Talking Pedal offers tube-free Talk Box-like guitar effect
By Paul Ridden
September 25, 2012
Although I grew up surrounded by the big hair rock of Bon Jovi and the like, my first introduction to the Talk Box guitar effect was not Living on a Prayer but Joe Walsh's Rocky Mountain Way over a decade earlier, followed a little later by Peter Frampton's epic Do You Feel Like We Do. Although it continues to be used by a good many guitar gods to this day, the long tube that invariably runs up a microphone stand to the player's mouth does make it something of a special addition to a guitarist's effects arsenal rather than a regular feature. The Talking Pedal from Electro-Harmonix does away with the tube altogether in a rocking chassis expression pedal with no moving parts.
The second release in the company's Next Step Effects line looks somewhat similar to the first, the Crying Tone wah. Rather than rocking back and forth on a hinge, the Next Step pedals feature a contoured bottom and use motion sensing technology to detect the angle relative to a calibrated rest position to apply the appropriate frequencies to the signal. As such, the pedals are free of potentiometers and physical switches like knobs or buttons.
In the case of the Talking Pedal, the guitar signal is passed through two bandpass analog filters to produce something that emulates the vowel sounds of a human voice. It's similar to what the Heli Talk Box used by Joe Walsh or Peter Frampton does, but without requiring the user to bite down on a tube running from their mouth to the pedal.
There's also a fixed fuzz gain setting that's blended into the sound using a thumb wheel control on the side of the unit, which adds a pretty mean growl at full tilt.
The Talking Pedal has been priced at US$121.20 and comes shipped with a 9V battery, but it also accepts power from an optional AC adapter.
Product page: Talking Pedal
The following video shows something of what the pedal is capable of.