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Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal

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What does that mean? The Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Compressor Pedal uses the same professional-grade techniques that the most revered, vintage an...Click To Read More About This Product

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OVERVIEW

The only optoisolator photocell/dual vacuum tube compressor pedal on the market!

What does that mean? The Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Compressor Pedal uses the same professional-grade techniques that the most revered, vintage and mega-thousand dollar, high-end studio compressors use, except that it's in the form of an affordable, compact foot pedal! 2 different light sources (LED and lamp) provide distinctly different readings and offer uniquely varied compressions. One tube handles the compression stage while the other manages the gain stage. And unlike other "tube" hyped products on the market, which use 9 to 50 volts, the Black Finger's design allows a full 300 volts of swing to be utilized. This makes it a true tube compressor in every sense.

Whether used as part of an effects loop or with direct guitar, bass or voice, the Black Finger will give music the type of treatment that simply cannot be achieved via plug-in emulation or with any other analog or digital product that doesn't cost thousands of dollars.

The Black Finger effects pedal breathes life and warmth into any musical instrument or recording and makes it sound magical.

FEATURES
  • 2 different light sources (LED and lamp) for uniquely varied compressions
  • Dual-tube compression circuits
  • Full 300 volts of swing

Get studio rack gear quality compressions at the touch of a toe! Get your hands on the Black Finger today!

Reviews
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Review Snapshot

by PowerReviews
Electro-HarmonixClassics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal
 
4.4

(based on 25 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (19)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (2)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (2)

75%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Most Liked Positive Review

 

One of a kind

The Blackfinger remains the only truly Vaccuum tube driven compressor Pedal in existence.NO other tube compressor pedal made (now or ever) is acutally running anything that could honestly be called a vacuum tube circuit...Read complete review

The Blackfinger remains the only truly Vaccuum tube driven compressor Pedal in existence.NO other tube compressor pedal made (now or ever) is acutally running anything that could honestly be called a vacuum tube circuit - the tubes in the Blackfinger are actually functioning as Triode amplifiers operating with a 12v DC filament supply and about 280 volts of B+, not as clipping diodes,or a tiny negative voltage supply, or a night - lite. The Blackfinger is also an optical compressor circuit which is also rather rare and wonderful in a pedal. It has a very "wet" sound for a compressor(it actually colors the sound) that some, more experienced listeners will not like. After all it IS a guitar effect, not a "transparent" studio rack compressor. It has simple controls. Two ratios of compression, two kinds of light sources for the optical cells, (incandescent lamp and LED) which create different attack and decay speeds, and separate knobs for input gain and output gain. It is somewhat noisy. I think this is to be expected. If you don't like noisy tube circuits you wont like this one. Personally I think it could actually be a LOT noisier give that its basically a transformer coupled tube amplifier in a footswitchable pedal box.If it really bothers you, put an Ebtech unbalanced to balanced line converter box between your instrument or mic and the Blackfinger. Also tube changes are very noticeable, try using a 5751 or a 12AY7 instead of the stock 12AX7's. It has a really wonderful, warm, vintage, analogue sound and if your looking for a way to get some of that into your mix this is one way to do it cheap. Its the best compression sound Ive heard for steel string acoustic guitars. Good for vocals too. The last thing is, this thing is built Like a Fender amplifier or something. Very nice,durable construction. Made in the USA with serviceable, mod-able, uprade-able parts, not spray-on surface mount junk.

VS

Most Liked Negative Review

 

way too noisy for bass

If you play bass and use a cabinet with a HF horn you are gonna hate this thing. There is so much noise coming through this when you are not playing it will only...Read complete review

If you play bass and use a cabinet with a HF horn you are gonna hate this thing. There is so much noise coming through this when you are not playing it will only take 10 minutes for a band member to tell you to turn this thing off.At first I thought the tubes were old. I brought the BF back and got a replacement. - no improvement. It's just plain and simply noisy. Even without HF horn you still have to turn down the highs because the waterfall / rice crispy crackl 'n' pops will get on your nervs during rehearsal.The box is also unnecessarily large and bulky, and the large external required wall wart with flimsy wire is a pain in neck. For the price you can get better more practical compressors.......

