Aguilar Storm King Distortion/Fuzz Pedal

The Storm King distortion/fuzz pedal for bassists by Aguilar provides a range of gritty tones and textures for a powerful low end. This latest addition to Aguilar’s bass effects pedals lineup packs serious distortion power into a compact size. Taking its name from the imposing Storm King Mountain located along New York’s Hudson River, this pedal captures the saturated tube-like tones of Aguilar’s popular Tone Hammer amp in pedal form. The Storm King offers a flexible palette of distortion flavours, from subtle tube saturation to full-on ear-shredding fuzz mayhem. With its all-analogue signal path and intuitive controls, this mighty micro pedal makes it easy to dial in just the right amount of growl and grind to suit your needs.

Initial Impressions

At first glance, the Storm King’s control layout seems typical of many distortion pedals, with knobs for gain, tone, and volume. However, Aguilar has given the tone control an interesting twist by renaming it the “Shape” control and expanding its range compared to most distortion pedals. The Shape knob sweeps from lightly saturated tube-like tones to heavily distorted and fuzzed-out textures, making the Storm King incredibly versatile as both a distortion and fuzz box.

Plugging my bass into the Storm King immediately revealed the pedal’s impressive tonal range. With the Gain around 9 o’clock and Shape set low, I got a warm, responsive tube overdrive reminiscent of a pushed tube amp. Medium Gain settings combined with varying amounts of Shape dialled in increasingly aggressive levels of distortion, evoking classic rock and heavy metal tones. Finally, I was able to achieve gated fuzz and aggressive, synthy tones by advancing the Gain and Shape controls to higher settings.

Throughout the Storm King’s range, the distortion retained a natural dynamic response and tonal balance that performed well on bass. Compared to some pedal distortions that sound thin or overly buzzy on bass, the Storm King delivered rich, musical distortion textures that enhanced the upper mids until things went too far and subdued the fundamental notes a little. To be expected without a separate clean blend, I feel.

While the Gain, Shape, and Volume controls offer plenty of tonal tweaking options, the Storm King has one more ace up its sleeve – the Kick button. This provides a tailored midrange bump to add presence and boost to distorted tones. I found it especially useful for counteracting the low-mid scoop that often accompanies heavier distortion levels. Engaging the Kick button adds a “warmth” that makes distorted riffing and soloing lines jump out in the mix. It can give fuzz textures more articulation and focus too.

Aguilar Storm King Distortion/Fuzz Pedal

Riding the Storm Out

To test the Storm King, I tried it out in various musical contexts. Using a little overdrive gave my P-bass a thick Motown-style tone, while a more saturated setting brought out the bass’s growly rock-and-roll attitude. Combining the Storm King’s gated fuzz with fast synth-like bass lines allowed me to achieve Muse-style tones. Throughout these applications, the Storm King improved my bass tone while maintaining its core character, resulting in an exciting new sound.

With its rugged steel enclosure, the Storm King feels built to withstand the rigours of pedalboards and stages. Aguilar has put a lot of thought into making this pedal stage-ready for us. The bright blue status LED provides easy visibility on dark stages. The true bypass switching keeps signal integrity pristine when bypassed. The Storm King accepts a standard 9V centre-negative power supply, making it easy for bassists to power it from a pedalboard power supply.

The Bottom Line

After thorough testing in various musical settings, I agree that the Storm King is a great addition to your multi-signal path setup. Aguilar used their decades of bass amp design expertise to create a pedal that feels at home on a bassist’s pedalboard. The powerful tone-shaping controls give you the versatility to conjure up just the right amount and style of distortion needed for any gig. Add in the compact size, rugged build quality, and smart stage-ready features, and the Storm King is a mighty useful weapon to have in your low-end arsenal.

Give it a try yourself!

SPECIFICATIONS

Manufacture:Aguilar Amplification
Website:https://www.aguilaramp.com/
Model:Storm King
Controls:Gain, Shape (Tone) Master and Kick. Blue LED and Footswitch
I/O:One ¼” input, one ¼” output, one DC power input.
Circuit Topology:Analogue
Housing:2mm (.080") thick 5052 aluminum alloy
Dimensions:93mm x 38mm x 45mm *including knobs.
Power Supply:9VDC, not included
Warranty:3 year limited
Price:$179.99 ~ £209 UK