The Virtual Jeff is actually a digital pitch shifter just with a more traditional-style trem arm to operate it. It’s a bit like a Digitech Whammy but without a foot treadle on the floor. The idea here seems to be that it will feel a more natural and easier to access with your picking hand, rather than being operated by your foot.
The technology of digital pitch shifting has been around for a long time now and isn’t really anything new. The thought process with this product is more to do with how you access the pitch technology. Personally I’m kind of interested, just I’m not exactly ‘won over’ by the idea yet. The company FomoFx are launching this product at the NAMM Show in a few weeks. So, I’m sure we will all hear more about this new product in the coming weeks.
The only foot pedal part of the effect is a switch that lets you choose between different settings. For instance you may have a modern ‘dive bomb’ setting or a more subtle Bigsby-style flutter. That could be a nice solution for some people, letting you avoid routing a guitar to fit a regular trem system. In the company’s promo video you can also see it fitted to an acoustic guitar. They also claim it can be mounted easily and comes with two different mounting systems to accommodate different types of guitar bodies.
It does sound digital, though, judging from the YouTube demos, and so not everyone is going to love it. However, that glitchy, ‘digital’-sounding pitch shift is actually really popular with a lot of players; think Rage Against the Machine. The 1990s original Digitech Whammy pedals had a very characteristic ‘glitchy’ sound, due to the limits of the technology at the time. Prices for second-hand Whammy pedals have climbed substantially since then.
Personally I have owned a few of the original and a couple of the newer Whammy pedals, so I’m not a ‘hater’ of the sound myself, just not convinced this new product will be popular with the mainstream. But if you’re a more adventurous guitar player, say in the style of Adrian Belew or Reeves Gabrelsthis might be for you.
Also, I’m not sure if you could use this on bass guitars or not. Time will tell…