A Complete Guide to Holy Grail Reverbs
The original Holy Grail reverb (now available as Holy Grail Nano) was released back in 2002 and instantly became a classic.Since then, the "Holy Grail" family expanded, and some valiant guitarists in search of their perfect Grail might have difficulty in choosing one! So check how the different Holy Grail reverb pedals compare:
HOLY GRAIL NANO
This is the classic reverb pedal, now in a more compact size. The Holy Grail is a digital reverb pedal that perfectly emulates a vintage spring reverb. With added Hall and Flerb modes, it became popular due to its versatility, price and overall reverb quality.
HOLY GRAIL NEO (NEW - BEST BUY!)
Electro-Harmonix have struck gold with the newly released Holy Grail Neo! It's basically the same as the classic Holy Grail Nano, same Spring and Hall reverb sounds, same control, same size... the only (major!) difference is that instead of "Flerb" reverb (an unusual, flanged reverb) the Neo features a more usable Plate reverb, which is great for recordings, for instance. Plate reverb sounds a bit brighter than Hall reverb, and is an emulation of the type of reverb which was popular in recording studios in the Sixties and Seventies. Many songs recorded by The Beatles and Pink Floyd feature the plate reverb of Abbey Road studios.
HOLY GRAIL PLUS
The Holy Grail Plus has all the sounds found on the classic Holy Grail Nano (including Flerb) but adds more control and functionalities. It also features another type of reverb, Room, for a tighter, more intimate kind of sound. Whereas the Holy Grail Nano and Neo only have one knob, to control the amount of reverb, the Holy Grail Plus let's you control the blend between dry and wet signal, as well as the decay / dampening of the effect. Therefore, this pedal is perfect if you don't want anything too fancy, but still wants more control over the sound.
HOLY GRAIL MAX
The Holy Grail Max is very similar to the Plus model. Same size, same controls. The only difference is that the Flerb and Room reverbs have been replaced by Plate and Reverse reverbs. In terms of price and versatility, this is the best option if you want a reverb pedal that gives you lots of usable sounds at a not-too-expensive price. If you're into shoegaze and psychedelic rock, for instance, having a reverse reverb is a cool function to have. Otherwise, if you just want a simple & no-frills reverb, the Holy Grail Neo might still be the best option.
The Holy Stain is a different beast than the other Holy Grails we've mentioned so far. It's more of a multi-effect pedal rather than a dedicated Reverb pedal. You have a more limited choice of reverbs here - only Room and Hall - but you get added tremolo, pitch shift and fuzz!
The Epitome is in fact a 3-in-1 pedal. It include the controls of a Micro POG, Electric-Mistress flanger, and a Holy Grail Plus section. The reverb here is exactly as the Holy Grail Plus, but with added Shimmer switch, with the POG in its feedback path for inspiring ascending and descending octave effects. This pedal is a good choice if you were thinking about getting the Holy Grail Plus but quite fancy having a flanger and octave pedal as well, in one compact unit.
The Turnip Greens is a 2-in-1 effects pedal: it consists of a Soul Food overdrive and a Holy Grail Max put together in one unit. Which means that this pedal is ideal if you are on the market for a Holy Grail Max but fancies an overdrive / booster pedal as well - get this, and you'll save money and pedalboard space!
The Electro-Harmonix Cathedral is the ultimate EHX reverb pedal. It features all Holy Grail reverb sounds, plus echo, and it's able to load and save presets. It also features tap-tempo functionality for pre-delay section, and "infinite" reverb mode. In other words - this is a much holier reverb pedal, packed with features and perfect for the more experimental guitarists.