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Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset Compressor Effect Pedal

You'll look great wearing this corset ...


by Chris Loeffler



For players obsessed with squeezing their guitar tone into a very narrow space, the name and artwork of the Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset definitely makes sense…


The Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset is an OTA analog compressor designed for guitar in a small, foot-stomp format. The Tone Corset features four controls (Sustain, Attack, Blend, and Volume), a pad switch for higher-output pickups or other instruments, true bypass switching, and is powered via a standard Boss-style 9v adapter or 9v battery.


What You Need to Know


Similar to standard compression controls, the Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset features basic controls to shape the compression's envelope and attack. The Sustain knob controls the amount of compression that's applied to the signal after the initial attack peaks, and can easily double or triple the duration of a sustained note when turned all the way up. More subtle settings change the speed, nature, and ramp-down of the decay, but don’t alter the basic character of the Tone Corset’s compression.


Attack determines how quickly the compressor’s envelope kicks in. At lower settings, the compression is applied so rapidly it effectively obscures the true pick attack, and at the highest settings the compression slowly ramps in a swell that can take up to a full second to overtake the direct signal. The Attack control is somewhat interactive with the Sustain control, especially in determining the character between attack and release.


The Blend knob is where the biggest tone tweaking happens, as different combinations of the dry and compressed signals determine how subtle or over-the-top the overall effect is. Blending both, the dry signal allows the natural pick attack to come thru while the compressed side swells to replace the direct signal at unity as the note decays.


Volume controls the output of the blend of the dry and compressed signals, making anything possible from a clean boost to a punchy compressor to push a hot preamp. The Tone Corset features a Pad switch to adjust the input sensitivity, which I found to be subtle on electric guitar (even when comparing low output to high output pickups) but necessary if running with a bass or keyboard.


The Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset leverages the natural character of the OTA chip to create a warm, funky compression that is meant to add its flavor to the guitar tone. What is that flavor? It sounds warm (a tad lifted in the mids) and punchy. The compression, while not transparent, is consistent and has a vintage, saturated dynamic that really grabs on to overdriven signals. For those seeking the Ross/Dyna Comp tone, the EQ is there, but the compression behavior of the Tone Corset is less rubbery.


By virtue of how it works, compression can add or amplify signal noise, and OTA chips are especially challenged by headroom issues, so it was surprising to me how quiet the Tone Corset was in even less-than-ideal situations (dirty power, shared power supplies, single coil pickups). Dead silent? No, but quieter than most of the compressors with which I compared it.




There is undeniable high-end roll off in the compressed signal that keeps the Tone Corset from standing in on “transparent compression” duties.


Electro-Harmonix’s Tone Corset brings a new compression tone to players, with a “similar yet different” sound that walks the line of doing the duty of several different cornerstone compressor designs without falling into the trap of being a one-trick pony by virtue of the excellently implemented Blend control.  While there is too much character in the compression circuit to be called uncolored, the Tone Corset brings the right amount of funk and vintage behavior to complement the electric guitar beautifully. -HC-




Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset Product Page


The Electro-Harmonix Tone Corset (MSRP $119.30, Street $89.50) is available from:



Guitar Center




Musician's Friend




Chris Loeffler is a multi-instrumentalist and the Content Strategist of Harmony Central. In addition to his ten years experience as an online guitar merchandiser, marketing strategist, and community director he has worked as an international exporter, website consultant and brand manager. When he’s not working he can be found playing music, geeking out on guitar pedals and amps, and brewing tasty beer. 


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