In a pair of ingenious new stompbox offerings (to be presented at our upcoming Brooklyn Stompbox Exhibit!) , Ernie Ball is entering the world of guitar effects in its own terms with the first two products of the “Expression Pedal” series, which take the wah/volume pedal chassis concept and apply it to an overdrive and a delay effect, therefore allowing a sweepable foot control for both.
The Expression Overdrive offers the standard overdrive dials for drive, tone, and a 20db gain boost, but then allows the pedal sweep to control the level of overdrive. In other words, the user can control the amount of crunch by rotating their foot up and down. With the pedal dialed all the way back (toe up), the pedal is bypassed, not muted. A slight push forward provides light overdrive for cleaner rhythm playing, but from there it effectively works like an overdrive throttle. Floor it and you get maximum distortion for soloing or adding serious grit to the guitar tone.
Similarly, the Ambient Delay has standard knobs to control the feedback, delay time, and reverb level, but the foot sweep provides a throttle control for the amount of ‘mix” of ambient texture in the overall sound. The effect here is actually a combination of delay and plate reverb, so any fluctuation in the sweep also adds and subtracts how much reverb comes across in the tone. The effect also has a connection to add an external tap tempo controller.
Considering the solid reputation Ernie Ball has developed over the years for their volume pedal series, we can expect these new stompboxes to be sturdy and well designed, bringing a lot of potential to the effect landscape. Particularly on the Expression Overdrive, the foot sweep capability seems infinitely valuable. Look for these two babis at our upcoming Stompbox exhibit for a chance to demo them yourself.