Ohio-based brand Earthquaker Devices make some incredibly popular high-end pedals and are constantly improving their existing classics. For example, they’ve upgraded their Hoof Fuzz – perhaps their most famous model – for additional functionality and ease of use.
Based loosely on the Russian Muff fuzz circuit, this box can adapt to nearly any distortion sound, and packs a serious punch to boot. Today we’re taking a closer look at this intriguing distortion pedal.
Guitarists have prized the Hoof for years thanks to its versatility and unique, characteristic Muff-style sound. While the classic tone knob offers a broad spectrum of different sounds from overdrive to wilder fuzz, the Hoof’s unique ‘shift’ knob unlocks a much wider arena of tones.
By altering the pedal’s frequency response (working in conjunction with the tone dial), the shift can be used to boost highs, cut lows and mids, add thicker bass, and neutralize the pedal’s default mid scoop. This circuit is built with a hybrid of germanium and silicon, offering premium temperature stability versus pricier vintage Muff stompboxes.
It’s also completely analog – a rarity in today’s pedal market. Many guitarists prize analog pedals for their more organic, natural response than more common, cheaper digital circuits. A new addition to the V2 is the silent soft-touch switching, making this pedal a breeze to operate.
The Hoof features a simple four-knob layout, with controls for level, tone, shift, and fuzz. The level dial functions like an overall volume for your signal. The fuzz control is similarly straightforward – this one controls the amount of fuzz added to your sound. Turning it down toward 9 o’clock gives you a more classic amp-like overdrive tone without too much additional hair, while when cranked it offers an incredibly fuzzy, sludgy sound that more serious distortion fans crave.
The tone and shift controls are surprisingly responsive, and work in tandem to deliver your perfect sound. The tone functions like a traditional tone knob with a bit of a presence function as well. As you crank it, your signal becomes progressively brighter and clearer at the same time. The shift dial, meanwhile, alters the overall tonal range of the pedal. Think of it as setting the general parameters, while the tone knob adjusts the specific sound. When used together, you can obtain pretty much any distortion tone within a few seconds.
The biggest thing about the Hoof is its focused, in-your-face sound. While it can bring the fuzz in spades, it does so without loosening or diluting your overall signal. It’s a rare achievement, and it makes this even more valuable for players with multiple pedals in their signal chain – the Hoof will give you as much fuzz as you need, without ruining the integrity and punch of the rest of your tone.
It’s also a pretty versatile distortion and fuzz unit. At times, with the fuzz knob turned down, it crosses into overdrive-esque territory, while still retaining the heavy, hairy capabilities all great fuzz pedals need. From the darkest combinations of the tone and shift knobs to the brightest, it offers dirty, sludgy distortion while never giving out or turning your tone into a mushy and flabby mess.
Another bonus here is the strong, ringing sustain boost this pedal provides. Like many green Muff-style units, the Hoof gives a serious dollop of clear sustain to your signal, no matter the specific tone settings.
The Earthquaker Hoof is one of the most precise yet versatile distortion pedals available to today’s guitarists. The unique combination of the tone and shift knob means this unit can cover bases from warm, softer overdrive to wide-open ’60s fuzz and tight, punchy distortion. The one-of-a-kind features and sound make this pedal worthy of a look from players in nearly any genre.