A guide to Kernom, a pedal manufacturer, with a reputation developing for well made, robust and entirely unique pedals.
Kernom are a little known pedal manufacturer, with a reputation developing for well made, robust and entirely unique pedals. Their Ridge pedal, an ‘augmented’ analogue overdrive, is a dual foot-switched affair with a mixture of familiar and unique controls to coax just about anything you want out of it. More recently, Kernom announced their Moho, their take on a fuzz pedal. Kernom pedals are, in their words, augmented; featuring controls for things like gain, drive and tone, while also having ‘Mood’ and ‘Electricity’ controls for further tone shaping.
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Changing the way your signal hits different elements of your signal chain can vary the resulting sounds wildly. Similar to how we agonise over pedal order for optimum tone, the placement of things like EQ, drive and gain can shift how things clip or distort into the next element in the chain. When discussing overdrive and distortion, we achieve sounds by overloading different components for that gritty, unique sound. The frequencies we use to push our signals above that threshold of distortion can change what part of the signal clips and folds into distortion and overdrive. Where the Kernom pedals make their case, is in their ability to drive different parts of the signal chain. The Moho and Ridge pedals allow you to distort different parts of the circuit of the pedal, while also giving you the option to distort both if need be.
The Ridge is an overdrive modeller. There’s controls for Volume, Mids and Drive which will have most players feeling at home. The Ridge moves on to Pre and Post Post Tone, designed to accentuate or soften the effect of the Tone control to help you either poke through or settle back into a mix, and change how the pedal overdrives your tone. The Mood knob shifts the clipping style of the overdrive, moving from an angry bark to soft warmth, and all the while your sounds can be saved as a preset, which can then be toggled with the second footswitch. The Ridge features input and output jacks, as well as a ¼” expression pedal input. What’s more, there’s MIDI in and OUT if you need more control. Finally, the Ridge is powered by a 9V input.
In use, the Ridge covers as many bases as you’d want from an overdrive. There’s standard controls we’ve all used before, and you can quickly dial in whatever you’re after, while the additional Mood, Pre Tone and Post Tone controls allow you to refine further, pushing and pulling your signal for a wider array of sounds. As both a studio tool or live workhorse, the additional controls make for unique results, applicable in just about every genre across the board. You can coax tones reminiscent of a smaller, bright green pedal, and also, angrier distortions for thickening up blues, rock and soul leads. Modern overdrive or full-blown distortion are available in spades, allowing the Ridge to be used as either a subtle push or the majority of your tone. The controls that the Ridge has available allow you to tweak until your sound is unique while familiar, feeling like a new take on a tone that feels like home. The Pre Tone cleans up the sound while retaining whatever grit you’ve set on the Drive knob, while pushing the d Post tone makes for a fatter, fuzzier style of overdrive as it drives into your amp; less clarity and more weight.
As we shift into fuzzier tones, the Moho announced more recently at NAMM, is a fuzz pedal with equally powerful controls. The Moho is, again, a dual-footswitch stompbox, with an on/off switch and Preset toggle, identical to the Ridge. While the Moho retains the Mood, Pre/Post Tone and Volume controls, it deviates with its Fuzz and Electricity controls. The Fuzz dials in the amount of fuzz, while the Electricity knob introduces harmonics for either subby, octave fuzz style sounds or ring modulation depending where and how far you push it. Again, the Moho features an expression pedal input and MIDI I/O.
Kernom are a unique pedal company, with their focus on a few specific pieces with spectacular results. Their Ridge, a powerful, augmented overdrive modeller, allowing the pedal to offer familiar sounds, with options to subtly refine this sound or push it into a whole new world. The Pre and Post Tone controls allow you to shape your overdrive, changing how your signal clips, while the Mood control changes the clipping style of the drive— all of these saveable and recallable if needed. These features are available on the Moho as well, Kernom’s recently announced Augmented Fuzz, with Mood and Electricity controls available to shift and shape your fuzz. Kernom’s current releases provide a unique array of driven sounds, with total control over the circuit, how it interacts with the next component, ultimately summing at the output before Kernom pushes the signal to new heights.