Reviewed by 25 customers

Displaying reviews 1-20

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(5 of 5 customers found this review helpful)

 
5.0

One of a kind

By Marco

from Baltimore

About Me Experienced

See all my reviews

Ask me a question

Pros

  • Compact Design
  • Responsive

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Performances

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    The Blackfinger remains the only truly Vaccuum tube driven compressor Pedal in existence.NO other tube compressor pedal made (now or ever) is acutally running anything that could honestly be called a vacuum tube circuit - the tubes in the Blackfinger are actually functioning as Triode amplifiers operating with a 12v DC filament supply and about 280 volts of B+, not as clipping diodes,or a tiny negative voltage supply, or a night - lite. The Blackfinger is also an optical compressor circuit which is also rather rare and wonderful in a pedal. It has a very "wet" sound for a compressor(it actually colors the sound) that some, more experienced listeners will not like. After all it IS a guitar effect, not a "transparent" studio rack compressor. It has simple controls. Two ratios of compression, two kinds of light sources for the optical cells, (incandescent lamp and LED) which create different attack and decay speeds, and separate knobs for input gain and output gain. It is somewhat noisy. I think this is to be expected. If you don't like noisy tube circuits you wont like this one. Personally I think it could actually be a LOT noisier give that its basically a transformer coupled tube amplifier in a footswitchable pedal box.If it really bothers you, put an Ebtech unbalanced to balanced line converter box between your instrument or mic and the Blackfinger. Also tube changes are very noticeable, try using a 5751 or a 12AY7 instead of the stock 12AX7's. It has a really wonderful, warm, vintage, analogue sound and if your looking for a way to get some of that into your mix this is one way to do it cheap. Its the best compression sound Ive heard for steel string acoustic guitars. Good for vocals too. The last thing is, this thing is built Like a Fender amplifier or something. Very nice,durable construction. Made in the USA with serviceable, mod-able, uprade-able parts, not spray-on surface mount junk.

    (4 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Traction Control

    By Ravin12

    from Antioch, IL

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I'm using this with a VOX AC30 and PRS SE One. Took awhile to dial this in but once I did I can't imagine playing without it. I use it on Sqsh with the Pre and Post gain at around 2 O'clock. This has really helped me dial in a great sound on the VOX. The VOX AC30 is a beast of an Amp and this box is like traction control on an F1 car to help tame that horsepower and make it a lot more useable. The oddball plug and it's placement keeps this thing from being perfect. I understand you don't want to confuse this plug with a 9V adaptor but something a bit more stout seems in order for a box of this size.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Black Finger

    By hound of winter

    from Portland, OR

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I've had mine for a few months now, it's really added some nice flavors to my sound. It's more subtle than most guitar compressors because it's not going for that ross/dynacomp sound. By that I mean it doesn't color your tone, it allows you to play with dynamics, and the lower compression levels keep the noise level down low. You can get some healthy squash out of it, but I mostly use it just to add that mild compressor magic to my clean parts.The pre-gain knob is the most important knob on the pedal, no matter what settings you have it on, the amount of gain you throw into the preamp tube shifts the end result from really clean and subtle to a smoothly overdriven squash. Another favorite sound is running my treble booster into this pedal and getting some smooth and slightly overdrive, sounds the best with my P-90 guitar. The plate running at a full 300volts, none of that extreme tone coloration that you get from other compressors, tubes breathing that extra 'something' into your signal, little to no noise (I don't hear a difference when it's on with my AC30 or my JCM2000), it all adds up to one of my favorite pedals.

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Life Changing Sound

    By PI$$ED Off Bass Player

    from Dallas, TX

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    This pedal is awesome. Sounds weird but I use this on my bass when I play live, it smooths out the tone so much and make everything sound amazing. I've never played a show where someone hasn't come up to me and commented on how amazing the tone was. I once had a guy who had the exact same set up without this pedal ask me what he was doing wrong and why couldn't he get the same sound. Worth every stinky penny. I gave the quality a 4 because the screws that hold the power adapter into the pedal fell out and the power adapter falls inside the pedal now. Otherwise freaking awesome!

    (3 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Wonderful Compressor

    By nealyb

    from Missouri

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    This thing is really great. I've had mine for about 3 years. And it's held up really well. When I first bought I only bought it because it was on sale, and I knew that was a good deal. Anyways, love it now. I used it for a while with my Ibanez artcore hallowbody, it sounded good, but didn't really care all that much cause my amp was sucky. Then I started more recently with my Acoustic guitars, which is what I do mostly, and have been so impressed. It really warms up the harshness often associated with piezo pickups. Plus you get alot of gain boost of this thing too. Plus, no sweeten the deal a little more. It's true bypass. I just don't really know what could make it better. I use it on normal, cause I don't want all that squash, but it's still a nice feature. Get this thing, it's worth every penny. P.S. I dropped it once and broke one of the tubes. It was like $10 to replace it with another one. This thing is a beast.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    It really is a magic box. Noise can be dialed out.

