Overdrives are among the oldest and still most used guitar effects pedals around. Even though a lot of people mix them rather liberally with distortions, overdrive pedals have a whole different purpose in this world. With that said, their apparent simplicity has prompted a large number of brands to create their own models, some of which became legendary, while others faded away into obscurity. As it turns out, you can mess up something that is as basic as an overdrive rather easily. That is – if you think they are basic. One company that has been churning out some of the best guitar effects pedals in general lately, is Way Huge.
Aside from their weird name, Way Huge has proven that they know how to make a solid stompbox. The one we are going to look at today belongs to the elite lineup of overdrives and goes by the name of Green Rhino MkII.
You can find one of these bad boys on many pedalboards around the world, including the one that belongs to Mike McCready of Pearl Jam. He, just like so many other guitarists, has figured out the range Green Rhino has to offer and thus decided to ditch some pretty legendary models in favor of this pedal. Today we’re going to introduce you to Way Huge Green Rhino MkII, and try to explain just what kind of performance you can expect from one of these.
Way Huge Green Rhino MkII Review
Overdrives, in general, are a subject where many different tastes collide, and more often than not you will find guitarists go berserk trying to explain to their peers why their exact pedal is better than others. For a ‘basic’ effects pedal, overdrives sure come in a whole lot of variety.
The Way Huge Green Rhino MkII attracted a lot of people simply by offering a classic Tube Screamer tone in a lot more versatile package. It’s easy to use, pretty attractive, and has something to offer to both the conservatives and those who like to experiment a bit.
Before we go any further, we have to say that this is among the most beautiful pedals out there. The enclosure is made of aluminum, which means that Green Rhino is a very light pedal. However, that aluminum comes in a brushed green finish. Green, of course, being the trademark Tube Screamer color. Aside from looking good and being light, that aluminum enclosure also means that this bad boy can take some serious abuse. It’s a tool designed for serious stage use, and it meets those requirements with ease.
For an overdrive pedal, Way Huge Green Rhino MkII sure comes with plenty of controls. You usually expect only the Level, Tone, and Drive knobs to shape your tone on pedals of this nature, but not Green Rhino. The controls we have just mentioned are there, but they are also accompanied by several more. You have the 100Hz knob and the Curve knob. The former is boost/cut control that allows you to add or remove some 12dB. In some ways, you can use the Green Rhino as a clean booster.
The Curve control is definitely more interesting. If you were to ask Green Rhino what this knob is for, they would tell you it is for shaping corner frequencies. In other words, you get to modify the trebles and the upper part of mids. Even though it sounds a bit confusing, you can really fine tune the drive with this knob alone.
In terms of powering the Rhino, your options are pretty much standard. You can either use a 9V battery or hook it up to a power adapter/power supply type of setup.
To some guitar players, all overdrive pedals sound the same. There are several possible reasons for this, but the main one is too much distortion pedals being used. Compared to other overdrives, Green Rhino offers a wholesome performance. First and foremost, the pedal is transparent. When it’s off, it doesn’t affect your tone, which can also be said for instances where you use a small dose of drive. Once you decide to escalate things a bit, the organic sounding overdrive is just a pleasure to listen to.
For the most part Level, Tone and Drive controls will be all you need to setup that classic Tube Screamer sound which this pedal does incredibly well. Vintage rock? No problem for this bad boy. What really sets it apart is the boost knob paired with the Curve control. Those extra 12 dB of boost can really push your tube amp into that sweet spot where it starts growling. Combined with the drive from the pedal, you can squeeze out a high-quality type of overdrive.
Compared to something like TS9 or TS808, Green Rhino feels like an upgrade. It offers that same tone, but with much more fidelity. Speaking of which, this thing sounds amazing on both single coils and humbuckers. If we had to choose one genre of music where the Rhino feels at home, it would definitely be blues. However, you can use this pedal in pretty much any genre where a definition is more important than gain saturation.
Overdrives are generally an area where people tend to search for unique sounding boxes. Whether this describes you or not, we can safely say that Way Huge Green Rhino MkII is one of the more refined models on the market. It really does what an overdrive pedal was designed to do in the first place. It gives you that tone you can only get when you push a tube amp outside of its comfort zone.
Unlike a lot of other pedals, Green Rhino does that with a high level of authenticity. It’s a Tube Screamer, there’s no doubt about it. With that said, it enriches the standard Tube Screamer tone with a bit of its own character, which is definitely a breath of fresh air these days. If you are looking for a quality overdrive that has a lot to offer, Green Rhino is something you should definitely check out.
You can also watch this video review of the Way Huge Green Rhino MkII for more info: