Ernie Ball has proven to be one of the few brands that specializes in volume pedals and similar designs which use potentiometers. Their Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 is one of the most practical pedals you can get for an acoustic guitar. Today we're going to take a closer look.
The great thing about Ernie Ball pedals is just how good they are built. This one features a die cast metal body with proper supports on the bottom to prevent the pedal sliding around during use. Everything about it screams confidence. Underneath you have a 250k potentiometer with a smooth travel and plenty of range. In terms of inputs and outputs, Ernie Ball VP Jr offers the standard I/O pair with the addition of a tuner input for silent tuning. Ernie Ball offers this model in two versions. The one we are looking at today is designed to work with passive instruments. As such, it requires no external power. You don't have to use batteries nor plug in power adapters of any kind. This pedal is all passive. Overall, the entire package is incredibly solid both inside and out.
In terms of controls, there isn't really much to look at. The whole thing comes down to the potentiometer. Ernie Ball generally uses top quality components, especially when dealing with something as complex as this. The whole complexity thing comes from the way these devices work. You need a proper smooth travel with equally as smooth response. The potentiometer in the Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 does exactly that. Ernie Ball has built in a micro taper switch that allows you to choose between two different swell rates. Overall, it takes some time to get used to the pedal in a sense that you have to reachthat subconscious level of operation. Fortunately, that doesn't take too long. Ernie Ball VPJr. P06180 is pretty intuitive all things considered, which makes it a great companion for live performances as well as studio use.
Speaking of performance, lets talk about what you can expect from this pedal. The main purpose of a volume unit is to allow you to do swells. A good swell has to be smooth otherwise it isn't really doing much. The quality of a swell depends on the potentiometer used and the type of switch that is inside the pedal. Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 has all of this covered. It allows you to do very precise swells, reacting to even the smallest changes in the input. If you want to, you can basically reproduce a vibrato type of effect. The expression pad is smooth, offers good grip and generally great feedback. For such an affordable model, this kind of performance is pretty impressive. Most importantly, Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 works great with just about any acoustic electric guitar. Compatibility issues are not something you need to worry about.
Overall, Ernie Ball VP Jr. P06180 is one of the simpler but ultimately best performing volume pedals you can get in this price range. It doesn't come packed with features, but the core performance is there. If you're looking for something for gigs or studio use, you'll love this pedal.