Review: Electro-Harmonix Bad Stone & Nano POG

guitar effects, stompboxes, phase shifter, poly octave generator
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Two new releases from Electro-Harmonix expand the POG family and revive a classic ’70s stompbox.


Released in 1975, the original Bad Stone was the first analog six-stage phase shifter to feature adjustable feedback and allow players to “freeze” a phase effect using manual mode. The new Bad Stone ($73 street) is a faithful reissue of this classic pedal, but now in a more compact and sturdy package. Without any real effort—with all the control knobs set at 12 o’clock—this was instantly one of the richest and more soulful sounding phasers I have heard. It has an impressive range that lets you choose between subtle quivers, underwater warbles, and extreme alien noises. The Rate can be set to even slower modulations than the original ’70s version, making the swooshes less classic rock and more of your own thing. In Manual mode, you can explore sweet spots along the phase sweep to freeze, treating your guitar to cool sounds (such as a cocked wah-type effect) that become increasingly dramatic as you crank the Feedback knob. I found the switch produced an audible pop, but it was hardly noticeable when playing with a band. The Bad Stone is an insanely great value for such a historic and gorgeous-sounding effect.

Kudos Excellent value. Well-built. Awesome sounds.
Concerns Audible pop when switched on.


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Designed for space-savvy guitarists who don’t care much for the bells and whistles of the POG2, or who want a pedal a little more micro than the Micro POG, the Nano POG ($202 street) is the newest and smallest addition to Electro-Harmonix’s Polyphonic Octave Generator family. With just three dedicated knobs for controlling the levels of Sub Octave, Octave Up, and the Dry signal, the Nano POG is super easy to operate, yet houses a wide range of tonal possibilities. By varying the mix, you can imitate a bass, organ, synth, or 12-string, and still sound like you’re playing your favorite guitar. You can also run through the Dry Out into a separate amp, so if you’re good at combining guitar and bass lines, you might be able to convince listeners that there are two players in the room. The tracking speed of this little machine is amazing, and there isn’t any detectable latency—even when playing sweep arpeggios. I used it for things like thickening up riffs, adding shimmer to chords, or bringing in some tonal drama to guitar solos. But, on the wild side, you can also get all prog-y with distorted, synthesizer-like squeals and gronks. This is a fantastic tool for adding spice and dimension to your playing.

Kudos Compact. Tracks super fast. Dry output.
Concerns None.