The EarthQuaker Devices Tentacle is a bit of an anomaly. Octave up pedals were very popular during the advent of guitar effects pedals, but are not frequently used today. Even rarer are pedals without any knobs!

However, as some genres become more mainstream such as modern shoegaze and indie rock: experimental and vintage effects have been being heard more and more often by more and more people (as well as some surprisingly good guitarists emerging from these scenes)!

Do you need an octave pedal? How does the EarthQuaker Devices Tentacle hold up? Find out now!


  • Single Switch
  • No Potentiometers
  • All-Analog DC Rectifier Circuit
  • Octave Circuit from EQD’s popular Hoof Reaper Fuzz
  • 9V w/ 2.1mm Negative Center Barrel
  • True Bypass
  • Tentacle Graphic

EarthQuaker pedals are made by hand in Akron, Ohio. The enclosure is sturdy, and the components are top notch. The True Bypass functions wonderfully and when off it won’t color your signal at all.

This pedal features one of my favorite graphics of theirs, which is really saying something, considering it’s EarthQuaker Devices! Fun fact: I originally bought this just to look good next to The Depths on my board, and later found an actual use for it.


The Tentacle came about due to popular demand. Originally, the circuit was included with EQD’s Hoof Reaper Fuzz, but tone purists quickly fell in love with the octave itself!

We all know what an octave up does and what it sounds like: we’ve all heard Hendrix.

However, a lot of modern players may not be familiar with what owning an octave-up pedal entails, as it’s far from a clinical effect: it can be quite unruly!

Obviously because it’s an octave up, it’s really designed to be used on the neck pickup, and with your tone knob rolled off, but there are so many more applications. It’s important to keep in mind that even though it’s rather low gain, it is technically a fuzz.

This isn’t like a whammy pedal or a pitch-shifter in a Fractal unit – it adds a lot of color and texture!

Besides, you know, being an octave pedal¸ I’d say the primary difference is a change in attack. Your notes almost feel as though they’re swelling, and it can really change your approach to single note melodies. Because of this, it almost sounds like a ring modulator when playing chords.

I will note, though, that when playing 3+ strings, the pedal begins to track a little…oddly. I know that’s not what this pedal is designed for at all but it does catch you offguard.

As far as how to use it: I really like pairing it with modulation pedals! I’ve gotten some amazing over the top funk solo tones when combining it with a phase shifter. It also plays nice with just about any other kind of dirt you can imagine: fuzz, distortion, overdrive, boost, to really liven your sound up.

If you’re exceptionally careful with your gain, it can be really interesting in the loop with time-based effects as well.

Final Verdict:

Do you need the EarthQuaker Devices Tentacle? For most players the answer is probably no. I can’t think of too many situations in which an octave-up is a mandatory part of a pedalboard.

However, this is a really inexpensive (only $125 new!) way to add a really unique sound to your playing. Because it’s so touch and rig sensitive, you won’t even sound like other players who own the same pedal as you.

You can use this to color your low gain tones, or get completely over the top sounds that will make the audience pay attention depending on your pick attack and gain staging.

Not only will you sound unique, but I think this pedal is a great way for a modern player to begin experimenting with vintage-style effects. It really forces you to think outside the box.

Tone – 4.5/5

Build Quality – 5/5

Features – 4.5/5

If you liked this article, check out our other reviews here!

This article was written by Kyle Karich, our editor located in Florida.


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