GRIM3 by This Heavy Earth


Well-known member
GRIM3 is a ‘sick’ pedal, and in a good way. What may throw off some people is that this is not a hi-gain pedal, despite the name or that it comes from its creator, This Heavy Earth. The function and breadth of this pedal makes it very usable in so many situations, but I will address the hi-gain crowd first.

Think of GRIM3 as a tone sculptor and enhancer (but not like the ‘enhancers’ typical in the market, as I use that term loosely). The concept is to find your base tone or sound, something you are happy with, but you want it to sound tighter, more aggressive, greater definition, etc. In effect, you want it to sound better and like what you are hearing in your head. This is where GRIM3 shines. The EQ is the most basic, with subtle bass and treble controls that help to hone in on your sound after setting the other controls, e.g., you may add more tightness and bite, which increases treble response, and so… you can dial back on treble. Simple enough.

BITE controls frequency contour from low mids to high mids, which increases the attack of the notes. TIGHT controls the pre-gain high pass to tame the low end. Combine these two and this is a chugger’s paradise. These can be adjusted to achieve that metallic-sounding modern-metal chug, which I could not get previously from my hi-gain amps and preamps.

BLEND and GAIN work in unison. BLEND controls how much buffered dry signal is in the mix, versus 100% wet signal (which has more saturation and the nature/quality of the GAIN becomes more noticeable). GAIN ranges from low to moderate, which means you can get very good rock tones when cranked from a clean amp, but certainly works wonders when turned low and combined with a very dirty or hi-gain amp. BLEND is very much to taste, depending if you want a more robust sound with more headroom or a more saturated and compressed sound.

Now, how does this work with clean to dirty (e.g., rock blues)? GRIM3 has the potential to be one of those always-on pedals, at least that is the role of GRIM3 in my studio. Cleans sparkle and sound vibrant, whereas dirty tones sound more aggressive and full-bodied. In both instances, I keep the Gain relatively low while adjusting the BLEND to taste. And this is where the BITE and TIGHT come in handy, as they hone in on the sparkle and punch brilliantly.

Also note that I did not demo certain internal settings, as I found factory settings sounded best to my ears and relative to my use. There is an internal LPF trim that allows you to smooth out the high end of the gain output. There is an internal clean boost trim that adjusts from unity buffer to clean boost on the 100% dry side of the BLEND. There are DIP switches that allows for symmetrical LED, a diode lift/none, or asymmetrical silicon clipping options. Some of that tech jargon is over my head, but I get the gist and did fool around with those controls; they do produce modest, but obvious changes in how GRIM3 responds (you can hear it, but any change is not dramatic. Again, I thought the factory settings were spot on and different people have different preferences and tone expectations. You also can control the brightness of the LED light internally.

Since having GRIM3, this pedal has been in constant use, whether I am pushing some hi-gain tones, or playing clean chords, or anything between. At $189 USD, this pedal is priced very reasonably… a typical cost among reputable pedal brands, and particularly being hand-built one at a time in the USA. But with so many sculpting tools at your disposal, you get a lot of value. I place this is in my top pedals for 2023!