Build Quality:4.9 out of 5 stars
Hardware:4.8 out of 5 stars
Electronics:4.8 out of 5 stars
Sound:4.8 out of 5 stars
Value:4.9 out of 5 stars
Average:4.8 out of 5 stars

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Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes Nano Overdrive


  • Versatile
  • Compact design
  • Easy to use
  • Unique tone


  • Not very durable
  • Might not work with heavier pedals

It was 1978, the year when the market saw Electro-Harmonix Hot Tubes for the first time. Musicians fell in love immediately and the legendary pedal has not lost any of its fame till this day. It had unique tonal characteristics that affected players and listeners substantially. As it is considered vintage nowadays, its price has risen on used market and the product itself is becoming harder to purchase. Nobody wants to sell a collectable, I guess. But don’t you worry, my friend. Due to such a high demand, EHX was kind enough to listen to its customers and reissue this renowned stompbox. The result is Hot Tubes Nano, which replicates the qualities of the original and performs rather similarly as well. This compact and simple pedal will be an asset to any pedalboard. If you want to find out why, then stay with me as I discuss all of its specifics, features and sounds. Without further ado, let’s get started!


Right off the bat, let’s just say that Hot Tubes Nano is a smaller replica of the original. The brand decided to choose a more compact enclosure, as they understand how overcrowded modern pedalboards can be. With this particular model, you will not even have to worry about space. When it comes to the circuit, it utilizes the same CMOS (complementary metal-oxide-semiconductor) with the FET chip. It does not drain your battery or create any noise, which is definitely a great way to assemble a guitar pedal. The construction of Hot Tubes Nano is comprised with aluminum heavy-duty chassis and surface mounted components. This makes pedal modification harder, however, you probably would not need to change a thing with this one anyway. What is more, it has a true bypass, which means it will not interfere with your signal in a weird way or deprive it off its qualities (the original did not have this feature though). The pedal features three knobs and a toggle switch that allows you to mess around with your sound and do whatever the hell you want. Hot Tubes Nano utilizes batteries or DC adaptors for operation, which means you can choose the proper way of powering depending on the situation. Typically, it has input and output jacks that can be plugged with the rest of your chain or directly to the amplifier. Even though this is not the cheapest overdrive pedal out there, it will give you your money’s worth. Hot Tubes Nano is quite versatile for what it is and can truly take your game to a whole new level.


As I have already mentioned, all we have here are three knobs and a toggle switch. Modifying different parameters of your sound is as easy as it can get and will not take that much time either. This is probably the case where you can set it and forget it, since the perfect settings are hard to give up on. But those, who like experimenting and exploring new things, will definitely enjoy the limitless options delivered by the pedal. I will explain everything in depth so that you can get down to business right away.

The first knob here is Vol, which allows you to choose the output level of the pedal and keep it in sync with the rest of your chain. Tone control modifies the response of Hot Tubes Nano and emits either warm lower tones or bright trebles. It sets the color of the effect as well and gives you even more options to choose from. Next we have Overdrive, which adjusts the amount of input gain and controls the intensity of clipping (a.k.a. distortion). Then comes the toggle switch that disengages the tone stack, eliminating all of its tonal characteristics. This changes your sound drastically and leaves you with a whole different sonic spectrum to work with. Of course, we have a footswitch that turns the pedal on or triggers true bypass functionality.

EHX Hot Tubes Sound

If you thought EHX was playing some games while recreating the Hot Tubes, you were utterly wrong, my friend. But if you kept in mind the quality of their previous products, then you will not be surprised by anything Hot Tubes Nano has to offer. This tiny beast is quite versatile as far as the sound goes. Even though we have only couple of knobs, they are quite enough to produce almost any tone out there. The overall character is steeped with warmth of tubes and the overdrive itself is reminiscent of a breakup from a valve amplifier (that is the whole point, right?). It does not go too crazy, which is exactly why it is called overdrive, but it can be darkened. And that is achieved through a tiny toggle situated right in the middle of the encoders. It bypasses the tone stack and adds more volume and gain to the overall sound. This way you can accentuate the heavier side of your sound without too much trouble. But as you engage the tone control again and set the toggle to the on position, you achieve bright and refined upper harmonics with rolled-off mids and lows. On the whole, Hot Tubes Nano emphasizes all the good qualities of your sound, submerges them into the overdriven waters and gives you fantastic end results.


As you can see, the legendary tones and vintage pedals can be accessed even more easily than you would ever imagine. The fact that EHX knows how to create quality products is not a secret for anyone. But as it appears, they can reissue the renowned models like real pros as well. Hot Tubes Nano is perfect for everyone who enjoys playing more than tweaking. Nailing decent tones does not require any effort, which is one of the reasons why this stompbox rocks. If you do not want to miss out and put together the most kickass pedalboard, then this will be the right unit to consider. Good luck!

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