Normally, when I review a product, I look at as little info about the product as possible. I’m highly aware of bias and how even the smallest bits of info can subtly influence a person’s brain. However, with the Emma PisdiYAWot, I broke my own rule.
Because: what the hell does PisdiYAUwot even mean?! I was bested by my own curiosity and was unable to stop myself from Googling the thing. But don’t worry—I’m not going to spoil it for you--just know the name is somehow perfect, if unpronounceable to most North Americans like myself. Now, let’s turn it up and see what this thingamajig can do.
In my past experience, the best distortion is almost always amp-created. I’ve always been a Fender girl when it comes to guitars AND amps—but years ago when I found myself in the real life version of a fictional metal band (!), I couldn’t find any distortion pedals that sounded right through my Fenders. I did what any self-respecting pseudo-shredder might do: I bought an Orange Rockerverb. That fictional band finally broke up in reality and I sold the Rockerverb, but I always keep a high gain distortion pedal handy just in case. The PisdiYAUwot stands a definite chance of joining the ranks alongside my trusty Dime Distortion. Hell, it might even replace it.
For this review, I used my main axe, a magical old Squier Jazzmaster that now has an L500XL in the bridge—and yes, I had the pickup installed upside down just like Dime used to! It’s the hottest, most aggressive pickup I play through and frankly—I just wanted to rock. For amps, I used my special edition “White Lightning” Hot Rod Deluxe, a 40W gigging amp that is my go-to for almost every occasion and that has headroom for days.
This phrase is overused, perhaps, but it’s hard to get a bad sound out of this box. With three EQ pots for low, mid, and high frequency fine-tuning, you can dial in a myriad of sounds. I unapologetically love 80s metal and immediately dropped the mids down for that classic scooped tone. After riffing on that sound for a good half hour (!), I started to play around with the EQ section and figured out that this box is capable of a zillion tones—it might take you more than a minute to dial in your exact sound and when you do? Mark your settings! Even minor tweaks to the EQ pots can radically change your tone.
It is obviously designed for slamming metal tone—adding a Whammy and a wah got me some serious Pantera going on—but backing off the gain also yields a great hard rock sound that would be at home in more accessible Foo Fighter type territory.
Couple things I love about this box: 1) it sounds great in front of a totally clean amp 2) you can get great feedback at relatively low volumes, so it’s a great choice for all you sonic noisemakers out there 3) it has clarity for days; a lot of distortion pedals are super muddy and thick but the Pisdiyauwot has what Queensryche’s Michael Wilton used to refer to as ‘AUNCH’ – audible crunch.
While I still love the feeling and sound of pushing an Orange or a Marshall to saturate like crazy, the Pisdiyauwot comes really close to nailing that sound in compact enclosure—a wall of full stacks in your proverbial pocket. If you like melting faces with your guitar, you probably want to check this one out. STAT. At $245, it’s neither the most expensive nor the least expensive distortion on the market but still on the higher side and therefore a bit of an investment. But who can put a price on rocking this hard?!!!