We just added Henretta Engineering (out of St. Paul, Minnesota) to the Pedal Finder database and I’m pretty excited. Henretta has a very specific niche in the world of boutique pedals. Kevin Henretta – owner/builder – has a background in hard science and years of industrial experience as a design engineer. In 2009 he designed his first pedal: the Choad Blaster which is a fuzz/distortion pedal capable of high-gain with a lot of control possibilities. This pedal gained a lot of attention when it came out and for good reason. Just Nick does a great review of this pedal that I think is worth taking a look at – so I’m going to insert that right here.
I mentioned that Henretta has a unique niche in the pedal world and it’s not because of the Choad Blaster, but rather their line of small, knob-less pedals. Simplicity is at the core of what Kevin’s endeavors in design have been about and he hit upon the idea of creating less worries for guitarists. He wanted to create a line of pedals, tackling an array of functions, that all had great tone with only 1 single internal setting. No knobs. This was to put the guitar back in the guitarist. Instead of futzing with knobs and micro-managing settings, these preset, well toned pedals are plug and play ready.
His line of knob-less pedals looks like this:
Orange Whip Compressor: The Orange Whip is a simple, small box compressor pedal based on the popular Dan Armstrong Orange Squeezer circuit. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. Internal trimmers control the bias (mild adjustments to amount of compression) and output volume. This circuit is known for its subtle and musical compression.
Bluebird Fuzz: The Bluebird is a simple, compact, no-nonsense fuzz pedal. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. An internal trimmer controls the output volume, and a switch provides a bump in presence for darker amps. Don’t be fooled by the size. The Bluebird’s sound is huge – thick and warm with singing overtones.
Green Zapper Auto Filter: The Green Zapper is a compact envelope filter pedal. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. Internal trimmers control the range and sensitivity. The sound is warm and musical, not harsh like some of the more modern filters on the market.
Mr. White Tweak Boost: Mr. White is a compact signal boost pedal with some other features for tonal tweaking. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. Internal switches activate an optional EQ section. Internal trimmers control bass, treble, and volume. The sound is transparent and responsive.
Pinkman Dirty Boost: The Pinkman is an overdrive pedal with plenty of signal boosting power. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. Internal trimmers control drive, tone and volume. There is also a switch to go between a lower gain (for high output pickups) and higher gain range of the drive control. The sound is warm and balanced but can be biting if dialed in that way.
Crimson Tremolo: The Crimson is a volume modulation tremolo effect. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. Internal trimmers control speed and depth. The sound is smooth and natural.
Purple Octopus Octave Up: The Purple Octopus is a quirky analog octave up effect. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. An internal trimmer controls output volume, with plenty of boost on tap. The sound is classic and wonderful in front of a fuzz.
Emerald Prince Preamp: The Emerald Prince is a preamp circuit modeled after the famous Echoplex EP3 preamp. The 2” x 2” box can squeeze its way onto any pedal board. An Internal trimmer controls output volume, with just a touch of boost. An internal bright switch toggles between a bright mode that provides clarity and a unique mid-range character and a dark mode that fattens the sound while maintaining punch and clarity.
I love that all of these different functionalities are in a 2″ by 2″ box and each comes in at $125! It’s just a great concept and well executed. It’s clear that Kevin knows how to lay out a circuit (especially listening to the Choad Blaster review) and he probably could have gone in any number of directions with a standard pedal format. But, by taking a different approach to circuit design he has defined a much needed niche in the pedal effects world. So check out Henretta Engineering at their website or on Facebook and if you’re lucky enough, maybe you’ll see them at NAMM this year! Let us know if you do and also if you have any of these pedals on your board. We want your reviews!