DIGITAL-ONLY REVIEW > RED WITCH
IVY DISTORTION, LILY
BOOST, AND GRACE
BY MATTHEW HOLLIMAN
Top-mounted input and output jacks
We’re used to guitar-gear inventors and engineers touting their wares
and peppering their pitch with words like
revolutionary, innovative, and groundbreaking. Unfortunately few of those promises
lead to products that actually improve our
experience as players.
Not all of these mad-scientists-with-soldering irons are hoax peddlers, however.
With the introduction of the lithium-ion
powered, rechargeable Seven Sisters line of
effects, Ben Fulton of Red Witch Pedals
may be able to count himself among the
tinkerers who have opened up new options
for the gigging guitarist in a real way. And
given what these little pedals could mean
for the player on the go—or even players
who rarely leave the house but have little
dedicated space for their gear—Red Witch
may be on the brink of changing up the
stompbox market in a significant way. Here
we check out the Ivy Distortion, Lily Boost,
and Grace Compressor.
Rechargeable lithium-ion battery
More like the Seven Dwarves
Red Witch is well known among pedal fiends
as a builder of top-notch analog effects. But
the Seven Sisters represents thinking beyond
tried-and-true templates for success. All of
the Seven Sisters are housed in just about the
tiniest metal enclosures I’ve ever seen. We’re
talking miniscule here—a little bit bigger
than a standard size matchbook and about
an inch tall. Small size doesn’t come at the
expense of style, though. Each pedal is painted with a high-gloss finish and adorned with
a likeness of each pedal’s namesake rendered
in a minimalist, almost Japanese line-drawn
style. In fact, they wouldn’t look out of place
as a high-fashion accessory.
Each Sister has two knobs for adjusting
tone parameters as well as a sturdy true-bypass switch. To make their presence even
less cumbersome the input and output jacks
are located at the top end of the box. If you
were to purchase the entire series and string
them together, your pedalboard would be
less than a foot long.
Sometimes smaller pedals can get a little
squirrely underfoot. So thoughtfully, Red
Witch ships every Sister with textured rubber feet or a pre-cut Velcro strip to affix to
the bottom of the effect.
Small size isn’t all that makes the Seven
Sisters special, of course. Red Witch
claims to be the first company to put
lithium-ion batteries inside an effects
pedal. What’s so cool about having a
smart-phone battery in a guitar effect? For
starters, they’re rechargeable, which means
freedom from unreliable power sources,
tangles of wire, and noise from shoddy
club wiring. Just grab a 9V or 18V DC
power supply and plug it into the left-
hand power socket for 12 hours, and the
pedal should provide one to two weeks
worth of use before it requires recharging.
An LED mounted on the top of the box
helps you monitor the charge capacity.
Red Witch dealers can replace these bat-
teries, and the company claims the cells
should have a life of about two years.
I tested Ivy, Lily, and Grace with a Vox
Pathfinder, a 10-watt CEC Toll-Free
Express and a 50 watt ’ 68 Fender Bassman,
both powering a 4x12 with V30 Celestions.
Guitars of choice included a Gibson Les
Paul and a Fender Stratocaster.
DR8 PREMIER GUITAR JANUARY 2012