Electro-Harmonix Key9 review

The key to guitar-led electric piano tones

  • £173
  • €239
  • $295

MusicRadar Verdict

If you simply have to have an electric piano tone or two in your arsenal, this is still the simplest way to get keyed up.


  • +

    Some decent electric piano tones.


  • -

    A mixed bag sounds-wise.

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The follow-up to EHX's mind-blowing B9 and C9 Organ Machines, the Key9 transforms your guitar into an electric piano or keyboard.

The Key9 packs nine sounds, including emulations of various Rhodes and Wurlitzer keyboards, plus a few more off-the-wall models, notably a vibraphone and steel drum.

Each keyboard offers two controllable parameters, which can be anything from low octave to high-end overtones or preset- specific modulation.

What we loved about the Organ Machines was their consistency: there wasn't a duff sound in 'em. And while the Key9 is no slouch, it's more of a mixed bag.

Dynamo, with its 70s/80s clean keys; or Suitcase, which is pure No Quarter, never fail to raise a smile; and Mallets' wood marimba effect is surprisingly convincing.

But the Wurlitzer imitation doesn't go far enough, while Tri-Glorious is, ultimately, just a chorus. They're not bad sounds; they're just of more limited appeal if you want full-on keyboard textures. And while tracking is spot-on, the pedal still has a hint of latency.

The Key9 has some impressive sounds, but for our money, it's of a more niche appeal than its organ brethren.

Michael Astley-Brown

Mike is Editor-in-Chief of GuitarWorld.com, in addition to being an offset fiend and recovering pedal addict. He has a master's degree in journalism, and has spent the past decade writing and editing for guitar publications including MusicRadar, Total Guitar and Guitarist, as well as a decade-and-a-half performing in bands of variable genre (and quality). In his free time, you'll find him making progressive instrumental rock under the nom de plume Maebe.