MWFX is a niche effects pedal brand from the South-West of England, with beautiful devices designed and hand-built since 2008 by one Matt Warren. Their range includes a host of impressive noise boxes, such as the erratic ‘Glitch’ pedal, and a feature packed Tremolo with clock input/CV output. Perhaps their most (in)famous though, is the ominously named ‘Judder’.
One of the hallmarks of MWFX creations are the unusual, laser-etched wooden enclosures, but metal versions are also available if that’s more your cup of tea. In the Judder’s case, there is even a mini (metal) version kicking about at £115 for those who don’t quite have the heart (or financial impetus) to commit to the full booner, which comes in at a cool £200. The one that I got my hands on is the latest version of the Judder pedals – in a metal case.
Both the packaging and the pedal itself are clearly put together thoughtfully, and upon its arrival, you definitely get that welcome fuzzy feeling of having spent your dosh wisely – something that I personally consider a necessity when splurging on boutique effects units. I don’t want to give in to the temptation of financial ruin only for the damn thing to turn up and fall out of some flimsy case anti-climatically. I want it to announce its presence with all the confidence of a pedal that knows they’re cool; that quietly but reassuringly says: ‘Don’t worry, I’m worth it’.
The Judder pedal does just that.
So eh, what the hell does it actually do? That’s a good question.
Here’s a sample of what MWFX has to say:
The Judder pedal is a footswitch based tool that drops in short bursts of echo, volume, time and modulation effects using an intuitive yet complex switching system.
If you wanted to over-simplify things to a fairly large degree, you could say that this is just a souped-up stutter/tremolo/delay pedal, but that would be doing the Judder a grave disservice. It’s true that the pedal does all of those things, but that’s a bit like describing a Ferrari as a vehicle that can be used to take the kids to school in the morning. Sure, it can, but if that’s all you want then you may as well go for a Vauxhall Corsa. When you buy an Italian sports car, you’re really buying it for all the extra power packed under the hood (and maybe to attract the opposite sex – although that’s probably where the analogy breaks down). The same is true here; the magic of the Judder is in the sheer amount and variety of sounds that you can conjure up with the dials and switches on offer. To explain all of the different effects in depth would not only require a literary touch far beyond my own, but wouldn’t make much sense. This is a pedal that you need to spend time with to seek out the sweet spots for yourself; though you will never fully understand it.
Check out the demo video below for some samples of the Judder running through the sound chip of a couple of Gameboys, as well as an old TI-83 calculator hacked to run HoustonTracker.
Aesthetics aside, there are a some things I really love about this pedal. The ‘soft-touch’ momentary switch in particular means that you can chuck in blasts of whatever effect you have dialled in to your signal at any point without having to commit to a double click on the locking switch. This is great for using with vocals, where you don’t want all of your beautifully crafted melodies destroyed by the Judder… just the tail end of them as they fade out. Same goes for big lead electronic lines, where you just want to throw in the odd glitchy sound here or there to mix things up. Where I think that it really shines though, is when deployed on rhythm tracks – as demonstrated in the demo vid.
The pedal does have a relatively large footprint, but if you don’t have enough space on your pedalboard… start a second one! Due to the tweaky nature of the effects, it seems to me like this is really a device that suits getting a lot of attention, not just being stuck on the end of a long chain of other pedals.
Any other samples?
Here’s a track from my experimental music project that makes some subtle-ish use of the Judder on both the vocals and one of the melody lines:
- Powered by a standard 9v ‘Boss Style’ adaptor.
- The usual IN/OUT jacks – located on the top of the pedal (worth knowing incase you want to grab some right angle patch leads).
- An expression pedal input on the lower right hand side which can be used to control the centre dial.
I want one damnit!
I don’t blame you. The build quality, along with the mind-boggling variety of different sounds that you can get out of this pedal means that it has instantly become one of my favourites. It makes vocals and drums sound fantastic when you find the right sound for your track. If you do decide to plump up for one of these beauties though, be prepared to wait for a few weeks even if the item is marked as ‘in stock’ on the website, as Matt handles all of the business himself. It’s worth the wait.
MWFX can be found at the following places: