037 | EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2: A Closer Look at this Germanium/Silicon Fuzz Pedal | Transcript

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Scott Schwertly:
Hello, and welcome to Episode 37 of the Sonic Renegades podcast where we're exploring renegade pedals that have changed the music landscape. For today, we have one of those Renegade pedals. It's EarthQuaker Devices Hoof, specifically, the V2 Germanium Fuzz version of this pedal is awesome. Absolutely love it. And can't wait to unpack it on the other side.

Hey everybody, it's Scott Schwertly and Eric Wilson of Siren Pedals with you guys today. Hope you're having a great one. Well, we're going to jump right into it. Today, we've got a really fun pedal. Now, this is the EarthQuaker Devices Hoof V2 Germanium Fuzz pedal. I happened to be a person that loves fuzz and I'm super excited to be talking about this one today. I've had this pedal on my board for a very long time, and I love it so much that I actually upgraded recently to the Hoof Reaper version of this pedal, where it actually combines two pedals. There's the EarthQuaker Hoof and then the EarthQuaker Reaper. You combine both of them and provide an octave option. That's the pedal I've upgraded too, but we'll save that for another episode.

But for today, we're going to talk about one of the originals and that being the EarthQuaker Hoof part of that pedal. And that's what we're going to cover today. So super excited, this thing has got a really rich sort of history, legacy, story, whatever you want to call it behind it. And we'll unpack that for you guys today.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I mean, I've had my hands on this thing since, well, I picked it up from you last week. And honestly, I've loved it and I'm not used to fuzz yet. I'm just kind of getting into fuzz and this pedal has a lot of options that make it really easy. If you've never owned a fuzz before, it's a really great one to pick up as your first because one, it's a Big Muff circuit. So you have, I mean, I feel like those are the most like a distortion that fuzz gets, so it's kind of the easiest gateway. And then it also just has some interesting controls that we'll get into later on that are just really helpful and kind of making that transition.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I mean, agreed. For folks like yourself, Eric, you're not necessarily totally into fuzz but maybe you're out there and you're kind of that same boat, but you just want to have one solid fuzz pedal, this is a perfect one to start with. I mean, again, because it's inspired, like you said, by the Big Muff circuit, you're getting just sort of that classic fuzz sound with so many other bells and whistles and bonuses. Yeah. And it's a good one to have and I love it. Hopefully, I'm making that radically clear. I love this pedal and yeah, it's a great one so... Well, let's talk a little bit about the story behind this pedal. So this actually has an association to The Black Keys. So Jamie Stillman, who is the founder and owner of EarthQuaker Devices, I believe he runs that company with his wife as well. He was actually doing a guitar tech work for Dan of The Black Keys years ago. And I think this dates all the way back to maybe 2005, 2006.

And Dan actually had a green, Russian Big Muff on his board, which had kind of a cleaner tone. Jamie took that, kind of opened it up, did some experimenting, did some tinkering. And all that said, he ended up creating, what is the Hoof pedal that we're talking about today. And so Dan was actually filmed. There was actually a YouTube video that went viral of him playing in Boston at the Avalon Theater, and this video basically caught on fire. Folks that were on Harmony Central, the website, started talking about it and Jamie Stillman basically said, "Hey, I'm the guy that created that pedal. If you love it so much, I can create more of these for you." So he ended up getting orders. I think, quickly, he had orders for maybe 15 to 20 of these, got some momentum, put them on eBay, the demand increased and really the rest is history. And this was really kind of the first EarthQuaker Devices pedal, which then gave him the leverage and the momentum to start diversifying his line of pedal offerings.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. It's really cool to see kind of the advancement of even because if you look at old pictures of old Hoofs, they only had three knobs. So I mean, I'm guessing the shift knob wasn't there before, but they used to be in kind of a larger enclosure and then kind of, it grew down into the small enclosure that was painted white once you finally actually started getting them professionally powder-coated and stuff. And so it's really cool to see kind of just the progression of how his company and how this pedal in particular has evolved over the years.

Scott Schwertly:
Oh yeah. I mean, so much progress from what was that? 15, 16 years ago so they've come a long way. But credit and kudos to this device because it paved the way for everything else that followed. And again, I love stories like that about pedals and being able to hold one of these in your hand and know that it empowered so many other things to follow and empowered a company like EarthQuaker Devices to take off and thrive and be the company that it is today. I mean, that's just awesome. Again, love stories like that.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I know for a lot of, I mean, and one of the cool things about this pedal is it's kind of transcended a lot of different genres as far as artists. So obviously it was created for Dan from The Black Keys, but you also have guys like Brandon Urie of Panic at the Disco, Dallas Green, City and Colour, Tony Perry from Pierce The Veil, Justin Meldal-Johnsen, who's actually a bass player. So people even use this on the bass and he's played for people like Mars Volta, Black Eyed Peas, Nine Inch Nails. So it's kind of transcended a lot of different genres. I was actually pretty surprised from how many of the bands that I recognized that I listened to my teenage years, all the metalcore, hardcore bands that were in there. So it's really a pedal that's kind of transcended different genres and that's really cool to see as well anytime it can do something like that.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. One of the ones that I thought that was really cool was Tyler Bates who actually played for Marilyn Manson. And if that name sounds familiar, maybe you're not Marilyn Manson fan, Tyler Bates has also done a lot of stuff, a lot of work in Hollywood, scoring a lot of different movies, working with folks like Zack Snyder. Think about the movie 300. I can't remember if this is a Zack Snyder movie or not, but movies like Sucker Punch, even the John Wick franchise. So I mean, obviously, a very talented musician and happens to also be a fan of the Hoof pedal, which is awesome.

