Holy Grail Neo Reverb Pedal Review – How Good Is It?

The reverb effect adds a certain character and depth to a sound to create a sense of space. It happens naturally when sound or music is played in a hall and the sound bounces off the walls creating a lush ambiance from the multiple reflections until it decays. Reverb effect when applied intelligently can make an otherwise “dry”-sounding piece, like a guitar riff, sound more natural and organic. This is why musicians have been mimicking this effect artificially for decades.

Earlier artificial reverb employed mechanical means like springs and plates to achieve the effect but with the advancement of electronics and microprocessors, it was mostly replaced by digital effects. While many tube amps still use spring-based (mechanical) reverbs, most effects pedals like the Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail Neo Reverb pedal use digital methods.

There are numerous reverb effect pedals in the market, however, the Holy Grail (original) has been the staple of the many pedalboards for many musicians for its simplicity and awesome sound. Today, we’re reviewing the Holy Grail Neo, a newer iteration of the original.


The Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail reverb pedal has always been about simplicity and great sound. The major features include 3 different types of reverb effects – spring, hall, and plate along with true bypass.

It takes a 9V input as a power supply and comes with an AC adapter but cannot be powered by batteries. This is in line with the Holy Grail’s simplistic philosophy. The effect is simple to dial in and it doesn’t have 5 different controls, nor does it have the fancy look of some of the pedals.

It’s a great, simple reverb pedal for people who want a single-knob reverb effect but at the same time want something rock-solid and great sounding.


Holy Grail Neo Controls
The Holy Grail Neo sports simplistic controls

While a lot of reverb pedals feature controls like Time, Decay, etc. common with such pedals, the Holy Grail tries to be simplistic in its approach to a great reverb tone. You get a mode selection switch and a single control to adjust the effect.

This compact pedal features three of the four effect algorithms from the Max variant including the Plate reverb effect selectable through the 3-way switch. The spring mode mimics the classic tube amp-like Spring reverb effect while the Hall effect produces a more ambient and spacious reverberation you hear in large halls. The Plate effect which emulates one of the first artificial reverb systems found in studios in the past, lies somewhere between with a more natural and smooth decay that can work well with most musical instruments, including vocals.

The Reverb (dry-wet) knob that controls the effect is on the sensitive side, though. A couple of notches up and you already start to feel the reverb in action. Anything past 4-5 is heavily saturated with a massive depth that might not suit everyone, making the usable range a bit limited for most people.


If you want a simple, compact pedal that adds natural depth and space to your sound, the Holy Grail Neo reverb is a perfect choice. Its simplistic set-it-and-forget philosophy is great whether you want to add just a touch of color to your otherwise dry tone or go full-on crazy with the reverb, it can handle both. However, if you want total control over your and be able to set every nuance in the tone, then this might not be the pedal for you.

It sounds great and is a studio-grade pedal and all three effects are amazing, though similar-sounding. The major selling point of this pedal is that it sounds like the classic Fender tube amp spring reverb, and it does so exceptionally well. The effect is much more natural sounding than many other pedals twice its price. The sound is deep, lush, complex, and beautiful and is great for a wide range of instruments and not just limited to electric guitars. And even though the desired sound and tone are subjective, a lot of people would find this pedal very pleasing and fit for their music, despite lacking the versatility many other pedals offer.

Here is a video of the Holy Grail Neo reverb pedal in action:

JJ of the T testing all three reverb effects

Holy Grail Neo vs Nano

Holy Grail Neo vs Nano - Comparison

These variants are almost entirely the same – they share the same circuit and form factor. However, the Nano has the Flerb effect in place of the much more useful Plate effect. Flerb is fun to play around with but unlike the other effects, it’s quite useless for anything other than clean single-note stuff.

If you play with other effects like distortion/fuzz etc. and want a reverb effect to play along with it, get the Neo. It’s also much better for adding reverb to vocals and other instruments. If you’ve tried the pedal out and would only ever play in Spring or Hall modes, you can save some bucks by getting the Nano.


Holy Grail Neo Reverb Pedal

The Holy Grail Neo pedal offers an exceptionally good sound with warm, natural tones. Its main attraction lies in its simplicity and classic tones reminiscent of the tube amps of the 60s and 70s. It’s built like a tank and is compact enough to easily fit on a cramped pedalboard. And while objectively it does lack the versatility of other reverb pedals, it’s more of an intended thing rather neglect. If you want a set-it-and-forget-it pedal that offers exceptionally good classic reverb effect, look no further!


What type of reverb is a holy grail?

The Electro-Harmonix Holy Grail reverb is a digital pedal with an analog dry-wet blend and analog true-bypass. This means while the effect is digitally produced, the final signal blends both the digital (wet) and analog (dry) signal. True bypass means the output signal is 100% the same as the input, meaning analog, while the pedal is disengaged.

Does Holy Grail reverb take a battery?

No. It comes with a 9V AC adapter.
Travis Whiteley (Guitarist) - Profile Picture

Travis Whiteley

Guitar Player/Teacher

Travis is a self-taught guitarist, musician, and father of an 8-year-old. He has settled in his hometown and gives free guitar lessons to kids on Sundays. His current hobbies include sharing his experiences and knowledge through this website.