    By Rob

    from Brooklyn, NY

    About Me Professional Musician

    See all my reviews

    Pros

    • Excellent Sound Quality

    Cons

    • For studio recording - None

    Best Uses

    • Professional Recording

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I own a lot of pedals and this really is a magic box, especially for musicians who like tubey harmonic distortion and tube compression. This may be the single best pedal that EHX makes, and I own a bunch of them. Some people complain about the noise, but the secret to avoiding noise with the Black Finger is getting your settings dialed in correctly. If you push the box too hard or add too much input gain, it gets noisy. This is common with most compressors. However, if you have a nice preamp before the Black Finger and dial your gain staging just right, you can gingerly adjust the settings and it sounds amazing. I have $4000 compressors and I will still use this compressor on many tasks. Believe it.

    (2 of 4 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    way too noisy for bass

    By PS-HvLFv

    from LA

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    If you play bass and use a cabinet with a HF horn you are gonna hate this thing. There is so much noise coming through this when you are not playing it will only take 10 minutes for a band member to tell you to turn this thing off.At first I thought the tubes were old. I brought the BF back and got a replacement. - no improvement. It's just plain and simply noisy. Even without HF horn you still have to turn down the highs because the waterfall / rice crispy crackl 'n' pops will get on your nervs during rehearsal.The box is also unnecessarily large and bulky, and the large external required wall wart with flimsy wire is a pain in neck. For the price you can get better more practical compressors.......

    (2 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Best Compressor Ever!!!!

    By Tiptonguitars.com check it out!

    from Sonoma Co. California

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    After buying and selling two crappy compressors (Boss and MXR), I decided to spend the money on a REAL compressor. It's all about the tubes...they preserve your guitar's tone while bringing out bright, gleaming sustain. Those other two units altered/degraded my tone to a crappy clicking sound. I leave my Black finger on at all times and it makes every other effect sound better as well and can help regulate other "noisy" pedals and make them sound proper. I just plugged in my new Jazz Bass and I think that it sounds just as incredible as it does with my guitars!! I'll probably buy another one for my bass rig I'm putting together (or at least some other tube driven compressor....don't waste your time with anything else!). p.s. Squash mode is the way to go, normal is extremely loud and unnecessary.

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Amazing compression!!

    By Soul-JAH

    from Guam

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    This compressor is very sweat sounding with warm 12AX7 tube tone!!...get it, not disappointing at all!!

    (2 of 2 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    changed my life

    By weezer-qHmQX

    from Dallas, TX

    See all my reviews

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I like to play a mostly clean, tube toned bluesy sound... E-H has changed my life with this pedal I cannot recommend it enough. I never knew what a compressor could do to my tone until I got this pedal. A bit pricey but it is rock solid, American made and sometimes things just cost more b/c they are better.

    (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

     
    5.0

    Good For Bass Too

    By Marco

    from Baltimore

    About Me Experienced

    See all my reviews

    Ask me a question

    Pros

    • Compact Design
    • Excellent Sound Quality
    • Responsive

    Cons

    • Difficult To Use

    Best Uses

    • Amateur Recording
    • Events
    • Home Studio
    • Performances

    Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

    I recently bought a second one of these and I've been using it with a Fender Mexican J-Bass, with very good results. I have heard some say that this compressor is not suitable for Bass. I have found the opposite to be true but I will offer this observation - I use my bass with tube amps only. If you use a solid state amp/preamp the signal from your instrument needs to be boosted to line level. I learned this using this compressor with a Les Paul and a Marshall 3203 Artist,an amp with a SS preamp. I suspect the idea among some people that this compressor is "not good for bass" stems from the fact the most Bass players are using Solid State equiptment. Use an EbTech balanced to unbalanced converter. It boosts your signal to line level or drops a line lvl signal to unbalanced without the need to have XLR ended cables.

    (1 of 6 customers found this review helpful)

     
    1.0

    Would not Power Up

    By krr

    from Mooresville, NC

    About Me Professional Musician

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

      Cons

      • Not Responsive

      Best Uses

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        Compressor would not turn on. Tubes wouldn't even warm-up. Power supply was working, but the customer support from ElectroHarmonix was a joke.

