If you are looking for the best reverb pedal from Electro Harmonix, get an EHX Cathedral.
Then, you may think “why to think about buying another pedal from EHX whose features are included in the Cathedral?”. The answer is clear to me: because the EHX Holy Grail is an icon. In this review, I’ve bring this pedal in its new (and smaller) version: the Holy Grail nano.
Before we get into the point, you can read a lot of reviews here.
Divine reverb for mere mortals
There isn’t just one Holy Grail. This pedal is based on the same circuitry as the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail, but in a smaller size, as many other icon stompboxes from the brand do (Big Muff nano, Memory Toy, etc.). It looks great, and just the most advanced high-resolution ears could tell any difference between the two versions of the Holy Grail (I can’t).
You’ll a better idea about what this pedal is all about by reading what the EHX people say about it:
Divine reverb for mere mortals. Down from the heavens comes the Holy Grail, a compact digital reverb guitar pedal that is priced so low thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s reverb tank any longer.
The Holy Grail will make you a believer with its emulation of classic Spring reverb so faithful that even Dick Dale couldn’t tell the difference. Next, get lost in the lush spaciousness of the Hall reverb and ask yourself, “how did they fit Notre Dame into such a small package?” Finally, reach enlightenment with the haunting Flerb.
Features and controls
The Holy Grail features three types of reverb: Spring (the kind of spring reverb built-in vintage tube amplifiers), Hall, and Flerb, which is a cool mixture between reverb and flanger that you won’t find in any other pedal (apart from the EHC Cathedral). It will get right to the point because it is super easy to use: you just select the type of reverb and roll the Reverb knob for the amount of reverb you want. Easy.
This pedal is mono, and it’s powered with a 9V negative power supply. I haven’t tested the current consumption, but it’s for sure lower than the 200mA that you’re supposed to provided at least, according to EHX.
The Holy Grail has just a single Knob (Reverb) and a small switch, to select the reverb type (spring, hall, flerb). It also has a true bypass stomp switch.
- Reverb is simply the mix between your dry and wet (reverberated) sound. If you roll this control up, the sound is fully wet.
As every single pedal made by Electro Harmonix, the Holy Grail sounds awesome. The easiest reverb pedal to use, just like the Reverb knob in any vintage tube amplifier with built-in spring reverb.
And know what? You won’t need any other control. For sure that additional tone and depth controls would give you more versatility with the reverb, but these parameters have been preset in such a natural way that you won’t miss them at all.
Another thing worth mentioning is the Flerb. It’s a unique feature, and it’s not just a reverb and a flanger blended together. You’ll discover that when playing with the Flerb and the Reverb knob there’s plenty of sweet spots than will take your playing to places any other reverb pedal will.
This pedal is essential…
Check out the videos in the playlist below, I’m sure you will love the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail.
Should you buy this pedal?
If you are looking for a reverb pedal, and you want something simple that just works, the Holy Grail is a safe bet. You won’t get lost by playing with too many knobs, because you will only have one. Just like in amps. But will have a little more versatility thanks to its three reverb modes.
If you don’t want to spend a fortune in a reverb pedal because you want something to just live it there so your sound gets warmer and more present, this pedal will do the job.
You will also want to buy this pedal if you love guitar pedals. This one is another myth, and will always fit on your pedalboard or in your gigbag.
Don’t think of this pedal if you want a more complex pedal that is able to provide you with plenty of different and complex reverb sounds. The Holy Grail has a Hall mode, but you have plenty of better alternatives to that.
You won’t like this pedal if you are serious about spring reverb. Even tough it sounds great, it doesn’t sound like vintage outboard spring tanks. You have better options for that.
Alternatives to the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano
If you like spring reverbs, you have to check other pedals that are a little more complex than the Holy Grail, but are more indicated to recreate the sound of vintage outboard spring tanks. My top favorites are the Catalinbread Topanga Spring Reverb (the best one), the Wampler Faux Spring Reverb and the Mad Professor Silver Spring Reverb.
On the other hand, you have another pedal that is pretty similar to the Holy Grail: the Mooer Shimverb. It sounds pretty well and is tiny too. The sound is not that great though, but it has a Shimmer effect that can be very spiring. And its price is sooooo great…
This pedal is a classic. And it’s just plug and play, here goes a little summary of what I think about it.
- Simplicity. Roll the Reverb knob and sound great. Easy
- Spring and Hall reverbs sound nice and warm.
- Flerb gives you a unique tone
- It fits on any pedalboard, it is tiny…
- Great price
- It is a classic, an icon
- It doesn’t have a Tone control
- It is not true bypass
The Electro Harmonix Holy Grail Nano reverb is a safe bet if you’re looking for a simple pedal. Just select the reverb type you wanna use, roll the Reverb knob up and you will be ready to go. The Spring sounds pretty realistic, the Hall is ok, and the Flerb is cool. This pedal is a classic and the price is great.