1981 Electro-Harmonix Small Clone EH 4600 Mini-Chorus

Model Description:

OK. Let’s get this out of the way right at the start. Yes, it is the original all‑analogue Electro‑Harmonix Small Clone that was made famous by Kurt Cobain of Nirvana. Personally, that matters not. Right, obvious artist association out of the way, now to get down to business. The Electro‑Harmonix Small Clone was manufactured from about 1979 until 1983, when the original incarnation of the New York effect manufacturer went out of business. There are a lot of myths about both the electronics and labelling, so let’s deal with that next. The ‘essential’ component of the Small Clone is the solid state ‘bucket brigade’ chip that runs the show. Original Small Clones used either the common Panasonic MN3007 or the more rarely used Reticon SAD 1024 chip. Both are well‑regarded ICs. There are supposed to be minor audible differences between the two chips but not enough to make any substantial difference. The labelling on the front can state either ‘Mini‑Chorus’, ‘Full‑Chorus’ or Full Chorus’ (minus the hyphen). Even more so, it makes no difference whatsoever and is a collector’s foible, often used to escalate prices. The differences are marked compared to the reissues, which sound appreciably different, all use the MN3007 chip and ‘Full‑Chorus’ label. A chorus pedal is simply a delay line that has a short delay and subtle frequency shift that is fed back into itself to give a swirly sort of effect. Chorus pedals went out of fashion in the 2000s and 2010s but their popularity has been rejuvenated in recent times with the rise of the boutique pedal market. There is a high proportion of bashed and battered examples out there. Cobain’s name and the relative scarcity of good condition early Small Clones make then highly desirable on the vintage effect market, with frankly silly prices to match!

Pedal Description:

Attention everyone, here is a lovely vintage 1981 Electro Harmonix Small Clone EH 4600 Mini‑Chorus. If you were in any doubt, CRAVE Guitars loves Electro‑Harmonix’s vintage effect pedals. The American company took a singularly different approach to others and their circuitry makes them stand out from, particularly, their Japanese competitors. Such is the case with the original Small Clones from the 1970s and 1980s. The enclosure and style will be familiar to anyone with an interest in the classic older Electro‑Harmonix stomp boxes, made in New York City, U.S.A. This example has been used (a good thing), with just a few surface scratches but, more importantly, it has not been abused, so it is all‑original and untampered with. The pot code and features date this one to mid‑1981. For the record, it has the combination of the more common Panasonic MN3007 integrated circuit and the rarer ‘Mini‑Chorus’ label. What is far more important is what it sounds like. The modern reissue’s sounds are far more prominent and the emphasis seems to be on the effect itself, rather than enhancing the signal on its way through. The vintage ones sound softer, warmer and less pronounced, with a noticeable reduction in some bass frequencies, which gives them a different vibe to the newer ones. There is an audible ‘click’ to the LFO sweep but that is part of its vintage charm. Does it magically transform your 6‑string guitar into a 12‑string? No, of course it doesn’t. Does it transmute your amp’s speaker(s) into a Lesley cabinet? No. Does it make nicely chiming, warbly sound that lies somewhere beyond the realms of a phaser, a flanger and a vibrato? It most certainly does. Accept no substitute for the real thing and this is it.


  • Made in New York, U.S.A. in 1981
  • The ‘Rate’ knob controls the speed of the chorus effect
  • The ‘Depth’ switch controls the strength of the chorus effect from slight to strong
  • Standard footswitch turns the effect on and off
  • Standard ¼” input and output mono jack sockets
  • Clear/red LED status indicator to show when the effect is in operation
  • Panasonic MN3007 ‘bucket brigade’ integrated circuit
  • ‘Mini‑Chorus’ labelling screen printed on the front
  • DC power supply input or 9V battery
  • Battery compartment in the base of the unit
  • No box or instruction manual


  • Kurt Cobain (Nirvana)
  • Billy Corgan (Smashing Pumpkins)
  • The Edge (U2)
  • Sam Fender
  • John Fogerty (Creedence Clearwater Revival)
  • Emily Kokal (Warpaint)
  • J Mascis (Dinosaur Jr.)

Detail Gallery:

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