|Electro-Harmonix original logo|
We are not like “Guitar George, he knows all the chords. Mind he’s strictly rhythm he doesn’t want to make them cry or sing.” The majority of us want to express ourselves and be heard.
One of the original and most prominent manufacturers of guitar and bass effects pedal is Electro-Harmonix. This company emerged on the scene in New York City back in 1968.
|Mike Matthews in 1979|
Back in 1967 Mike Matthews, the companies owner and founder was a rhythm and blues piano player and had a day time sales job. His friend, Bill Berko, was an audio repairman who had just constructed a circuit for a guitar fuzz pedal.
|'67 Axis and Foxey Lady fuzz pedals|
Under the advice of Matthews, Berko hired a company to construct these pedals under a deal with the Guild Guitar Company and the device was given the name of the Axis fuzz pedal. It was also sold under the name Foxey Lady.
All parties made a little money off the deal, and eventually Berko and Matthews parted ways.
|Mike Matthews 1967|
In 1969 they worked together to create a distortion free sustain device. Some fuzz tones of that era produced a buzz saw like effect that produced some sustain, while others like the Maestro box, just added gain to distort the guitars signal. Guitarists at that time wanted the ability for notes to be played and held, just like those played by horn players.
|Vintage LPB-1 interior|
The price for this unit was about $20 USD, and it was an instant hit. The original units were hand wired with no circuit board.
|1969-70 version Big Muff Pi (π)|
|'75 Big Muff Pi (π) interior|
|Double Muff and Little Muff|
The Little Big Muff was a smaller version of the unit and had a slight variation in the circuit. The NYC Big Muff came with a tone bypass switch that allowed the user to bypass the tone control and another switch the adjusted the frequencies of 3 filters embedded in the circuit.
|EH Bass and Treble boost|
There were several other devices made by Electro-Harmonix in the late 1960's and early 1970's that included a Treble Booster, called the Screaming Bird and a Bass Booster called the Mole, that were made in a similar format to the LPB-1; These small boxes had an input on one end to accept the guitar cable and a plug on the opposite side that went into the amplifier. These units originally sold for around $20 USD.
|EH Slap Back Echo|
The company also produced the Slap-Back Echo box that produced a slap-back effect and came with a filter switch to shape the tone.
|1975 EH Small Stone Phaser|
|EH Band Stone Phase Shifter|
The Bad Stone Phase Shifter was an upgraded circuit that added a Feedback control and a Manual Shift control to filter the sweet spot.
|'77 EH Octave Multiplexer|
Electro-Harmonix came out with an octave box called the Octave Multiplexer which produced the clean signal and a filtered signal an octave below.
|EH Elecric Mistress Flanger|
The Electric Mistress Flanger Chorus Pedal came out in the mid 1970’s and was one of the first multi-effects devices.
|Mid 70's EH Attack Equalizer|
The Electro-Harmonix Attack Equalizer pedal was a combination of a parametric EQ to produce desired equalization and a pre-amplifier to boost the guitars signal.
|1981 EH Graphic Fuzz|
The Electro-Harmonix Graphic Fuzz was not only a fuzztone/distortion unit, but it added a six band graphic eq control section.
|1980 EH Full Double Tracking Effect|
|'77 EH Triggered Y Filter|
The Triggered Y Filter was sort of a phaser unit that allowed the frequency range to be adjusted to Lo or Hi and the amplitude/depth of the filter sweep.
|Late '70's EH Echoflanger|
The Echo Flanger produced a modulated Echo and a flanging effect, similar to what record producer did when they would press their finger or thumb on recording tape to cause the one of the tracks to be slightly delayed.
|1978 EH Memory Man|
The Electro-Harmonix Memory Man, was introduced in 1978 and produced analog delay and echo using “bucket brigage” integrated circuits and incorporated a chorus effect. So the user could choose echo or chorus
|EH Deluxe Memory Man|
Several models of this effect including a stereo version and the Deluxe Memory Man that added a chorus/vibrato feature to the echo.
|EH Small Clone Chorus|
The Small Clone chorus, introduced by EHX around 1981 remains a very popular chorus pedal. it was also produced in two different smaller versions known as the Neo Clone and the Nano Clone.
|EH Holy Grail Reverb|
Electro-Harmonix issued a very popular reverb pedal called The Holy Grail. This pedal came in several different formats including The Holy Grail Plus and the Cathedral. The Holy Stain was a multi-effects pedal that offered two different types of reverb.
