hate. It was created by smashing together the company’s FX69 Grunge distortion and a ring modulator. The controls – suck, smear, gunk and heave – didn’t exactly help the player find their function. Then again, part of the joy for fans of the pedal is this obliqueness, forcing the player to experiment. 

On the original, the carrier frequency for the ring modulator was fixed. Although there was a trimpot inside the pedal, it was not intended to be changed by the player. 

DOD Overdrive Preamp 250

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)

The reissue is more ergonomic, and the carrier frequency is now on the outside of the pedal, allowing full control over it. This unlocks some radically different options for the ring mod. The controls – gain, distortion, output, frequency and ring – now describe their function, allowing the player to dial in all the wacky modem sounds they could want.

With the ring mod dialled back, there’s an unusually voiced distortion useful for off-the-wall lead parts. Still, even with the controls on the outside, the Gonkulator essentially does one thing.

There are no rhythm sounds here or wider versatility. It’s an unapologetically strange pedal, and this reissue will corner the market of players who want something this strange on their pedalboard. If ring mod is your thing, then the Gonkulator also works well on bass guitar.

If anything, it’s easier to see how in alternative or indie contexts it could be used on bass for attention grabbing lines in a breakdown or pre-chorus.

Specs

DOD Gonkulator

(Image credit: Future / Olly Curtis)
  • PRICE: $149 / £129
  • TYPE: Ring modulator and distortion
  • SOCKETS: Input, Output, Power
  • CONTROLS: Gain, Dist, Output, Freq, Ring
  • POWER: 9VDC Centre-negative or battery
  • CONTACT: DigiTech / DOD

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Alex Lynham

Alex Lynham is a gear obsessive who's been collecting and building modern and vintage equipment since he got his first Saturday job. Besides reviewing countless pedals for Total Guitar, he's written guides on how to build your first pedal, how to build a tube amp from a kit, and briefly went viral when he released a glitch delay pedal, the Atom Smasher.