• Electro Harmonix Neo Mistress review

    The Electric Mistress has always been one of my all time favourite pedals. In my opinion, some of Gilmour’s best tones were created with this unique sounding flanger. The Neo Mistress is the latest addition to the Mistress family. Promising to produce the classic tones on a pedal board friendly foot print, I had to check this one out. Here’s my review.

    The first flanger pedals appeared in the mid 70s but the effect had been used many years prior to this, obtained by different studio techniques such as manipulating the speed of tape reels. David introduced the Electric Mistress in his rig in late 1976, during rehearsals for the upcoming 1977 In the Flesh (Animals) tour. Electro Harmonix had released the pedal earlier the same year, which coincided with David commissioning his first Pete Cornish custom pedal board. The combination of the Electric Mistress and Yamaha RA200 rotating speakers, employed during the 1976-83 period produced a unique, swirly tone – notably heard on songs like Mother and Comfortably Numb from the Is There Anybody Out There 1980-81 live album.

    I’m using a Fender CIJ ’65 Stratocaster with D Allen Voodoo 69 and Duncan SSL5 (bridge) pickups into a Laney Cub12 15w stack. Reverb and delay is added in Logic.

    The Neo Mistress is housed in a MXR sized enclosure with true bypass switching, a bright led and a simple two-knob setup. The feedback adjusts the depth of the effect, from mild, liquidy flanging to near self oscillation. The speed controls the sweep rate but in true Electro Harmonix fashion it also doubles as second, “hidden” feature – the Filter Matrix. Below 10 o’clock the speed freezes allowing you to dial in a number of strange effects from Caribbean steel drums to classic jet tones. The pedal runs on 9V battery or Boss-style adapter.

    Tonewise, the Neo Mistress is perhaps best described as a mix between the ’76 Mistress and the MXR Flanger. The typical Animals and Wall Gilmour tones are best achieved with cleans or mild overdrives, while with heavier distortions the Neo brings you closer to the wild jet sounds of Van Halen and Paul Gilbert. The obvious limitations of having only two knobs makes it a bit hard to tame the fairly deep flanging but then again, the pedal wasn’t design with only Gilmour’s tones in mind.

    The Neo Mistress doesn’t replace the ’76 nor the Deluxe. I don’t think that was Electro Harmonix’ intention either. They all offer something different. It should also be mentioned that much like the ’76, the Neo is quite noisy. However, the Neo Mistress is an excellent choice for the tight budget and even for players with cramped pedal boards wanting to check out the alluring world of the finest flangers ever made. Check out Electro Harmonix for more details.

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24 Responsesso far.

  1. Marcello says:

    Hi Folks!

    From all new flangers stompboxes, which one you recommend to cover Gilmour signature sound?
    And what about chorus and leslie models effects?
    Thanks!!!

    [Hi Marcello! Check out the Buyer’s Gear Guide on modulations :) – Bjorn]

  2. Kenny says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    I purchased this pedal per your review, Thank you!
    Im working towards achieving Davids sound/tone and I still need some fuzz and others.
    Currently, will this pedal chain work best?
    Guitar-Tuner-MXR EQ-Neo Mistress-DD-7 Delay- Hall of Fame Reverb-BBE Sonic Maximizer-amp
    Thank you for your website, invaluable.
    Kenny

    [Just about where you got it now :) – Bjorn]

  3. Roger Sartori says:

    I, particularly, am a big fan of Delicate Sound of Thunder and Pulse Gilmour tones. But I don’t see flanger or phaser effects being used too much on these albums? Is that correct? Great reviews here, Bjorn! THANK YOU FOR THAT!

    [Correct. He used chorus on most of the stuff. PULSE also feature the use of rotating speakers for most of the songs. They’re mixed very low but enough to create a lush texture to his sounds. Check out the Boss CE2 on EBay or one of the many clones like the CostaLab Chorus or Mooer Ensemble King. For rotary tones, I recommend the Boss RT20, which doesn’t really sound like the old Leslies but closer to David’s custom Doppola rotating speakers. – Bjorn]

  4. Keith says:

    Okay, there’s another Keith posting now, so I’m changing my name to something wild, and unusual, maybe John Doe, or perhaps Smith.
    Just Sayin’ as much as I post, don’t want to get an even worse reputation as a post hog!
    Love ya man, Keith
    PS, the gentleman who posted directly above this one, you have a lovely name! Ha-ha!

    [LOL! – Bjorn]

  5. Keith says:

    Hey Bjorn, I love the review. I was looking for an Electric Mistress, and found 2 others, the XO Stereo Flange/Chorus) and the Classics Deluxe Flanger/Filter Matrix. I was wondering if you’ve used these, plan a review, etc? Or is the Neo the best choice? Thanks in advance

    [I’ve been using the Deluxe for years and personally I think it’s the best Mistress option on the market. The XO has little in common with the original tones and Gilmour’s sounds. Check out the Mooer ElecLady as well. – Bjorn]

  6. Federico says:

    Better this or Mooer ElecLady?