        (1 of 3 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        Beautiful sound

        By MaximusBass

        from Minneapolis, MN

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I use this on my bass pedal board. This fattens out my sound and makes it so smooth it is unbelievable. I'd replace this pedal if I lost or broke it. My only complaint is the power cable seems like a cheap hook up to the side of the pedal.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        This thing is crazy

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I just got one of these for Christmas. This is the best compressor pedal I've played with. I've tried cheaper units and nothing comes close to this. The two tubes are what really make this thing amazing.I play through a Fender Hot Rod Deluxe, with a strat that has Vintage Noiseless PU's on it. Let me tell you, even though the Fender amp has an amazing clean channel, when this unit is engaged my playing shimmers. It makes my sound much fuller and it is unbelievable how much this thing enhances my tone.Whenever I had the amp on overdrive before, I could a decent sounding overdrive, but not really rocking. With this guy in the signal chain, my amps overdrive becomes pretty deep and mean. It's not an all out distortion onslaught, it's a fuller and deeper, and I might add, more agressive overdrive. It sounds alot closer to the overdrive from the 60s and 70s. This pedal is too cool. Even if it's not my flashiest pedal, it's still my favorite. Every pedal that follows this in the chain sounds infintely better.Buy this thing.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        WOW!!!

        By Slim-3jY2J

        from timmins ontario canada

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        This thing is great. I originally bought it to add a little "squeeze" to my telecaster thinline and like an all tube signal path. However I also play bass and used it to squeeze enough volume out of a small Peavey bass combo, to compete with 2 gain-happy guitar players. All I can say is...WOW! This brought not only the volume but the breakup of a much larger amp to the li'l Peavey. Beautiful punchy, sustaining tones with just a hint of dirt were mine for the taking. Some reviewers complain of noise. Mine is dead silent. I caution the purchaser of any electro harmonix tube pedals, to check that the tubes are fully seated before using.All in all, I'm pleased. Note my lead player also has one and he loves it.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        4.0

        Hit or miss but liquid like

        By OnAnIsland024

        from IL

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        Well it seems from reviews this pedal is a hit or miss. I compared this to my more expensive Ross clone hand wired compressor. Holy crap. I play this pedal with my VHT and my Line6 Toneport with all the add-ons. I will say this if you have a POD or any type of digital unit GET THIS NOW. You won't believe how much a difference this makes for clean and dirty tones. My POD sounded like a whole new amp. Very tubey, warm, oh its amazing simply put. I keep this on 24/7 with my POD and use it now and then for Floyd type stuff with my VHT head. Anyways try one out. The price is very worth it and acts as a great tube O/D as well.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        5.0

        the warmest , most musical compressor pedal

        By Voxcaster

        from Gadsden, Al

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I have been using the Black Finger for about two months and I could not be happier. You know how most compressors change {rob} the tone of your guitar, you get that percussive sound that's not really disirable. Well not with the Black Finger my friends, it is the most beautiful, musical, warmest{it is tube driven at 300 volts by the way}compressor I have ever used!!!! Highly recommended

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        3.0

        High Quality... Perhaps too much?

        By 4-StringGuru

        from Wilmington, NC

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        Keep in mind this is from a bass player's standpoint. I played this in a local music shop and I was a little bit disapointed. Immediatly when I turned it on it was like, "woah". Not a good woah, however. It was more of a woah like, "ouch". It is a little bit intense for a compressor. Another common complaint that I concur on is the power cable. It has a bizzare hookup into the actual body of it, yet that doesn't affect you unless you lose it. Its features are quite good, yet a little bit snobby, you should read the manual before messing around with them. Its consturction is impeccable, like all E-H pedals. I don't know how it plays for guitar, but it is not something I would buy for bass.

        (1 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

         
        2.0

        If Your Not Afraid Of Noise

        By Anonymous

        from Undisclosed

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        I purchased this pedal based on the belief that an optical compresser with added gain functionality would be better than other optical compressors, however this pedal has so much noise that I can't use it in the studio. I like the sound I get from it but I can't separate the noise from the signal so it's virtually usless to me and for a $*** PRICE TAG it is absolutly not worth it. I Have used other Electro-Harmonix pedals to dirty up my sound but for a compressor this thing is noisie as hell.

         
        5.0

        Excellent piece of equipment

        By El Stevo

        from Germany

        See all my reviews

        Comments about Electro-Harmonix Classics Black Finger Compressor Guitar Effects Pedal:

        The black finger is awesome. I use it while playing my bass, which gets rid of those annoying louder notes, and brings out the color if your a finger player. Not to mention its built like a tank, which makes it awesome for long road trips. A little pricey but absolutley worth it. Buy yours now.

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