In the sea of overdrive, distortion and fuzz pedals, it’s hard to find the one that will fit your needs. The large bulk of them look the same, have the same layout and sound fairly similar as well. And when you try to layer more than one of these effects together, you usually wind up with a lot of sonic mush. Enter the Grizzly Bass from Creation Audio Labs, the pedal that is going to make you rethink how a pedal can work, and also how different sounds can work together.
Based off the success of previous pedals Holy Fire, MW1 and the Funkulator, the Grizzly Bass gives tube-amp simulation without the weight and fragility of tube amps. Immediately, the pedal itself demands attention; it almost completely lights up when you plug in the power supply! The teeth of the Grizzly light up to show the effect is ON, which is a nice touch. The layout of the knobs is very well laid out; top row (l to r) is gain, overdrive, distortion with the bottom row (l to r) at mid sweep and hi-cut filter. It initially took me a little bit to learn how each of these knobs reacted; the usual “Gain, Treble, Bass, Grit” style of control was gone. However, once I started turning knobs, it was apparent how much more intuitive this type of layout is, but also how versatile.
For example, the GAIN control on the Grizzly is the master volume; you can have all the other knobs turned completely off and use just the Grizzly as a boost pedal. Or, if you add in the MID SWEEP, you essentially have Creation Audio’s Funkulator pedal at your disposal. Toss in the HI-CUT FILTER to start making your hi-fi sound a little more analog. Or, if you’re already rocking a passive bass, use it to emulate the tube sounds you might enjoy from that extremely heavy amp that sits in your rehearsal space.
But, once you start playing with the OVERDRIVE and DISTORTION circuits, you really see where the Grizzly starts to roar. The typical distortion pedals use gain and clipping to achieve the desired effect, which usually ends up with a lot of noise that in the filtering process, thins out the tone. Ever try to play a bass through a guitar pedal and wonder where all your tone went? That’s what’s happening. The Grizzly approaches it in a different way; shaping the waveform in order to achieve the same sonic results, but retaining your tone in the process (as the website says, “all the way down to 20Hz”).
So, with this different approach to creating overdrive and distortion, how does it really affect your tone? It makes it extremely musical. Every nuance in your attack, whether you’re a finger or pick player, will translate into the Grizzly. Play a little lighter to lessen the grit and dig in for the chorus to hear some more. Listen to the huge wash of overdriven distortion ebb and flow to your every phrase. The Grizzly is going to easily become one of those pedals that you end up playing, to capitalize on the abilities that it has.
So, in a sea of similar effect pedals, where does the Grizzly Bass from Creation Audio Labs wind up? It’s not strictly an overdrive pedal, a distortion pedal, a boost, a mid scoop or even a hi-cut filter. Sure, you can use just one of those effects if you want, and you’ll be very happy. But the combination of more than one is what sets the Grizzly apart from everything else in the market. The ingenuity of the folks at Creation Audio have brought forth a new way of thinking how a distortion type pedal should look, act, and most important, react to the musician. The end result is something that many people are going to be using to replace multiple pedals on their board.