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Effects Pedals

Emerson Custom Pomeroy Overdrive/Distortion Pedal Review

Emerson Custom Pomeroy White Overdrive Distortion Pedal
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The latest pedal installment from wiring genius Mitch Ingram of Emerson Custom, is an overdrive/distortion pedal named after his great great grandfather Emerson Wright Pomeroy. The pedal boasts 6 different clipping options including, silicone, op-amp and germanium and has a separate boost circuit with up to 24 dBs of boost.

I had the privilege of testing this pedal out during Sweetwater’s Gearfest this past summer and was so impressed I decided to get one for myself. First off I have to say a few words about Mitch and Emerson Custom. Mitch is one of the nicest dudes you will meet and he runs a tight ship at Emerson Custom. I called up and ordered a Pomeroy and he had it in the mail the next day. This was shortly after the pedal had been released, and with the large amount of retailers stocking it I expected it to take a while for him to get it shipped. Not the case which was awesome.

I have ordered a few other things from Emerson and shipping times are always accurately and transparently communicated on the site. An absolute must in today’s world where, more often than not, you are pre-ordering a product and it is not scheduled to even be made for a month or so.

Anyways, I ordered a White one and when it came in I took it out and threw it on my board. Just as it did during Sweetwater the Boost section brought my clean signal to life and the digital display showing you exactly how much boost you have dialed in was much more handy than I initially expected.

The 6 different clipping options on the pedal took a bit to get used to. When I tried the pedal out at Gear Fest, I used it on its own and even though I compared it with the Chase Bliss Brothers and the Strymon Riverside, I didn’t have a chance to dial it in as a stacked overdrive.

In my rig I have a Jackson Audio Prism and Cusack Screamer. I added the Pomeroy into the chain between the two. Similar to how a high end tube amp reacts to different pedals, components, tubes etc, the Pomeroy sounded very different depending on how it sat in my signal chain. I tried it with the following pedals in a variety of different signal paths; JHS Morning Glory, JHS Superbolt, Bondi Del Mar, Cusack Screamer & the Jackson Audio Prism.

I found that the pedal on its own had the best tone, to my ears. Using the boost as an always on clean/boost/eq then using the overdrive section set to the 3rd clipping mode as my second gain stage. The pedal reacted and stacked very well with tube screamer type overdrives, and/or ones that had a bit more bottom end.

The Pomeroy is very dynamic and clear sounding making it the perfect pair with muddier more mid-range/low end heavy overdrives like the Tube Screamer or Superbolt. The pedal did not sit well after the Prism and the Del Mar. I think that these pedals being similar in character to the Del Mar made it a little harsh sounding. Putting the Del Mar after the Pomeroy yielded great tones but no matter how I stacked it with the Prism it sounded fizzy and lacked body.

The 6 different clipping modes were very dynamic and each setting yielded a completely different sound which made the pedal a ton of fun to tweak. Here is my list of favorites in order of favorite to least favorite:

  1. 3rd Position – 3x Silicon diodes configured for asymmetrical clipping.
  2. 6th Position – No clipping. Overdrive coming from the op-amp.
  3. 4th Position – 1 x Silicon diode and 1 x LED configured for asymmetrical clipping.
  4. 2nd Position – 2x Silicon diodes configured for symmetrical clipping
  5. 1st Position – 2x Germanium diodes configured for symmetrical clipping.
  6. 5th Position – 2 x LED configured for symmetrical clipping.

The Blend knob was another feature I loved about this pedal. Being able to dial in a bit of your clean signal with the driven signal made the pedal really bite, making each note clearer.

The 3 band EQ was extremely versatile and in some ways was too versatile. With it being active you could really hear the effect each knob had on the overall sound. I will say that with this pedal you can’t be afraid of the extremes. I found that in my specific rig I was running the bass almost all the way up with the mid-range just past 1pm and the highs backed off to nearly 9:00.

The pedal is marketed as an overdrive pedal but I would put it more in the vain of a distortion pedal. It has a ton more clarity and dynamics than what I have heard in the Strymon Riverside and Chase Bliss Brothers. With the combination of the boost circuit it is one of the best 3rd stage/lead drive pedals I have heard.

I was extremely pleased at how the pedal reacted to delays and reverbs. Everything I threw at it, it took and enhanced. By itself in front of some ambient delay and reverb, sounded spectacular. The sustain on the pedal and cutting characteristics of the tone made the delay and reverb trails cut through the mix while remaining warm and toneful.

The one thing negative I found with the pedal is that it doesn’t always play nicely with the more transparent overdrives that worship guitarists are accustomed to having in their signal chains. That being said if you have it after a tube screamer or more mid-range/low end pedal then you will find it as the perfect pedal for solos.

Overall if you are a tweaker and are always messing with your pedals, this pedal is a great buy. If you are looking for a two in one pedal that can handle the first 2 stages of drive in your chain then this is definitely something you should try out. The only people I would steer away from this pedal are the guys that use an always on drive pedal and only one more gain stage.

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