We have all played a guitar pedal that brought instant inspiration, well the Half Horse by Pelican Noiseworks is now on my inspirational pedal list. The Half Horse a JFET based fuzz and is one half of The Pelitaur, which was the first release by Pelican Noiseworks in 2016. We got our hands on it pretty early and fell in love with it, from a crunchy overdrive to sputtering crazy fuzz, this pedal is not a one trick pony! It has some amazing features like a soft switch to engage the pedal, a very large knob for the Grain (gain settings) and beautiful artwork.
One of the hardest parts of fuzz is the noise that can come with it, especially in a setting where you need as little noise as possible, but the Half Horse really doesn’t have the insane hum that can be found with other fuzz pedals.
How can I forget the top jacks? I guess that’s the new thing, with a lot of builders moving to the top jack enclosures, Pelican Noiseworks is staying hip with the new kids and used them too! Also one of my favorite things is the soft switch. Being a mainly Praise and Worship guitar player, its great to be able to kick on the Half Horse and not have trails of loud clicking.
For $155 you can not go wrong! I have not seen a Half Horse on the used market yet, which tells me all the other owners are loving theirs too!
I was able to have a nice email based interview with Leon, the brains behind the Half Horse, and this is what happened:
When you think of fuzz, what song comes to mind?
Gary Clark Jr. – Numb
Of course that changes everyday but that’s the first one to pop in today.
Soft Switches came on the half horse before the Pelitaur v2, what made you want to change from the classic style switches?
I like soft touch switches better personally. The main reason is longevity though. Your standard stomp switch is very prone to failure. In my experience, that is the most common failure in a pedal. Although I offer a 3 year warranty, doing warranty repairs isn’t exactly how I would prefer to spend my time. This should help in keeping failures to a minimum. It’s more work in the design phase but I think it’s worth it.
What’s next on your radar?
I’m showing scattered showers in the Northwest region with highs in the mid 60’s. Other than that, future releases will most certainly be fun ones! There are a few things in the works but with my build schedule, developing new things takes a minute.
Who has been the biggest influence on your building? Mentor, peer?
I have always looked up to Spaceman Effects. Have you opened up one of his pedals? Wow it’s gorgeous inside! Not to say I think mine look even half as good but it’s something I strive for. For some reason I feel that a nicely organized build ends up being quieter in the end. Another massive influence, without question, is Mr. Robert Keeley. No explanation needed…
You once told me this was a “gateway to the fuzz drug”, any other fuzzes you are going to be pushing?
I do feel like both the Pelitaur and Half Horse are gateway fuzzes. They get gnarly and gross but there is a lot more to them than that. I keep hearing feedback from people who say “I’m not a fuzz guy at all but I find this so usable” those kinds of comments are so cool to hear. However, my heart goes out to the families of anybody affected by the fuzz drug.
As for future fuzz releases, I feel I have done what I set out to do with fuzz at this point. I design for what I would like to use on my own board. The type of fuzz tones I like are pretty well covered with these two.
I cannot promise that I’m done with fuzz though 😉
I open the box for the Half Horse, plug it in and what’s the first thing i should do?
Set the Grain control at anywhere from 7-12:00. Sound knob at midnight, output about 1:00(PM), and your guitar’s volume control all the way up. Play as you normally would then just ease way up on your picking intensity. That sound of the fuzz cleaning up to a light distortion/overdrive is beautiful to me! It’s so cool to me to bounce back and forth between two sounds like that just by playing differently with your picking hand.
After you’ve done that, of course I’m going to recommend cranking the Grain control and rocking out for a good while.
Check out the Half Horse Fuzz at www.pelicannoiseworks.com