NativeAudio’s Pretty Bird Woman chorus and vibrato makes for a nice study in economical design. There are just two knobs for modulation rate and depth, a footswitch that saves and scrolls presets, and a bypass switch that doubles as a vibrato/chorus switch when you hold it down for a few counts. These simple functions govern two very rich and varied modulation voices. And it only takes a little time to see, hear, and feel how the PBW’s design economy and intuitive controls would make it invaluable in a live setup.
PBW’s chorus voice is present and cutting. At minimum depth settings, it dishes very nice 12-string approximations—shimmering sounds that are a touch more thrilling for the clarity in the top end. Middle-of-the-range depth settings, meanwhile, evoke an EHX Small Clone’s queasy wobble. And advanced depth and slower settings give the pedal a lo-fi rotary speaker feel. On the vibrato side, the PBW does a nice, if somewhat brighter sounding, take on a Boss VB-2. But lower depth settings and middle-fast rates yield swampy tremolo-like pulses, while slower rates and advanced depth settings generate molasses-y warped-record oscillations that would be killer in layered guitar mixes. Any four of these divergent sounds can be saved as a preset easily and on the fly by holding down the right footswitch. Scrolling is a piece of cake, too. Taken together, Pretty Bird Woman’s combination of simplicity and range is impressively practical.
Test Gear: Fender Telecaster, Fender Telecaster Deluxe with Curtis Novak Wide Range pickups, Rickenbacker 330, Fender Tremolux