1981 Ibanez GE-601 Graphic Equalizer

Model Description:

Towards the end of the 1970s and the start of the 1980s, guitarists like Eddie Van Halen were pushing the boundaries of what the guitar could do, which coincided with a massive growth in the diversity and quality of effect pedals. The new breed were far removed from the basic fuzzes and wahs of the 1960s, enabling enterprising guitarists to experiment. Although not one of the effects that immediately springs to mind, the graphic equalizer earned its place on many guitarists’ pedalboards at the time. Along with the MXR and BOSS versions, Ibanez EQs became all the rage for a while. Ibanez released the GE‑601 to as part of its ‘0’ series pedals (including the fabled TS‑808 Tube Screamer). Compact EQ pedals often sported slider controls, as with the GE‑601, to control multiple guitar‑friendly frequencies between 100Hz and 3.2KHz by actively boosting or cutting each band independently. The Ibanez is possibly the most flexible of its peers, with 6‑band EQ, a footswitch to turn the EQ on and off, a status indicator LED, an overall master ‘Level’ control and a DC input jack. Like other ‘0’ series pedals, the GE‑601 didn’t last long before it was replaced by the ‘9’ series EQs including the fixed frequency GE9 and the clever parametric PQ9. Once the synth‑dominated era of the 1980s took over, the fad for graphic equalizers abated and EQs became either a bit of a specialist niche or a rack‑mounted studio tool. To‑date, Ibanez has not reissued the GE‑601. Although quite scarce, the GE-601 is not considered highly collectable. However, as time passes, all the ‘0’ series pedals are being rediscovered and re‑evaluated, with a consequent increase in vintage prices. Shop carefully and the GE-601 can still be picked up for a very reasonable sum.

Pedal Description:

Resplendent in bright blue with clear white labelling, this 1981 Ibanez GE-601 Graphic Equalizer clearly bears a family resemblance to other Ibanez pedals, characterised particularly by the familiar square footswitch. Where it differs from many of its relatives is that there are no rotary controls; only the 7 slider controls – 1 for each of the 6 individual frequencies, plus a master level, each one providing ±12Db active boost or cut, rather than just a bass or treble roll off, as with ordinary passive tone controls. In line with the fact that an EQ pedal was probably less used than some other effects, often left permanently on, this pedal is in very good condition for its age with hardly any signs of wear. Used creatively, it is far more powerful than a straightforward tone control. At its simplest, it can be used as a pure clean boost (or cut) pedal with all sliders bar the master level control ‘flat’. Each slider has a helpful détente at 0Db for accurate use on stage. The tone‑shaping effect can be used to balance wayward pickups, smooth an amp’s personality, counter a venue’s acoustics or limit annoying feedback, as well as to shape your sound anywhere from subtle to more extreme. Depending how the controls are used, the possibilities are almost limitless and, used judiciously, the results can be very effective. The impact isn’t quite as pronounced as the simpler MXR, probably due to that pedal’s ±18Db boost/cut. Where it scores over the MXR is being able to switch it in and out, as the MXR doesn’t have a footswitch or master level control. When you get bored of the usual array of stomp boxes, an EQ can be used on its own or in combination with other effects to create some very different soundscapes, broadening its potential considerably. Why not use your IQ and boost your EQ?


  • Made in Japan by Maxon in 1981
  • Six individual slider controls used to boost or cut specific frequencies (100Hz, 200Hz, 400Hz, 800Hz, 1.6KHz, 3.2KHz) by ±12Db
  • Master ‘Level’ slider to apply an overall signal boost or cut
  • Ibanez square FET ‘Q1’ footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Red LED indicator light to show when the effect is in use
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • 9V DC power supply input or 9V battery
  • Black ‘Made in Japan’ label on the base of the pedal
  • Size: 125mm (d) x 70mm (w) x 52mm (h)
  • Weight: 550g (1.2Lbs)
  • No box or instructions

Detail Gallery:

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