Electro-Harmonix have just announced a pair of rotary speaker emulation pedals. The two models are the Lester G and the Lester K Stereo. Both are a bit of a departure for EHX as they have recently come up with either completely new effects or variations and reissues of their own back catalogue of pedals for guitars.
So, these are more of a modern re-imagining of an old classic ‘60s Lesley rotating speaker. Just without the huge speaker cabinet and motor of the original units. This could be interesting, as even though the sound is pretty dated for many, it is still a much-loved guitar tone that goes back to players like Jimi Hendrix and Steve Ray Vaughan.
The Lester G model is specifically designed for guitar, whereas the Lester K model is designed for keyboards. The rotating Leslie speakers from the ‘60s were originally keyboard effects. Then guitarists started borrowing them and now they also have a strong association with the guitar. I like the fact that EHX have made dedicated models for guitar and for keyboard. This makes a welcome change, as often companies make one version leading to compromises made to cater for a variety of instruments, which usually has to do with input levels.
I’ve had a listen to the official EHX demos over on Youtube and it sounds quite authentic on their video. The proof with these types of pedals is how well they play with other effects like overdrive pedals, for example. This will be one I would need to try out myself before I can pass judgement.
EHX have emulated the speaker rotation, of course, and also the ‘speed/brake’ function of the original Leslie speaker which allowed you to adjust the speed of the rotation of the speaker in the cabinet. Hopefully, you will be able to recreate all the classic Leslie tones using these pedals.
US prices are as follows:
The Lester G – 298 USD
Lester K – 237 USD