Taco Guitars Crunchy Shell Distortion Review
- Pros: Bulletproof construction, true bypass, and cuts like a knife.
- Cons: Not much low-end warmth.
- Overall: A feisty distortion pedal with an awesome name and a more awesome price.
With a name like Taco Guitars, its hard not to like this new pedal pedaler. Taco Guitars was launched in 2013 by two musicians with a love for tacos and quality guitar effects. Their initial offering contains four pedals: the Crunchy Shell Distortion, Churro Chorus, Bean Boost Overdrive, and Deep Sea Delay.
The Crunchy Shell Distortion is a feisty distortion pedal for under $100. It has three control knobs: “Crunch” (Gain), “Level” (Volume), and Tone (you know, Tone). There is also has a switch for “Hard” and “Soft” modes. The Hard mode has a more aggressive tone with more high-end, and the Soft mode trims off a bit of the highs for a darker sound.
I found the Crunchy Shell Distortion to be less bassy than the other OD/distortion pedals I had laying around the house for testing. Playing the Crunchy Shell over a backing track, it cut through the mix really well and never became muddy. Turning down the tone knob and toggling the Hard/Soft switch to Soft certainly darkened the tone a bit, but I still found the Crunchy Shell to be aggressive enough to cut through the mix. Although this would not be my go-to pedal for warm tones, the Crunchy Shell isn’t a one-trick pony either. The gain knob gives the Crunchy Shell a range from slightly breaking-up overdrive to heavy metal distortion. Turning the gain all the way down, it also cleans up almost completely so that it could conceivably be used as a boost pedal. The Crunchy Shell is true bypass, and I didn’t notice it adding any noise to my pedal board when switched off.
In terms of build quality, you get a lot of bang for your buck. The chassis of the Crunchy Shell distortion is all crunchy — bulletproof metal construction all around, including the rear cover. This is nice because some metal pedals still have plastic battery covers, which tend to break. The Crunchy Shell’s rear-cover is attached with four screws which have to be removed to access the battery compartment, though the pedal can also be powered by a 9V AC Adapter (not included).
Overall, I found the Crunchy Shell to be a fun pedal to have on my board. Maybe its just the cool logo or the fact that I like supporting small, boutique pedal companies. In any event, the Crunchy Shell distortion has a lot of bite to it and is available for a fantastic price.