Digitech Drop Pedal
The Digitech Drop pedal is one of the coolest pedal I've ever used. As of writing this review, I've only owned it for about a month and a half, but I've definitely used it a lot. Basically, what this pedal does is change the tuning of your guitar digitally, instead of actually re-tuning the strings. This pedal is perfect for someone who likes to play songs in different tunings. I play mostly August Burns Red and Breaking Benjamin. They have songs in three or four different tunings, from Drop D down to Drop Bb, so now I don't have to switch guitars to play different songs. All you have to do is leave your guitar in the highest tuning you use (probably standard or drop D), then when you want to play a song in a lower tuning, you just switch the pedal on and turn the knob to your desired tuning.
You might be thinking that since this pedal is essentially pitch-shifting the signal from your guitar that it might start sounding less than good once you lower it to a certain point. I have my Hellraiser tuned to drop C, and the Drop pedal can change that all the way down to an octave lower if you want. While it does start to sound a bit warbly when you go down that far, it still sounds pretty good as you'll hear in the audio examples below.
The Digitech Drop has nine settings, each represented by a different L.E.D. The first seven settings are how many semitones you want to drop your guitar. If you are in standard tuning and you want to tune down to B standard (5 semitones lower), all you have to do is turn the knob until the "5" is lit up. It's that easy. The last two settings are "Octave" and "Octave + Dry". "Octave" is pretty straightforward. It drops your tuning one octave lower. "Octave + Dry" does the same thing, but it also combines the dry unaffected signal from your guitar with the drop effect. This is a pretty cool effect that many people use: Joe Satriani for example.
The pedal also has a momentary toggle switch. When turned on, you can momentarily change the tuning of your guitar just by holding down the footswitch. When you let off the footswitch, your tuning will instantly return to normal.
This pedal is a must have for people that use guitars equipped with a Floyd Rose, so you can quickly change to lower tunings. The only drawback when it comes to features is the lack of a battery option. If you want to use this pedal, you'll always need the 9V power supply that comes with it.
How It Works
This pedal is polyphonic, which just means that it changes the tuning of all the strings the same. So if you are in standard tuning, you wouldn't be able to change to a drop tuning with the pedal alone. You still can, however. All you need to do is change from standard to Drop D (By tuning your E string to D), then you can use the pedal to change to any other lower drop tuning. You just need to count the semitones, then turn the knob to the appropriate number.
Even if you are a beginner and don't really understand intervals and semitones, you'll still be able to use this pedal easily. After using it a few times, you'll start to figure out which number represents which tuning. The way the L.E.D.s are set up make it easy to count while you're playing at home or at a gig.
Compared to most of the polyphonic pitch shifting pedals out there, the Digitech Drop sounds pretty amazing. It sounds completely natural when you shift down a few semitones, and you only start to notice a change in tone when you start approaching the lower octave. Since I got this pedal, I don't really have a use for my baritone guitar anymore. I've compared the drop pedal to playing a baritone tuned to Drob Bb, and there's barely a difference.
There's also virtually no latency with this pedal. I mean there is technically SOME latency, but it's so little that it's unnoticeable. You'll want to make sure it's the first pedal in your signal chain to get the best performance out of it. It works best if you put it before your distortion pedal or tuner. That way, it gets to work with a pure, unaffected signal from the guitar. The only time this pedal doesn't sound great is when you place it after a bunch of other pedals. That makes it struggle more to figure out the pitch of the note being played, which can make it produce some digital artifacts.
Another thing you can do is use this pedal to simulate a bass guitar. Just switch over to your clean channel and set the pedal to an octave lower and boom, you got yourself a bass. Of course, it's not going to sound exactly like a real bass guitar, but it's close enough to record your own bass parts if you don't have one.
If you do have a bass, you can even use this pedal along with it. Just know that its range is a bit more limited with bass guitars. If you want to tune any lower than two or three semitones with your bass, you might be better off just getting a 5-string, as the tone can get quite muddy when you go that low.
Here are some audio examples of the Drop pedal in action. The first one is my guitar in Drop C without the pedal activated so you have something to compare it to. After that, I'll detune one semitone at a time.
The next example is a full octave lower than Drop C. You'll notice that it sounds quite "flubby" and the tone is not very defined. To help that a little bit, you can turn up the distortion or pre-gain on your amp which I did in the 2nd example below:
In this example, you can hear the final setting which is an octave lower combined with the original dry signal from the guitar:
Finally, these last two examples are with a clean channel. The first is an octave lower playing the same riff as above. The second one is to show how the Drop pedal can be used to simulate a bass guitar, and the third one is an octave lower combined with the dry signal:
This pedal is about as solid as they come. It is built very well and I don't see myself having any problem with it at all, nor could I find anyone online who had any complaints.
If you are a beginner guitar player, and you want to learn some of your favorite songs, you'll quickly find out that many of them are in different tunings. You'll grow tired of constantly retuning your guitar to play different songs, ESPECIALLY if you have a Floyd Rose. Before I discovered this pedal, I had 3 guitars that I kept in different tunings. I would just switch between them for different songs, but this pedal makes it so much easier. Whether you're a live musician, a singer songwriter, or a home recorder, this pedal is a must have for your arsenal of effects pedals. \m/