• Pros: Easy to use and straightforward, with an enjoyable spring reverb setting and a reasonably price. Gets the job done with no nonsense.
• Cons: Lacking in the diverse functionality you’ll find with many pedals on the market.
• Overall: A great pedal for players looking for a good reverb without needless bells and whistles, but not the most capable reverb you can find.
The Holy Grail Nano Reverb from Electro Harmonix takes the functionality of the classic Holy Grail Reverb and wraps it all up in a smaller, sturdy package. The result is a straightforward looking reverb that can easily slot into your pedalboard without hogging too much space that’s particularly appealing to players who don’t need all the extra features present on other models (such as EHX’s own Cathedral Reverb) but still want the revered sound. But does the Holy Grail Nano live up to its name?
The Holy Grail Nano has three main controls: a three-way switch used to select a reverb style, a “Reverb” dial used to adjust the ratio of dry signal to processed sound (things get pretty wild when this is all the way up – in most cases a subtler approach is best) and a footswitch to activate or deactivate the effect. This does take away from flexibility in control over your sound, but it gives the pedal a to-the-point simplicity.
The three reverb sounds are the classic “Spring” reverb emulation – a Dick Dale-esque sound designed to mimic the sound of the namesake channel on classic amps – the “Hall” reverb – a grander sound, but still holding similarities to “Spring” – and the downright bizarre “Flerb” – a flanger and reverb combination which produces a unique sound with limited practical use. The spring reverb is the core selling point, and it does an excellent job overall, despite losing out on some dynamics in the high-end and having muted responsiveness to picking in comparison to the genuine articles. The “Hall” is nicely-captured and definitely pleasant, but “Flerb” is something you’ll try out of curiosity and then probably never touch again.
The Holy Grail Nano definitely accomplishes its goal, but may be too straightforward for some reverb-hungry guitarists. You can get a surprising amount of variety with the included options, but ultimately you are firmly limited in features and customizability in comparison to more dial-laden reverbs. If you want a no nonsense reverb, the sound quality is great and you won’t be disappointed, but at the same time it’s not the most flexible reverb on the market.