Eric Wilson:
Obviously, all these musicians really like it for a reason. I mean, looking at this pedal, looking at things we like about it, and even trying to look for some flaws, I know we were talking earlier, you mentioned the LED might be a little bright for you, just like in general use for indoors, which I mean for indoor use, yeah probably, but I know for me, I've been playing outside for the past three weeks at a church down here in Nashville. And I haven't been able to see if my pedals are on off or otherwise for about three weeks now. So having a really bright LED is welcomed to me at the moment.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. I'm the opposite of you, Eric. I do play mainly indoors. And particularly, if I'm playing in a dark lit room, it's like, "Ooh, that it is a little blinding," but other than that, I mean, again, that's such a minor critique, but yeah. I mean the pros, the benefits, the advantages far outweigh anything negative about this pedal. Well, honestly, looking at all the various different reviews, whether it's Sweetwater, Reverb, wherever you buy your pedals, there's not a whole lot out there that says anything negative about this pedal. I mean, it's a solid build.

Eric Wilson:
I mean, just off the top of my head, one of the things that I really enjoy about it is the fact that it is, and it's a really small thing, but they've added clickless switching. Like I said, I play at church so when you're standing behind a pastor and you just click a really loud switch, everybody can hear it. So it's nice to have that clickless switching option.

And then as well, my favorite part about is actually the shift control, which actually controls your mids. And so I guess this would be a good time to just kind of walk you through the controls of it. It's got the basic controls that any fuzz would have. So it's got your volume, has your tone, has your fuzz, but then it also has the shift knob where as you turn it counterclockwise, it kind of boosts your mids. And as you turn it clockwise, it'll scoop your mids. That's really been helpful for me as somebody who is just kind of getting into the world of fuzz, who maybe hasn't played a lot of things that really scoop your mids. So it's nice to be able to add those back in so that I feel like I'm playing a little bit less of a fuzz, even though it kind of defeats the purpose, but it's been really helpful for me.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah, definitely. I kind of chuckled inside when you were talking about how it skips your mids. Actually, literally yesterday, I was watching on Josh Scott's the JHS show about common buzzwords. I'm sure some of you folks have probably seen this video, but he actually had a t-shirt for scooped mids and defined what scooped mids are. But I just kind of chuckled inside. I mean, you're talking about how it skips your mids. But all that to say... Yeah, I mean, again, super easy to use, super friendly. It's not rocket science trying to figure out this pedal, which is great. I mean, I love pedals that are straightforward and no complaints on this end.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. I will always prefer a pedal that is simple over something that has a ton of controls because those pedals have their place and there's people who can make those sound great and who love them. But for me, it's like I just want to play guitar. I don't want to worry about that crap.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Yeah.

Eric Wilson:
So the simplicity is really great.

Scott Schwertly:
Says the person who buys Chase Bliss pedals.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Well, that's kind of... I've quickly learned that some of it may or may not be for me, but the fair may is it just makes such a cool sound. I'm willing to jump through all the hoops that I have to.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. Well, good deal. Well, if you are thinking about getting a pedal like this, it's not too expensive. I think for brand new, you'll find this on Sweetwater for about 179. I think places like Amazon, Reverb kind of all the same thing. So not too bad of an investment to get again, just a really solid fuzz pedal. And I don't think we've mentioned this earlier, but it kind of is basically a hybrid between germanium and silicone transistors. I know there are a lot of folks out there that love their germanium transistors, and this has got that perfect balance oof that. And I know EarthQuaker has sort of their own proprietary way of making sure that everything is checked and double checked appropriately. And yeah, there's quality with every single one, because I know germanium transistors, again, can be a little finicky, but they've got a method and a process that perfects it which is beautiful.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. And if you want to try and pick either an older version up or pick one up used, you can get them for around 135, 150 ish. So won't save you a time, but it'll save you a little bit of money and you can get your hands on a great fuzz pedal.

Scott Schwertly:
Yeah. And it's built by EarthQuaker so... Yeah, it's reliable last you a long time. So you really can't go wrong going the used route with this company as well. Well, awesome. Well, we're going to go ahead and take this thing for a test spin and give you guys a chance to hear what it sounds like.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So for this one, I'm going to use my tele and just go straight into the radium. Probably won't use any other effects or anything. I don't really feel like fuzz needs it. So yeah, we'll see you on the other side.

All right. That was the EarthQuaker Devices Hoof Fuzz. It's a great fuzz pedal. I've really enjoyed having it in my possession for a week. And I can't buy one because I told myself I wouldn't buy any more pedals, but I would really like to.

Scott Schwertly:
Well, you were just talking this morning that you were planning on selling your Boss CE-1 one that we just covered last week, right? So you should make a nice chunk of change on that one.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. Yeah. Hopefully, I can flip that one make a little bit. It was nice to have for the episode, that's primarily why I bought it. So I got it. Did that. I will always have that recorded sound clip of it. And that's enough for me.

Scott Schwertly:
There you go. Well, good deal. Well, join us next time. We're going to switch gears and talk about the JHS Kilt pedal.

Eric Wilson:
Yeah. So this is a pedal, I actually picked it up when it first came out. It's a signature pedal for Stu G who is the guitarist for Delirious. And now he plays for a bunch of different people and he does some solo stuff as well, but it's based on the Bixonic Expandora, which is a distortion from the 90s. And then it also has an added boost in it, just kind of updates, bring some new features. And obviously we'll get into all of that next week, but it's been my most consistent overdrive over the past five years or so. So I've, I've really enjoyed having it and it's a great one. I'm excited to talk about that one.

Scott Schwertly:
Nice. I'm excited as well to jump into that one and yeah, I guess, on that note, I just want to thank everybody for joining us on this episode and looking forward to catching up in the next one.

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