Review: DigiTech 5th-Generation Whammy Pedal

by Chris Gill
Posted Jan 3, 2013 at 11:01am

DigiTech has introduced several new generations of the Whammy pedal since the first version was discontinued, in 1993. Despite the new features and improvements introduced with each new model, Whammy connoisseurs still consider the original the one to own. That sentiment may change, thanks to the new fifth-generation Whammy pedal. Its sound quality rivals that of the original Whammy, and it has a wide variety of cool new features that will earn the pedal its own new generation of fans, who will likely consider this DigiTech’s best Whammy pedal yet.

FEATURES

The fifth-generation Whammy offers all of the same Whammy, harmony and detune effects found on the original version and adds effects for 4th Up and Down, 5th Up and Down, and Dive Bomb. Whereas previous Whammy pedals (with the exception of the Whammy DT) provided monophonic pitch shifting, the new Whammy is polyphonic, allowing you to pitch bend and harmonize full chords with no glitching. Should you want the original glitching effects (which some guitarists consider a feature rather than a bug), the pedal features a Classic/Chords switch that lets you select monophonic or polyphonic modes.

Other upgrades include true-bypass switching, a MIDI input (for selecting and controlling the different Whammy effects with an external controller) and nine-volt DC power, which makes the new Whammy more pedal-board friendly as it can be powered by a multiple-pedal DC power supply (just make sure it has a high current output as the Whammy needs at least 265mA). The only feature missing is the dry-signal output found on previous versions.

PERFORMANCE

The fifth-generation Whammy is about a third bigger than the original Whammy, but it maintains a relatively small footprint. The treadle is also larger and more comfortable to use, as it swivels from toe up to an almost flat position instead pivoting from toe up to a somewhat uncomfortable toe-down position like the original.

With 10 Whammy, nine harmony and two detune effects, the new Whammy offers plenty of creative inspiration. The polyphonic pitch-shift setting sounds incredibly smooth and realistic, particularly on the octave up/down harmony effect, which allows guitarists to transition between realistic 12-string guitar (toe down) and chunky bass tones reminiscent of a Hamer 12-string bass. Classic mode sounds as rich and thick as an original Whammy, but it doesn’t glitch quite as dramatically (which most players will embrace as an improvement).

THE BOTTOM LINE

The fifth-generation Whammy accurately duplicates the original Whammy’s quirks and qualities while providing new features and effects that undeniably make it DigiTech’s best Whammy pedal ever.

LIST PRICE $249.95
MANUFACTURER DigiTech, digitech.com


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