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Review – Westwood by Earthquaker Devices

Review – Westwood by Earthquaker Devices

On top of nearly every bassist’s effects list is an overdrive pedal that doesn’t lose the low end or overly color your tone. I have painfully vivid memories of overdrive pedals I’ve used over the years that sounded awesomely dirty at home and then turned to mush in the band mix.

Cue the arrival of Earthquaker Devices’ Westwood. Launched in early 2018, the Westwood is the boutique pedal maker’s first transparent overdrive.

Unlike traditional overdrives, the transparent designation refers to the pedal’s design that pushes the natural tone of your bass and amp. There is no extraneous coloration or noise.

The pedal, which offers true bypass switching, is straightforward to use:

  • Level: Turn clockwise to increase volume; counterclockwise to make it quieter.
  • Drive: Turn clockwise for a dirtier tone; counterclockwise for cleaner.
  • Bass: Affects frequencies around 80 Hz. For context, a low B string on a 5-string bass is 30 Hz, and the low E is 41 Hz. Turn clockwise to boost; counterclockwise to cut (+/- 20dB).
  • Treble: Affects frequencies around 2kHz. Turn clockwise to boost; counterclockwise to cut (+/- 20dB).

Yes, the pedal was built for guitarists, but it does work surprisingly well for bass in holding on to the low end. The articulation holds all the way down to a low B, even when in passive mode. To get the best push, however, I’d recommend using an active bass or also pumping up your output with a preamp or booster pedal just before the Westwood. That being said, I preferred the tone when my bass was in passive mode. As always, your mileage may vary based on your personal tastes.

The pedal is powered by a standard 9-volt DC power supply with a 2.1mm negative center barrel.

Each Westwood is hand-built in Akron, Ohio with an MSRP of $179. Learn more at earthquakerdevices.com/westwood/.

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