    [Mooer. Definitely. – Bjorn]

  7. Stephen Ford says:

    Guess I have just been the unlucky one with Hartman Flangers…owned 2 and both had chirping issues that Hartman tried to fix for me but never could so I had to shelve them…Hartman is a great guy, so willing to help, the issue has to do with the clock speed and there is an internal trim pot (mentioned above) that effects this but no matter what setting i had it at the chirping would appear somewhere in the filter pass. I hope that the chirping issues are finally out of the flangers but a hand full of others have had the same issues and the blogs can be googled for more info on it.

    Just a word of caution. Glad that the Hartman Flange has been worth it for you Fernando!

    Cheers

  8. Fernando says:

    By the way: Bjorn, does Airbag use to travel abroad Europe to perform shows?
    In some future occasion, when visiting South America, you could make a show here in Sao Paulo.

    Your sound is great, so I hope you decide to visit us shortly! There’s a huge market and audience here for sounds like Airbag plays.

    Fernando

    [Thanks for your kind words, Fernando! We’re currently working on a new album that we hope to release sometime next year. Stay tuned! – Bjorn]

  9. Fernando says:

    @Eric Nyberg – Hartman Flanger
    Bjorn, my opinion wasn’t requested, but I ask you a excuse to talk about a particular question exposed by Eric:

    As a Hartman Analog Flanger’s owner, I can tell you that there’s no volume drop while using the pedal.
    It’s tones is amazing, and you’ll be able to have great The Wall tones using it.

    Actually, there’s a trim pot inside the pedal that let you set up the way effect is perceived when it’s on.

    I do recommend it for anyone. And before some can say: no, I don’t work for Hartman, so far I’m just a DG brazilian fan! :)

    [Thanks for the input, Fernando! – Bjorn]

  10. Keith says:

    Glad to see talk of the TSA’s and can’t wait to see if you like the 30 as much as I do. Also excited to hear your opinion of the TC Spark boost, snd if I’m correct in my assumption that it’s a good budget alternative for the Colorsound! I hope you were able to play the TSA30 with a decent set of tubes, as even I couldn’t believe the difference it made.
    Peace,Love, and all things Gilmourish, KC

    [Hard to try all the amps with proper tubes, which in my opinion are JJs, but you always test based potential anyways… The Spark Boost is a great alternative to the CPB. The EQs and the additional tone mini switch makes it very versatile. Not as transparent and dynamic as the CPB but that’s down to taste I guess. – Bjorn]

  11. Nick Veekens says:

    Hi Bjorn,

    Did you, by any chance, have the opportunity to try the Ibanez TSA15H as well? I really liked the tone on youtube but would like to hear some more opinions. Am looking forward to your tsa30 review.

    Best regards,

    Nick
    Netherlands

    [Yep. Very similar. Obviously, a bit more balls and headroom from the 30w but the 15w makes a great home/practice amp. – Bjorn]

  12. Eric Nyberg says:

    sorry Bjorn I didn’t mean to spam the blog by promoting my EP. I’m just excited about it. Never done anything like this before.

    [No worries, Eric. Looking forward to hear it! – Bjorn]

  13. Keith says:

    Hello Bjorn, how are you, and your family, and hope the band, and everything in life is going well! Just wondering if you’ve had a chance to check out the TC Spark Boost yet, and also if you’ve had a chance to play through the TSA30 Combo yet. Seems like every time I get a chance to crank the amps, and the pedals up, I get really excited by finding new sttings that perfectly emulate the tones on different PF recordings. It’s amazing how close I’ve gotten to Pompeii, DSOTM, WYWH, and early Gimour era tones, and haven’t even used a strat yet! Tom says ny ’69 big head will be ready very soon, and was doing truss rod’s this week, so it definitely won’t be long.
    Take care, and thank you so much for EVERYTHING, KC

    [All is well here Keith :) Thanks! I’ve had the TC for some time now and had the chance to try the TSA30 a couple of weeks ago. Reviews coming up! Cheers! – Bjorn]

  14. Eric Nyberg says:

    Have you thought about reviewing the Hartmann analog flanger? I was considering getting one of those to replace my mistress when I have the money. I don’t think that it has the volume drop issue of the deluxe mistress. Also my debut EP Corners is being released tomorrow! I’ll send you a free copy Bjorn. Thanks for all the great advice you’ve given to me! the website is http://www.houseofallseasons.com.

