Electro-Harmonix Black Finger

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger

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Black Finger, Compressor/Sustainer for Guitar from Electro-Harmonix.

9 user reviews
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Electro-Harmonix Black Finger tech. sheet

  • Manufacturer: Electro-Harmonix
  • Model: Black Finger
  • Category: Compressors/Sustainers for Guitar
  • Added in our database on: 04/16/2004

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Electro-Harmonix Black Finger user reviews

Average Score:4.6( 4.6/5 based on 9 reviews )
 5 reviews56 %
 4 reviews44 %
Audiofanzine FR03/08/2009

Audiofanzine FR's review

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger
(Originally written by Bk basse/translated from Audiofanzine FR)
Tube compressor

-Two 12AX7 tubes, optical compressor

- Five controls: COMPRESS (compression ratio), LAMP/LED (compression mode), SQSH/NORM (attack time), PRE-GAIN (input level), POST-GAIN (output level).

- Compression indicator

- On/off switch

- No memory

- Quite bulky (compared with usual effect pedals) due to the tubes and their protections.

I give it only an 8 because the on/off footswitch feels much too hard and it makes noises. But the controls have a good quality.

The external PSU cable is very fragile (a 12volt / 1 A PSU is included).


The configuration is very easy but also comprehensive for a compressor: five controls seem to be a lot in the beginning but each one has a very precise function.

Very short and poor user's manual: only one sheet of paper!


This compressor is very effective and it adds a nice color to the sound due to the tubes... two 12AX7 in a single pedal might be too much.

Once you find the right setting you won't need to touch the pedal again, unless it's a studio session. But I think the signal to noise ratio is too low for that anyway. It's a stage product.

Caution: it's not easy to find the right setting, and it might generate a bit of noise.

I bought it because I wasn't satisfied with my Roland DB900 and this compressor is actually very different... I finally have that big bass sound with limited peaks I was expecting.

I think you can also use it with other electric instruments. It clearly adds presence to the sound.

It's a bit expensive, but it's worth it because it does a great job.


I've only had it for six months but I've send it twice to the service center already because of a manufacturing defect... I wasn't used to this with Electro Harmonix... And I waited a long time before getting it back...

Ever since it started working properly I can't play without it anymore. It enhances my sound a lot, adding more presence to it. I connect it to the output of a Sansamp Bass Driver, and these two effects are enough to get a round and warm sound in almost every setup.

moumou69's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)" Very well with my passive bass."

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger
For specifications, I leave it to you to see on the site EHX.


Configuration is very simple, you can easily find the desired sound.
the manual is minimalist but we do not need.


I use this pedal directly between my jass bass Squier VM (crel microphones) or my Cort B4 FL and my amp head (TC electronic BH250) and 410 Ashdown ABM 115 coupled to an ABM.

Compression is effective without much "pump effect", provided not to push down.
I mainly use the lamp mode, the pre and post gain noon.
In addition to the compression, this brings the pedal and a heat gain to the sound, without fundamentally changing thereof.
a slight overdrive is felt when pushed gains a background, it is not what I want but it can be interesting.

Even with my passive bass directly plugged this pedal, I have no hiss or background noise mentioned in some reviews.


I use it for about 15 days.
As usual with EHX, it looks solid.
What I like least is its size, weight and power supply dedicated ... but as I do not have 36 effects, ca happens.

I used a multicomp EBS before, which I found very (too) transparent. BF offers a real plus to the sound.

props's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger
Compressor pedal for guitar or bass operating on two technologies: optical coupling and LED lamps (2x 12AX7 EHX). We choose between two compression modes: full LED or LED lamps +, between two types of effect: compression or squash (a kind of gate) input gain + output, and finally compression ratio. Switch true bypass relay (if the power supply is cut off the pedal, the pedal automatically switches to bypass, this is very handy).


