You can learn a lot from what effects pedal designers choose to have on their own pedalboards. And we can't help but notice that both Earthquaker Devices Jamie Stillman and now Walrus Audio founder Colt Westbrook swear by DigiTech's The Drop.
"I use it all the time," Westbrook tells Sweetwater's Don Carr in the latest episode of their excellent What's On Your Pedalboard? series you can see below. "I need to buy three of these in case they go out of production – I don't think they're going to go out of production, but just in case they do!"
The Drop is a polyphonic pitch-shifting effect from the designers of the Whammy that enables you to tune down without actually tuning down. Go down a semitone to a full octave – for some players that could save them bringing at least one extra guitar to a gig. Westbrook uses it as a creative tool as well as a practical one.
"Sometimes I just run out of ideas," he admits regarding standard tuning. "So what the DigiTech Drop can do is, each number [on the pedal] is a half step down. If I'm still in E but I want to play in G form, I can click it on. It kind of gives a kind of a baritone sound that I really like."
As Carr remarks, "It's like a reverse capo."
"I don't have a lot of latency issues," says Westbrook, heading off the potential naysayers. "Maybe it's because I'm dumb." Well, we know that's not true. He's even used it in the studio as well as live. We certainly loved The Drop when we reviewed it, and we're wondering if it's high time we bought one for our own pedalboard. But it's not even Westbrook's favourite effect.
Westbrook reserves that for the pedalboard's most unglamorous unit. An effect many players wouldn't even have considered buying.
Ok, the Walrus EB-10 EQ looks cool – especially the way it lights up – and it's a preamp and boost too. "I know I've been on video and said tremolo is my favourite effect recently, but my other favourite effects is EQ," laughs Westbrook. "EQ is to powerful." He illustrates this with an A/B between no EQ and EQ on; "That sounds good, right?"
It does, and we've met a few players – including Stereophonics guitarist Adam Zindani – who use their graphic EQ pedals as a boost.
If this has got your wondering what you're missing out on, you can check out the DigiTech Drop pedal from Sweetwater, guitarguitar and Thomann. It's a reasonably priced pedal considering it's the best at what it does.
The EB-10 is also available from guitarguitar, Sweetwater in the US and Thomann.