Pedals

Electro-Harmonix Cock Fight

  • By Eric Tischler @tonereport
  • January 21, 2016
  • 2 Comments

O, do I like the Electro-Harmonix (EHX) Cock Fight. It’s a fuzz with a wah wah’s potentiometer integrated into the pedal. The goal is to enable the user to approximate the cocked wah tones used by Mick Ronson, and others, without having to find the right spot on a wah pedal, but this description only scratches the surface.

The fuzz circuit is wonderful. It sounds like a member of the Tone Bender family (Ronson used a MKI). It has Bias, Treble, and Bass controls to go along with the Drive (why it’s not called “Fuzz” is beyond me) and Volume knobs. The EQ controls are well thought out, and they complemented every guitar I used. The Bias control is effective, and allows the fuzz’s character to range from a throaty roar to a sputtering buzz like an old-school fuzz with a dying battery.

The Bias control also affected the Freq knob’s functionality. Freq is the control with which the player selects the sweet spot on the wah, and adjusting the bias affects the resonant peak of that setting. The wah effect can be set to “Cry,” which provides traditional wah characteristics, or “Talk”, which adds a distinctly vowel-like element to notes, similar to what you’d get when using a talk box (think the intro to Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion”).  The wah can also be used independently of the fuzz and, better still; it can be hooked up to an expression pedal. Turning the Freq knob controls the sweep of the effect when used with the expression pedal, and I was surprised by how satisfying the wah was on its own.

So, EHX has two great tastes here: wah and fuzz. How do they taste together? Awesome. Given the array of controls, it was very easy to dial in the tones I wanted. I spent a lot of time playing Ronson riffs from his days with David Bowie (R.I.P.), but I was easily able to cop the less-intense tones of his contemporaries, notably T. Rex’s Marc Bolan and Queen’s Brian May. 

Although the Talk setting couldn’t take the place of an actual talk box (sorry Peter Frampton cover bands), it had its uses. If you want to cover the intro to Bon Jovi’s “Living on a Prayer,” this’ll give you a leg up. Ditto "Money for Nothing" by Dire Straits, which doesn’t use a talk box but has an unusual depth to the tone that the Talk control did a better job of capturing.

So, the Cock Fight is a home run, right?  Well, there’s one caveat: any pickup that wasn’t a standard single coil was too hot for the input—this includes P90s, humbuckers, and the high output single coils in my G&L ASAT Special. This could be an issue for anyone who might want to use the Cock Fight for its straight wah capabilities and wants a clean signal, say for funk. Similarly, stacking the pedal with an overdrive was less rewarding than it could be. The signal was always more compressed than I wanted it to be, even with the Bias wide open and the Drive down. Despite these issues, the Cock Fight was very effective, but, I’d love to see this pedal with a much less sensitive input, allowing the full benefits of the pedal to shine in any rig, and any guitar.

Speaking of things I’d love to see, allow me to quickly present my wish list with the hope that the big-wigs at EHX see it.  In addition to addressing the too-sensitive input, I’d love to have the ability to use the fuzz independently of the wah/Freq function. The Cock Fight circuit would make a great Tone Bender by itself. When I look at the footprint of, say, the EHXTortion, I know it can be done. Make it so, please, EHX! And, while you’re at it, if you could turn up the output a bit. . .until then, however, the Cock Fight is an excellent tool at a bargain price.

What we like:

Fantastic functionality and tone.

Concerns:

Input sensitivity is a bummer, given my penchant for hotter pickups.

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2 Comments

  1. Bill Ruppert

    It works fine with a humbucker pickup.
    For the EHX demo I only used a humbucker Holdsworh pickup and its hot.
    The demo sounds great. You must have a problem with your setup.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SyLowGXOgXA

  2. Magnetoman

    Your guitar doesn’t have a volume knob?
    I have used this with Telecaster Singles, Stratocaster Singles, Gretsch F’Tron Blacktops, Seymour Duncan Seth Lover PAF’s, some other stock Humbuckers in Jackson, Kramer and Aria Pro2 and SG with p90’s. - Al kinds of music. No issues whatsoever.
    This pedal is amazing,  2 Great Wahs with plenty of tone shaping and the best Fuzz I have used in 40 years of playing. Pre or post wah the bias control it handles everything. You can pretty much plan on finding sounds of any player you can think of that ever used a wah and or a fuzz. From Hendrix to May to Beck and on. Using the Fuzz in front of a lot gain on amp you can go way past 60’s fuzz to some serious metal with use of the bias and bottom knobs. You can tighten it up pretty crispy. Highly recommend an expression pedal with it, Moog makes a decent one for 40$ or it very easy to use a volume pedal or gut an old cry baby to use as an expression pedal, an easy DIY - Lots on the web on doing this.