There have been tone-shaping guitar pedals designed to make electric guitars and basses sound like synths before... but few have been quite so playable and fun as the new Mono Synth and Bass Mono Synth pedals from Electro-Harmonix ($164.70£115 each), which caught our ears (and eyes) at NAMM in January, offering guitar users instant access to monophonic string synth, bass synth and searing lead sounds (to see the videos we shot on the stand at NAMM 2019, which feature SOS Editor-in-Chief Paul White getting the full credit-card levitating demo on the Electro-Harmonix stand, see here).
With just five main rotary controls, both synth pedals are easy to use: ‘Dry’ and ‘Synth’ set the level of your unprocessed guitar and generated synth sound respectively, ‘Sens’ adjusts how responsive the synth sound is to your playing dynamics, and ‘Ctrl’ allows you to adjust a single key parameter for each of the 11 preset synth-type sounds accessed via the final knob, ‘Type’. Favourite sounds can be stored as user presets with a tap of your foot, and external inputs also allow preset selection and adjustment of a further parameter per sound via connected pedals. You can also hear both pedals in full-on action on recently released promo videos from Electro-Harmonix (see below).
Also great fun for guitarists who love sonic exploration is Attack Decay ($166.70£110), a reissued and upgraded version of an old analogue Electro-Harmonix pedal from the early 1980s, which, as the name suggests, allows you to seriously mess with the Attack and Decay characteristics of your guitar sound, producing anything from reversed guitar tones to clipped banjo effects to languid, swelling washes of sound. Check out the SOS NAMM video demonstrating exactly these tones here, or if you'd rather see the video from Electro-Harmonix on the reissued pedal, see below.