We were told many things about this pedal, for good or not, I do confirm that: getting a nice clean sound is quite delicate. There are two reasons: the BF is made to work with low impedance, so if possible with a pre-amplified signal and then an active instrument. It is not desirable to try to boost the signal by increasing the gain, because it may significantly degrade the sound and add a big breath. BF is not a preamp, the input level should be sufficient, without being line level, if it saturates! It limits the blow quite use. Deuxio, the settings are all very interactive, it should not look bad to get what we want. For example, the input gain plays a lot on getting the compression. This is the control in the second set after the compression. At the same time we must not push too, or else watch the breath or saturation (which is not nice at all).


Side sound reproduction, wholesale, simply put:
- The lamp mode is punchy, moderately compressed, with a characteristic hump in the midrange.
- The LED mode is less hot but more "spicy", perfect for funky casseroles.
- The counter mode is very hairy, gains should be very low to avoid saturating.
- Squash fashion behaves both as a sustainer and a limit. There must be more gain to compensate for the loss of volume. I do not like this method because it seems to lose momentum, but it can be nice to smooth an instrument without too much sustain.

My favorite setting is the following, on acoustic and electric guitar:
Location: ahead in the effects loop of the preamp AMT SS11.
Mode: Comp / Lamp, Input gain: 10h, Output gain: 10am Compression: 13-14h.
I get very hot and very compressed sound. This setting back substantially all of the lower levels means all breads and glissers strings! But that's what I love the most, for me to play clean then.

In fact, the quality of sound from this pedal is simply excellent, once it is left tamed.


I took me months before allowing me to post a review, story to go around. Initially I bought it to warm up a POD (but nothing did). Then I plugged into a preamp tube, wondering if it was justified ... Then I had to change the lights, I had to remove because I had bad contacts and I really failed to sell it short, it was a bit I love you me either. Plus it takes up so much that it has an interest to be essential! And with patience, I finally found what I wanted. It perfectly complements my preamp, so I keep it.

Dark974's review (This content has been automatically translated from French)

Electro-Harmonix Black Finger
So we are dealing with a tube compressor (two 12AX7). The beast comes in a wooden box sealed (in case the post would have liked to play with?). The pedal comes in the form of a spare part tank of the first World War, with a black grille to protect the small lights. In any case, he gives an impression of strength even if the case seems rather thin. Anyway, it's not made to jump in with both feet!


Level settings, it's Electro-Harmonix, so kindergarten level. So we have three knobs (Compress, pre gain and post gain), two switches (compression tube / diode and normal / Squashed affecting the attack). Add to that a status LED, one that flashes when the compression ratio is optimal (and not an LED overload as one might think) and the famous switch that makes a big "clong" when you enable / disable the effect.
The manual is reduced to its simplest form: an A5 sheet, quite useful to understand the function selectors.


Once connected, it is the slap, not possible, it sounds too good !!!!! I use it mainly upstream of the preamp, just after my wah. This pedal really brings something to my sound. More dynamic, heat, in the words of one of my friends, my sound has the thigh! The lights are really something, adding according to the settings (pre / post gain) gain, and yes! I expected anything but that, suddenly, it became a kind of boost that adds compression. I tell you, this pedal is miraculous.
Playing mostly music from raw, it is mainly used in lead as it adds just the right compression (no kidding!) But also potato!
In clean, the sound becomes more crystalline, more slamming, in short, that's good.
The only downside to this is the rather unpleasant noise it generates. That said, a good noise reductor should overcome this désagrément.Veillez also enough to keep you away from your amp, or else watch the feedback!


I use it for a year and a half, and this pedal has become indispensable to me. It fits all my needs without fail. It is an integral part of my set. To be compared to a compressor Edward Marshall (yuck), I do not regret the € 200 spent on its acquisition. Price to pay, I grant you, but this effect is well worth the.
I remember the day my friend Buckaroo Banzai was tried for the first time ... dedeux weeks after he had his own!
Anyway, if I loose one day, I bought one without hesitation!

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Other names: black finger, blackfinger

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