The unveiling of the DigiTech
Whammy pedal in 1989 provoked as many
scratched heads as it did whoops of excitement—
what exactly was this for? But it
wasn’t long before a young Tom Morello
demonstrated the musical possibilities
inherent in the machine. And in the ensuing
decades, guitarists from Jim Hall to
Jonny Greenwood have discovered endless
ways to employ this modern classic.
DigiTech’s latest version—the Whammy
DT ($299 street) is not an update, but a
The left side of the Whammy DT
(which stands for drop tuning) retains
all the familiar effects—harmonies, pedal
pitch-shifting, dive bombing, shallow
and deep chorus—but DigiTech’s new
harmonization engine not only adds
improved tracking and reduced artifacts,
it now allows polyphonic whammy effects.
The right-side addition to this model
is the Drop Tune section, which has a
Shift knob that polyphonically tunes
the pitch down as far as seven semitones,
a full octave, or an octave down
plus dry. The same knob also raises the
pitch up to seven semi-tones higher—
a “virtual capo”—as well as octave up
and octave up plus dry.
A momentary switch on the DT side
lets you go instantly from a dry signal to a
re-tuned up or down preset to create hammer-
on and pull-off effects. The switch
can be alternately programmed for a dry
sound when held down and adding the
effect when released, but this option deactivates
another new feature of the DT—
true bypass—in favor of DSP switching.
Hands free operation can be had through
a MIDI input or an optional 3-way switch
that chooses sides and scrolls through
I tested the Whammy DT with a Fernandes
T-type, a 1965 Fender Stratocaster,
and a Fender Blacktop Jazzmaster through
Orange Tiny Terror, Carr Sportsman, and
Goodsell Dominatrix 18 amps. The standard
Whammy effects revealed fewer artifacts
as advertised, but the real fun began
when exploring the DT’s new options.
Remember the Steinberger TransTrem
that let you shift chords in perfect tune?
The DT’s polyphonic whammy meant I
could emulate this effect with ease, gliding
a full Dmaj7 chord down to a Cmaj7
or swooping up to an Emaj7.
Moving over to the DT side, I found
even fewer artifacts, as the processing
power necessary to deal with the treadle
could now be channeled solely to pitch
shifting. Virtual baritone and bass guitar
detunings approached the sound of actual
detuned guitars, especially when distortion
Also very cool was being able to perform
Whammy tricks with the guitar
dropped to D or C—yes, you can use both
sides together! And drop tuning down
to C and switching between fourths and
fifths with the treadle evoked eerie Gregorian
The DigiTech Whammy has gone from
an oddity to an essential item in the arsenals
of adventurous guitarists around
the world, and one can only contemplate
the amazing new sounds inventive
musicians will wring from this version.
With the DT, DigiTech has exponentially
improved and extended the functionality
of the classic Whammy pedal, and
that earns it an Editors’ Pick Award.
KUDOS True bypass. Enhanced, glitch-free
tracking and drop tuning.
CONTACT DigiTech, (801) 566-8800;