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NAMM 2024: Way Huge brings back the Geisha Drive, promising “gritty, grinding tones that are as potent as they are versatile” for a limited time only

 Way Huge Geisha Drive.
Way Huge Geisha Drive.

NAMM 2024: Way Huge has announced the return of the Geisha Drive, the limited run overdrive pedal that was first launched in 2020, promising a dynamic, wide-sweep of gain and selling out in no time.

It is funny how time changes everything. We distinctly remember Way Huge saying that once the Geisha Drive was gone, it was gone. Finito. They were making 40 units and that was that.

And of course it sold out because this was 2020 and what else did we do but play guitar and buy pedals whether needed or not, and especially pedals designed by and individually signed by stompbox guru Jeorge Tripps, with brushed metal enclosures, sakura and geisha graphics and katakana text on the front. Lordy, it looked a treat.

“Built by Jeorge Tripps while sheltered at home over the weekend of April 4th and April 5th, 2020, this pedal is only available from jimdunlop.com, and we won't be making anymore,” says the blurb on the Jim Dunlop site, under the OOP pedals section.

Way Huge Geisha Drive
Way Huge Geisha Drive

Well, that post needs updating because the pedal has been updated, and it is back on sale as of 18 February. The brushed metal of the original has been replaced for an all white painted enclosure, and the artwork has been revised with the geisha on the front having had a change of kimono (though it looks like she is holding the same pink fan as before).

The controls are the same, and now with an English legend underneath them. You’ve got a simple three-knob layout of Volume, Gain and Tone. The jacks are mounted on the top of the pedal. The Way Huge Smalls form factor is most respectful of your pedalboard real estate.

And so too is the circuit, because this is a hard-working drive pedal that can be used in a lot of situations, perhaps doing the job of a couple of drives. Use it to hit a straight-up clean guitar amp or push one that’s already pushed. Rolling the volume control back on your electric guitar cleans it up. The Geisha Drive accordingly responds to your picking dynamics too.

“At low Drive settings, you'll get a warm, buttery goodness with a bit of velvet around the edges,” says Way Huge. “Midways gets you thick, tubey overdrive. Start cranking that Drive knob towards the end of the range, and you'll have gnarly thunder-and-lightning distortion.”

If that sounds good to you then mark the date in the calendar, 18 Feb. That’s when they’ll start shipping, priced $169. Though it might be worth checking in with your favourite retailer to see if they’re taking preorders.

For more details on the Way Huge range, see Jim Dunlop.