Mr. Huge’s Hugest: The 6 Best Way Huge Pedals Ever

Jeorge Tripps, a.k.a. Mr. Huge, has been a fixture of the effects community for as long as most of us have been playing. Always a bastion of creativity, his designs have been at the feet of players the world over nearly since he first picked up a soldering iron. While most know him as the face of Way Huge, he’s also responsible for the Line 6 DL4, a revolutionary instrument that pushed the boundaries of what guitar players had at their disposal, as well as the boundaries of what guitar could or should sound like. He also developed two MXR staples—the Classic 108 Fuzz and the venerable Carbon Copy delay. Clearly, Mr. Tripps’s resume is anything but thin.

Through it all, though, Way Huge was his bread and butter far before Line 6 or Dunlop came a-knockin’, and Dunlop eventually absorbed Way Huge into its product line. The original Way Huge pedals—despite being reissued in recent years—are worth lots of money, and for good reason: not many exist because people just aren’t giving them up for any reason. Journey with us, as we take a look at the hugest pedals that ever left the bench of Mr. Tripps.

Piercing Moose

Older Way Huge pedals can be identified by the footswitches; the tops are black, an aftermarket plastic part stuck onto narrow-shafted Japanese footswitches. These footswitches were much softer to press than the 3PDT switches of today, which is one of the many things that make these pedals so desirable. One such pedal with these switches is the Piercing Moose “Octifuzz,” a dual-mode octave up fuzz that lived up to its name in certain settings. The Moose was one of Mr. Tripps’s only dual-footswitch effects, and this circuit desperately needs it. At its core, the Moose is an octave-up fuzz with the octave living solely within the second footswitch. With the octave off, the Moose is a flavor of fuzz unlike much else, and the Tone knob functions a bit different than one might expect. Rolled back, the Moose becomes more and more lo-fi, evoking some of Nintendo’s greatest 8-bit hits—the Tone control almost acts like a deep treble cut than a traditional tone control. The octave up is brash, in-your-face but still very musical. Like most octave-up fuzzes, the Moose’s upper octave sings above the 12th fret, but completely envelops the tone, in a good way.

Camel Toe

As of the time of this writing, the Way Huge Red Llama is no longer being made. A shame, really, because it’s one of the most underappreciated dirt pedals to have ever been released. However, those who have born witness to its splendor are very devout fans indeed. These devout fans also know how good the Red Llama sounds when fed directly into another Tripps creation, the Green Rhino. It seems only natural, then, that the two of them are combined, and Tripps heeded the call. The resulting creation, the Camel Toe, contained both the Red Llama and Green Rhino (though the Camel Toe refers to them as “Green” and “red” drives) with one huge difference: the Series/Parallel switch. This toggle allows players to run them one at a time (Parallel) or together (Series) for a searing lead tone. Because the Red Llama sits before the Rhino, players can use the volume of the Llama to drive the front end of the Rhino, resulting in a thick, scathing overdrive tone. Among the Camel Toe’s devout fans is Mike Campbell, who brings three on tour with him.

Super Puss/Supa Puss

Ask any devout Way Hugist about which pedal will likely never leave his or her collection, and you’ll likely get one of two answers: Aqua Puss or Swollen Pickle. The Aqua Puss is a slapback machine, loosely based on any number of compact analog delays from the ‘80s, and manufactured at a time when players were flocking from the churches of analog in search of a digital messiah, when only Mr. Tripps and a few others still believed. The Aqua Puss begat the Super Puss, of which four were ever produced. Given the control layout, many believe the Super Puss to be Tripps’s take on a Deluxe Memory Man, a thoroughly complicated build. Farther down the line, when Way Huge was absorbed by Dunlop, Mr. Huge revamped the idea, calling it the Supa Puss, a full-featured analog delay with up to a full second of delay time—something nearly unheard of. Because of the nature of analog BBD devices, this much delay time strains the chips and produces a super-low-fidelity delay tone when stretched that far, but this is all part of the charm—the limitations of BBD devices is what creates the characteristic murky repeats. Also included was the “Chase” feature, accessed by pressing and holding down the Feedback knob, which allowed players access to a cyclic selection of subdivisions for a wild delay experience.

Nearly every Way Huge box was designed explicitly for guitar players, as the whole “effects on bass” thing has only recently begun to take off. However, this doesn’t stop every bass player from cheekily plugging into the guitarist’s board when they’re away from the practice space, just to see what it sounds like. C’mon folks, it’s ok, you can admit it. Had this situation not occurred, we might have never discovered the true potential of Way Huge’s Purple Platypus “Octidrive.” By itself, the Purple Platypus is a decent sounding, yet mildly-uninspired drive pedal. It features two knobs—Volume and Drive—and it sounds just like one might expect: a thick drive with a hint or upper octave. On guitar…eh. On bass, though, the Platypus upgrades into a fire-breathing beast, scorching everything in its path. When fed into big speakers pushing big air, the Platypus changes from an “Octidrive” into Chthulu incarnate, with a big, fuzzed-out bottom end that needs no mix knob to get its point across.

Swank-O-Matic 5000

Mr. Tripps has long been a fan of custom jobs, and he’s never been one to shy away from extremely limited runs. The aforementioned Super Puss only lasted four units, and looking at Jeorge’s Instagram account yields many pedals that never made it to full production. One such pedal is the Swank-O-Matic 5000, a truly ambitious piece in the same enormous enclosure as the original Super Puss. Only one was ever made, and it appears to have a good reason—it’s enormous, containing four separate pedals: Delay, Boost, [Green] Rhino and a Tremolo. While Mr. Huge certainly has made a Delay (“Puss” series), a Boost (Angry Troll) and a Rhino (self-explanatory), a tremolo is certainly missing from his admittedly huge repertoire. The trem circuit contains an Intensity and Speed knob as well as a Swell/Chop switch, which almost assuredly is the waveform selector. The Delay, Trem and Rhino sections can be switched on and off individually, while the Boost is activated via a remote footswitch. The result is one of the most all-in-one surf guitar formulas—just add spring reverb.

Swollen Pickle MKI

No Way Huge piece would be complete without Mr. Huge’s most well-known pedal, the Swollen Pickle Jumbo Fuzz. While the newest version contains two smaller potentiometers on its face, along with three more inside to change almost every facet of the box, the original contained three knobs and that’s it. Back then, that was all the Pickle needed, and as one of the first-ever Big Muff clones, it was a refreshing alternative. The original used a MPQ3904 chip, which was just four 2N3904 transistors situated inside a 14-pin IC, but the key to using this chip instead of the four individual parts lies within its matching. Each transistor has a rating that tells the gain, and they are rarely, if ever, completely matched in a circuit. The MPQ3904 is factory matched, ensuring even gains across the pedal and allowing Tripps to make a consistent product, so there is no searching for “a good one” when shopping for vintage Pickles—they’re all good. Like the Purple Platypus, bassists wanting to get in on the effects act hold the Swollen Pickle in high regard. Wren and Cuff even released a version of the Pickle, calling it the Pickle Pie. This version has a dedicated Clean Blend control, which gives even further credence to the idea that the Pickle is a low-frequency machine first and foremost.

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