    [As nice a person I am I’ll allow the free ad :) Looking forward to listen to the CD! Good luck with the release! I’ve only tried the Hartman briefly but since they won’t send me one, there won’t be any review… Anyway, the pedal is very true to the original ’76 with the same lush tones. The volume drop and all the hiss is gone. I prefer the Deluxe though. The tone is a bit more focused and it works better with distortions. – Bjorn]

  15. Keith says:

    @Ruodi, no worries mate. I have definitely had quite a hard time finding my Wright, Mason, and Waters, but I will in the words of Chief Dan George,” Endeavor to Persevere “. If I was still in my 30’s, and went out every night, I’d have no problem finding a group of like minded individuals, but at 50, and self employed, I’m not the Big man on campus, and the days of being a well known, and respected member of our local music scene are over. There was a time when everyone within a few hundred miles knew my name, but now, I pay cover, and am a faded memory to the newer crop of players in these parts. Hopefully, through the connections I still have with the folks still regularly gigging, or the ones who now own studios, I’ll get back in the loop, and find the right guys, and / or gals. I don’t want to be a PF tribute band, but like Bjorn, incorporate DG’s influence on my playing into my own music. I do however plan on Echoes taking up 23-25 minutes of the CD I will start recording once I find my bandmates!
    Cheers to you, and all Gilmourish readers, and especially to the man who makes this exchange of ideas possible, Mr. BJORN RIIS,without whom, I would not be playing at all right now, as he dragged me out of a decade long hiatus. Thanks Bjorn, Uncle Ebb, (KC)

  16. ruodi says:

    @Keith: “HEP ME, HEP ME, I BEEN GILMOURIZED!”

    Welcome to the club! Well, that´s the trouble with being gilmourized, Keith! You might agree that for every “gilmourized” musician, you´ll need a “waterized”, a “wrightissipated” and a “masoned” musician as well! … Good luck with your search!

    What should we do with all those guitarists – without anybody playing bass, keys & drums? Founding yet another “Gilmourized Allstar Band?” with at least 30 personality disordered guitarists and some female versions of “Pat & Patachon” singing “The Great Gig”?

    Sorry, didn´t want to get you down! :-/

  17. Daniel Komarek says:

    Great review!

    I think of buying the MXR Micro Flanger. Did you tested it?

    [Yep. Not quite Gilmour tones but a fine little flanger indeed! – Bjorn]

  18. dominic says:

    Keith…http://www.musiciansfriend.com/accessories/fender-american-standard-string-guide-2

    i asked ´cuase Bjorn´s guitar doesn´t look quite the black strat , so if you want an exact replica of Mr.Gilmour´s you should change the string guide for a vintage one. i´m not sure what difference in sound, tune stability and sustain can this little things do though! players like Eric J. think they dull the sound of the 1st, and 2nd strings.

    cheers!!

  19. Nihar says:

    Hey Bjorn, completely off topic but when will we get the updated buyer’s gear guide and budget rig? I thought it was supposed to come by now… Additionally, how offen will you be posting reviews? I though it was once a week but its clear that’s not the case here.

    [I’m working on the Buyer’s Gear Guides but I don’t know when they’ll be up. I don’t think I’ve promised a review once a week… I have lots of cool pedals coming up so stay tuned! – Bjorn]

  20. dominic says:

    the string guide of your black strat is not the ones fender used in the 50s-60s …(vintage) your is from a telecaster. the rounded ones.

    [I didn’t know… The guitar is a reissue so I never really bothered to mod it for accurate specs. – Bjorn]

  21. Keith says:

    What’s a string guide? He isn’t using a tele bridge, probably a Callaham, and a nut’s a nut. I’m curious what part of the guitar the gentlman was reffering to as a string guide. Perhaps he meant the small clamp that holds the 1st, and 2nd strings down closer to the headstock? But both guitars use that. Hey Bjorn, I didn’t know Electric Mistresses are digital. Does that go for the ’76, and the Deluxe? I didn’t know they made digital effects in the ’70’s.
    Peace,Love, and all things Gilmourish! KC
    HEP ME, HEP ME, I BEEN GILMOURIZED!

    [No, the ’76 and Deluxe are analog. The Stereo and Neo are digital :) – Bjorn]

  22. dominic says:

    i didn´t notice before but you are using a tele string guide on your black strat…weird!!

    cheerios mate!!! Big fan!!!

    [What? – Bjorn]

  23. Giorgio says:

    Hi Bjorn,
    Is the Neo analog or digital? I’ve had a Stereo electric Mistress for a while, but I ended up selling it. how does this compare with the stereo for you?
    Bye Giorgio

    [It’s digital. The stereo Mistress is the least Mistress-ish of all the models. It’s more a chorus. Between the different models I’d go for the Deluxe. – Bjorn]

  24. Keith says:

    Wow, let me be the first to congratulate you on yet another fine review! Animals has always been one of my favorite albums, precisely because of the incredible tones DG got out of his guitar, as well as the dark socio-political theme of Roger’s lyrics. Nice sounding little pedal, you nailed the Dogs solo, and what a surprise, Lucifer Sam! Where did that come from? Really loved it, and all the help you’ve given me. Seems I’ve gotten my at volume problems corrected, just got frustrated and didn’t take the time to get the Musket, and Spark settings right for playing loud. Anyway, great clip, nice budget pedal, both money, and space wise.
    Peace Obi-Wan, KC

    [Thanks! – Bjorn]

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