What is it?
Electro Harmonix Lumberjack Log Overdriver. Made in NYC. According to the serial number, this unit has been manufactured in 2013.
Someone was selling this one as next to new unit for an ok price. As some of you may already know, i’m not a EHX fanboy. At all. Other than Big Muffs and a few odd birds, the EHX designs tend to reach for the skies. Only to find their hand stuck in a pile on manure. Meaning that the designs are always trying to break the limits and to come up with something profound – but usually ending up as a novelty special effects rather than a good sounding, usable guitar pedals. The official youtube demo shows a professional guitarist praising the sound. But somehow i think i sense a hint of doubt in his presence. There’s also a short part with a bass on that demo. Anyway. As usual, i ripped the bottom plate open as soon as the unit landed on my desk. Demos suggested the unit be be somewhat a modernized overdrive version of the bad old Gretsch Controfuzz. The controls Volume and Boost do what you expect them to. The Log Factor adds distant background distortion in the spirit of the Controfuzz, but doing it in a post 1980 manner.
Nope. That’s not anything like Controfuzz. There are five dual opamps and a few transistors in there. While i was hoping that this would possibly be something simple, something i could use to learn’a thing or two, tthe reality hit me hard. With the sound the unit has, and the complexity of the circuit.. No. I’ll just screw the bottom plate back on and put this back to its original retail cardboard box. It can stay there and wait if the sound will have any merit after couple of decades of waiting. On a brighter side, the unit does come with a power supply. So all of the money wasn’t completely wasted.
How does it sound?
Horrible. The Overdrive never grows to be completely around. Instead, there’s always clean signal present. So as an overdrive effect for the guitar, i must say that this is definitely one of the worst. For a bass? Haven’t tried it for myself yet, but there is some hope for this being a decent (or maybe even great) bass pedal.
Makes me wonder. If a design goes south due to blatant over engineering, why do they keep marketing it as something that it clearly isn’t? Now, slap a sticker with “For Bass” on top of the retail box and it might sell. There is a chance that over engineering has resulted is cutting some of lower frequencies off. If that’s the case, then this unit isn’t suitable for anything.
Except for novelty special effect.
2 thoughts on “EHX Lumberjack Log Overdriver”
It is a unique sounding drive and it’s interesting for me to hear from an expert that it’s garbage on guitar. One of my groups does old school industrial music (Throbbing Gristle, Cabaret Voltaire, Coil, Eno, etc.) and uses guitar effects mostly on non-guitar sound sources. We use the lumberjack on our dirty vocal setup in a chain that goes mic, whammy pedal, lumberjack, behringer boost, compressor, solid gold fx electroman delay, amp. I’ve tried other drives and it is the best I’ve found for adding some grit and presence to pitch dropped monster vocals. It also yields a distinctive and somewhat pleasing wooliness when we run our KORG kr-55 drum machine through it.
Ah! Thanks for your comment! I admit that i tend to focus on guitar tones and most of the time simply forget that the are other applications for effects too. This being said, i’m quite happy to say i may be wrong in my assesment about lumberjack sounding like crap. Its sharp edge may very well serve a purpose on keys or vocals. Still my personal opinion stands – it is next to unusable with a guitar. Kinda like the Germanium od from the same brand. Will perform well in certain situations, but will never be any guitarist’s only dirt box.