Little chunk of big metal – Donner Giant Metal

This isn’t a pedal that I would normally review, I certainly wouldn’t buy one myself. I don’t play metal, and don’t usually go for the higher gain sound.

My friend left a couple of pedals that he had bought and doesn’t use, telling me to review them and let him know what I think. So here we are. I’ll start by saying that it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. I really did expect this to be absolutely diabolical. The very first pedal I bought myself about 15 years ago was a Danelectro FAB Metal, one of the ones housed in a very robust (not) plastic housing. It was awful, and I firmly believe that this is the reason that I stayed away from pedals for so long. I still don’t know to this day why I opted for the metal version over the standard overdrive, having never played metal guitar.

This pedal whilst not absolutely lighting my world on fire is actually somewhat useable. It can do that ridiculous mid scooped high gain ear-splitting sound if you so desire, but it can also be used for quite a crunchy overdrive, especially when using the low boost mode. This is not a pedal that will make you sound like a classic rock guitarist, but it will do a pretty passable Sabbath sound. I completely understand that this will be fantastic for some guitarists, but it is not really for me. Obviously what guitar and amp you use with this will change your perception of it, it doesn’t work amazingly well with my setup.

I did find that the Giant Metal was very flat, and not at all lively when used on its own. I ran it through my EQ pedal and there was a night and day difference, if you have an EQ pedal or a decent EQ on your amp, a pedal like this can be made useful for more than just metal. With the distortion turned down to around the 9 o’clock mark and using either no boost or the low boost mode it can be an albeit heavy but usable distortion. Any other settings make it quite unusable for what I normally play.

It’s also worth noting that the additional noise from this pedal is shocking. I will take a guess that it is due to the cheaper components in a pedal at this price point (around £20 retail). I used an isolated power supply, and decent cables. I get a little noise from my fuzz, which is to be expected, but nothing compared to this.

Check out the sound clips below – I used my Made in Mexico strat with the stock pickups, bridge and middle, a Boss GE-7 EQ, a Zoom MS-70CDR for hall reverb, all going into a Laney Cub 12 (Reverb in the effects loop)

First off Donner Giant Metal, boost off, around 1 o’clock on distortion, same on tone with the hall reverb. Next section I turn the EQ on, and it stays on for the duration of the clip.
Then Clean signal, GE-7 and reverb. Turn Giant Metal on, distortion around 11. No boost. Followed by low boost, and then high boost. Then a play a little bit of Dio’s Holy Diver with the distortion back up to 1 o’clock. No boost, hight boost and then low boost. Then I turn the distortion up to 2/3 o clock with high boost for a lead tone.

In conclusion:

Pros –

  • Tiny footprint
  • So cheap if you left it on the bus you probably wouldn’t care
  • Can do that one sound pretty well, but does benefit from an EQ to make the sound more lively
  • It’s black so obviously that helps you sound bit more like Metallica, and it will match nicely with whichever patch covered jean jacket you decide to wear

Cons –

  • It is cheap for a reason, the toggle switch is flimsy, I don’t hold out much hope for it lasting all that long with even semi regular use
  • The name and graphics leave a lot to be desired, I would genuinely like it more if it was called “Metal Pedal”
  • Ridiculous amount of noise – presumably cheap un isolated components
  • Limited applications, can only do metal





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