What is it?
Digitech Whammy II, made in canada. Possibly sometime in the 90’s.
It’s rather rare occasion that someone gets a chance of buying a rare western made unit for a low price. For me, the day this one came for sale was one of those rare occasions. I paid good amount of money for this, but didn’t check out any auction sites or anything to determine what there usually go for. And when i did… Boy was i glad i bought this. In reality, i paid about a quarter of what these usually sell for. Of course, the unit had seen use and the switches weren’t making connections in the best possible manner. Nothing that i can’t fix myself though. But in all, the unit was in nice condition. Sure. I had to come up with a power supply for it, but being the pedal freak that i am, there is a medium sized cardboard box full of different DC and AC supplies in my possession. The pedal is powered with 9V AC supply, which isn’t that uncommon – i had one suitable at hand straight away. I cleaned the unit a bit and the condition isn’t bad. Slight wear and tear, but nothing remarkable. What was more interesting was that the labels say “Made in Canada”. I had no idea Digitech had done any manufacturing in maple leaf flag country. But by the looks of it, a lot more brands should have turned to canadians to do their work for them.
The look of the build quality is very pleasing. Sturdy and strong. There is a lot of the board that has been manufactured by hand and that is always a great selling point for me. I hadn’t been too interested in any version of whammys due to simple fact that i do not know how to use one. Whammys are great toys to fool around with, but just don’t see myself having one on my board. Nor would i see myself using it regularly. But while the effect themselves are not the peak of interest, the genre is. Foot controllable pitch shifting. Good idea that has been in the shadow of many other genres since the beginning of time.
The one thing that surprised me the most was the foot control. I did assume the control was done with a pot, like for nearly all the basic wah pedals (Vox, Cry Baby etc.), but this is not the case with a Whammy. The control here is optical. Meaning that there is a LED that moves closer and further away from a light dependent component that is inside that cardboard box on the board. What do you know! There is always something new to learn!
As the features go, we have out rocker pedal, a bypass switch, and. The mode switch on WHII is a stomp too! One can change the mode of the effet by stomping on it. The later Whammies have a know switch for this. The modes are harmonies from octaves to 5th and octaves from one to two. Both down and up. The design isn’t polyphonic, so it doesn’t act well with chords, but it tracks both up and down harmonies/octaves very well with single notes.
How does it sound?
I can only compare this to Whmmy IV at the moment as these two are the only ones i have. But when i do compare them, it just seems like IV is the exactly same sounding effect, just made cheaper in asia. Whammy II sounds like a very decent foot controllable pitch shifter. It can be used as a harmonizer or an octaver by simply not touching the rocker pedal. The modes work well and sound good. Maybe the low octaves aren’t exactly as good as they are in Arion MOC-1, but still very good. As for the harmonies and shimmering up octaves.. Just beatiful. Man i’m glad i have this unit.