Tremolo was one of the very earliest guitar effects and Electro-Harmonix offered a solid-state tremolo/vibrato pedal called the Stereo Pulsar and a tube based model called the Wiggler.
|1972 Mike Matthews Freedom Amp|
|Interior of Freedom Amp with battery clips|
The only drawback was that it took 40 D cell batteries to power the thing. It was also available as a bass model or as a public address amplifier which came with built in reverb.
|'90's EH Freedom Amp|
By 1982 Electro-Harmonix was facing a multiplicity of problems. First there was a labour union dispute. And about the same time the company filed for bankruptcy protection. Two years later, in 1984 Electro-Harmonix was in deeper financial problems and Mike Matthew decided to shift his attention away from the little effects boxes to a new venture.
He launched a new company that he called the New Sensor Corporation, which was based in the Soviet Union. Matthew saw the need for vacuum tubes, which were no longer being manufactured in the United States and in short supply, but were plentiful in the USSR.
|Sovtek Mig 50 amplifier|
These amps were based on popular circuits and can still be found on the web at bargain prices.
|New Sensor EH Russian made Big Muff Pi|
In 1990 Electro-Harmonix resumed the building effect pedals. Some of these were made in Russia through 2009.
|EH 2006 Nano Pedals|
In 2006 the smaller and more standardized "micro" and "nano" effect lines using surface-mount circuit components were introduced.
The circuit board manufacturing was outsourced, but the final assembly of the pedals was done in New York.
|Vintage EH Micro Synthesizer|
When synthesizers came into vogue, EH offered the Micro Synthesizer for guitar or bass and the HOG effects unit; Harmonic Octave Generator.
|An original EH POG|
The POG or Polyphonic Octave Generator was released in 2005 and an enhanced version called the POG 2 came out in 2009. These units allowed your instrument to produce notes 2 octaves up and one octave below the guitars signal.
|EH 22 Caliber Amplifier|
Two of the more interesting and modern Electro-Harmonix creations may look like effects pedals, but are actually amplifiers housed in pedal sized effects box. The EHX 22 Caliber was a 22 watt solid-state amplifer capable of driving an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet.
|EH 44 Magnum Amplifier|
It was discontinued and replaced by the EHX 44 Magnum, which could pump 44 solid-state watts into an 8 or 16 ohm speaker cabinet. These are small enough to pack into your guitar case. It is important to note, these units must be connected to a speaker load to work.
For 2016 and 2017 Electro-Harmonix has developed some amazing pedals that can coax organ or piano sounds from your guitar without the need for special pickups.
The C9 and B9 Organ Machines replicate the sounds of several different types of organs, from Hammond organs to church organs, to combo organs.
|Electro-Harmonix Key 9|
The Key 9 Electric Piano Machine produces a number of electric piano sounds. Combine any of these with the Lester G Deluxe Rotary Speaker emulator or the Lester K Rotary Speaker emulator and as a guitarist you now have all the tools of a keyboard player without the weight of hauling a B-3 and a Leslie cabinet.
|Electro-Harmonix Mel 9|
The Mel 9 Tape Replay Machine produces sounds from your guitar that were only possible with a Mellotron.
|A few of the Electro-Harmonix effects|
Electro-Harmonix now offers a line up that is far too numerous to mention every product. And these include not just guitar effects, but bass effects, drum effects and vocal effects. And they have also updated versions of their original effects that sell at a much lower price than the vintage models.
As a reminder, the sources for the pictures can be found by clicking on the links below them and the links in the text will take you to further interesting facts.
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