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> Ehx Riddle, A remarkable pedal that's been overlooked.
post Apr 8 2014, 04:05 PM
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Hey Folks. Spent my day off catching up on some chores, some of which were cleaning my pedal board. A regular dusting off the FX not only keeps them looking pristine and shiny but prolongs pot life and helps keep crackles and pops away too. Likewise the jack ends. Take them out and give a squirt of WD40 or similar to the plugs and pop them in and out of the sockets a couple of times. Don't over do the spraying though. Filling the insides of your pedals with liquid is not a good idea.
Anyway, I was thinking of the pedals I have invested in in the two years or so I have been back on the guitar bus, and thought maybe I should chat with you all about the ones I bought and how I have got on with them. And I thought that I would start with this.
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This was the first one I bought for my new incarnation as a note mangler. ElectroHarmonix RIDDLE. EHX as you all know are a leading manufacturer of FX pedals. The best known of which is probably The Big Muff. The RIDDLE on the other hand is not so well known. I bought it for that reason as I wanted to explore different soundscapes and get that unique tone that I think we all crave. The RIDDLE is basically an envelope filter with added refinements that make it a very different proposition to the usual Wah,Phaser,Flanger type effects. There are three filter modes for bass, mid, and treble.Start and Stop controls for how much sweep you want the pedal to work with and there is a blend control too so you can fine tune how much wet signal you want to feed to your rig. Q lets you introduce how much of that weirdness that is Q you want. And there is a Sensitivity knob for the analogue distortion. That distortion is switcheable. Phew! Thats a lot of control right there and is the pedals strength and weakness. Strength because it is so variable. Really,the time it takes to master this beast can be substantial. Experimenting and subtle knob tweaking is a MUST to get to grips with the capabilities of this pedal.
Time well spent in my opinion.
The most incredible thing that I have found with this piece of kit is how responsive it is your picking dynamics. If you want to add a subtle effect to a gentle piece of picking then it will do just that. Start to really dig in and the RIDDLE spits on its hands and dives in with you.It's gotcha back, Jack!
Stomp on the distortion switch and it snarls and screams to perfection but , and I cannot overstate this, It gives you 100% if you have put the work into getting to know its arcane ways.
I have owned this for the best part of two years and it still suprises me. Shocks even. Heavy handed adjusting can make your speakers try to leap out the cabs. There is an exp pedal input that will allow you to use pretty much any optical pedal to control the range of sweep. EHX describe it used thus as the ultimate Wah. I haven't tried that yet but I have found that engaging my Morley PowerWah straight after the riddle gives me an effective sound for Hot Chocolate's Every Ones A Winner. It seems to work with the RIDDLE in a pleasantly cooperative manner and effectively sustains notes at the sweet spot. I have used it in various positions in the signal chain but I prefer it first in line, followed by the Morley.
Being an EHX pedal it is built like a tank and will probably long outlast me.
In summary; it is not worth paying the extra for this if you just want basic Funk wah tones or a bit of Phase. You are better off buying dedicated pedals for those fx.
However If you after a sound that is unique or/and distinctive and you are happy to spend time experimenting and jotting down settings, then this is the way to go. It does reward putting the work in folks.
Hope I have covered everything that is of interest in this "review" smile.gif If there is anything specific you would like to know about this then I will do my best to answer any questions next time I am back. Or if you own a RIDDLE and want to add your own observations and experiences with it I would love to hear your input.
Oh, and next time I will chat about another EHX pedal I have; the stereo Memory Man with hazerai.

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