EarthQuaker Devices Special Cranker review

An old EQD classic returns with switchable clipping options and a gentle reminder that you might not be getting the best out of your guitar amp... Not without this

EarthQuaker Devices Special Cranker
(Image: © EarthQuaker Devices)

Guitar World Verdict

The Special Cranker is not just another overdrive pedal. Think of it as an extension of your guitar amplifier, adding extra push to make it sing.


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    Touch-sensitive drive.

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    It flatters your amp.

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    Momentary and latching footswitch modes.

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    Top-mounted jacks.

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    Sensibly priced.


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My introduction to EarthQuaker Devices was the Speaker Cranker I reviewed (glowingly) well over a decade ago. I loved the pedal not only for “not coloring your tone dramatically” but for doing exactly as its name implied – pushing a speaker toward the edge of breakup with its one and only knob. 

Even back then, I knew this small boutique company from Akron, Ohio, which hand-built graphic-emblazoned pedals, was going to be a big deal. Well, here we are in 2022, and EQD is a serious heavyweight in the stompbox biz, and I’m feeling pretty good about my clairvoyance. 

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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.