BY STEVE OUIMETTE
The PS- 6 Harmonist is one of the more versatile pedals Boss has ever stuffed into their
ubiquitous stompbox shell. The Harmonist is
not only a multi-voice harmonizer, it is also
a pitch shifter, chorus, and octave shifter
wrapped up into one. And for the gigging
guitarist in particular, it packs a ton of features from subtle to extreme that can spice
up a solo or even a whole song.
up to notes for solos, as well
as a slew of crazy effects.
The Harmonist is housed in a metallic-blue version of the Boss casing. In addition to the standard input jack, the PS- 6 features an expression
pedal jack. It also offers stereo outputs.
In Detune mode I was
pleasantly surprised with the
unusual chorus effects the
PS- 6 delivered. Using the
Shift control, I was able to
dial in the style of detuning
from very subtle to bold,
and the unit’s Balance control let me sneak in just a bit
of chorus or really lay into it.
While there are only four controls, each
has multiple functions. The Balance control
blends direct and effected signal, and also
doubles as the Rise Time control when in
S-Bend mode. The Shift knob controls pitch
shift intervals, and also functions as a Voice
Harmony control. The rotary Key pot sets
the key signature chromatically from C to B,
and also does duty as the Fall Time control.
Finally there is the Mode knob that selects
algorithms consisting of Minor and Major for
the keys, Pitch Shifter, Detune, and S-Bend
(Boss’ abbreviation for Super Bend) modes.
Harmonizing your own lines
can be an effective way to
add a virtual member to the
band, or it can fall completely
flat. The Harmonist is a strong
performer for most common
but its performance is not without some minor
limitations. For example, octaves, 4ths, and 5ths
sound clean and strong. However, I found 3rds
and 6ths were slightly less clear and sometimes
produced less-than-musical digital artifacts.
you want multiple pitch and harmony effects in one compact pedal.
Going directly into Pro Tools, I fired up the
pedal with a TH1 amp modeler and used a
Hamer Korina Special for my guitar in all tests.
The first setting I tried was the S-Bend mode.
In this mode, you use the Rise Time and Fall
Time knobs to determine how long it takes
for the note to reach its pitch. Pressing down
on the footswitch shifts the pitch of the notes,
and when you release the footswitch, the
notes either climb or drop to the actual notes
you’re playing—an effect not unlike the radi-
cal pitch-shift craziness you can get out of a
Digi Tech Whammy pedal. This was a blast. In
S-Bend mode, by tapping on the switch I was
able to create ultra-wide and dramatic sweeps
That said, the Harmonist’s collection of chord
inversions and harmony types makes it a valu-
able pedal. Latency wasn’t bad and tracking
was spot on except for a few times when the
pedal got confused on the major/minor set-
ting. In that case, you could hear it flipping
back and forth between major and minor 3rds.
you need pristine pitch shifting of all
With the PS- 6, Boss built in a lot of features you
don’t typically see in a harmonizer pedal. And
over the course of a gig, you could conceivably
get a lot of very usable and unique textures
without covering the same ground twice. More
reserved players may not find much use for features like the S-Bend mode. But if you’re looking for new ways to add dimension to any facet
of your playing, the PS- 6 packs a lot of options
into a single box.
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