“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.”
We just had to include that rather outrageous summary from the manufacturer, be sure to read on to see why it has every reason to boast!
The Electro Harmonix Holy Grail reverb pedal is one of the finest and most popular choices for guitarists seeking a long lasting unit that performs far above the average product. It’s quite an achievement that given its compact size (ideal for creating more space on your pedalboard or if you plan to carry around gear), it still produces some of the best reverb sounds we have ever heard, and even more so shocking, at a price that won’t leave you broke til next months paycheck!
The 3 way switch gives you the choice of spring, hall and, the pleasantly surprising ‘Flerb’. This lastly mentioned setting which Electro-Harmonix appear to be very proud of, combines reverb with a slight amount of flanger, it can enable a unique and satisfying aural quality to your instrument, especially with the right pick of guitar (make take a little trial and error). Finding an effective way to use flerb might take a little doing and it definitely will not be to everyone’s tastes (it split some opinions from us), but regardless it’s a nice bonus addition to the two other solid reverb effects already present on the unit.
Using the Holy Grail is very much fire and forget: plug in guitar – set effect – set amount of reverb – play away to your hearts content. A simple and hassle free approach to get you playing as quickly as possible without wasting time fiddling with extra and somewhat unnecessary controls that claim to fine tune your sound further but really make little to no difference in most of our experiences. Perhaps our only quibble with this fine piece of engineering is that you do not have the option to power it using a 9V battery, which is most likely a sacrifice made in order to keep it as small as it is. Not a huge deal to most people other than those prone to accidents who are constantly tripping over wires and cables (we all know one of those types!). We advise using a mains connection for all effects units regardless of a battery option, as it provides a more stable output as batteries tend to have the habit of altering sounds as they lose their charge. The Holy Grail Nano pedals saving grace is that it does come supplied with the power supply so you do not need to splash out extra cash before you can use it.
It sounded great with the 3 electric guitars we tested it on, a Squier ’51, a Les Paul Junior and a Hagstrom Super Swede. It also performed exceptionally well with an entry level electro-acoustic we hooked it up to. Be sure to look at the videos at the end of this review to have an idea of what this little guy can do, baring in mind reverb usually sounds better in the flesh (recording equipment and video compression tends to lose some of that brightness, trust us on this one.)
Our last word are this…if the Electro Harmonix Holy Grail is good enough for the Red Hot Chili Peppers, it’s most certainly good enough for us! If you are looking for a simple, low priced reverb pedal that does exactly what it advertises, this is definitely one of the few we can whole heatedly recommend.
Current US Price $121.20
Normal US Price $163.37
Here are a couple of videos with the product in use (not the Nano but they are almost exactly the same besides the size)
We can’t say that in this next video the ‘reverb sucks’ comment didn’t offend us…just…just a little. But it’s a good video and he clearly favors this unit over others available. (P.S reverb does not suck)