I am a touch sad to read that after 13 great years of innovation and independent creativity - the power couple at the heart of Dwarfcraft Devices - Benjamin Hinz and Louise Woletz Hinz - have decided to move on to pastures new. It seems both have landed their dream jobs very recently - which will likely give them more stability and a better quality of life than they have hitherto enjoyed through making pedals - obviously with the current economic uncertainty it’s great to have a positive route forward.
I have featured several of their slightly leftfield creations on this site before - in fact pretty much all of those in this listing in one guise or another. They bow out with another couple of ’Boris’ collaboration variants (Love and Evol) of their best known flagship Eau Claire Thunder Feedback Fuzz - named after their Wisconsin Home Town.
I have always associated Dwarfcraft in the main with their larger dual-footswitch vertical medium-enclosure pedals - and various types of fuzzes, but also Pitch Shifting, Ring Modulation, Envelope Filtering and Phasing. This listing includes my own preferences for favourite Dwarfcraft pedals - in my preferred edition / colourway. Many of these are the latest editions, but some here are significantly older versions which I prefer because of specific format and design.
Pretty much all of these have been on my wishlists over the years, so it’s something of a mystery why I don’t have more of these in my extensive collection - as I have really seriously considered each of these at one stage or another. Of course my own favourite pedal format is the compact dual-footswitch enclosure - so it’s somewhat fitting that the only one I have acquired to-date is the wonderfully grinding, splatty, starved octave-style SheFuzz (formerly Shiva Fuzz). Which I thought I had missed out on the last limited run of 50 pedals, but I spotted one for sale very recently at Germany’s Effekt Boutique.
There’s another fuzz that just misses out on this listing - the Necromancer Super Fuzz style fuzz - while on balance I feel this particular selection is about as good a representation of the brand as it could be. I will definitely look to hunt down a few more pedals in the interim - with the Eau Claire Thunder Gold Standard Fuzzstortion, Grazer Micro-Sampling Glitcher, and Witch Shifter Pitch Shifter being at the forefront of that list.
I sincerely hope too that Dwarfcraft aren’t gone for good - and will grace us with the occasional limited or special editions at some stage in the future. Ben and Louise have promised to keep maintaining their pedals for at least the next few months - while they run down their final stock - which is actually pretty low as is - but quite a few pedals still in circulation with dealers.
I’m not sure if we’ll get some sort of discontinued Halo effect on these pedals now - with silly price rises etc? With a view to the current global situation it’s highly unlikely that will happen - as sales of near enough every non-essential item have somewhat slowed down. I sincerely hope Dwarfcraft isn’t gone for good, and I will do my best to catch up a little more during their hopefully temporary absence.
There are currently 129 Dwarfcraft listings on Reverb.com and 34 on Ebay - and more still with several dealers as mentioned - including 4 dealers in the UK - so there should be plenty still to go around for a while.
Here follow a few more details on my 9 favourites :
The most recent Gold Standard variety is my favourite edition of the Eau Claire Thunder Fuzzstortion pedal, albeit I may be persuaded to go for the even more diminutive Baby Thunder Compact Enclosure Edition. Both the Gold Standard and Baby Thunder do without the Feedback circuit which comes with the large-format triple-footswitch Eau Claire original which has the Feedback circuit with corresponding Feedback Footswitch and Feedback Tune knob - also found on the Reese Lighting. In fact you can view the Gold Standard and Reese Lighting as two sides of the original Eau Claire - with one having the Toneblast Footswitch and the other having the Feedback Footswitch. In the Gold Standard edition the Toneblast / Tone Bypass is on a footswitch, while on the Baby Thunder it is reduced to a toggle-switch.
The Gold Standard is a 70 limited edition run featuring rare NOS Fairchild 2n5133 Transistors - and is generally considered a more refined version of the Eau Claire Thunder sound. There is another fairly rare earlier Shiny and Chrome edition also with different transistors.
