The author is a guitarist and bassist with over 35 years of experience as a musician.
A good chorus pedal is a must-have in the effects arsenal of any guitar player. Used correctly, chorus can add depth and texture to your clean sound, and thicken up your overdrive.
But, finding a pedal you like isn’t always easy, and finding one you like for a good price even harder. There are a lot of boutique pedals out there that sound awesome, but they can cost big bucks. Many of us have a budget to stick to, and we’re hoping for something a little more wallet-friendly.
The Small Clone by Electro-Harmonix is a legendary chorus pedal, and not super expensive. But, while it is worth the price if you can swing it, this pedal is still going to run you over eighty dollars. If you are hoping to grab something similar for a lot less cash you might look to the Nano Clone chorus pedal.
I did, anyway, and there it sits on my amp as I write this. At a price of under $50, and with the Electro-Harmonix name behind it, this pedal was hard to pass up. I’ve been messing around with it for a few months now, and I’m ready to tell you a little about what I like – and don’t like – about this cool little stompbox.
After distortion, a chorus pedal should be next on your list of essential effects. Here’s a look at the Nano Clone chorus.
Design and Build Quality
It’s hard to imagine a simpler build than what we see with this chorus pedal. I like simple when it comes to guitar effects.
Although the name says nano, and it is smaller than the Small Clone, this isn’t one of those thin, dinky, micro pedals you may have seen around lately. It’s big enough to expect it to stand up regular use, and so far mine has. The chassis appears to be metal and sturdy, but it’s quite light.
As for controls, you’ve got one knob to control Rate, and one button to turn the thing on and off. That’s it. There’s one input jack, one output, and a 9-volt adapter jack for a power supply.
Of course, it runs off of a 9-volt battery too, and that brings me to one thing I’m not so crazy about. To change the battery you have to remove four little screws and take off the bottom plate of the pedal.
This is no big deal if you are at home and have a screwdriver handy. But, if you are ready to fire things up for a gig and you suddenly have to take your chorus pedal apart, I can see it being a bit of a hassle. It’s a minor thing, but I thought it worth mentioning.
Other than the battery compartment issue, the Nano Clone is very well built with a sturdy case and quality components. Even the little feet on the bottom are solid little hunks of rubber that seem like they aren’t going anywhere. It may be nano, but it sure isn’t wimpy.
Chorus is one of those effects you can dial in so many different ways. Some players like trippy and swirly, where others like smooth and lush. So, let me start by telling you what I personally look for in a chorus effect.
I like a pedal with good depth that doesn’t mess with my EQ. I like to set it to a slow rate, and I like it if I can use the same setting for both clean and overdrive without altering my tone too much. To me, chorus should be sparkly but subtle, noticeable but not overwhelming. People should say, “Hey, that guitar sounds good!” and not “Hey, what’s that wild effect on that guitar?”
Does the Nano Clone fit the bill? Well, I can get the sounds I like out of this pedal if I dial it in right. On the other hand, if you want the complete opposite of what I just described you can get that here. The Nano Clone easily nails sounds that are much stronger than what I typically use. So, if you are the kind of guitar player who likes a very pronounced chorus effect, this pedal is right up your alley.
With overdrive, I find the Nano Clone a bit metallic and spacey. Again, that may be an effect you really like. I stick to clean sounds with this pedal, where its performance fits my style a little better.
I don’t mean any of this as negative criticism. Remember that chorus is intended to change the sound of your guitar, and every player has different expectations and needs. David Gilmour uses chorus much differently than Eddie Van Halen. It’s up to you to find the gear that best gets your sound.
And I certainly do like this pedal. With the Rate knob all the way to the left and my amp set up clean I get some excellent sounds out of it. It does thin out my EQ a little more than I’d like, but it still sounds pretty good.
More on the EHX Nano Clone
I’ve used this pedal with my Peavey Bandit solid-state amp and my Marshall DSL40C tube amp. I’ve used various guitars with it, mostly my Les Paul and Stratocaster, and I’ve tried it in different parts of the signal chain.
My best result, for the sound I like, has been using it in the effects loop with the Rate turned all the way down and with a clean amp. It can get a little noisy, especially with overdrive and in front of the amp.
But what if you are a guitar player who is not me? There is a good chance you might be, so I have some thoughts on that too. You can get some really interesting sounds out of this pedal. As I said, with overdrive it can get a little metallic and, used correctly, this can be a pretty cool effect. You will probably not want this as your main guitar sound, but tastefully kicking on the pedal here and there will make people take notice.
The best of the Nano Clone, for guitar players who aren’t me, may be dialing in a warm, clean sound and cranking up the Rate control. I get a Black-Hole-Sun kind of vibe, all kinds of trippy.
Again, people use effects in different ways, and if you are one of those guitar players who want a chorus effect that makes a statement I think you’ll like this pedal.
This pedal has been a tough thing for me to judge. I do like some of the sounds I get out of it, but I wish I could use it with overdrive, and I wish it didn’t color my EQ quite as much. On the other hand, I totally get why some players would love this pedal. It is capable of pretty cool stuff.
So, in conclusion, the Nano Clone is a good pedal, but maybe not the perfect choice for me. My main chorus pedal is an MXR Analog Chorus that I feel fits my sound quite a bit better.
However, depending on your style, it might be perfect for you. If you want a pedal that will shape your sound in wild and fun ways, this one is hard to beat for under $50.
And, even for me, it is a very usable little unit, as long as I relegate it to use only for clean sounds, and with the Rate control dialed back. I won’t be getting rid of it anytime soon.
Remember, this review, like everything I write, is based on my own opinion. I suggest trying the Nano Clone for yourself and finding out if it works for your sound.
How Do You Like Your Chorus?
JoeCamel79 on October 02, 2019:
Also, I didn't experience any of the issues in which the writer of the article seemed to have? And as I tone stack I have a soul food, ehx big muff pi tone wicker, & a v-3 truetone j & h overdrive & distortion pedal combo. Honestly if I really wanna hear it really well I have to turn them all off, so personally my main purpose and use for this pedal is when I play my leads and it's a godsend in that department. But make sure you don't get the other style clone...I think it's the nano clone as it doesn't have a toggle switch and therefore wouldn't be an accurate copy of the larger version
JoeCamel79 on October 02, 2019:
This pedal is spot on & I can't imagine taking it off my board anytime soon. I actually bought it to replace one of those micro mooer pedals & wow I'm so glad I did it makes a day and night difference. If want that classic ehx chrous you can't beat it.