Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor Pedal (Discontinued)
The Electro-Harmonix Black Finger Tube Compressor is an interesting piece of gear. The pedal utilizes optical compression, and allows you to switch between two different light sources. When used in LED mode, you get a reduction in compression and a faster attack and release.. The inverse happens when the pedal is in lamp mode, so you get more compression but a slower attack and release.
There’s a lot of marketing hype surrounding tubes, and in general pedals that utilize tubes generally don’t sound that different from their solid-state counterparts. However, the Black Finger seems to be the exception to this.
- Optical Tube Compression
- Parameters: Compress (Compression), Pre-gain (distortion), Post-gain (volume)
- True Bypass
- Proprietary Power Supply
The pedal uses two tubes, one in the compression circuit and one in the pre-gain section. The compression circuit has the vintage warmth and squash you find in old studio compressors, and the pre-gain section has a gain profile reminiscent of what you’d get in a tube amp.
The reason Electro-Harmonix succeeded in creating a pedal that has a tube-like response is that the pedal uses significantly more voltage than your standard pedal. Because of this, Electro-Harmonix uses a proprietary power supply for the unit (which is included with your purchase). However, should you choose to purchase this pedal do not open it unless you know what you’re doing. The power running through the pedal is enough to seriously injure or kill you.
Unfortunately, Electro-Harmonix has a well-deserved reputation for poor quality control. The company makes really good products, but according to user reviews there’s a lot of variance in the components they use for their different pedals. This pedal in particular seems to produce a lot of electric noise, so if you decide to purchase it you may want to invest in a noise gate.
The Black Finger Tube Compressor has previously been on our recommended list but it's no longer available. You can see our current recommendations in our guide to The Best Guitar Compressor Pedals.