The Gold Standard has 7 controls :
I featured this in my head-to-head feature on 4 Extended-Range Medium Enclosure Phasers. The fact that it comes with a Knobs demo video is always a good sign. And I prefer the original version as pictured as it clearly lays out the Mode options on the front panel, which the later green design does not. There's some very healthy competition in this space as my previous article indicates - but this one is very much worthy of your consideration.
It has 9 controls :
This has been featured before in some of my Glitch Pedal Roundups - and remains a viable option for me in that area, while I still have a couple more higher priorities to get in ahead of it. It's a classic Granular Synthesis pedal with Grain / Buffer playback and manipulation and included pitch-shifting. This may well end up in the collection at some stage.
It has 10 controls :
This is a really great all-rounder filter pedal - while I've personally pretty firmly settled on more compact varieties of late like Dr Scientist's Dusk, and Flower Pedals' Hosta. I have featured the Happiness Filter a couple of times on this site, and the Happiness's Knobs demo video of course attests to its greatness.
It has 10 controls :
I can't say I'm necessarily the biggest fan of Ring Modulators - it has mostly just been ANO flavour on my extended Modulation Pedals which I rarely use. That said the Hax is one of the more interesting ones out there, and it has featured in my Ring Modulator Roundup before. Possibly if I were ever to get a stand-alone Ring Modulator unit - it would most likely be this one.
The Hax 2 has 9 Controls :
In some ways this is sort of like a turbo-charged other half of the full-size Eau Claire Thunder - with the Feedback function on the second footswitch. It has many similar controls - but here the Toneblast (Tone Bypass) is rendered as a toggle-switch. There's huge amounts of Gain in this Fuzzstortion circuit and this is another really cool Dwarfcraft Fuzz in its own right.
It has 9 controls :
This is my one Dwarfcraft Device to-date and a really cool compact fuzz it is too. Its key flavour here is the splatty texture of that starved voltage tone, then further supplemented by an upper octave and thickened up by compression. I love dual footswitch compact pedals - and there really aren't many fuzzes in that category - so this one is a real joy for me.
It has 8 controls :
Dwarfcraft has a celebrated history with Pitch-Shifters - ranging from its compact Wizard of Pitch through to the larger more fully featured Super Wizard and PitchGrinder 8-Step Pitch Sequencer. So the Witch Shifter is a Medium Enclosure edition but in many ways has the coolest feature set of all - which combines Pitch-Shifting with Fuzz, and adds a Secret Delay Mode - as follows :
The Witch Shifter has 13 Control Parameters to it including the Secret / Secondary Delay ones
Secondary - Secret Delay Settings
Hold DinDinDin Footswitch and Tap Bypass to activate :
Not quite as cool as the Witch Shifter - but still pretty neat for its form factor and it does share some of the same great functionality. I could foresee this as being evolved to a dual footswitch pedal at some stage for momentary engagement of either Step or Bender functions. If you're tight for space - then this is a great stand-in, while I really prefer the Witch Shifter in most ways - I can still though see me owning both eventually.
It has 7 controls :
All the featured pedals here are great - and I believe most of them are still largely obtainable one way or another. Upon completing this particular roundup my priorities may have adjusted slightly, and I'm probably looking to get in more of the compact editions first - like the Baby Thunder and Wizard of Pitch - before I look to the Eau Claire Gold Standard, Grazer and Witch Shifter - which besides the SheFuzz obviously are my favourites here.
I will definitely be sticking to the compact and medium enclosure form factor adhered to in this listing - and there are a few more varieties that warrant consideration - like the Great Destroyer, Fuzz, Necromancer Fuzz, and Silver Rose Fuzz - actually the last mentioned is larger - so possibly not, although it remains an interesting proposition and overlaps with Devi-Ever.
None of these pedals are in anyway mainstream or vanilla pedal types but rather somewhat quirkier offshoots which may not appeal to all. I've always liked what Dwarfcraft do - but like I've said on many occasions there's way too much of everything out there to collect them all. I would still like to have a handful of these in my reference collection as I do consider them pretty uniquely great. So the next steps here really are the one or two compacts and then a Witch Shifter at least. What about you guys? Any favourites from Dwarfcraft's past that you rate and believe I should have included / featured here?