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.
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.