It's the beginning of the rainy season in Japan, it's raining, and yours truly is under typically "Asian" downpours (for those who know the region). Only one solution, take refuge at a local retailer! Pure coincidence, there is one less than 3 mins away! :) So here I am in front of a showcase well supplied with effects, with obscure "golden" pedals that I don't know. Not even a mark on it?! A height! It doesn't take much to arouse my curiosity!
Small discussion with the staff inside. It's the story of a guy, who knows a guy, who makes pedals for a guy... Finally you get the picture! Quick test on site... Packed and weighed in less than 5 mins, I buy the OD and the Distortion for me, without even knowing who makes what and where! Being relational, I get in touch with H.Yagi who manufactures these superb pedals and we decide to offer you the possibility of acquiring what is for us a real favorite as we will see later.
Aesthetically, nothing to fall from your chair, it could not be more basic but everything exudes quality. No possible doubt. So we have the classic Volume, Gain (drive) and Tone controls. And also a toggle switch. This allows for a slight gain boost with a bright function and more.
Test setup, a B&G Guitars Little Sister guitar (hollow body construction) plugged into a Two-Rock amp. Clearly, an excellent dynamic clean base because it is the best way to use the Essence. Guitar in hand, all at 12:00, we immediately find this inimitable grain that the Human Gear pedals have. A vintage vibe, with a pronounced but soft high mid, never aggressive or too "thin".
With the Gain at noon, you get a very light drive, smooth, fluid, warm, with a soft attack, which fans of Larry Carlton, Robben Ford or Ariel Posen will greatly appreciate. Obviously, the Essence is an ultra-dynamic, ultra-transparent pedal (it is grafted like a layer on your original sound). This specific and singular attack is THE unique feature of this pedal. Its responsiveness, its ability to "clean" the volume knob and its perfect balance between stiffness and softness make it a pedal that stands out.
With the mini switch, you can activate a slight gain boost and a bright in the low position. The latter allows - when the gain is increased around 15:00 - to really smooth the drive of the pedal for slightly more pronounced solos. The bright is also used to pass through the mix and it adds a little more headroom at your fingertips. Result? You control everything with the volume knob, the dynamics and the high end of the Essence do the rest. If you are a "player" that you play with a pick, fingers or mix the two, in a Jazz / Blues / Rock register, you will love it!
The voicing of the pedal is clearly vintage with a big "V", very British with a surprisingly organic grain. Pair it with a pair of low-output pickups and you'll get the most out of it!
To sum up, we can say that the Essence of Human Gear is a rare pearl in the field of overdrive pedals. We were stunned by its "touch sensitive" side and its extreme musicality. The icing on the cake, it will boost a slightly twisted crunch channel wonderfully, giving it that unique and brand-specific vintage / ultra organic color. A player pedal, which will reveal its full potential to experienced guitarists. A must of its kind!